Significant small arms experience gained during the First World War (1914-1918) prompted global arms manufacturers to develop more refined forms of machine guns. The racial subcategory that emerged in the war became the "light machine gun" (represented by types such as the American Browning "BAR"), which brought the firepower of a portable infantry-class machine gun. The machine gun team would no longer be confined to defensive positions, but could "launch battles on the enemy" with their fellow gunners.
Experience with trench warfare has resulted in lighter, more powerful weapons systems that are better able to withstand the abuses of war, and more reliable internal operations to better deal with the battlefield environment (and its associated abuses).
In Finland, in the mid-1920s, the Lahti-Saloranta M/26 (LS/26) was developed as this weapon through the joint work of Aimo Lahti and Arvo Saloranta (hence the weapon has two surnames). The weapon was developed not only for the Finnish army, but also for global parties looking to modernize the armed forces in the post-World War I era.
Work on the gun took place in 1925-1930.
At the heart of the weapon is a traditional rifle-style configuration with a solid wood shoulder rest and pistol grip, rectangular metal casing and perforated/jacketed barrel. A curved magazine is inserted in the usual way into the magazine in front of the pistol grip/trigger unit (the magazine is located above the left side of the magazine). A folding bipod assembly was mounted under the barrel and iron sights were provided for the gunner. The barrel is designed as a "quick change" type to prevent damage from overheating - think the bolts have to be removed during the replacement (reassembly can introduce all kinds of dirt in the action).
The machine gun weighed 20.5 pounds, had an overall length of 1,110 mm, and the barrel itself was 500 mm long.
Internally, a short recoil rotating bolt breech system is in play, allowing repeated firing - the option allows single-shot or fully automatic fire mode. The chamber uses the 7.62x53mmR rifle cartridge introduced by Finnish industry in 1918, based on the original Russian 7.62x54mmR rifle cartridge from 1891.
The gun can be loaded from a 20-round detachable magazine or a 75-round drum (model "LS-26-31"). In both cases, the rate of fire reached 450 to 500 rounds per minute, the muzzle velocity was estimated at 2,625 feet per second, and the effective range was up to 400 meters under ideal conditions.
The M/26 entered service with the Finnish Army in 1930 (following a competition in 1925) and was used as a standard weapon until the 1950s. However, the expected foreign market never developed as the market declined due to the devastation of the Great Depression (1929-1939) and World War II (1939-1945).
The latter made the series widely released during the "Winter War" (1939-1940) between Finland and the invading Soviet Union, and played a role in "The Continued War" (1941-1944) after the "Lapland War" ( 1944-1945). In operation, these guns proved bulky and internally complex, although accuracy was a particularly strong quality, largely due to their inherently low rate of fire.
The weapon was also successfully fought in the hands of the ROC Armed Forces in the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945) - although only about 1,200 of the 30,000 ordered (packed in a 7.92x57mm Mauser) ) actually delivered Japan's political intervention (Japan at war with China).
Total production of Valtion Kivaarithdas (from 1927 to 1942) amounted to 5,200 to 6,200 units.
- Fire Support/Suppression/Defense
1,110 mm (43. 70 in)
500 mm (19. 69 in)
20. 50 lb (9. 30 kg)
Iron Front and Rear.
Short-Recoil-Operated; Open Bolt; Selective Fire
2,625 feet-per-second (800 meters-per-second)
1,315 ft (401 m; 438 yd)
M/26 - Base Series Designation; model of 1926 accepted into Finnish Army service in 1930.
LS/26 - Alternative Designation.
LS-26-31 - Model of 1931; able to accept a 75-round drum magazine.