A Panzergrenadier squad of the German Heer.

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Different roles. The MG3 is a GPMG (general purpose machine gun) firing a full-sized rifle cartridge. The MG4 is basically the equivalent of a SAW in the smaller 5,56mm NATO calibre that before simply did not exist in German infantry doctrine.

The problem is, that the MG4 isn’t used as a SAW, but instead just like the MG3. Which is incredibly stupid, because the lower power cartridge it uses simply can’t replace the role the MG3 had. The best example is the Puma, the new German IFV (officially introduced, arriving with the units that should have had it ten years ago by 2020) which uses the MG4 as its coaxial MG. How braindead does even a civilian (and the equipment of the Bundeswehr is decided upon by civil servants in the MOD) have to be to decide to use a 5,56mm light machine-gun for a vehicle?!

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