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St. Étienne M1907
Bundesarchiv Bild 101I-125-0289-29, Frankreich, Soldat (frz.-) MG untersuchend.jpg

St. Étienne Mle 07
Type Medium machine gun
Place of origin  France
Service history
Used by See Users
Wars World War I
Production history
Produced 1907-1916
Variants Mle 1907, Mle 1907 Transformée 1916
Weight 57 lb 5 oz (26.0 kg)
Length 1180 mm
Barrel length 710 mm

Cartridge 8 x 50 mm R Lebel
Caliber 8 mm
Action gas actuation
Rate of fire adjustable: 8 to 650 round/min
Muzzle velocity 2,375 ft/s. (724 m/s)
Feed system 25 rounds metal strip or 300 rounds fabric belt (1916)

The St. Étienne Mle 1907 (French: Mitrailleuse Mle 1907 T) was a French air-cooled machine gun which was widely used in the early years of the First World War.


History and development

Around the turn of the century the French military evaluated machine guns made by the private French firm of Hotchkiss et Cie. While the tests were technically convincing, following which Hotchkiss guns were purchased for French alpine and colonial troops, it was decided for political reasons that a machine gun for French line infantry had to originate from state-owned enterprises. A first attempt was the Puteaux M1905 machine gun inspired by the gas actuated blow forward Bang system, but it proved totally unsatisfactory. The national arsenal at Saint Étienne (MAS) thoroughly reworked and modified the Puteaux machine gun resulting in some measure of improvement but also increased complexity (64 component parts for the St Etienne Mle 1907 vs only 32 parts for the Hotchkiss Mle 1914). Barrel changes on the St Etienne were much easier than on the M1905 Puteaux and the firing rate could be set at any point between 8 rounds per minute and 650 rounds per minute. Either metal strips or fabric belts, the latter introduced in 1916, for the 8mm Lebel ammunition could be used. However, in the muddy environment of trench warfare the mechanically complex St Étienne Mle 1907 suffered from continual stoppages and was difficult to maintain by frontline soldiers. A quote from an official French battlefield evaluation in 1917 says it all: "In summation, it functions well but only in the hands of the most meticulous of machine gun virtuosos". The Mle 1907 St Etienne had to be taken away from the front lines, beginning in July 1917, and progressively replaced by the simpler and more reliable Hotchkiss M1914 machine gun. Large numbers of the M1907 St Etienne machine gun were then transferred to military units in the rear, to the French colonies and also to the Italian Army. Altogether 39,700 Mle 1907 St Etienne machine guns had been manufactured when the decision to close down their last assembly line was taken in November 1917.

See also

Notes and references

  • Ian Hogg: Military Small Arms of the 20 th Century. Arms & Armour Press, 15 January 2010, ISBN 0-910676-87-9.

External links



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