Type: Automatic rifle
Caliber: .30-06 Springfield
Weight: 9.07 kg (20.0 lb)
Length: 1,143 millimeters (45.0 in)
Barrel length: 470 millimeters (19 in)
Capacity: 20 rds
The Chauchat CSRG 1915 is an early French-designed automatic rifle/light machine gun which saw widespread service during World War I. Like many early versions of a new concept, the design had issues which resulted in reliability issues in the mud and dirt of war, such as a mag design which allowed dirt to get inside the gun and cause the weapon to jam. However, it was far more portable than other machine gun designs of the time and was manufactured in great numbers, providing Allied forces with a greater level of firepower which the troops could easily and quickly bring with them on the advance. Chauchat rifles would even continue to see service after the war with France as well as other countries such as Belgium and Poland.
While the CSRG 1915 was a relatively successful weapon, an unique variant was produced for US forces as they arrived in France in the final year of the war. Lacking a light machine gun of their own, American troops were provided with a number the original French CSRG 1915s; however, a version known as the CSRG 1918 was produced in .30-06, the American service cartridge, and provided to the American forces. This version of the Chauchat proved to be on of the worst and least-reliable machine guns ever developed. Improperly reamed chambers, flimsy mags, and other issues resulted in the 1918 regularly failing. As a result, soldiers who were issued them generally ditched the weapon in favor of the French version of the gun or even the bolt-action Springfield and Enfield rifles. Almost no 1918s were deployed on the frontline and were quickly replaced by the Browning Automatic Rife (BAR) M1918 as the war came to an end.