|The Beretta Model 1918|
The Beretta Model 1918 (also referred to as the Moschetto Automatico Beretta M1918) is considered as the first “conventional” submachine gun to be issued to a fighting force, predating the German MP 18 by a few weeks. It was designed on a request by the Italian Army for an improved design of the bulky Villar-Perosa M1915.
Designer Tuillio Marengoni took half of the Villar-Perosa M1915 (which was a twin-gun weapon) as a base, put it into a carbine-type wooden stock, and added a rifle-type trigger unit. The barrel was lengthened and fitted with a folding bayonet for use in trench warfare.
The M1918 didn’t change the mechanism of the M1915, which was a delayed-blowback weapon. The delay of the initial opening of the bolt achieved by the rotation of the bolt through the bolt handle, which slid against the inclined part of the cocking handle slot. It was fired from an open bolt, and only fired full automatic.
The M1918 was fed by a top-mounted box magazine, with the ejection chute on the bottom of the stock – protecting the firers left from the hot, spent cases which were ejected with quite a bit of force. The sights were offset to the left of the magazine. Another variant, the M1918/30 had the magazine inserted underneath.
|The Beretta Model 1918/30|
The M1918 was designed per request of the Italian army for something to succeed the cumbersome Villar-Perosa M1915, a twin-gun weapon originally designed for aircraft. The result was the Beretta M1918, which was only the second model of a submachine gun to enter service in World War I. It was issued to Ardite regiments of the Italian Army in early 1918, thus becoming the first submachine-gun to become a standard issue weapon.
The M1918 remained in service until early World War II, but because of their carbine-like appearance they were usually unrecognized for what they really were. Many M1918’s were used in the Abyssinian War and the Spanish Civil War, and were frequently encountered in the early phases of the campaign in Libya in 1941.
Beretta M1918/30’s were also manufactured in Argentina as the Hafdasa C-1, and formed the basis for the Argentinian Ballester-Riguard (or Hafdasa C-4) submachine-gun.
Empty Weight: 3.3kg (7lbs 3oz)
Length: 1,092mm (43in)
Barrel Length: 305mm (12in)
Cartridge: 9x19mm Glisenti, .22LR
Rifling: 6 grooves, right to left twist
Action: Retarded Blowback, automatic only
Feed System: 25 round detachable box magazine
Sights: Iron Sights