The Type 11 (十一年式軽機関銃 Jyūichinen-shiki Kei-kikanjū) is a light machine gun that was made for the Imperial Japanese Army.
Combat experience in wars caused a certain task force in Japan to be tasked in the making of the light machine gun, to provide covering fire for advancing infantry. The resulting weapon was called the Type 11, for it being produced in the 11th year of Emperor Taishō's reign, 1922.
As the standard light machine gun for the Japanese Imperial Army, ths Type 11 was very reliable, for it was based on an existing design, the Hotchkiss, a tried and tested design which held on for years. Kijirō Nambu, its designer, was known for making quirky designs to his weapons which worked; the Type 11 was no exception where he added a hopper system to the side of the gun. The hopper was detachable, and had a rather complex mechanism inside of it. The stock was offset to the right of the weapon due to the hopper mechanism.
To load the weapon, six stripper clips of 6.5x50mm Arisaka ammunition, each holding five rounds, would be pressed into the hopper. The hopper had two claws inside of it which would grab the cartridges and pull them into the firing chamber, where they would be in battery. The stripper clip would fall out the bottom of the hopper after all five bullets are fired.
While innovative at the time, the hopper system made the gun more prone to fouling and jams, as well as the ability for dirt and gunk to get into the system and jam up the gun.
- No weapon other than the Type 11 has used the hopper system, making it a unique weapon.