call a spade a spade...the French had their butts handed to 'em
by Ho Chi Minh and the boys in Southeast Asia long before we stuck
our nose in that game. We know the outcome of our involvement in that
nasty war-the casualties and divisions we suffered-and we
fielded some mighty fine fighting men and state-of-the-art armaments.
that the French didn't have some fine soldiers in Indochina.
France had a pile of surplus-World War II stuff they fielded to
suppress the Southeast Asian insurgency during their involvement
there in the early 1950s.
Enter AA-52, Arme Automatique
1952 manufactured by
Etienne), France's transformable
Sounds like some kind of kid's toy.
AA-52 was one of the first French gun designs to emerge
after the Second World War. This gun is chambered for the 7.5x54mm
French cartridge. A later version of the gun is chambered for 7.62mm
NATO to expedite France's role in that European alliance.
AA-52 is a delayed blowback operated automatic machine
gun that's air-cooled.
It is belt-fed and operates from the open bolt.
AA-52 comes in light with an integral barrel and bipod
at 22 pounds and a heavy version mounted on a tripod (or on a vehicle
or chopper), at roughly 50 pounds.
This machine gun saw service in Indochina and the Gulf
War, and if you look hard enough, you're likely to find one or
two lying around today in French arsenals.
The Belgian-made Fabrique Nationale Minimi replaced the
AA-52 light version, and the FN MAG replaced the heavy. Fabrique
Nationale trumped MAS on both scores.
C'est la vie mon ami!
AA-52 is about 49 inches long with its telescoping butt
extended (approximately 42 inches otherwise) and sports a 23.5-inch
barrel. It uses a disintegrating belt feed that cycles 700 to 900
rounds per minute with a muzzle velocity of 2,700 feet per second.
The AA-52 has more friends in its 7.62 NATO chambering
than 7.5mm French, and like many guns of its time, its usefulness has
expired. Time for a more modern gun.