Vintage Saturday: Brown Water Navy

MG08/15 on river patrol, 1940
MG 08/15 on naval mount, 1940

Thanks to Beryl Barnett for the photo – the label on the back reads (translated from German):

Flemish channels under the protection of the German Navy. Fast and armed boats are employed, which provide the daily patrols along the canals. 7.12.40


    • Still effective against low-flying aircraft of the time, as long as you had a gunner who knew what he was doing ( such as pulling proper lead, etc. ). Come to think of it, the same — and similar — calibers ( such as 7.62mm x 51 NATO, 7.62mm x 54R and 7.62mm x 63 ) will still inflict major or fatal damage on modern aircraft and helicopters, which is something that has been repeatedly proven in more recent conflicts in spite of their upgraded design specifications and what the so-called “experts” say.

    • Most countries used approx .30 calibers in the light AA role and as aircraft armaments. I think only the USA and USSR used .50 cals…the rest went from .30 to 20mm or there abouts…

  1. That gun mount is definitely set up with AA defence in mind and not much else, an indication of how much of a threat air power had become. Interestingly, this particular gun appears to be an MG08/15 equipped with the 100-round “Trommel” drum that is not a true magazine but simply a portable drum designed to hold a 100-round linked belt, much like the 50-round belted drums used on the MG34 when compactness and mobility needed to be maximized.

  2. I think either “Strategy and Tactics” (or one of its sisters) or “Military History Quarterly” recently printed an article on German, Italian and Finnish shallow draft operations on the Finnish front during WWII.

  3. That canal is in Belgium. It must have been early in the war as English and American fighters would have eaten up that craft. It is however a beautiful place today. Great beer.

    • Very much a propaganda shot too… and yes, I agree, early in the war. By 1944, with RAF Typhoons (armed with four 20mm Hispanos, btw) and other nasty Jabos roaming the skies of Western Europe, that soldier, his MG and the boat would be (easy) dead meat.

    • Any idea where we might be able to locate a photograph or article about this — I’m intrigued. It would make for a pretty interesting topic of discussion on this site. Thanks in advance!

      • I saw it around 1964 or 1965. It was owned by O.M. Knode a VP at Savage Armss. It was gas operated wilth a guided operataing rod on the right side. At the rear was a curved plate with an angular slot for a cam. The ball was removed from the bolt handle.The handle was in the slot.

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