The Hotchkiss Portative was a variant of the Hotchkiss medium machine gun designed for use in the LMG role. It used the same long-stroke gas system and interrupted-thread locking system as the earlier Hotchkiss, but had the feed system inverted to save space and the gun significantly lightened. Developed in 1907, it was one of the early light machine guns available on the market, and purchased by several countries. They were used by the US (in .30-06, designated the M1909 Benet-Mercie), Great Britain, Belgium, Sweden, Mexico, and others.


Disassembly and operation of a British Hotchkiss Portative in .303 caliber:


English (click to download in PDF format):

M1909 Benet-Mercie manual

News Articles:

In 1916, the New York Times published a short column commenting on the impending replacement of the M1909 with a new Vickers-type machine gun:

Benet-Mercier NYT column, March 23 1916

Vintage Photos:

A number of photos of US troops training with M1909 Benet Mercie machine guns (download the gallery as a zip archive)


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