By Rob Morgan
This is a “holiday snap” of the well-known World War II American-produced Maxson Mount for 4×0.5-inch Browning M2 machine guns, the very effective counter to low-flying enemy aircraft. I liked the look of this mount. (It’s to be found at Pegasus Bridge in Normandy, by the way.) The electrically powered Maxson was used on a variety of carriages, of course — on a trailer towed by a truck, on the truck itself, though it was also mounted on half-tracks, like the M16. (Matchbox made a splendid 1/72nd version of one about 40 years ago.) The Maxson was used to protect convoys and for quick, forward and mobile anti-aircraft defence. There’s an often reproduced wartime photograph of one of these Maxson-armed half-tracks at the famous Remagen Bridge in 1945, but they served in all theatres of the war.
I wondered, was the Maxson ever used aboard a small warship – or a large one? A reference I’ve found suggests that many armies — Allied and formerly neutral – used the Maxson post-1945, including Brazil and Israel. Was it a “lend-lease” weapon with the Red Army? Did it see service as its enemy near-equivalent the 2cm Flakvierling 38 frequently did, against ground targets? Four 12.7mm heavy machine guns would be effective against most soft targets, and a few slightly harder ones. How long did the Maxson linger around in the US Army? Korea? Vietnam?
It might be interesting to learn more about this powerful gun mounting. Any thoughts?