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Maxim MG08/15 (Maschinengewehr 08/15)


Anti-Infantry, Belt-Fed Water-Cooled Light Machine Gun (1915)


Infantry Small Arms / The Warfighter

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Jump-to: Specifications

The Maxim MG08/15 was nothing more than a lightened form of the original MG08 field machine gun - sans several key components to improve battlefield portability.



Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 07/31/2019 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.
The Maxim MG08 was the standard machine gun for the German Empire when it entered World War 1 (1914-1918) in 1914. This belt-fed, water-cooled weapon system was the culmination of tests begun by the nation back in 1887. By 1895, the Maxim was being adopted in limited number by the German Army and the Navy followed the year after. Official service entry of this storied gun happened in 1901 - giving plenty of time for the weapon to see global circulation before The Great War years arrived.

However, as effective as the MG08 proved to be in-the-field, it was a cumbersome weapon particularly when mated to its "sledge" support mounting assembly - driving the weight of the gun close to 140lb with the water jacket and ammunition belt in place. This tactical inflexibility was not lost on German authorities who requested a lighter version of the same gun so engineers returned with such a weapon in which the sledge was removed altogether and, in its place, a bipod fitted. A pistol grip gave a more natural approach to the firing of the gun and a solid wooden shoulder stock added another area of support for the gunner. The receiver was also revised to have a "stepped-down" appearance at its aft-end. These changes drove the weight of the weapon down to a much handier 40lb - though it was far from a Light Machine Gun (LMG) form as we recognize such weapons today. Nevertheless, the weapon was now as portable as ever and ultimately adopted into service as the "MG08/15" during 1915.

Up to four personnel were trained as a complete gunnery crew in the proper function of a single MG08/15. Typically six guns were assigned to an infantry company and these guns positioned in such a way as to inflict maximum carnage at range with overlapping fields-of-fire. The water-cooling feature was retained for lack of anything better at the time so a steady water supply was required. Short bursts were the call of the day for accuracy at range left something to be desired of the new weapon. Within a short period, the MG08/15 permeated the battlefields of World War 1 and the weapon saw servince well into the war's final days of November 1918 - its reach was such that it became the most numerous of all the available German machine guns of the war, overtaking the original MG08 in number, and, in turn, the weapon was also responsible for more casualties on the battlefield than any other weapon fielded in the conflict.

About 130,000 examples of the MG08/15 were built during World War 1 by the arsenals of Spandau and Erfurt.

The MG08/18 was a late-war addition to the MG08 line which lost its water-cooling jacket and other weight-savings measures. Though tested in limited numbers, the end of the war signaled the end of the MG08/18 project.

Specifications



Service Year
1915

Origin
Imperial Germany national flag graphic
Imperial Germany

Classification


Anti-Infantry, Belt-Fed Water-Cooled Light Machine Gun


Spandau Gewhrfabrik / Erfurt - German Empire
National flag of the German Empire German Empire (retired)
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Fire Support
Capable of suppressing enemy elements at range through direct or in-direct fire.


Overall Length
1,445 mm
56.89 in
Barrel Length
721 mm
28.39 in
Empty Wgt
39.02 lb
17.70 kg
Sights


Iron.


Action


Short-Recoil; Belt-Fed; Water-Cooled; Full-Automatic-Fire-Only

Full-Automatic
Rounds are automatically ejected from the breech, a new cartridge stripped from the feed and set in the chamber, and rounds are continuously fired so long as the trigger is pulled and an ammunition supply exists.
(Material presented above is for historical and entertainment value and should not be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation - always consult official manufacturer sources for such information)


Caliber(s)*


7.92x57mm Mauser

Sample Visuals**


Graphical image of a 7.92mm Mauser rifle cartridge
Rounds / Feed


250-round fabric belt
Cartridge relative size chart
*May not represent an exhuastive list; calibers are model-specific dependent, always consult official manufacturer sources.
**Graphics not to actual size; not all cartridges may be represented visually; graphics intended for general reference only.
Max Eff.Range
656 ft
(200 m | 219 yd)
Rate-of-Fire
450
rds/min
Muzzle Velocity
2,840 ft/sec
(866 m/sec)


MG08/15 - Base Series Designation; revised stepped receiver; wooden shoulder stock; bipod assembly, water-cooling jacket.


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