Original Imperial German WWI Mauser Model 1918 Tankgewehr Anti-Tank Rifle Steel Bipod

Item Description

Original Item: Only On Available. World War One was really the beginning of modern armored warfare. The introduction of tanks on the battlefield helped to break the stalemate and static lines that resulted from Trench Warfare. By 1918, France and Britain had a relatively large number of tanks available, having developed and invested in them the previous year. Germany however did not look into tanks until late in the war, so they were definitely outmatched in that respect.

Looking for a way to stave off defeat, Germany looked into possible countermeasures, which led to the development of the Mauser 13 mm Tankgewehr (tank gun) M1918, usually abbreviated "T-Gewehr". This was the world's first anti-tank rifle, solely designed for the sole purpose of destroying armored targets, and the only anti-tank rifle to see service in World War I. Approximately 15,800 were produced, and they are highly desirable.

Here we have a very nice example of the removable bipod from the M1918 Tank Gewehr. The attachment system is in fact identical to the one used on the Maxim MG08/15, and the bipods can be used interchangeably. This was most likely by design, as the fittings were already available, and there was no reason to invent another. The bipod for the T-Gewehr is definitely more streamlined when compared to the 08/15 bipod, which is made partly of riveted sheet steel.

The bipod is in great shape, with a lot of original paint still present. The latch works great, and we do not see any deformation of the socket. There is a slight bend to one of the spikes that go into the ground, but otherwise it is structurally great.

Very rare, and only the first example we have seen!

More on the Mauser T-Gewehr M1918:

During the First World War the onset of static, trench warfare saw the rise in the use of armour plate for personal defense, and the development and use of armour-piercing ammunition to counter this. Both Britain and Germany used high-powered rifles, such as elephant guns from their African colonies, for this purpose. The first use of armoured fighting vehicles (tanks) was by the British at the Battle of Flers–Courcelette in September 1916 and were followed by the French. By June 1917, the German Army faced the Mark IV tank, and found that the standard armour-piercing 7.92 mm K bullet was no longer effective. This prompted the development by the Germans of a heavy-calibre and high-velocity rifle as an anti-tank weapon. The makers of the gun were inspired by weapons used to hunt African big game, like the Elephant gun. The Mauser Company responded with the 13mm T-gewehr and began mass production at Oberndorf am Neckar in May 1918. The first of these off the production lines were issued to specially raised anti-tank detachments.

The rifle was a single-shot bolt-action rifle using a modified Mauser action, with rounds manually loaded into the chamber. The weapon had a pistol grip and bipod, but no method of reducing recoil, such as a soft buttpad or muzzle brake. This could cause problems for the shooter with repeated firing. The iron sights were composed of a front blade and tangent rear, graduated in 100-meter increments from 100 to 500 meters. The rifle was operated by a two-man crew of a gunner and ammunition bearer, who were both trained to fire the weapon. Due to the tremendous blunt force of the recoil, it was designed to be shot in a static position, either prone or from inside a trench.

The armour-piercing hardened steel cored 13.2 x 92mm (.525-inch) semi-rimmed cartridge, often simply called "13 mm", was originally planned for a new, heavy Maxim MG.18 water-cooled machine gun, the Tank und Flieger (TuF) meaning for use against "tank and aircraft", which was under development and to be fielded in 1919. The rounds weighed 51.5 g (795 gn) with an initial velocity of 785 m/s (2,580 ft/s).

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