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Vintage Saturday: Short-Lived Nation

Biafran troops, circa 1968

Biafran troops, circa 1968

The Republic of Biafra was supported by Czechoslovakia during its brief existence, and the men here are equipped with a Czech ZB-53 machine gun and what appears to be a CZ-47 or CZ-247 submachine gun.

Q&A #5: Rollin White and Other (Better) Designers

Questions in part I of today’s Q&A:

1:04 – What was Rollin White’s revolver like? 7:09 – Why did pan magazines disappear? 10:14 – Why no pointed pistol bullets? 13:24 – Funky rounds like Trounds or Gyrojet rockets 17:47 – Current US MHS trials 19:55 – Underappreciated designers

Questions in the part II […]

Vintage Saturday: Smoke Break

Belgian soldier smokes a cigarette during a fight between Dendermonde and Oudegem Belgium in 1914.

Belgian soldier smokes a cigarette during a fight between Dendermonde and Oudegem Belgium in 1914.

This is a really good photo of a Belgian Maxim, although it appears to be staged – the man has his thumbs on the trigger, but there does is not ammo belt in the gun.

[…]

Vintage Saturday: Colt 1895 on Water Tower Hill

Colorado National Guard

In 1914, a long-standing strike of mine workers against the Colorado Fuel & Iron Company was ended by the Colorado National Guard in what is known today as the Ludlow Massacre. As part of their preparations, the Guard emplaced a Colt 1895 “Potato Digger” machine gun on Water Tower Hill above the striking workers’ camp. […]

Spoils of War: A 1907 St Etienne Full of Bullet Holes

Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 7.19.29 AM

The 1907 St Etienne heavy machine gun is a really neat gun mechanically, but I can’t shot you that today because this one is jammed together from the 7 bullet impacts that rendered it unusable a hundred years ago…

The World Standard Maxim Gun

IMG_0099

From 1887 onward, the gun Hiram Maxim was producing was what he called the World Standard. He had finally perfected the machine gun design to his satisfaction in 1887 and with this design in hand he began to aggressively market it to the world’s militaries. One immediate complication was the ongoing shift from large caliber […]

Extra-Light Maxim (1895)

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One of the relatively few successful competitors to the Maxim in the early days of the heavy machine gun was the Col Model 1895 (aka, the Potato Digger). When it was adopted by the US in 1895, one of the elements in its favor was its light weight – just 35 pounds (not including mount). […]

“Transitional” Maxim

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When we last left Hiram Maxim, he had perfected his very first machine gun – the world’s first practical machine gun, really. However, while his gun worked well, it was not yet a design which was suitable for military acceptance. It was too large, too complex, and too expensive. If he wanted the gun to […]

The First Maxim Machine Gun

Maxim "Prototype" at the Royal Armouries in Leeds. Note the absence of the rate-of-fire control arm in this version...

I am going to start an intermittent series of posts on the various different types of Maxim machine guns over the next few months – there are a whole slew of them, and I have good photos of a bunch of different variants. Hopefully it will be a good reference for both production history and […]

Salvator-Dormus 1893 Machine Gun

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One of the early potential competitors to the Maxim gun was the Austro-Hungarian Salvator-Dormus machine gun. Designed by Austrians Grand Duke Karl Salvator and Colonel von Dormus, is was first patented in 1888, although it has come to be known as the model 1893 because this was when the Austro-Hungarian Navy adopted it. Also known […]