General Purpose Machine Gun
The General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG) can be used either as a light weapon, mounted on a bipod, or it can be used in a sustained fire role, mounted on a tripod and fitted with the C2 optical sight. In this role it is operated by a two-man team, grouped in a specialist machine gun platoon to provide battalion-level fire support. Versions of the GPMG are mounted on most army vehicles and some helicopters.
When you want some serious "pow pow" turn to the MG platoon or the unfortunate fella carrying it with about 100 round belts slung around his shoulder looking like John Rambo. When the cow dung really hits the fan and you have 3-4 of these behind you in a company attack they will be co-ordinating what could be music to your ears like a chorus of killing and making the enemy keep their heads down whilst laughing maniacally as they expend hundreds and hundreds of rounds and you see tracer lead wasps flying over your head.
Usually the ammunition comes in link with a ratio of tracer/normal of 1:3 where the role of seeing where your rounds are landing lies to the assistant gunner whom will than helpfully co-ordinate the fire of the gunner in getting a good zero for suppressing the enemy in the sustained fire role.
It was almost seen to be replaced in the LMG role on ops in Afghanistan by the Minimi LMG but experience in Afghanistan (probably thanks to those marines and paras in Helmand) suddenly taught us that we could be engaging in ranges of excess of what the Minimi actually has as an effective range (300m), but thankfully it took it's place back into our hearts and now has seen regular issue on Light Infantry patrols for delivering hard hitting death which only "that rifle" could have done back in its day when this was also around.
It is a little known fact that SF crews are selected after careful consideration of their medical records, and in particular X-Rays of their nappas, which must be thick enough to withstand tripod 'grazing' whilst getting amongst a bit of man-portability.
If you're going to use it, you should really know about Balancing the GPMG, otherwise you're just another amateur user.
The main GPMGs in the British Forces is the L7/L8 series. See L7A1