Steve Carlesco, of Gunsmith Inc., brought his M45C Quadmount .50-cal ‘Meat Chopper’ to the Green Mountain Boys machine gun shoot in Eden, Vermont on July 14 and 15. It chewed up a car with its four .50-cal Browning M2 machine guns firing simultaneously.
Carlesco’s M45C was built in 1944 and according to him, is the only active unit on the road that actually fires in the USA. It’s all original except for some newer batteries.
The M45C was developed by the W.L. Maxson Corporation and was designed to shoot down ground attack aircraft during World War II. Four Browning M2 .50-caliber machine guns were mounted on a variety of carriages. Carlesco’s is an M51 gun carriage. It was manned by three people, two to feed and one to aim and fire.
Alone, a single Browning M2 machine gun with a rate of fire of 450 to 550 rounds per minute was inadequate against aircraft. But four was just right.
The highly mobile M45C was extremely successful against aircraft and acted as a strong deterrent to strafing runs by enemy warplanes. It was also used against ground forces when necessary. As the jet age began, it was much less effective. However, it took on a new role as an anti-infantry weapon in both the Korean and Vietnam wars where it was extremely effective.
The M45C was completely electrically driven and powered by rechargeable batteries that were charged by a generator next to the batteries. Standard practice was to fire five minutes on and five off to let the guns cool down and the batteries charge. Later, in Korea and Vietman, two guns were fired at a time allowing them to alternate.