Light Machine Guns
If you haven’t picked up on this by now, both armies, especially the Republicans, had several types of small arms in several calibers of ammunition, which came from nearly every nation on earth. The armies created a logistics nightmare for themselves. The machine guns were no exception to this pattern.
The most common light machine guns at the start were the Hotchkiss M1922 and the Madsen M07/22. However, there were many others from the reliable Soviet Degtyarev DP to the near worthless WWI surplus French Chauchat. The Chauchats were almost immediately discarded, however a few were pressed into service with the militias. I’m including it simply because miniature companies in both 20mm and 28mm model female militia units with that weapon. I can see this happening with women being the last in line to receive weapons. The Chauchat was notorious for jamming. Two primary causes were from flaws in the construction of the magazine and when the gun overheated, the bolt would seize in the open position. To model this on the tabletop, if two or more ones are rolled when firing the Chauchat, the gun is jammed – the jam must be cleared, and the gun reloaded in order to fire again, which takes one full activation to perform. This is different from other machine guns which run out of ammunition when three or more ones are rolled when firing.
Medium Machine Guns
Medium machine guns in the Spanish Civil War were pretty much the same medium caliber as the light machine guns. In this case, the medium machine guns had a higher rate of fire with the trade off of being slightly heavier, tripod mounted, often belt fed and sometimes water cooled. Some of these guns are on the border of being heavy machine guns. The Hotchkiss M1914 is an example which appears in some articles as a medium machine gun and in others as a heavy machine gun. The issue has to do again with ammunition. Some of these WWI era guns were modified to fire larger caliber rounds. So at 20mm, it is impossible to tell if the Hotchkiss is a medium machine gun or a heavy machine gun. A general rule of thumb I’m adopting is that the militias are armed with only medium machine guns (unless it is obvious the model is a heavy machine gun such as the Soviet wheeled Maxim M1910).
Heavy Machine Guns
The heavy machine guns were mostly Maxims or gun designs based on the Maxim M1910 or M1928. As mentioned earlier, the Hotchkiss M1914 was widely used. The Colt-Browning M1895, the St. Etienne M1907, and many other makes were also used, even a few Vickers heavy machine guns. Few British made guns saw service, one because of the .303 British cartridge and two the Brits really adhered to the arms embargo part of the non-intervention agreement.