View Full Version : Machine guns from WWI

September 16, 2009, 03:10 PM

This one of several machine guns from WWI which are hung in the bar of an American Legion Post dating to just after WWI. A WWI field gun and mortar on the front grounds is typical of this type Legion Post.

I saw this gun behind the bar last night in the Legion Post I visited. The thought came to my mind that these guns were pre WWII weapons (pre NFA). Any chance any of them might be live/active/functional machine guns ?

Mike Irwin
September 16, 2009, 03:13 PM
Is there a chance?

Sure, there's always a chance that they might have escaped being demilled.

There's also a pretty good chance that you, Liz, and Ed will be able to use it to hold out against the zombies until the army arrives (if you've never seen Shaun of the Dead, do so. Then you'll understand that reference AND you'll be thoroughly entertained.)

September 16, 2009, 05:50 PM
There's also a pretty good chance that you, Liz, and Ed will be able to use it to hold out against the zombies until the army arrives (if you've never seen Shaun of the Dead, do so. Then you'll understand that reference AND you'll be thoroughly entertained.)

I've heard that playing "Don't Stop Me Now" helps with morale during those times...

I could only guess as to how hard and rare finding a fully functional WWI machine gun would be.

September 16, 2009, 07:11 PM
Looks to nice to be a live gun.

September 16, 2009, 09:12 PM
It looks like an Armory cleaning training piece. But still Beautiful! Is that a BAR?

It looks like a hand carry version of the Browning AN M2 that were mounted on airplanes....

BTW, Sean of the Dead and Super Cop were Deliriously excellent movies!

Bart Noir
September 16, 2009, 09:19 PM
That is an aircraft version of the Spandau (version of the Maxim), standard German machine gun of WW1. This one would have been used by the rear gunner on a bomber or (more likely) an observation plane.

The barrel sleeve is slotted for air cooling since one thing they had was a stiff breeze. No breeze means the motor just stopped :D

I don't remember if there was a lightened version of the Spandau, besides just not using a water-filled cooling jacket. But the air cooling and the buttstock give it away as an aircraft gun.

Bart Noir

September 16, 2009, 09:31 PM
BAR? DONT BARs, feel from the bottom and have detachable box magazines?

September 16, 2009, 09:39 PM
Also known as the M1913 Spandau, and yes, they did make a version with a lightweight barrel shroud for easier use in aircraft (apparently, the heavy shroud made it more difficult to aim properly when the gunner was trying to fire at 90 degrees to the line of flight). It's quite possible that this gun is still live, as it was probably hung up before the abomination known as the NFA was even dreamt up. This gun has an interesting "safety" seen on several early machine guns, in that it requires a second trigger (outside of the trigger guard) to be pulled in order for the main trigger to be pulled.

September 16, 2009, 09:51 PM
Thanks for the ID SDC and Bart!

May 22, 2012, 05:58 PM
Does anyone have any pictures of a water cooled WW1 machine gun (German)? What is the value?

Gary L. Griffiths
May 23, 2012, 10:53 AM
My hometown Legion had a couple of Span-Am War vintage .30 Army Colt "Potato Digger" MGs on tripods, and a WWI Lewis Gun, all demilled, in the Legion hall where we had our Boy Scout meetings. Then, all of a sudden, sometime in the late '70s, the BATF out of Des Moines came swooping down and conducted a raid like they thought it was a bunker full of neo-Nazis with M-16s. Everybody thought it was ridiculous -- raiding a locked but empty building. :rolleyes:

It took several years and intervention by our local Congressman to get them returned -- they were perfectly legal. Might actually have been a good thing, though, because the Legion hall burned down a couple of years later, while they were in ATF custody. They're now housed in the local Historical Society Museum. :cool:

May 23, 2012, 04:26 PM
To be honest when I first saw the picture I went, cool a pickelhalb... Then came the gun.... However that is not a Spandau... It's a parabellum. Much cooler machine gun, and very rare. The receiver gives it away, a Spandau has a big strange looking receiver, the parabellum has that nice boxy streamline look.

Spandau machine guns were usually in the front of the plane for forward firing, while the Parabellums were on the carriages on the rear.

Pictures for proof.

The Spandau


The Parabellum


May 23, 2012, 05:45 PM
I thought "demils" were no longer legal. Has something changed, or are they giving the VFW/AL's some sort of break?

Bart Noir
May 24, 2012, 02:34 PM
A few minutes of looking a Wikipedia pages and I found these words (since I am not co-located with my MG reference library at the moment).

"The Maschinengewehr 08, or MG08, was the German Army's standard machine gun in World War I and is an adoption of Hiram S. Maxim's original 1884 Maxim Gun.
Pre-war production was by Deutsche Waffen und Munitionsfabriken (DWM) in Berlin and the government arsenal at Spandau (so that the gun was often referred to as a Spandau MG08)."

"The Parabellum MG14 was a 7.9 mm caliber World War I machine gun built by Deutsche Waffen und Munitionsfabriken. It was an adaptation of their Maschinengewehr 08 gun intended for use on aircraft and zeppelins."

So, as I said years back, that is an aircraft version of the Spandau (version of the Maxim), standard German machine gun of WW1.

Bart Noir

May 25, 2012, 03:40 AM
Bart I see where you're getting at. But in terms of an aircraft machine gun a spandau is a completely different gun. If you walked up to a ww1 aviation buff and pointed at the gun and called it a spandau he would tell you its a parabellum. A spandau is the forward mounted machine gun the pilot controls. And you can't really call it a spandau since it wasn't produced by them either as you pointed out saying it was made by dwm not the spandau government arsenal. Yes it may be the "aircraft variation" of the mg08 but its not a spandau by aircraft terms.

I think this is the version of the Mg08 you're thinking of.

Bart Noir
May 31, 2012, 01:36 PM
OK, I dug out my copy of Musgrave's German Machine Guns and read up on the Parabellum. And you are right, meatgrinder, the Parabellum is not really a "version" of the Maxim Spandau design. It is simply a design that uses a related fundamental idea.

Both use a toggle lock to keep the barrel and bolt connected, until the toggle is caused to bend and hence unlock.

That also describes the Winchester '73 rifle and the Luger pistol, and not in my dumbest moment would I say that those are "versions of the Maxim" :D

Bart Noir

May 31, 2012, 05:40 PM
Actually I am a version of the Maxim.

Bart Noir
June 1, 2012, 01:27 PM
Umm, doesn't the sloshing in your water jacket annoy you?

Bart Noir