Swedish Medium Machine Guns: Kulspruta M/36 LV DBL

Swedish Medium Machine Guns: Kulspruta M/36 LV DBL

In 1940, Swedish soldiers keep an eye on the sky with their twin Ksp m/36 lv dbl anti-aircraft machine guns.

Twin AA Cradle and Tripod
The Sammansättning anti-aircraft tripod accepting a single or double gun cradle is a special long-legged affair to allow for anti-aircraft fire while standing.  Chains are used to lock the tripod down for extra rigidity during firing.  If conditions were such that it was not feasible to use the chains to lock the tripod down (e.g. in snow), weights, such as rocks or full ammo cans, could be slung in the looped chains to gain some rigidity to the mount.

A special soft twin cradle arrangement was used for the twin anti-aircraft m/36 guns.  The cradle frame consists of two single soft cradles, one for each gun.  The two cradles were held rigidly parallel to each other by the twin cradle head at the front that allows mounting to the tripod and elevation, and a bolted metal cross beam at the rear.  Depending on whether a left or right hand arrangement, provisions to hold the ammunition boxes to each side gun cradle and the spade grips for each gun that also contained the remote trigger was determined by whether a right or left side set-up.  The front of each cradle is attached to the tripod head so as to allow elevation.  The tripod head socket fits into a pivot point on the tripod that allows unrestrictive 360 degree traversing.

In addition to the anti-aircraft tripod, the twin m/36s were also commonly placed on trucks or armored vehicles in a ring mount providing a 360-degree area of protection.  These were often fitted on top of the driver’s cab on a number of different Volvo truck models.  A ground infantry tripod, the Värnlavette m/41 tripod that accepted a single gun or a twin-gun cradle was also available though the twin anti-aircraft version of m/36 ground mount was rarely encountered.

Business end of the twin Ksp m/36 lv dbl.

With the very real possibility of war looming on the horizon in the late 1930s, the production capacity of Carl Gustafs Stads Gevärsfaktori (GF) was pushed to its limits due to orders for weapons of all sorts of rifles, light machine guns and heavy machine guns.  In December, 1939, negotiations were held with Telefon AB L.M. Ericsson (LME) concerning supplementing production of the m/36.  LME was already involved in manufacturing some parts for the m/36 as early as 1938 and by early 1940 was manufacturing many m/36 components thereby easing the pressure on GF and by 1941 were producing 15 machine guns per day.  In all, Carl Gustafs Stads Gevärsfaktori (GF) produced 8,025 m/36s and L.M. Ericsson (LME) produced 5,361 m/36s.

The water-cooled m/36 was primarily manufactured by Carl Gustafs Stads Gevärsfaktori (GF) from 1937 to 1944 while L.M. Ericsson (LME) produced guns in the three year period of 1940-1942.

  • The m/36 mark (ground) MG: GF and LME produced 6,615 guns with the mount m/36.  Another 973 were made by GF and LME without mount, used with the m/14 Schwarzlose mount.
  • The m/36 lv (AA single) MG: GF and LME produced 406 guns.
  • The m/36 lv dbl (Twin AA guns): Made in pairs, GF and LME produced 5,392 guns representing 2,696 pairs.

A unique aspect of the Swedish m/36 water-cooled machine gun is that both manufacturers applied a relatively large, ornate but different Swedish crest to the top of the water jacket.  Guns made by Carl Gustafs Stads Gevärsfaktori (GF) can be easily identified by the large intricate roll-stamped crowned shield that is divided into four sections by a cross, with two lions and two groups of three crowns each in the segments.

Detail of the spring-loaded buffered extension that surrounds the normal backplate & buffer of the gun. The two arms of the spring-loaded buffer tube fits into slots in the cradle to anchor the gun at the rear.

The m/36 as made by L.E. Ericsson also had a roll-stamped design on top of the water jacket but was completely different from GF and thus an easily identifiable variation.  It consisted of a simpler crown atop a single shield with three crowns in it.

Ammunition and Feeding
The m/36 used cloth ammunition belts similar to typical Browning cloth belts.  Each belt contained 250 rounds and was loaded into a metal ammunition box.  The ammunition box had a metal top hinged at the end for full opening.  Riveted to each end is a long leather strap that serves as a carrying handle.  There is an ammunition box holder adapter that affixes to the left side of the cradle for a single gun, or a left and right for the twin m/36s for the ammunition boxes to affix to for the twin guns.  These ammunition box holders have an adjustable leather strap that goes around the ammunition box to hold it securely in place during firing.

The m/36 was chambered in three different rounds in its lifetime, each time new barrels, bolts and cartridge stops being supplied as the rounds changed and improved.  The m/36 was originally chambered in the m/94 round-nosed loading of the 6.5x55mm Swedish service cartridge.  Then the m/32 8x63mm cartridge loaded with a 220gr bullet to the same overall length as the U.S. .30-06 with 56 grains of nitrocellulose powder that produced a muzzle velocity of 2,493 fps.  This beefed-up .30 caliber cartridge allowed for accurate extreme long range shooting especially when mounted on the Lavett soft-mount single or double tripod.  In the post-World War II years, the Swedish Army adopted the Belgian FN MAG in 1958 and the m/36 was then transferred to second-line units.  Sweden then joined NATO and adopted the H&K NATO caliber G3A3 (AK4 in Sweden) and in 1966 the Swedish Army switched completely to NATO calibers.  This included all the m/36s in secondary units and they were rechambered to the 7.62mm (.308) NATO round.  The m/36 remained on active service in the Swedish Army until the 1990s when finally declared obsolete and retired from service in 1995.

Detail of the spring-loaded buffered extension that surrounds the normal backplate & buffer of the gun. The two arms of the spring-loaded buffer tube fits into slots in the cradle to anchor the gun at the rear.

There were a number of accessories associated with the m/36 that included a tool and spare parts chest that contained just about everything needed to keep the gun running, a belt loading machine similar to the typical Browning-type of cloth belt loader, water jacket carrying strap to carry the gun when the water jacket is hot, wooden box containing the anti-aircraft sights, water carrying/condensing can, spare barrel, spare barrel carrier, cleaning rod, ammo box holder brackets that attach to the single or double soft mount cradle, leather support straps for hanging ammo boxes and an expended cartridge shell bag.  A 5×25 power optical sight in a fitted leather case was also available.  The optical sight was not used or issued with the twin anti-aircraft m/36s but was issued and used when the m/36 (single or double) was used on the soft ground mount.

Swedish Kulspruta M/36 Specifications

Caliber: 6.5x55mm, 8x63mm, 7.62x51mm
Accepted: 1936
Ammunition: 6.5mm (m/94), 8mm (m/32), 7.62mm (ptr 10)
Muzzle velocity: 6.5mm m/94 – 620 m/s (2,034 fps), 8mm m/32 – 750 m/s (2,461 fps)
Feed: Canvas belt, 250 rounds

– – Rate of fire – –

Single m/34: 600-720 rpm
Twin AA m/34: 2 x 600-720 rpm
Design: John M. Browning M1917A1
Action: Recoil operated
Manufacturer: Carl Gustafs GF and L.M. Ericsson
Years of delivery: 1937-1944
Length: 1,365 mm (53.74 in.)
Barrel length: 607 mm (23.9 in.)

– – Sights – –

6.5mm rear leaf: 200-2,000 meters
8mm rear leaf: 300-3,000 meters
Weight w/o water: 23 kg (50.71 lbs.)
Weight with water: 26 kg (57.32 lbs.)

– – Tripod weight – –

Single: 25 kg (55.12 lbs.)
AA tripod: 17 kg (37.48 lbs.)