Manufactured by DWM in Berlin in 1918, this MG08 is equipped with its original sled mount with leather pads and trunnion strap, as well as its Emil Busch A.G., Rathenow ZF12 optic. Paperwork from the ATF suggests this gun qualifies for Curio and Relic status but its serial number indicates reactivation by Ralph Wong, Marana Arms. The barrel bears a Nazi proof mark. This showroom Maxim MG08 has the added bonus of being fully functional.
The Maschinengewehr 08 (MG08), a variant of the original 1884 Maxim gun, was adopted as the German Army’s standard issue machine gun in 1908 and was first used in World War I. This machine gun also served as a heavy machine gun in many German infantry divisions in World War II. This machine gun, capable of 400 rounds per minute and an effective firing range of 2,187 yards, established itself as pre-eminent defensive battlefield weapon in WWI.
Like its predecessor, the MG08 is recoil-operated with a toggle lock. This belt-fed machine gun is chambered in 7.92x57mm. It is a water-cooled gun with a jacket around the barrel that holds about a gallon of water. The use of a separate attachment sight with range calculator for indirect fire allowed it to be operated from cover. Due to its 152.1lbs weight, the MG08 was placed on a sled mount that was ferried between locations on carts or on men’s shoulders like a stretcher.
When the war began in August 1914, there were approximately 12,000 MG08’s available to battlefield units. During the war, production was increased and it is estimated that about 200 were produced each month during late 1914, and by 1916, production was up to about 14,400 per month.