Made from a .250” thick piece of 6061 aluminum this MG08/15 dummy right side plate was design from an original German blueprint. Manufactured using wetjet technology, these plates have minimum taper and will perfectly fit in your parts kit to complete a dummy gun.
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The MG 08/15 was the “rather misguided attempt” at a lightened and thus more portable light machine gun from the standard MG 08, produced by “stepping-down” the upper rear and lower forward corners of the original MG 08’s rectangular-outline receiver and breech assembly, and reducing the cooling jacket’s diameter to 92.5 mm (3.64 in). It was tested as a prototype in 1915 by a team of weapon designers under the direction of an Oberst, Friedrich von Merkatz; this became the MG 08/15.
The MG 08/15 had been designed around the concept of portability, such as the French Chauchat, which meant that the firepower of a machine gun could be taken forward conveniently by assaulting troops, and moved between positions for tactical fire support; as such, the MG 08/15 was to be manned by two trained infantrymen, a shooter and an ammo bearer. In the attack the weapon would be fired on the move (marching fire) while on the defense the team would make use of the bipod from the prone position. To accomplish that, the MG 08/15 had a short bipod rather than a heavy four-legged sled mount, plus a wooden gunstock and a pistol grip. At 18 kg (40 lb) the MG 08/15 had minimal weight savings over the MG 08, being “a cumbersome beast to use in the assault.” Intended to provide increased mobility of infantry automatic fire, it nevertheless remained a bulky water-cooled weapon that was quite demanding on the crews and never on par with its rivals, the Chauchat and the Lewis Gun. Accurate fire was difficult to achieve and usually in short bursts only. The fabric ammunition belts were prone to stretching and there were cartridge extraction problems when they were wet.
It was first introduced in battle during the French Second Battle of the Aisne (Chemin des Dames offensive) in April 1917. Deployment in increasingly large numbers with all front line infantry regiments continued in 1917 and during the German offensives of the spring and summer of 1918.
There were other, less prominent, German machine guns in WWI that showed more promising understanding of tactical firepower; such as the air-cooled 7.92 mm Bergmann MG 15nA which weighed “a more manageable 13kg,”] had a bipod mount and was fed from a 200-round metal-link belt contained in an assault drum instead of fabric belts. Despite its qualities, it was overshadowed by the production volumes of the MG 08/15 and exiled to secondary fronts, being largely relegated to use in limited numbers on the Italian Front. The Bergmann MG 15nA was also used by the Asien-Korps in Sinai, Mesopotamia and Palestine. Being air-cooled, the Bergmann MG 15nA’s barrel would overheat after 250 rounds of sustained fire. Other light machine guns would maintain the water-cooling system, such as the Dreyse MG 10 and MG 15; with an air-cooled version produced just before the war, known as the Dreyse-Muskete or the MG 15.
Despite such developments, the MG 08/15 remained by far the most common German machine gun deployed in World War I, reaching a full allocation of six guns per company (72 guns per regiment) in 1918. By that time, there were four times as many MG 08/15 light machine guns than heavy MG 08 machine guns in each infantry regiment. To attain this goal, about 130,000 MG 08/15 were manufactured during World War I, most of them by the Spandau and Erfurt government arsenals. The heavy weight remained a problem though and a “futile attempt” to solve this problem was a late-war air-cooled version of the MG 08/15, designated as the MG 08/18; but it was only 1 kg lighter than the MG 08/15. The MG 08/18’s barrel was heavier and it could not be quickly changed; inevitably overheating was a problem. It was battlefield tested in small numbers during the last months of the war.
As noted, “the Maxim Gun was not a sound basis for an LMG.”
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