Breda Meccanica Bresciana, widely known simply as Breda, is a large Italian manufacturer of small arms and ammunition located in Brescia.
Breda made its mark before and during World War II producing a large selection of automatic weapons, light artillery and aircraft for the Italian military. This work had started during World War I supplying parts for Fiat machineguns. Most famous of these were the Breda machine guns, which were standard for Italian forces through the war. Larger 20 mm and 47 mm weapons were also produced.
Additionally, a wide variety of non-weapon products have been built, including marine and rail engines, and thermal plants.
Currently, Breda focuses on production of shotguns and firearm accessories. In 1989 it acquired the firm Menarini of Bologna, producing buses and other transport vehicles (now known as BredaMenarini Bus).
Breda machine guns
The Breda machine gun family included infantry models, aircraft guns and 20 mm anti-aircraft guns. The two most common models were the infantry guns M30 and M37, and the Breda-SAFAT aircraft machine guns.
The M37 was a tripod mounted 8 mm heavy, crew served machine gun. It fired from feed clips similar to those of the French Hotchkiss.
The 20/65 Modello 35 was a versatile belt-fed 20 mm machine gun that saw widespread use as an anti-tank and anti-aircraft gun during World War II. Large numbers of captured Modello 35s were also used by British forces in North Africa. Breda-SAFAT in both 7.7 mm and 12.7 mm calibers was the standard weapon on Italian fighter aircraft of World War II.
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