Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 1672: WWI German Spandau Maxim Model 1908/15 Machine Gun

Auction Date: December 4, 2021

Desirable World War I German Spandau Maxim Model 1908/15 Class III/NFA C&R DEWAT Registered Machine Gun with Bipod and Drum Magazine

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $5,500 - $8,500

Desirable World War I German Spandau Maxim Model 1908/15 Class III/NFA C&R DEWAT Registered Machine Gun with Bipod and Drum Magazine

Manufacturer: Spandau
Model: MG 08/15
Type: Machine gun
Gauge: 8 mm
Barrel: 24 inch round
Finish: blue
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 1037
Item Interest: Very Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 338
Class: Class III
Bore Condition: -

Originally developed by Hiram Maxim in the 1880s, the Maxim Gun is credited as the first true automatic weapon, using the energy generated by firing the round to cycle the weapon, and was one of the most influential weapons of the 20th century, as it was the first self-sustaining, heavy machine gun used by any country on the battlefield. Predating the idea of the air-cooled quick-change barrel, Maxim dealt with the technical challenge of the massive heat generated by automatic fire by installing a water-filled jacket around the barrel, an innovation that would continue to be used for decades afterwards. It was adopted by the British Army in 1895, with the Imperial German Army following suit in 1899, and then the Russian Army in 1905. It was used heavily by all three of the aforementioned users throughout World War I as a ground mounted version in trench warfare. It earned the nickname the "Devils Paintbrush" due to its ability to mow down hundreds of men during the large scale assaults from the trenches. The large distinctive steel water jacket held seven quarts of water to cool the barrel which allowed it to have long sustained bursts of fire of up to 500 rounds before the water started to boil. At around 2,000 rounds of sustained fire the water would all boil off and the jacket had to be refilled. This was quite an astonishing feat in 1915. This "1918" dated World War I Imperial German Army Model 1908/15 Maxim heavy machine gun was manufactured by the Spandau Arsenal. "5490/c/M.G.08/15./Gwf./SPANDAU./1918." marked on the top cover. Features include a recoil boosting muzzle device, large steel water jacket, blade front sight, tangent rear sight graduated from 400-2,000 meters, crank-adjusted spring tension regulator on the left side of the frame, pistol grip mounted safety, and a solid hardwood buttstock. Matching serial number marked on various components. It has been deactivated by welding a plug in the chamber of the barrel and welding it to the receiver, with the breechblock still mobile and unwelded. Includes its sheet metal bipod and one large drum magazine.

Rating Definition:

Very good as deactivated, retaining 60% original blue finish overall mixed with light brown patina and scattered some surface rust. Retains traces of original green paint in protected areas and on the bipod. The markings are clear and distinct. Wood is also very good with scattered scratches, dents, chips, and a few mild cracks at the rear of the buttstock. The trigger does not reset on its own, otherwise the item dry cycles well. NOTE: This is a registered DEWAT weapon with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (BATFE), as a National Firearms Act (NFA) weapon, that is fully transferable. It has been classified as a Curio 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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