Today we’re looking at a luftgekühlt maschinengewehr 08/15 in slow motion – a lightened and mair-cooled version of the Maxim used on German WWI aircraft. This particular example is set up as a Zeppelin gun, with a buttstock and pistol grip (guns mounted on fixed-wing aircraft had different fire-control mechanisms). It is also missing the original AA spider sights, and instead has a regular MG08/15 top cover and rear sight. Lastly, it is firing with an inverted MG34 belt – a workaround that was actually used during WWII when proper Maxim belts were not available.
Anyway, I am indebted to Mark D. for firing the gun on camera, and his father for making it available. Thanks, guys!
It would help to either have monkey length arms to operate it MG08 with the inverted MG34 belt…human length arms DO have their limits….OR train a monkey (preferably a Chimp) to operate the weapon… the cheaper, more practical alternative would be to have an assistant gunner to pull the belt..
CB in FL…just funnin’ ya
You could pop a cute wee Pickelhaube on his head, and train him to snarl and wave his fist at passing Englischer piggy doggies during aerial combat after he reloads.
was the bbl flexing from side to side? Or was that just optical illusion against the framework around it?
Early, experimental rubber barrel, most likely
Crafty those Germans…
Four score and seven minutes ago, I read a sweet arlcite. Lol thanks
I think you can see the, recoil… Making the barrels perforated jacket, kinda flex as the gun moves rearward somewhat.
Beautiful gun, the slow motion really shows it’s machine like… Properties. In the way the handle, reciprocates etc, it reassembles other machines such as what used to be in mills and so forth at the time.
Interesting to note they never thought to slim the jacket in say a Mg42 manner, given it’s purpose was now just to hold the recoil booster on the end over the barrel – Rather than filling it with water, with hindsight you would imagine they would have done that but I guess they just stuck with what the knew type thing. The perforated jacket is also sort of pretty “industrially” It’s great you have these in the states, living history.
The jacket wasn’t modified too much for the sake of production during wartime. If you changed the jacket drastically, tooling and instructions for producing it would also have to change to accommodate the new dimensions (trust me, I work in a company that makes jet engine parts). I also don’t like the idea of the front-sight becoming a fragile snag-happy stick at the muzzle. When the Austrians altered the Schwarzlose machine gun for flexible aircraft mountings, the iron sights had to be changed for the purpose…
Anyways, the zeppelins were not dangerously prone to catching fire in battle, contrary to what movies often show. Being mostly empty space filled with low-pressure hydrogen and structural frames, there was little to no chance of a zeppelin being downed by an ordinary FMJ rifle bullet sparking anything whatsoever! In fact, incendiary bullets had to be developed almost ad hoc to kill zeppelins, even if most fighter planes could not get to the zeppelin’s operational altitude in time…
Supposing in some really outlandish scenario I was the observer in a Fokker C.X scout plane and we happened upon a “pirate” zeppelin, would I do any good by shooting the airship’s main gondola with a rifle-grenade (from a surplus G.98), assuming the two aircraft were that close to each other just as we cleared thick clouds?
Oh right, good point… Waste of metal though perhaps, a squad of Pickelhaubed pirate monkeys scrambling around dousing fires could have been developed – Maybe that was ze origin of their dome helmet, so as to avoid popping the Zeppelin.
You would indeed Andrew, fire the grenade at the Fokker.
“Supposing in some really outlandish scenario I was the observer in a Fokker C.X scout plane and we happened upon a “pirate” zeppelin, would I do any good by shooting the airship’s main gondola with a rifle-grenade (from a surplus G.98), assuming the two aircraft were that close to each other just as we cleared thick clouds?”
It is possible to fire Zeppelin with flare gun? I have seen that in one film (“Flyboys” IIRC) and now I am wondering about possibility of this.
Fokker C.X was a 1930s aircraft: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fokker_C.X
I suppose you meant Albatros C.X: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albatros_C.X
Please, try to keep your outlandish scenarios as historically accurate as possible.
I meant to phrase the first comment as though the encounter took place during the 1930’s. If for some odd reason a bunch of left-over zeppelins fell into pirate hands after being hidden from French and English eyes after the Great War, what would you do if airships marked with skulls and cross-bones appeared right above your home town?
Okay… Still, I think the Fokker C.X would make an odd choice anyways, since only a relatively small numbers were made and more than half of them with a license in Finland.
To answer your question: I would shoot at them with 75/76mm AA guns, which were becoming fairly common in the 1930. Quite a dull solution, I know, but one that would work.
Didn’t the french develop an incinderary version of the gras 11mm cartrige expressilly for zepplin popping. Replace the chimps with frogs in zouave uniforms
Frogs in Zouave uniforms??? Not only would the green clash with the red, but Zouaves ARE Frogs…at least the originals were – until the craze caught on the the US just prior to the Civil War.
CB in FL