The lighter squad weapons don't replace heavier medium rcmg's they operate in congujuntion with them. The paratrooper didn't want to ditch there 34's, they just wanted something in between. Certainly it had its problems, but it was accpetable perfomrace fired from a bi-pod. Anyway the main point of course is that the succes of the gpmg, is the success of medium mg's fufulling there roll in the medium support roll. The idea that a mmg weapon could be both the singular squad support weapon and heavy weapon was flawed. It did not match the performace of the heavier mg's- but of course as we both know it did not really matter since heavy water cooled mg's were soon obsolete. THe "replacement" of hmg's with mmg's was as much a way to drop heavys from the arsenal as the capabilty being replaced goes. There is still some need for true heavy sustained rcmg fire though as the adoptionof miniguns has shown, which are certianly very heavy rcmgs. As for it being a lmg replacement- WW1 had showed that medium mg's such as the lewis were a bit to expenisve and bit to heavy, hence the bren. The 34 would repeat these faults as a lmg- however good a mmg it was it could not fill in lighter support weapons. SInce infantry did not use the 34 in its true lmg configuration, but rather belt fed it, it was made even more cumbersome as far as handleing goes. It doesn't mean it wasn't a good mmg- it was excellent- but it doesn;t mean it succeeded as a light support weapon. The allies for therre part certainly forgot the important of the value of a mmg in the support roll for a squad. The The 1919a6 is certainly proof of that lesson being learned again. Understandable since the earlier versions of the 1919 with a tripod etc, had been designed in the midst of ww1, and for support larger numbers of troops. By that standard it was superior to many of the ww1 era lmgs, and compares well the the mg-34 laffete version. The things is that even the us struggled to supply enough lmg's such as the bar, its no shock that the idea of usiing the even more expesive mmg's for squad support was not a priority, and that germany had problems supplying enough mmg's like the 34 and 42 for the entire period. The idea of calling mmg's gpmg's and replacing other mg's really had its greatest success when the next generation of mmg's such as the m60, were down to the weight of the last generation of lmgs, roughly around 20 pounds. The rise of assault rifle, meant that nearly any soldier could have some automatic fire to, which worked well with the newer mmg's. But the next generation of lighter lmg's still were good enough to keep mmg's at bay, as were the next generation of hmg's such as mini-guns at the top end. The idea that a 20-30 pound mmg weapon could serve not just as a rcmg air-cooled medium, but supply all the support needs was flawed. Certainly it could fill in for heavier weapons, but thats not a new weapon category, that just hmg's not being needed anymore due to changes in tactics. They could not very well fill in for lmg's though, the post-war period showed that mediums needed to oepratioe in conjuntion with lighter automatic weapons. The 34 may have been a good mmg design, and the gpmg concept was interesting, but it was not tanamount re-inventing the rc machine gun- it can't, because so little changed funtionally. In terms of modern support weapons, they mirror the weight the older lmg's, the heavier medium weapons maintain important roles, but its nearly the same roles in support and use they have followed since ww1.