The FN Minimi’s Alternate Feed

Ernest Vervier, who also designed the FN MAG general purpose machine gun, developed the FN Minimi in the mid-1970s. Fabrique Nationale intended the Minimi as the companion light machine gun to their new FNC 5.56x45mm rifle. One of the Minimi’s most interesting features was the alternate feed system developed by Maurice V. Bourlet and a team of FN engineers. 

This system allowed the weapon to fire from both a disintegrating link belt but also from box magazines. This was an emergency option for situations where belts of ready ammunition were not available thus keeping the Minimi in action. The bolt can strip a round either from the belt or the magazine. Magazines can be inserted into the left side of the Minimi’s receiver with no swapping of parts or modification to the gun. A hinged, spring-loaded dust cover protects the housing when the weapon is feeding from a belt (see image #3). This was a major positive over the Minimi’s rival designs during the Squad Automatic Weapon trials.

Vz. 52/57 Machine Gun, note the belt and dust cover for the magazine feed on top of the receiver (source)

Bourlet and his team developed the dual feed system in 1975-76 with it first appearing on prototype Minimis in 1977. A patent protecting the alternate feed system was subsequently granted in September 1978. The Czechoslovakian Vz. 52/57 Machine Gun, developed from the ZB.26/Bren, used a similar systemwhich combined a belt-feed with a top feeding box magazine (see above). 

The Minimi’s reliability and alternate feed system impressed the US military who adopted it as the M249 in 1982. Once in service the M249 suffered some problems when feeding from magazines. It emerged that the bolt shaved or sheared the feed lips from magazines leading to failures to feed. Operationally, however, the M249 is invariably fed by belts not magazines and this has not been a major problem.

Dozens of countries around the world have adopted the Minimi and the alternate feed system continues to be part of the weapon’s design. FN USA recently launched the M249S semi-automatic civilian version of the Minimi with each unit shipping with a standard STANAG magazine as well as disintegrating links.


Images: 1 2 3 4 

‘Supply device for a portable firearm by means of cartridge belts or by means of rifle magazines using the same ammunition’, US Patent #4112817, (source)

Jane’s Infantry Weapons 1983-84, I.V. Hogg

The SAWs that never Was, Pt.5,, (source)

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The squad from the 12. SS Panzer Division Hitlerjugend negotiate the strewn streets near Caen in a Volkswagen Schwimmwagen in July 1944. On 11 July 1944, the Hitlerjugend Division turned over their positions in the Caen sector to Leibstandarte Division for a badly needed rest and perform much needed maintenance on their battered vehicles but during that time, they did not receive replacements in either men or equipment.

Mass Effect: Andromeda is about colonialism, Survey suggests

Mass Effect: Andromeda Outline

Mass Effect: Andromeda takes players to the Andromeda galaxy, far beyond the Milky Way, where players will lead the fight for a new home in hostile territory - where WE are the aliens - opposed by a deadly indigenous race bent on stopping us.

Experience the freedom to traverse and explore a planet-dense but seamless open-world galaxy, rich with discovery. Play as the leader of a squad of military-trained explorers in an intense third-person shooter, with deep progression and customization systems.

This is the story of humanity’s next chapter, and player choices throughout the game will ultimately determine our survival in the Andromeda Galaxy.

Description for a “possible future version of Mass Effect”

There is a major battle brewing, and it awaits you. It is unfolding across a galaxy of planets, with creatures and species entirely unknown. Draw your weapon, because the fighter is bigger than you thought. It’s not just for your own life, it’s for all of humanity – the ultimate battle for a place we can all call home.


German Squad Tactics in World War 2. Also includes the organization of a squad. This took quite some time..

Script - German Squad Tactics in World War 2

17 Military Photos That Redefine Squad Goals - Uniform Stories
8 - Looking ballin' while having the time of your lives in a bouncy house. #SQUADGOALS
By Rebecca Volent

1. Posing like you’re the motherf'n Mighty Morphin Power Rangers


2. Taking cleaning duties to a new extreme


3. Syncing into perfect formation to shield against a snowball ambush


(Continue Reading: 17 Military Photos That Redefine Squad Goals)