Hotchkiss M1914 machine gun

The Mle 1914 Hotchkiss machine gun chambered for the 8mm Lebel cartridge became the standard machine gun of the French Army during World War I. It was manufactured by the French arms company Hotchkiss et Cie, which had been established in the 1860s by American industrialist Benjamin B. Hotchkiss. The gas-actuated Hotchkiss system was first formulated in 1895 by Odkolek von Ujezda and improved into its final form by Hotchkiss armament engineers Laurence Benét and Henri Mercié.

Hotchkiss M1914 machine gun
Class Manportable
Type Machine Guns
Manufacturer Hotchkiss et Cie
Production Period 1914 - 1920
Origin France
Country Name Origin Year
France 1914
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Algeria 1954 1962 View
Brazil 1932 1932 View
Burma 1937 1945 View
France 1917 1918 View
France 1939 1945 View
Mexico 1910 1920 View
Poland 1919 1921 View
Spain 1936 1939 View
Vietnam 1946 1954 View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Hotchkiss et Cie 1914 1920 65000 View

The Hotchkiss was based on a design by Captain Baron Adolf Odkolek von Ujezda of Vienna. The patents had been purchased in 1893 by the firm of Benjamin Hotchkiss, based in Saint-Denis, near Paris. Benjamin Hotchkiss was no longer alive at the time of the purchase, but the Odkolek design was further developed and greatly improved under the direction of American-born Laurence Vincent Benét (1863–1948) with the assistance of Henri Albert Mercié. After trials that began in 1895, development issues were resolved leading to the initial purchase of the Hotchkiss gun by the French Military in 1897. In 1898 an export model was also offered for international sales by Hotchkiss. With some useful changes, such as the addition of five cooling radiator rings on the barrel, the same basic design led to the M1900, and later to the M1914 (with minor improvements that were added since 1908). In the meantime adoption of the St. Étienne Mle 1907 (a French government arsenal product ) to equip the infantry went through in 1908. Nevertheless, Hotchkiss machine guns were also purchased by the French military for use in overseas colonies and by mountain troops in the Alps. By the 1916, during World War I, French line infantry, still equipped with the unsatisfactory Saint-Etienne, convinced General Petain that it needed the more reliable Hotchkiss. It got its wish and French infantry divisions became progressively outfitted with the Hotchkiss gun in late 1917 and early 1918.

  • World War I. France and USA: The principal user of the Mle 1914 Hotchkiss machine gun was French infantry during World War I and in 1939-40. The Hotchkiss company delivered 47,000 Mle 1914 machine guns to the French Army between 1914 and the end of 1918.
  • Japanese version: Hotchkiss machine guns in 6.5 mm caliber were successfully deployed by Japan. The production of the gun was licensed to Japan to become the Type 3 Heavy Machine Gun, but the cartridge was the standard Japanese 6.5x50mm Arisaka rather than the original 8 mm ammunition. The Type 92 Heavy Machine Gun, a scaled up Type 3 chambered for 7.7mm, was also based on the Hotchkiss design.
  • In China: In 1930 to 1935, the Chinese Nationalist Government bought 1,192 Hotchkiss M1914 machine guns from France. The Chinese also copied this gun and used the German 7.92×57mm Mauser. After the Second Sino-Japanese War broke out in 1937, the Chinese also ordered 1,300 guns, but only 300 guns were delivered.
  • In Poland: Poland received the first M1914 Hotchkiss machine guns together with the arrival of the Blue Army in 1919. During and after the Polish-Bolshevik War the Polish Army bought additional pieces in France and by 1936 there were 2620 pieces in Polish service (used under the ckm wz. 14 - "HMG Mk. 1914"). In mid-1920s the army ordered 1250 pieces of a slightly modified version rechambered to the standard 7.92×57mm Mauser calibre.
  • Other countries: Hotchkiss machine guns firing 7 mm Mauser ammunition equipped both sides (Governmental forces and Pancho Villa's) during the Mexican Revolution (1910–1920). The same type of 7 mm Hotchkiss machine gun, built under license in Spain where it was the standard medium machine gun, was widely used by the conflicting parties involved in the Spanish Civil War (1930's). Furthermore, the Mle 1914 Hotchkiss in 8 mm Lebel was mounted in all French tanks and armored cars of World War I. The last recorded uses of the Hotchkiss were in Indochina and Algeria, after World War II, to defend outposts in static positions.

Type Medium machine gun
Place of origin France
Service history
In service 1914–1960s
Used by Afghanistan, Belgium, Chile, Kingdom of Greece, Kingdom of Italy, Brazil, France, France Vichy France, Republic of China, Empire of Japan, Mexico, Norway, Peru, Poland, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, United States
Wars Mexican Revolution

World War I

Polish–Soviet War

World War II

Constitutionalist Revolution,,

Spanish Civil War

Second Sino-Japanese War

First Indochina War

Algerian War
Production history
Designer A. Odkolek von Augeza

Laurence V. Benet

Henri Mercie.
Designed 1897 (M1897), 1900 (M1900)
Produced 1914–1920 (M1914)
Number built over 65,000
Variants M1897


Weight 53 lb 11 oz (24.4 kg)
Length 1390 mm (55 in)
Barrel length 787 mm (31 in)
Cartridge 8×50R Lebel

7×57mm Mauser

6.5×50mmSR Arisaka

11 mm Gras

Caliber 8 mm
Action gas-actuated
Rate of fire 450 round/min
Muzzle velocity 2,375 ft/s (724 m/s)
Feed system 24 round strip, 250 round articulated metal belt

End notes