"Latvia" Former Soviet Union Military Bases
Appendix VIII
Gast Machine Gun
The Gast Gun was a German twin barreled machine gun developed by Karl Gast of Vorwerk und Companie of Barmen, and used during the First World War. It was notable for its high rate of fire of 1,600 rounds per minute and a unique mechanism that is used today in the Gryazev-Shipunov GSh-23L series of Russian aircraft cannon.
The weapon uses two barrels combined into a single mechanism in such a way that the recoil from firing one barrel loads and charges the second. Ammunition was fed into the gun from two vertically mounted cylindrical drums, one on each side of the gun. The drums had a capacity of 180 rounds of German 7.92mm rifle ammunition, which were fed by a compressed spring one by one into the breech. The changing of ammunition drums could be completed in a
few seconds by an experienced gunner. The weapon would also fire single shots if there was a problem with one side of the mechanism.
The gun was relatively light at approximately 27kg "60 pounds" without ammunition and it was felt that it was highly suited to airborne use. A telescopic sight was mounted between the two barrels to aid aiming. The weapon was also easy to maintain, and could be field stripped in one minute, thanks to its simple design.
The gun, which was to become known as the "Gast-Maschinengewehr Model 1917", was invented by Karl Gast in January 1916 while working for the Vorwerk company, the first weapon being produced in January 1916. Gast took out patents in 21 January 1916 and 13 February 1917, describing his weapon as "a double-barreled machine gun with recoiling barrels". During trials, rates of fire of 1,600 rounds per minute were achieved.
Gast demonstrated the weapon to ordnance experts in August 1917, who were so impressed that a production order for 3,000 guns was awarded to "Vorwerk und Companie", along with ten ammunition drums and spare parts for each gun at a unit price of 6,800 marks each. Delivery of the first 100 guns was promised for 1 June 1918, with production ramping up to 500 guns per month by September 1918.
Production of the weapon exceeded these initial projections, and the weapons were received favorably with promises of an order for a further 6,000 guns being promised in September 1918.
A version of the gun firing 13mm ammunition "13x92mm TuF", the Gast-Flieger MG, was also under development. It used the same ammunition as the Maxim MG TuF and had two curved box magazines. 
However, the gun was not widely used, and their existence was kept secret until three years after the Armistice; it was not until 1921 that the Allied Control Commission became aware of the Gast gun when a cache of 25 of the guns, ammunition and designs was found near Königsberg. Gast himself had applied for a US Patent in 1920, which was issued in 1923.
A Gast gun was evaluated by the US Army, and found to be reliable and mechanically practical. However it was felt that it did not offer enough of an advantage over the existing machine guns to justify the expense of producing the weapon.
Gast Machine Gun Specifications 
Tromix have recently been experimenting with the design resulting in what they call the "Siamese .223"; two M16s rigged together using the Gast firing principle. It is being marketed to US law enforcement. "Brooke Southen"
Vorwerk und Companie of Barmen
KBP Instrument Design Bureau
Headquarters: Tula, Russia 
Website: http://www.kbptula.ru/ Russian / English
FSMTS of Russia
Website: http://www.fsvts.gov.ru/ Russian Only
Home – 
Revised: 01/29/2013 – 16:11:28