A recent statement was made by Kurdish leaders about the so called “British guns” that were sent over, that they were “useless pieces of metal” because the British had failed to resupply them with ammunition. The “British gun” they were referring to is the M2 Browning machine gun. This is definitely half true and a shortage of ammunition is a very real problem within the Peshmerga, however several units possess the weapons and ammunition to back them up. It would appear that some of the generals in higher standing are stock piling the M2 rounds for themselves. I’ve seen the M2 employed in combat operations by Peshmerga against ISIS several times now, so there must be some bullets floating around somewhere. The M2 is perfect for the Kurds; it’s a weapon America first employed in WW2 against an evil empire and it was utilized alongside tactics used about 100 years ago. Now the Peshmerga, a military in it’s infantile stages as a modern military power, is using the Browning to take down an evil “caliphate” using tactics reminiscent of wars long past.
While they often lack the “GO/NO GO” tool for doing the headspace and timing of the gun, the Peshmerga do fine with the “backing the barrel off until it sounds correct” technique which seems to work ok most of the time. It’s odd to see them employed more as precision weapons rather than the gunner pepper a beaten zone on a target; however they are very effective at doing this so who am I to judge? I know the conservation of ammunition is due in part to the lack thereof, but also to a Kurdish preference to utilize every bullet to its full effect rather than “waste them” on suppressive fire. I mean considering Many Peshmerga must buy their own ammo I can see where the mentality comes from.
Based off Browning’s previous design, the M1919 machine gun, he opted for a bigger variant as World War 1 came to a close; even designing a round specifically for the platform itself in the form of the .50BMG (Browning Machine Gun). Weighing in at nearly 84lbs the gun is a beast suitable strictly for mounted operation via a tripod or vehicle mount. It has a max effective range of 2000m (although further shots can still be made) and a cyclic rate of roughly 450 to 650 rounds per minute depending on the gun.
The Kurds actually prefer to utilize the M2 from a vehicle. This makes for ease of logistics but also because they are rarely static during active offensive operations for very long periods of time, negating the need for a tripod. They don’t really use them for defensive positions either, given the quality of the weapon and need to maintain it. But just to be a hypocrite, here’s an American Peshmerga volunteer testing an M2 mounted on a tripod.