The ultra-deadly and efficient Maxim MG08 was the standardized field machine gun when the German Empire committed to World War 1 (1914-1918). From this base design was developed the "lighterweight" MG08/15 of 1915 by removing the 70lb sledge support assembly, adding a pistol grip and bipod, and installing a shoulder stock. the water-cooled and belt-fed nature of the gun remained and this weapon soon took over the original MG08 guns in both availability and battlefield presence.
The weapon also proved very lethal as a fixed mounting on German warplanes, often paired over the nose and synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades. The "LMG08/15" was the result of further work on the series which converted the infantry-based machine gun into an effective air-cooled aircraft weapon. Spandau Arsenal of the German Empire was the sole manufacturer of the this new machine gun type which was adopted for service and entered the war in the middle of 1916.
A heavily perforated barrel jacket now took the place of the water cooling jacket as water cooling held no place in an aircraft gun. The weapon also took on a slightly revised version of the German ammunition belt. Like its forebearers, the LMG08/15 was chambered for the ubiquitous 7.92x51mm Mauser German rifle cartridge and these fed into the gun by a 500-round fabric belt. Cyclic rate-of-fire reached 400 to 500 rounds-per-minute and effective range was out to 2,200 yards.
Because of Spandau's involvement in producing this new weapon, the Maxim LMG08/15 became generically known as "Spandaus" for a time and the line would see consistent service up until the end of the war in November of 1918.
Roughly 23,000 LMG08/15 machine guns were produced from mid-1916 until 1918.