7.92-mm Maxim Light Machine Gun MG 08

The following report on the German Maxim light machine guns was published in Foreign Military Weapons and Equipment, Vol. III, Infantry Weapons, Pamphlet No. 30-7-4, Department of the Army, 1954.

7.92-mm Maxim Light Machine Guns MG 08/15 and 08/18
(MASCHINENGEWEHR 08/15 and 08/18)

Maxim Light Machine Gun MG 08/15

The 08/15 machine gun was standard in the German Army in World War I. It was still in use as a second-line weapon in World War II, and large quantities of reserve stocks were captured by the Soviet Army. Although it lacks the improved characteristics found in later machine guns, the MG 08/15 has certain basic characteristics which still make it an effective weapon. It is a water-cooled weapon fitted with a rifle-type shoulder stock and designed to be carried by one man. However, the water-cooled barrel adds to the weight and required maintenance.

The machine gun is fed from the right side only, from either a box magazine or a metal drum. When the gun is loaded, and the manual safety set on “F” (Feuer—Fire) pressing the trigger will fire the gun as long as cartridges are fed into the chamber. Changing the barrel requires removal of most the receiver parts, dropping the shoulder stock down, and withdrawing the barrel to the rear.

Another Maxim light machine gun, the 08/18, is practically identical with the model 08/15 except that it has no water jacket. To reduce weight it was fitted with an air-cooled heavy barrel with a slotted barrel jacket. The barrel has a carrying handle fitted just forward of the feed block. With these exceptions, the gun is identical with the MG 08/15.

Salient recognition features of the MG 08/15 are: (1) The circular water jacket; (2) the large rectangular shape of receiver; (3) the wooden rifle-type shoulder stock; (4) the feed opening on right side of receiver; (5) the irregular-shaped operating handle on right side of the receiver; and (6) the pistol-type hand grip.


7.92-mm Maxim Light Machine Gun MG 08


System of operationRecoil operated; automatic fire only
System of coolingM08/15 water-cooled
Caliber7.92-mm (.312 in)
     With bipod mount15.5 kg (34 lb aprx)
     With tripod mount23.5 kg (52 lb aprx)
Length over-all, including flash hider110 cm (43 in. aprx)
Feeding device100 and 200 rd web belts—loaded in drum magazine or fed from open box
     FrontFixed post
     RearRadial leaf with a V-notch; graduated from 400 to 2,000 meters (437 to 2,200 yd. aprx)
Muzzle velocity755 m/s (2,480 fps)
Effective range521 m (600 yd)
Ammunition7.92-mm German service types


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