Type 99 Light Machine Gun

The Type 99 Light Machine Gun was a light machine gun produced by Japan during the Second World War. It entered service in 1939.Because Japan had adopted the 7.7 mm Type 99 Rifle an accompanying 7.7 mm light machine gun was also developed. The Type 99 was the basically same design as the Type 96 light machine gun, but the Type 99 dispensed with the oiler and had better primary extraction. Early models had a mono-pod at the stock and a flash-hider at the muzzle which was screwed onto a threaded portion of the barrel. Like the Type 96, most were issued with a 2.5 power optical sight. These were often issued to the best marksmen of the unit and occasionally employed like a sniper rifle. It also served as a light anti-aircraft gun occasionally during the war. The gun shares the shape of the British Bren gun and the Czech ZB26, however, internally it is quite different from both.

Type 99 Light Machine Gun
Class Manportable
Type Machine Guns
Manufacturer Kijiro Nambu
Origin Japan
Country Name Origin Year
Japan 1939
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Japan 1939 1945 View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Kijiro Nambu View

The Type 96 light machine gun, an improvement over the previous Type 11 light machine gun was introduced into combat service in 1936, and quickly proved to be a versatile weapon to provide covering fire for advancing infantry. Both the Type 11 and Type 96 used the same 6.5x50mm Arisaka cartridges as the Type 38 rifle infantry rifle. The system had the advantage that any squad member could supply ammunition for the light machine gun; however, as the Japanese army was switching from the Type 38 rifle to the Type 99 Rifle which used a 7.7 mm cartridge, it was necessary to develop a new version of the Type 96 light machine gun that would also be able to use this larger caliber. The gun was produced at Kokura, Nagoya Arsenal and Mukden with total production about 53,000.

The Type 99 was basically the same design as the Type 96 light machine gun, and had a number of parts in common. However, it dispensed with the oiler and had better primary extraction, increasing reliability over its predecessors. Early models had a mono-pod at the stock and a flash suppressor on the muzzle, which was screwed onto a threaded portion of the gun barrel. A top-mounted curved detachable box magazine held 30 rounds, and the finned gun barrel could be rapidly changed to avoid overheating.

The Type 99 had a blade front sight and a leaf rear sight, with graduations from 200 to 1,500 meters, with a wind adjustment. A 2.5X telescopic sight with a 10 degree field of view could be attached at the right side of the gun. These were often issued to the best marksmen of the unit and occasionally employed like a sniper rifle. A standard infantry bayonet could be attached to the gas block below the barrel, but on the battlefield this feature proved inconsequential due to the weight of the gun and the fact that the blade was largely obstructed by the flash hider when it was fixed on the muzzle.

The Type 99 came into active service in 1939, and was used side-by-side with the older Type 11 and Type 96, as these models had been produced in large quantities and many front line troops continued to use the Type 38 rifles with their 6.5 mm ammunition. All three weapons remained in service until the end of the war.

Weight - 11.4 kg

Length - 1181 mm

Barrel length - 550 mm

Cartridge - 7.7x58mm Arisaka

Action - Gas operated

Rate of fire - 250 to 900 round/min

Muzzle velocity - 715 m/s (2,300 ft/s)

Feed system - 30 round

End notes