Aircraft / Aviation Vehicles & Artillery Small Arms Warships & Submarines Military Ranks Military Pay Chart (2024)
Infantry Small Arms / The Warfighter

Maxim MG08/15 (Maschinengewehr 08/15)

Anti-Infantry, Belt-Fed Water-Cooled Light Machine Gun [ 1915 ]

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.©MilitaryFactory.com
Note: The above text is EXCLUSIVE to the site www.MilitaryFactory.com. It is the product of many hours of research and work made possible with the help of contributors, veterans, insiders, and topic specialists. If you happen upon this text anywhere else on the internet or in print, please let us know at MilitaryFactory AT gmail DOT com so that we may take appropriate action against the offender / offending site and continue to protect this original work.


Service Year

Imperial Germany national flag graphic
Imperial Germany


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

Spandau Gewhrfabrik / Erfurt - German Empire
(View other Arms-Related Manufacturers)
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



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

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)


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)
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.

Military lapel ribbon for the American Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for pioneering aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Ukranian-Russian War
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2

Ribbon graphics not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns / operations.

Images Gallery

1 / 2
Image of the Maxim MG08/15 (Maschinengewehr 08/15)
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
2 / 2
Image of the Maxim MG08/15 (Maschinengewehr 08/15)
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.

Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Cookies

2024 Military Pay Chart Military Ranks DoD Dictionary Conversion Calculators Military Alphabet Code Military Map Symbols

The "Military Factory" name and MilitaryFactory.com logo are registered ® U.S. trademarks protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. All written content, illustrations, and photography are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and not for reuse/reproduction in any form. Material presented throughout this website is for historical and entertainment value only and should not to be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation. We do not sell any of the items showcased on this site. Please direct all other inquiries to militaryfactory AT gmail.com. No A.I. was used in the generation of this content; site is 100% curated by humans.

Part of a network of sites that includes GlobalFirepower, a data-driven property used in ranking the top military powers of the world, WDMMA.org (World Directory of Modern Military Aircraft), WDMMW.org (World Directory of Modern Military Warships), SR71blackbird.org, detailing the history of the world's most iconic spyplane, and MilitaryRibbons.info, cataloguing military medals and ribbons. Special Interest: RailRoad Junction, the locomotive encyclopedia.

©2023 www.MilitaryFactory.com • All Rights Reserved • Content ©2003-2023 (20yrs)