Before Israel's statehood in 1948, plans were already being drawn up for its combat unit, the Haganah ("Defense"), which served as a defense force from 1920 to 1948. Before the 1948 War of Independence and the rise of the official IDF, the group acquired the .30-06 Springfield cartridge, fired from a 25-round side-loading detachable magazine with short recoil. About 9,500 Johnsons were produced with the original M1941 brand, and these were in limited service from U.S. and foreign parties.
The M1944 differs from the M1941 mainly in that it uses a double-barreled stock (as opposed to a fixed, fixed stock) and a monopod (as opposed to a collapsible bipod).
The M1944 was rebuilt as a "Dror" in Israel, and with the exception of a foldable bipod (like the M1941), its appearance remained largely faithful to the original design. A heavily perforated heat shield remained above the barrel of the receiver, although this was significantly lengthened forward. The design remains a simple air-cooled weapon with a "quick change" barrel feature. It is fed by a 20-round detachable magazine, which itself is based on the magazine design of the Browning M1918 BAR from the American World War I era.
The operator can set the weapon to fire semi-auto or fully automatic to suit the mission, with a rate of fire quoted as 250 to 950 rounds per minute and a muzzle velocity of 2,600 feet per second, depending on the setting. An unusual feature of this class of weapons is the use of short recoil, an action usually reserved for semi-automatic pistols and also found in some early (and successful) machine guns.
Short recoil was also central to Johnson's original design.
dror was originally intended for the .303 British rifle cartridge as Israel had a large stockpile at the time. Subsequently, a second sample provided by Israel Military Industries (IMI) modified the manufacture to include the weapon for the German 7.92x57mm Mauser rifle cartridge. Unlike the original Drors, this successor moves the magazine advance to a more traditional bottom placement, which aids in proper weapon balance and promotes a tighter front profile (less chance of jamming). A carrying handle is mounted on the weapon in front of the receiver and also aids in changing the barrel.
The perforated heat shield was significantly elongated, covering almost the entire length of the barrel, except for part of the muzzle. This allows the bipod joint to move away from the receiver.
The limited manufacture of
drors is done in small workshops with limited exposure. It didn't matter because the new Israeli government adopted an existing product from the Belgian light machine gun family Fabrique Nationale FN Mle D, a European copy of the famous American Browning M1918 BAR.
The Dror itself never proved to be a fully successful design at the time, having a short service life from 1947 to 1952, and was not even put into combat service during the Revolutionary War in 1948. It has proven to be very susceptible to failures caused by operating conditions in the region.
- Fire Support/Suppression/Defense
1,240 mm (48.82 in)
680 mm (26.77 in)
22.05 lbs (10.00 kg)
Before and after ironing.
Short recoil; selective fire
2,600 feet per second (792 meters per second)
600 rounds per minute
Dror (Style 1) - Designed for British 0.303 cartridge; side feed; new shoulder rest; based on M1941 Johnson LMG.
Dror (Pattern 2) - Rechambered version in 7.92x57mm Mauser form; sub-recipient feeding; extended barrel sleeve; put handle on barrel; repositioned bipod attachment point; manufactured by IMI.