The term "light machingun" came into use during WWI and describes a rifle caliber machingun with a weight of around 10 kg and a bipod and would be able to be carried and operated by 1 man.
Lots of things came into being during WWI, including the submachine gun which isn't even a machine gun.
The BAR was a heavy automatic rifle and was not really considered a light machine gun even though it was.
The Lewis gun fits into that same category.
Heavy machinegun used to mean tripod mounted but then as larger 12.7mm and 13mm models were introduced people started using the term "medium machingun" for the rifle caliber tripod mounted weapons and heavy machingun came to mean MGs with a caliber of 12.7mm and up.
No it didn't.
Medium and light were all about how the weapon was used and how it was operated. Medium machine guns were used in fixed positions by a machine gun crew that included more than two people... normally one fired and at least one kept it loaded, while the third was in command and directed the fire and gave orders to start or to cease fire. Light machine guns were carried into battle by soldiers but they always relied on other members of the squad to carry the ammo because it used lots and it was rather heavy.
Heavy calibre machine guns didn't really become common till after the 1930s, though there were several hand fired gatlings in large calibres too.
The soviet union diched the idea of medium machineguns with the introduction of the PK LMG.
The FN MAG (M240) is not a light machinegun and is only slightly heavier than the PKM.
The M60 is not a light machine gun and is heavier than the PKM too.
The correct term for a modern battle rifle calibre belt fed machine gun with a replaceable barrel is GPMG or general purpose machine gun.
It is used for the sustained fire role from a tripod and also from its own bipod in the mobile support role... it is both a medium and light machine gun... therefore GPMG.
Sqaud automatic weapons all have one thing in common and that is that they use intermediate cartriges rather than rifle cartirges just like the all of the Russian "ручной пулемёт" or "handheld machinguns" in english wheras LMGs are all in rifle caliber.
Bullshit... as I said and you just ignore... the full calibre 7.62 x 54mm R RP-46 had a removable barrel and belt feed or drum feed options (like the FN Minimi) and is an RP ...ручной пулемёт
So you have two weapons... or even three... one with battle rifle calibre and removable barrel and belt feed and drum feed called a hand held MG, and two weapons in intermediate calibre both with fixed barrels with one using mag feed and one using belt feed also called a hand held MG...
RP-46, RPK, and RPD.
They were all LMGs.
There is no such thing as a medium machinegun in the Russian army and the term ruchnoy pulemot is basically the Russian way of saying sqaud automatic weapon.
So what the fuck is a PKM?
Why is it P and not RP?
Why are western machine guns like the Gimpy (FN MAG) and the pig (M60) called general purpose machine guns and the PK is not when the PK is maybe 1-2kgs lighter... but its ammo is heavier...
Machinegun type is defined by the round it fires.
Bullshit.... is the GShG-7.62 is almost 20kgs... but it fires the same 7.62mm ammo as the PKM, so is it a light machine gun too?