Original German WWI Maxim MG 08 Display Gun by Spandau with Original Sled Mount - Dated 1917

Item Description

Original Item: One of a kind. Opportunities like this do not come along very often at all, and this may in fact be a once in a lifetime opportunity. MG08 Machine guns on original sled mounts are nearly impossible to find on the market. Added to that, this is most likely the BEST sled mount we have ever seen, and the MG 08 display gun mounted to it is no slouch either. These were purchased as a set, which had been together for possibly a century. This genuine German WW1 MG 08 water-cooled Maxim machine gun was "The Grim Reaper" of the First World War.

This sled mount is all original, and is honestly the most amazing example we've ever seen. The only things missing are the brass caps for the oil cans, and the accessories that would have been installed on the mount. The spare barrel mount, lock boxes, brackets for tools, and spare parts tin are all there and functional. The elevation control works, and the elevation release works as well, which allowed the elevation to be set without the fine control. The mount has the same black paint on it that the display gun does, and there are no other layers of paint under it, just the metal of the mount itself!

The display gun included with this incredible mount is totally inert, having been rebuilt with a newly manufactured dummy right side plate to BATF specifications to make it a totally legal non-firing display gun. The overall condition of the gun is very good, and still retains most of the black paint that it did when we received it, which has done a very good job of preserving it. We have left the paint as is, as it may have stood on the battlefield wearing that very coat of paint.

The top is nicely marked:



Spandau Arsenal, known in German as Gewehr und Munitionsfabrik (Gwf.) Spandau during the WWI period, the center for development of military small arms for Imperial Germany from the Industrial Revolution until 1919. They manufactured many long arms during the 19th and early 20th centuries at the their location, which is today part of Berlin.

The top cover is marked with serial number 6549/d, which matches the serial number on the barrel jacket, crank handle, as well as on the feed block. The rest of the parts have different serial numbers, however this is definitely a "partial matching" set. The spade grips were changed out at some point, which often happens at arsenal, as they need to be removed to replace the barrel. There are lot of markings and proofs on this example, typical of WWI German production.

Regarding the internals for this display gun, lock has been removed, per BATF specifications. Also, the barrel was replaced with an inert deactivated German issue MG13 barrel, and the barrel extension modified, as required by the BATF. Also at some point the top cover had been damaged, and was re-welded. The original flash hider was also removed long ago, and replaced with a custom-fabricated replacement. The crank handle still moves, the top cover still opens, and the feed block still works. This really looks the business, and is just great.

It has been over 100 years since of the conclusion of WWI. A terrible conflict that lasted 4 tortuous years and destroyed the manhood of Europe. It only concluded after the entry of the United States in 1917 to tip the scales to the Allies favor ending at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. 

With a 1917 date, this gun and mount were almost certainly used in the conflict. Ready to be the crown jewel of your WWI Collection!

History of the MG 08-

The Maschinengewehr 08, or MG 08, was the German Army's standard machine gun in World War I and is an adaption of Hiram S. Maxim's original 1884 Maxim gun. It was produced in a number of variants during the war. The MG 08 served during World War II as a heavy machine gun in many German infantry divisions, although by the end of the war it had mostly been relegated to second-rate fortress units.

The Maschinengewehr 08 (or MG 08)- so-named after 1908, its year of adoption - was a development of the license made Maschinengewehr 01. It could reach a firing rate of up to 400 rounds per minute using 250-round fabric belts of 7.92x57mm ammunition, although sustained firing would lead to overheating; it was water-cooled using a jacket around the barrel that held approximately one gallon of water. Using a separate attachment sight with range calculator for indirect fire, the MG 08 could be operated from cover. Additional telescopic sights were also developed and used in quantity during the war.

The MG 08, like the Maxim gun, operated on the basis of short barrel recoil and a toggle lock; once cocked and fired the MG 08 would continue firing rounds until the trigger was released (or until all available ammunition was expended). Its practical range was estimated at some 2,000 metres (2,200 yd) up to an extreme range of 3,600 metres (3,900 yd). The MG 08 was mounted on a sled mount (German: Schlittenlafette) that was ferried between locations either on carts or else carried above men's shoulders in the manner of a stretcher.

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 MG 08).

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