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The MG 08 was the standard heavy machine gun used by the German Army during the First World War, the 08 refers to its year of adoption and was a further development of the MG 01. It was similar to Hiram S Maxims 1884 model, and
remained in use until 1942, being replaced by the MG 34 (1934).

The sled mount was the more common form of mounting during WW1, other countries who adopted the weapon used tripods and wheeled mountings.

A water jacket was used to cool the barrel during its operation, steam from this chamber is fed into a receptacle and recycled by pouring the condensed water back into the jacket. The method of operation is by the recoil created by the fired bullets.

Before and during the war these guns were produced at the Government Arsenal at Spandau.
This example was captured in the Middle East by the South Staffordshire Regiment during WW1 and was given to the museum in 2005 by the South Staffordshire Regimental Museum, and has Turkish markings on the cover.

Your comments:

  • All MG08s were made in Germany either by Spandau or DWM between 1908 and 1918 when manufacture ceased, rather than made under licence abroad. The Germans then exported small numbers by rail to their Central Powers allies Bulgaria and Turkey but kept most themselves for use on the Western Front. All the guns exported to Turkey had maker's marks and even serial-numbers written in Arabic which was the standard script in the Ottoman Empire as the average Turkish soldier wouldn't understand European script. Turkish script MG08s are far rarer than German-used guns as only a small number were shipped to Turkey during the war and many were captured by the British and ANZACs or lost and destroyed. They are even rarer on the standard German sled-mounts as the Turks were usually only supplied with lighter tripods.
    .......... J Buckley, London, 22nd of May 2011

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