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The Maschinengewehr 08, or MG08, was the German Army's standard machine gun in World War I and is an almost direct copy of Hiram S. Maxim's original 1884 Maxim Gun.
It was produced in a number of variants during the war.
The MG08 remained in service until the outbreak of the Second World War due to a shortage of its successor, the MG34.
It was retired from front-line service by 1942.
The Maschinengewehr 08 (or MG08)â€”so-named after 1908, its year of adoptionâ€”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 7.92 mm ammunition, although sustained firing would lead to over-heating; it was water-cooled using a jacket around the barrel that held approximately one gallon.
A lightened air-cooled version, the lMG08/15, (with a lower case 'L', not an upper case "i"), was developed as a fixed aircraft weapon and was used on the Fokker Eindecker as early as the autumn of 1915.
This version eliminated the stock, grip, and bipod and perforated the water jacket to allow the air flowing around the aircraft to provide cooling.
Early examples of this gun had a design flaw in that too much of the jacket had been slotted, resulting in firearms that could fall apart while being fired in aerial combat, which resulted in a revised cooling jacket having less extensive slotting, that did not run all the way fore and aft on the jacket.
Its fully rectangular receiver, as seen from the side, distinguishes it from the later, and more robust version, the LMG08/15, which had a notably lightened receiver, trimmed down on both upper and lower surfaces, which quickly superseded it.
The capital "L" on the later version is variously described as standing for leicht (light), luft (air), or luftgekÃ¼hlt (air cooled). Also see Maxim Tokarev.
* From Wikipedia: Maschinengewehr 08 *
(Maschinengewehr 08/15 Made by: East)
Medal of Honor World War I Tentative Official Site: http://www7.atwiki.jp/giretsu/