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Original German WWII MG 15 Water Cooled Display LMG with Saddle Drum Magazine

Item Description

Original Item: Assembled on our BATF approved all solid steel non-functioning receiver these "Dummy Guns" make great display items. One of WWII's most uncommon machine guns. Complete with bipod and detachable steel buttstock each gun is fitted with its original water jacket and sights. Available complete with original WWII 75 round saddle drum.

Research of the German MG 15 Water Cooled Machine Gun-

International Military Antiques, Inc purchased some 600 original German MG 15 Light Machine Guns in 1999. These had come out of Bucharest, Romania having been supplied to the Romanian Air Force by the Germans in the mid 1930s. The German's referred to this specific Contract by marking the majority of the weapons "ST 61" however many just marked "MG 15" were also included in the delivery.

Once received by IMA it was found that only about 50% of the weapons were still in the original "Air Cooled" configuration in which all the contracted weapons were in at the time of original 1930s delivery. Research in Romania showed that when the military authorities announced that during WW2 when Romania was, initially, until late 1944, an ally of NSDAP Germany, quantities of these MG 15 air cooled machine guns were transferred from Aircraft to ground infantry use in the campaign against the Soviet Union.

Initially the now infantry use of this weapon was established by adding an Aluminum bracket directly under the ventilated Air Cooled barrel jacket that could accept an MG 34 Bipod for ground use. In turned out however that at ground level the temperatures being much higher than at say 10,000 feet altitude say, the guns over heated resulting in severe barrel damage.

The result was the NSDAP manufacturers back in Germany decided to convert the Air Cooled Mg 15 LMG to Water Cooled for ground use. Logistically this presented additional problems since Romania had no effective Machine Gun manufacturing facilities for this alteration to be carried out. The problem was increased when nearby, relatively, facilities in Austria and Czechoslovakia which were working at maximum level producing weapons being used by the German Army could not find any "machine time" available whatsoever. Germany was similarly fully committed as was Fabrique Nationale in Belgium making Browning High Power Pistols. In fact the only qualified facilities under German occupation were in France, the Germans utilizing very few French designed weapons in their Military.

As a result quantities of MG 15 Air Cooled Machine Guns were shipped to France where the required work was completed during, we understand, 1943 and then returned to the Russian Front. The only markings found on the Water Cooled version of the MG 15 to substantiate this is the stamping found

on the French made Barrel front bushing which is stamped " Mitr.Rhn.7.9mm" which is abrieviation for "Mitrailleur Rheinmetal" and the German caliber of 7.92 X 57mm.Mitrailleur is French for Machine Gun and Rheinmetal-Borsig was the German Corporation that had originally supplied the "St 61" MG 15 Machine Gun Contract to Rumania.

How many weapons were converted we do not know but very few in comparison to the total numbers of MG 15 Air Cooled Machine Guns NSDAP Germany turned out before and during the War time years. The only additional observation is that the Carry handles we believe are post war additions in that the design is very similar to Soviet weapons of the era. Very likely the German's had intended for leather Slings to fill this function probably very similar to the MG 08/15 version of the WW1 years.

NOTE: These display guns are built and set up to order, so there can be a lead time of 1-2 weeks prior to shipment during peak demand times.


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