This is an very fine example of a WWI German Model 1908/15 Maxim heavy machine gun manufactured by the Erfurt Arsenal in 1917. The top cover is marked "5612a/M.G.08/15/Gwf./Erfurt/1917". It has the original flip-up tangent style rear sight graduated from 400-2,000 meters, a simple inverted "v" front sight and retains its large steel water jacket and bipod. This beautiful weapon has mostly matching serial numbers, with the only non-matching parts being the entire bolt assembly and the wooden buttstock; however, both are original WWII components. This Maxin machine gun was originally developed by Hiram Maxim in 1883-1884 and was one of the most influential weapons of the 20th century. It became the standard German heavy machine gun in 1899 and was used by Imperial German forces throughout WWI as a ground mounted version in trench warfare. It was the first self-sustaining heavy MG used in any sizeable numbers on any battlefield. It could lay down a sustained suppressive fire without any other external means other than by the energy generated from the force of firing a round. During WWI, it earned the nickname the "Devils Paintbrush" due to the fact that during the large scale assault form the trenches, it could literally mow down hundreds of men in a single engagement. The large distinctive steel water jacket could hold seven quarts of water to cool the barrel which allowed it to have long sustained bursts of fire. It was capable of firing approximately 500 rounds of sustained fire before the water started to boil and up to 2,000 rounds of sustained fire before the water would all boil off and the jacket had to be refilled. This was quite an astonishing feat in 1915. It was also adopted by the British in 1887 and Russia and many other countries prior to WWI. It comes with its sheet metal bipod and two drum magazines stored in its wooden container.
Very fine with 90% plus of the original blue finish on the receiver/action and various associated parts with light edge and side wear mixed with some light brown patina. The very rare aspect is that it still retains most of its WWII hand painted camouflage on the barrel jacket. Usually this flaked off due to the heat during firing, while this example retains the wonderful dark green with light and dark brown colors overall that are typically seen on WWII German camouflaged helmets. A really outstanding example of an original WWI German Maxim 08/15 machine gun. NOTE: This item is restricted as a National Firearms Act (NFA), fully transferable Class 3, which is registered with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, (BATFE) that is classified as a "Curios or Relic" as defined in 27 CFR, 478.11. These weapons are still subject to the provisions of 18 U.S.C. Chapter 44 and 27 CFR part 478.
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