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  • Maxim MG08 (Maschinengewehr 08) Machine Gun

    The arrival of the German Maxim 08 to the battlefield made warfare a bloodier affair.

     Updated: 4/5/2017; Authored By Dan Alex; Content ¬©www.MilitaryFactory.com

    The Maxim MG08 (or "Maschinengewehr 08") was a copy of the original machine gun as developed by Sir Hiram S. Maxim in 1884. Hiram was born in Sangerville, Maine in 1840 and emigrated to England. There, he focused in on the wide open field of mechanical inventions and became ultimately best known for his deadly Maxim machine guns - effectively the world's first portable fully-automatic machine gun system. The German Army made a direct copy of the weapon and utilized it as the standard machine gun throughout World War 1. The machine gun generated a terrible presence as the appearance of just a single such unit could very well turn the tide of a given battle in favor of the users. Astonishingly, the lack of MG34 machine guns leading up to World War 2 ensured that the Maxim 08 was still in use with German troops for a time. The Maxim 08 lasted in operational service from 1908 (hence the designation) through 1945, the final year of World War 2.

    Hiram Maxim demonstrated his machine gun in 1887 to which Germany tested out the concept thoroughly for years thereafter, culminating in a limited quantity Germany Army purchase in 1895 and an ensuing German Navy purchase by 1896. More field testing followed and the weapon system was officially introduced into the German Army in 1901 as the refined "Maschinengewehr 08". War would eventually come to Europe and the Maxim MG08 arrived just in time for it.

    World War 1 was the proving ground for many-a-new war implement and the Maxim 08 was no exception. While biplanes wrote a new type of history in the sky and new-fangled tanks were fielded to combat the stagnate nature of trench warfare, the machine gun was utilized to create maximum amounts of carnage and at the same time could deliver such a psychological effect on enemy troops that its appearance in the conflict could never be understated. In an age prior, where cavalry was king of the battlefield, a horse-led charge could easily rout formations of foot soldiers. World War 1 changed the face of warfare by making such charges near suicide. The machine gun forced legions of soldiers to dig in and construct long networks of trenches in preparation for whatever offensive lay ahead. The area between the two trenches became known as "No Man's Land".

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    Maxim MG08 (Maschinengewehr 08) Technical Specifications

    Service Year: 1908
    Type: Machine Gun
    National Origin: Imperial Germany
    Manufacturer(s): Deutsche Waffen und Munitionsfabriken; Spandau; Erfurt Arsenal - Germany

    Design (Internal, Dimensions and Weights)

    Firing Action: Water-Cooled, Automatic; Recoil-Operated
    Available Caliber(s): 7.92x57mm Mauser; 13mm (TuF)
    Ammunition Count / Feed: 250-round cloth-style belt
    Overall Length: 1,175 mm (46.26 inches)
    Weight (Empty): 58.42 lb (26.50 kg)
    Sighting Assist: Flip-up Forward Sight; Optional Optics


    Muzzle Velocity: 2,953 feet/sec (900 m/sec)
    Rate-of-Fire (RoF): 450 rounds-per-minute (rpm)
    Typical Range: 6,600 feet (2,012 meters; 2,200 yards)

    Global Operators / Customers

    Austria-Hungary; Belgium; Bulgaria; China; Finland; Imperial Germany; Nazi Germany; Norway; North Korea; North Vietnam; Ottoman Empire (Turkey); Poland; Soviet Union; Taiwan; Vietnam

    Model Variants

    Maschinengewehr MG08 - Base German Army and Navy model; water-cooled; automatic recoil-operated action.

    Maschinengewehr MG08 mit Rilckstorsverstarker S - Modified base MG08's fitted with muzzle booster for increase cyclic rate-of-fire.

    Maschinengewehr MG08/15 - "Lighter" model fitted with pistol grip, shoulder stock and light bipod assembly.

    Maschinengewehr LMG08/15 - Air-cooled derivative of the MG08/15 for use on aircraft; skeleton jacket for additional air-cooling; sans pistol grip, bipod and shoulder stock; developed by Spandau.

    Maschinengewehr MG08/18 - Revised air-cooled model of the MG08/15; water jacket removed in favor of light casing; changeable barrel.