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WW I Trophy Guns | by JC Merriman
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WW I Trophy Guns

Two captured German Maxim machine guns in the Tumbarumba Historical Museum. Rum jars in foreground. Leaning against the corner on the right is trench periscope.


Maxim MG08 heavy machine gun, sleigh mount, captured by the 56th Battalion, allocated to Tumbarumba.


The Maschinengewehr 08, or MG 08, was the German Army's standard machine gun in World War I and is an adaptation of Hiram S. Maxim's original 1884 Maxim gun. It was produced in a number of variants during the war. The MG 08 served during World War II as a heavy machine gun in many German infantry divisions, although by the end of the war it had mostly been relegated to second-rate fortress units.


The Maschinengewehr 08 (or MG 08)—so-named after 1908, its year of adoption—was a development of the license made Maschinengewehr 01. The firing rate depends on the lock assembly used and averages 500 rounds per minute for the Schloss 08 and 600 rounds per minute for the Schloss 16. The gun used 250-round fabric belts of 7.92×57mm ammunition. It was water-cooled, using a jacket around the barrel that held approximately 3.7 litres (0.98 US gal) of water. Using a separate attachment sight with range calculator for indirect fire, the MG 08 could be operated from cover. Additional telescopic sights were also developed and used in quantity during the war.


The MG 08, like the Maxim gun, operated on the basis of short barrel recoil and a toggle lock. Once cocked and fired the MG 08 would continue firing rounds until the trigger was released or until all available ammunition was expended. Its practical range was estimated at some 2,000 metres (2,200 yd) up to an extreme range of 3,700 metres (4,000 yd) when firing the S Patrone. The MG 08 was mounted on a sled mount (German: Schlittenlafette) that was ferried between locations either on carts or else carried above men's shoulders in the manner of a stretcher."


Also -


Maxim MG08/15 light machine gun, captured at Warfusse-Framerville by the 18th Battalion, arrived Australia 10.11.1919. Allocated to Courabyra.


"German Maschinengewehr 08/15 Light Machine Gun. This was a water cooled, fully automatic weapon, firing a belt-fed 7.92mm caliber rimless round at up to 450 rounds per minute. It worked on the short recoil principle, in which the barrel and breechblock recoiled rearward 18mm securely locked together. The barrel was then halted, while the breeckblock continued to the rear. A recoil spring halted the movement and propelled the block forward, stripping a round from the belt and feeding it into the chamber.


At 18 kg, the weapon was designed to provide increased mobility of infantry automatic fire. It nevertheless remained a bulky water-cooled weapon, in contrast to the British Army's air-cooled and lighter Lewis machine gun. The MG 08/15 nonetheless became the most common German machine gun deployed in World War I reaching an allocation of six guns per company by 1918. About 130,000 MG 08/15s were manufactured during World War I."


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Taken on November 20, 2020