Maxim MG08 (Maschinengewehr 08) Machine Gun
The arrival of the German Maxim 08 to the battlefield made warfare a bloodier affair.
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".