Hungarian Gebauer Machine Guns, 1918-45


The most advanced of the complex engine-driven guns was the Hungarian Gebauer. It reached service test status during WW1 in 1918. The twin-barrel Gebauer design was more compact than any of its competitors, it was the ultimate answer to synchronization. There were quite a few attempts for engine-driven guns. England in 1921, Czechoslovakia in 1938 and Germany in 1941, but only the Gebauer saw actual service.

Gebauer Machine Gun 1918.M
Gebauer Motorgéppuska 1918.M

In 1917 Gebauer submitted his first motor driven machine gun design to his Air Force Field Colonel. He received the approval to make prototypes. The first two variant was not succesful, but the third improved design performed flawlessly on its trial in June, 1918, on the Aspern Airport. The trial gun was installed on an Aviatic D.11 plane, with Colonel Benno Fiala flying it.
The Gebauer 1918.M shot through a 4-blade propeller 25 rounds/sec at 1500 motor rpm or 1500 rounds/min, which was 4 times faster than the Schwarzlose, which fired only 6.25 rounds/sec in similar conditions. The first 100 guns were ordered by the military in September 1918. The Solux Co. of Vienna provided additional monetary support. These 100 guns were completed in October, but the end of the war stopped actual battle-testing.

Gebauer Machine Gun 1926/31.M
Gebauer Motorgéppuska 1926/31.Minta GKM

After the end of WW1, and the separation of Austria and Hungary, Gebauer lived in Budapest, Hungary. In 1920 he unofficially worked for the Technical Experimental Weapon Division of the Honvédség. He received funding from the military to continue improving his motor driven machine gun design in secret from the Allied inspectors.
In 1922 a final prototype was created and designated 22.M GMP (Gebauer Motor Puska). From 1924 Gebauer started to work together with Danuvia R.T. which cooperation lasted for the next 20 years. Danuvia RT took over funding and marketing. Gebauer continued working at a secret (from the inspectors) residential location.
In 1926 Gebauer's latest improved model was finally approved by the Honvédség. Manufacturing started and between 1926-34 243 guns were delivered to the secret Hungarian Air Force. The Air Force machine guns were designated as '26/31.M GKM' (Gebauer Kényszermeghajtású Motorgéppuska = Gebauer Positive-Driven Motor-Machine Gun). These were fixed barrel dual guns. The pilot aimed with the airplane. The GKM was driven from the engine's crankshaft. The GKM automatically removed the misfiring cartridges, and loaded the next. In case of a jam the drive had an automatic safety disengage feature which let the jammed rifle stop without forcing any damage, while keeping its twin gun in operation. The guns were fed by 500-round metal ammunition belts. These were chambered for the 7.92x57mm Mauser ammunition.
The GKM was used on the following type airplanes until 1942: Fiat CR-32 fighter, Romeo 37, Heinkel-46, WM Sólyom Recon.

Gebauer GKM Machine Gun 1940.M
Gebauer Motorgeppuska 1940.Minta GKM

This weapon is the same as the 1926/31.M, except it was chambering the .50cal (12.7mm) Italian Fiat-Safat ammunition. The gun was adapted in 1940. It was used on the Fiat CR-42 fighters, which were supplied to Hungary by Italy in 1941-42.
Italy purchased the license to manufacture Gebauer Machine Guns in 1943 for the payment of two Italian fighter planes. It is unknown if the Italians ever manufactured any Gebauers.

Gebauer Reconnaisance Machine Gun 1934.M
Gebauer Megfigyelő Motorgéppuska 1934.Minta GKM

This aircooled weapon was designed to be used on reconnaisance airplanes. It was ahead of its time and the competitors. The gun was fed from a 100-round 'Horváth' drum which had twice the capacity of the weapons of similar enemy planes. It was chambered for the 7.92x57 Mauser ammunition. This gun was in service from 1934-42 in the Hungarian Air Force.
Operation and maintenance was much simpler than the Schwarzlose machine guns. Featured a fixed barrel, a gas operated system, Shells ejected on the left side.

Gebauer Tank Machine Gun 1934/37.M
Gebauer Harckocsi Motorgéppuska 1934/37.Minta GKM

This gun was the same as the 34.M, but slightly modified for tank use. The 100-round drum magazine was retained. This gun was also called 34.AM. It was chambered for the 8x56R 31.M ammo. Both single or twin configurations were used in tanks. Among other Armored Tanks, this gun was utilized in the Fiat Ansaldo light tanks, Csaba armored vehicles and Toldi tanks. After 1942 it was also used on gunboats and patrol boats. The 34/37.M's were also used for air defense on the boats, so these guns were equipped with large round anti-airplane sights.

Gebauer Tank Machine Gun 1934/40.M
Gebauer Harckocsi Motorgéppuska 1934/40.Minta GKM

This gun was the same as the 34/37.M, but the 100-round drum magazine was replaced with a 100-round metal feeding belt. It was chambered for the 8x56R 31.M ammo. A 41.M scope was installed. These guns were used in the Turan midsize tanks and by the Navy for air-defense.

Reportedly, the unique sound of these Gebauers brought fear to the Soviet soldiers on the Eastern Front. All captured useable Gebauer guns were taken by the Red Army back to the USSR. These guns have held the interest of weapons collectors and a Parts Geek or two over the course of many years since. As it is with every Parts Geek or collector, these guns hold a great value in not only price but history as well.