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To many, including myself, the Colt commercial MG38B is the cream of American .30 caliber water-cooled machine guns. It is the only water-cooled .30 caliber to have spadegrips. Additionally, it has a backplate which slides into the receiver, instead of wrapping around it, as with the ANM2 and MG40 aircraft guns.

The weapon is shown mounted on a 1917A1 tripod, but was originally shipped with either the M37 (shown below in the manual section) or the M35, commonly associated with the Colt 1928.

Many thanks to the private collector who was kind enough to share these photos. The serial numbers have been exed out, but their position maintained.


ANM2 spadegrips

MG38B spadegrips
Above left is the MG38B spadegrip assembly. Above right, for comparison, the ANM2. Apart from the manner in which these two assemblies attach to the receiver, the ANM2 backplate is held in place by a latch at the bottom, center.

MG38B on M37 tripod.

The images at right and below came from Colt Automatic Machine Guns and Rifles. It has many fold-outs, one of which is shown below. It covers the early Colt commercial .30 & .50 water-cooled, air-cooled, and aircraft guns, as well as the BAR.

Drawings of the MG38B showing details of spadegrip.
Left: detail of drawing showing backplate grooves are the same as on the 1919A4.
MG38BT (air-cooled tank configuration)