German machinegun ammo

My son posing with a German machinegun at Lake Harmony,PA gun show today. What ammo did it fire, was it belted, and, what the heck, what is the name of this piece?

Vlad - that is a Maxim Model 08/15, I believe. It was belt feed, and fires the 7.9 x 57m/m German Service cartidge (.323" diameter projectile).

Thanks. One more question. My son detected that the front and back sights are shifted to the left. On Bren it is done because of the top loading magazine, I think. If this Maxim is belt-fired, what is the reason for sight displacement?

I’m not sure what the German ordnance authorities had in mind with the offset sights, but that location places the gunner’s head a centimeter or two lower than would be the case if they were centered over the barrel and its jacket. Maintaining a low profile was nothing to be sneezed at in the Great War. The French Chauchat, which fed from below, also had offset sights. JG

  • @ sksvlad: The German made 7.92mm Maxim 08/15 machine-gun is also known as “Spandau 08/15” because it was manufactured at “Spandau Arsenal”. The weapon had a rate of fire of about 400/500 rds/min. The offset sights [also known as “volley sights”] to the left were intended for extreme long range firing. The first German aircraft to use a synchronised “Spandau 08/15” machine-gun was the “Fokker E1” in the year 1915. The weapon had a cylindrical water jacket with perforations in order to allow the air flow for colling purpose. => Watch the movie named “The Blue Max” [1966, 150 min.] with George Peppard, James Mason and Ursula Andress and you’ll see the WW1 German planes and their “Spandau 08/15” machine-guns. Liviu 11/15/08

Liviu is correct that the Germans generally referred to this as the “Spandau,” even though they were made at more factories than just Spandau. I saw the mint top cover off of a gun that was destroyed as an illegal weapon, and it had the same DWM logo that appeared on the toggle of Luger (P-08) pistols of the period.

Sir Hiram Maxim was an American, born in Maine, although most of his work with Machine Guns was done in Europe, and he became a British subject and was eventually Knighted by the British Government. The Spandau is a copy of the Maxim gun, and I am sure considering the fact that England and Germany were at war with each other in WWI, that it would not have been popular to call the gun “Maxim” in Germany at that time.

Hey! Did I hear somebody say Ursula Andress . Where???


Hey There, Gunner’s Mate…Mr. Merchant might have to step in here, as I interpret your post as being a step or two away from “ammunition related”, however, I agree completely with your question !!..Randy

Ursula Andress

That’s for Cuz, so he won’t get in trouble.

  • @ John Moss: Yes, you’re correct, the German made 7.92mm Maxim machine-gun was manufactured by “Gewehrfabrik Spandau” and “Deutsche Waffen und Munitionsfabriken” (DWM). —> For those interested to read about Hiram S. Maxim [1840-1916], enter here at Liviu 11/16/08

He lived either on or just off Hatton Garden in London. That is now Londons jewellery street. Apparantly he used to test his projects in the back yard! Can you imagine that today?

And what about Homer Simpson behind your son? : )

[quote=“Ray Meketa”]Hey! Did I hear somebody say Ursula Andress . Where???


…did I hear somebody say George Peppard? Hannibal Smith rules!


the MG 08/15 is usually loaded from a drum attached to the side of the weapon and which contains a dedicated 100-round fabric belt.
When used in static positions, the standard MG 08 belt with a capacity of 250 rounds can also be used. In that case, the belt box is laying on the ground.



Regarding the question of the sights. Because of the time of year there have been a number of good programmes on TV about the First World War. One, which I recorded, shows one of these German MGs in use supposedly for real. The reason I say supposedly is because I am always suspicious of just how genuine some of this old battlefield footage really is.

However, its certainly is contemporary. I was interested to see the firer was looking over the sights rather than using them. This concurs with the memoirs of a British machinegunner I have read. He said that after a while you learned to see the bullets in flight and could “hose” them on to your target without the need for sights or tracer.

In fact the author was critical of tracer saying it gave away your position.

I have also read comments by historians saying that they think alot of that battlefield footage is staged.

Slightly off the subject, I just saw a cool English film called “My Boy Jack”, shows a lot of British WWI uniforms and quite a bit of that Spandau machinegun firing. Anyone who likes Kipling needs to see “My Boy Jack”.

Vlad - If the MGs you saw in the film you mentioned (British theatrical film) were being used by the British, then it would be more correct to call the “Maxim guns” than “Spandau.” I think the Brits would feel about “Spandau” as the Germans probably did about “Maxim” as far as name usage goes.

If they were used by portrayed German troops, than Spandau, as Liviu pointed out, is more correct.

Wish they would play that film. I would like to see it.

Actually, in this film Brits go against German machineguns in Belgium. And I took “My Boy Jack” from a local library for free.

  • An optical device could be mounted on top [at the rear] of the Maxim machine-gun and this could be another reason why the weapon had offset sights to the left from the center axis. —> Speaking about movies, back in Romania we had plenty of black-and-white Russian movies about their “heroic bolshevik” 1917 Revolution and the Russian Civil War that followed after that and we could watch in action the Russian made variant of the Maxim machine-gun, weapon chambered for the 7.62X54R rimmed round, see it here at Liviu 11/16/08