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ss153 Notes on the 08 Heavy and 08 15 Light German Machine Guns

ss153 Notes on the 08 Heavy and 08 15 Light German Machine Guns

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S.S. 153.

]
40/W.O./6705.

T./918.

NOTES ON THE 08 (HEAVY) AND 08/15 (LIGHT) GERMAN MACHINE GUNS. RECEIVE!
r»o o!
1 •"'• t •

ISSUED BY THE GEHEBAL S T A F F ,

Revised

Edition.

I S S U E D DOWN T O — BATTALIONS.

August, 1918.
FKIKTBD IK rKAKCK BY ARMY PRINTING ANP STATIONARY SBSYICKB.

Kotes' on the f0S (Haavy) and l Q8/*l^ (Light) German *achi*M».Chin», August 1918 &m$ ^'rioting St Stationerj darvic<90f Franc*

CONTENTS. Section I.—The '08 (Heavy) German Machine Gun. General Description The non-recoiling portions ... The recoiling portions The mounting Action of mechanism Backward movement of recoiling portions Forward movement of recoiling portions Firing action ... ... Stoppages ... Improvised mountings Telescopic sights Section II.—The '08/'15 (Light) German Machine Gun General description ... The non-recoiling portions ... Ball firing attachment and flash obscurer The recoiling portions ... ... Action of mechanism Backward movement of recoiling portions Forward movement of recoiling portions Firing action Stoppages Appendix. Anti-aircraft sights ... Plate I.—The '08 (Heavy) German Machine Gun. Plate II.—The '08/'15 (Light) German Machine Gun.

PBESS A—8/18—6641S—18,000.

SECTION I.—The J08 (Heavy) German Machine Gun.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION. (See Plate I.) Weights. 1. Gun, filled with water, no armour, about 48f lbs. Sledge mounting, with accessories ,, 77 ,, Box containing one filled belt ... ... 25^ ,, Box containing two filled belts ... ... 41 ,, The Gun. 2. The gun is divided into two portions : — (a) The non-recoiling portions. (b) The recoiling portions.

How Operated.
3. It is recoil operated, and is worked by two forces, (a) The force of explosion, which forces the recoiling portions backwards, and (fa)'the fuzee spring, which carries them forward. THE NON-RECOILING PORTIONS. Non-Recoiling Portions. 4. The non-recoiling portions consist of the barrel casing and the breech casing, and are attached to the mounting by (a) two trunnions on the barrel casing, fitting into bearings in a bracket on the sledge, and (b) by the elevating joint pin bracket. Barrel Casing. 5. The barrel casing is of steel, and holds about 6f pints of water to prevent the barrel from becoming too hot during firing. It has three openings, one near the front and directly under the barrel with a tap for drawing off the water. One near the front end but to the left of the emptying hole for allowing the steam to escape. This has a hose fitting for attaching the condenser tube. The third is on the top right side near the breech and is for filling the barrel casing with water.
3

Bubber Plug.
6. A rubber or composition plug is attached to the barrel casing by a chain. This is placed in the steam escape hole when the gun is travelling to prevent the escape of water. It should be removed before firing. Packing (3-land. 7. At the front end of the barrel casing there is an opening through which the barrel passes. This is packed with asbestos, which prevents the escape of water. The asbestos is kept in position by the packing gland.

Steam Tube.
8. Inside and running along the top of the barrel casing is a steam tube. It consists of a fixed tube and an outer tube termed the slide valve, so arranged as to slide freely over the fixed tube. The fixed tube has three holes, one near each end and one in the threaded portion in 4vont, connected with the steam escape hole. .. It is retained in position by a keeper screw, which ensures that the third hole coincides with the steam escape hole. If the gun is elevated the valve slides backwards, closes up the hole at the rear end preventing the escape of water, but leaves the hole at the front open to allow of the escape of steam. Vice versa if the gun is depressed.

Foresight.

'

9. At the front and on top of the barrel casing is the foresight, dovetailed into a block and secured by a screw. It is of the barleycorn pattern. Trunnions. 10. There are two trunnions on the barrel casing, one on the top and one on the bottom, for securing the gun to the mounting. These form the pivot on which the gun is traversed. Ejector Tube. 11. At the rear end in the lower portion of the -barrel casing is the ejector tube, fitted with a spring to prevent the empty cases from falling back into the gun. Breech Casing. 12. The breech casing is dovetailed into the rear extension of the barrel casing and consists of two outside plates, a bottom plate which is riveted to them, a rear crosspiece, the whole being closed by a cover.
4

Both outside plates have slots cut in them in which the crank bearings work. . They are partially closed by slides. The right slide carries the check lever and roller, which pivot on a stud and are kept in position by a collar and split pin. The left slide carries a stud for the lug at the rear end of the fuzee spring box. The rear cross-piece is hinged at the bottom to the two outside plates and is recessed to receive them, thus stiffening the breech casing. It is secured at the top by a keeper pin. The rear cross-piece is fitted with (1) hollow handles for carrying oil. The handles are closed by milled heads fitted with brushes, which are prevented from working loose by check springs. (2) A firing lever with spring, the lower end of which fits into the trigger bar, whilst at the upper end is a thumbpiece for firing, which carries a safety-catch lifter and stop. It also has a hole in it for viewing the barrel and for cleaning purposes. At the top of the rear crosspiece is the safety catch and spring. The left side of the breech casing has two studs for holding the front end of the fuzee spring box. Qn the top rear part of the left side plate there is a bracket with a securing clamp for holding a telescopic sight. Inside the side plates are two cams which control the path of the extractor. Immediately below them are two rests which support the inside side plates and prevent sagging at the jun'ction of the barrel and inside side plates. The bottom plate is riveted to the two side plates, and underneath carries a bracket for securing the gun to the elevating gear. Inside along the bottom plate runs the trigger bar, the backward and forward movement of which is regulated by an undercut stud on the bottom plate. On the outside of the cover is a tangent sight, which 'consists of a stem and a slide. The stem_ is graduated up to 2,000 metres. The sight is positioned by a piston and spring. At the rear end is the cover lock. Underneath is a chamber containing the tangent sight piston and spring, a steel block for keeping the lock in position when the lock flanges are clear of the lock guides, and two cover springs which assist in forcing the extractor down. The cover is attached to the outside plates by a hollow pin, which is se'cured by a collar and split pin. A hole is bored in the rear cross-piece for cleaning purposes, and to allow the interior of the barrel to be viewed from the rear, when the lock is removed and the.crank handle held vertical. This hole is normally closed by a spring shutter.
5

Feed Block. 13. The feed block fits under the cover into a recess cut for it in the breech casing. I t has a slide to which is attached a pawl and spring for the purpose of moving the cartridges from right to left. The slide has a transverse motion given to it by means of two levers which are fitted together at right angles. The top lever fits between projections on the slide, and on the bottom lever is a stud which engages in a recess in the prolongation of the left inside plate. B y this means the slide is connected with the recoiling portions. I t has two stationary pawls, both of which are on a bar, which is operated by a lever at the right rear end of the feed block. These pawls are actuated by a coil spring. The pawls engage under the cartridge and prevent the belt slipping out of the feed block during firing. Inside, at the front end, is a spring to position the cartridges. At the rear end, and above the cartridge guides, is another spring which engages in the groove at the base of the cartridge. There are two stops inside, which prevent the cartridge from going too far to the left. Fuzee Spring. 14. On the left of the breech casing is a box which contains the fuzee spring, underneath the fore end of which is a ribbon spring, which m u s t be pressed up before the box can be removed. The fuzee spring is a strong spiral spring, the rear end of which is connected to the fuzee chain by means of a hook. The fuzee spring is attached to'the fuzee spring box by means of a long adjusting screw, which passes through the front end of the fuzee spring box and screws into a gun-metal bush at the front end of the spring. The strength of the -spring is altered by means of a vice pin. On the outside of the box is a scale reading from 0 to 70. The best average setting is at 33. Between the n u t of the spring and the front inside end of the fuzee spring box is an auxiliary spring for working the indicator. Ball-firing Attachment and Flash Obscurer. 15. The muzzle attachment consists of a steel cylinder in two parts connected by a screw thread. I t is threaded at the rear end to screw direct into the barrel casing and so forms a packing gland for holding the asbestos packing in position. At both ends of this cylinder are a set of holes for the escape of the ,: gases. Inside the cylinder is a steel valve which travels freely in the cylinder. 6

The front end of the cylinder is threaded to take the screw of the flash obscurer, which carries a circular plate for obscuring the flash of the gases as they escape from the holes of the cylinder. The action of the attachment is as follows:— As the gases escape-from the barrel after the bullet, they are partially confined in the cylinder and strike back on to the valve which bears against the rear end of the screwed portion of the muzzle of the barrel, so giving the barrel additional recoil. The gases then escape through the holes in the cylinder, behind the flash obscuring screen. RECOILING PORTIONS. The recoiling portions (which move inside the non-recoiling portions) consist of the barrel, two side plates, the lock, the crank, and everything the crank carries, i.e., crank handle, fuzee, etc. 16. The barrel is threaded at the muzzle. At the rear end is a cannelure which, when packed with asbestos, prevents the es'cape of water at the rear end of the gun. In front of the barrel block is a gun-metal valve, which prevents the escape of water when the barrel is at rest. The barrel block has two trunnions which engage in two bearings in the side plates. The inside side plates are each provided with holes or bearings to engage the trunnions on the barrel. The left inside plate is prolonged, and has a recess cut, in which the lower lever of the feed block works. Each side plate has a spring, which is called the side plate spring: this ensures the extractor being at its highest when the lock is fully home. Each side plate has guides in which the flanges of the lock move, which are enlarged at the rear end to act as crank stops; in addition, each has a bearing through which the crank passes ; these bearings move in slots in the breech casing. The crank is fitted with a connecting rod, which is free to rotate on the crank pin; on the left, fixed into the crank, is the fuzee and links; on the right, fitted on to the crank shaft and secured by a screw pin, is the crank handle, which has a curved arm and tail. The connecting rod is attached to the crank by means of an axis pin, called the crank pin, and takes the lock by means of an interrupted screw, so connecting the lock and the crank. The lock is attached to the connecting rod by the screwed head, and-when in the firing position closes the breech. When in this position it is held by the side levers, the connecting rod and the
• 7

Drank (which bears against the crank stops), which are all slightly above the horizontal, to prevent a premature opening of the breech. The lock has a reciprocating motion given to it by the rotation of the crank, and is kept in position during its backward and forward movements by the lock flanges working in the lo'ck guides on the side plates, and when clear of the guides by the steel block underneath the cover. The extractor is moved upwards by means of the side and extractor levers, and when in its highest position is retained there by the side plate springs, so preventing the extractor from falling until the horns have engaged on the cams. The upward and downward movement of the extractor is regulated by guide ribs and stops. The top stop is part of the lock spring; the bottom stop is removable. On the face of the extractor are:—Firing pin hole and extractor spring. On either side of the latter the extractor is cut away to facilitate ejection of the cartridges. At the top are horns for engaging on the cams (inside the breech casing). Inside the lock are the sear and spring, tumbler, firing pin, lock spring and trigger. The lock spring is positioned by an axis pin, which also acts as a keeper pin for the bracket on which the extractor levers work. The gun is supplied with cartridges from a belt which is almost identical with the Maxim or Vickers belts. THE SLEDGE MOUNTING. Weight. About 77 lbs. with accessories. Pattern. Sledge pattern which can be carried either as a one man load or as a two man load, or can be dragged. The Front Legs. The two front legs are pivoted on an axis and can be turned back to lay directly over the rear portion when the sledge is dragged. They each have a pad attached to rest on the gunner's shoulders when the mount is carried by one man only. On the inside of each leg is a hand lever positioned by a ribbon spring, on the front end of which are two studs which engage in slots on the curved portion of the sledge when the gun is mounted for firing. At the end of each leg is a small spade and shoe to prevent the mount from sinking when the gun is firing.
8

The Body or Bear Portion. The front part is curved to form runners, and has the slots referred to above for adjusting the height of the mount. About 9" to the rear of the runners is a steel plate forming a stay, and immediately above is a trunnioned bracket in two portions; the bottom portion being part of the elevating arm which extends below and behind. The top portion is separate and can be attached to the lower portion by means of two thumb screws on either side which fit into bearings on the lower portion, the top portion being attached to the lower by a short length of chain. The upper and lower portions of the bracket have holes drilled to receive the trunnions on the barrel casing. Below the bracket and slightly to the rear are two metal boxes for the purpose of carrying the spare locks and clearing plugs. Each box is fitted with a cover which is secured by a spring catch. At the near end of the elevating arm is the elevating joint pin which passes through a block, the latter working on a traversing arc. The elevating arm is jointed to the elevating gear which consists of an extended arm attached to a U-shaped bracket by means of an elbow joint—the rear end of the former is connected to the gear box by a shaft to which it is pinned. (On the left of the gear box is a jamming handling for jamming the elevating gear.) Behind the gear box is a brass plate which has four curved lines stamped upon it; these lines are marked 800, 1000, 1200 and 1500. If the elevating wheel is turned to cover the distance of the lines the gun would be elevated or depressed approximately 100 metres, i.e., target 800 metres, fire observed 100 metres short, if the wheel is turned the length of the line shown above 800, the necessary elevation is added to the gun in order to apply the fire of the gun to target, without having to alter the sights and relay the gun. In front of the elevating wheel is a catch, which can be altered to allow of either a quick alignment of the gun or a fine adjustment by means of the wheel itself. If the catch is pressed and the elevating wheel raised, it causes the gears in the box to become disengaged, which allows the gun to be elevated or depressed easily and quickly. If the catch is pressed and the wheel pushed down, the gears are engaged and elevation or depression can only be caused by turning the elevating wheel. .The elevating wheel is atta'ched to the elevating gear by means of a shaft.
9

Immediately below the brass plate mentioned above is a box divided into two compartments, one for carrying oil, the other for carrying a lubricating material, such as vaseline. Both compartments are closed by milled heads, which in most cases carry brushes. y On the right of this box is another box, which is closed by a cover, which is secured by a spring clip. This box takes the barrel block of a spare barrel, the muzzle of which is held by a circular fitting at the front end of the body. On the left is another box, also closed by a cover similar to the one on the right. This contains various small parts for immediate and simple repairs. There are other fittings just below and in rear of the gearbox which carry such things as a breech stick and forceps for removing cases. On the two rear legs are leather pads for supporting the elbows of the firer when in the prone position. Attached to the elevating joint pin bracket is a handle for regulating or jambing the traversing gear.

Fig. 1.

Traverse.
The gun can only be traversed 30 degrees unless the mounting is moved. This means that the limit of traverse is half the distance to the target.
10

Example.—1 degree = 5 feet of traverse for every 100 yards in the range; therefore 30 degrees allows the gun to traverse 50 yards for every 100 yards in the range. If a German trench is .1,000 yards away you can only traverse 500 yards of it unless the mounting is moved. ACTION OF MECHANISM. To Load. 17. Pass the tag end of the belt through the feed block from the right, turn the crank handle as far forward as it will go, pull the belt to the left as far as it will go, and let go the crank handle. Repeat these motions and the gun will be loaded and ready for firing. To Unload. 18. Turn the crank handle forward as far as it will go, but without tou'ching the belt, and let go the crank handle. . Eepeat the motion. Remove the belt by pressing towards the gun the button on the rear end of the feed block and remove the belt. Release the lock spring by pushing the safety catch to the right and pressing the thumbpiece forward and clearing the ejector tube. To Fire. 19. Suppose the gun to be loaded: if the safety catch be pressed to the right and the thumbpiece pressed forward, the gun will fire and continue to fire until the belt is empty or the thumbpiece released. In the latter case, there will always be two live rounds gripped in the extractor, one in the chamber and one in the feed block, so that the gun will fire again by simply pressing the thumbpiece. BACKWARD MOVEMENT OF THE RECOILING PORTIONS. Action on Recoil. , 20. Suppose the gun to have just fired: the extractor will be gripping a live round in the feed block, and an empty case, which has just been fired, in the 'chamber; the force of explosion, assisted by the action of the muzzle attachment, forces the recoiling portions backward through a distance of about 1 inch, thereby causing the fuzee spring to be extended.
ll

Action in the Feed Block. 21. As the recoiling portions move backward, the recess in the prolongation of the left side plate carries with it the stud on the bottom lever of the feed block. The bottom lever, which is at right angles to the top lever, causes the top lever slide and pawl to move from left to right, and the top pawl passes over and engages behind a fresh cartridge, which has up to now been held in place by the bottom pawls. Rotation of Crank. 22. The backward movement of the recoiling portions causes the curved arm of the crank handle to roll on the roller, which action rotates the crank. The continued rolling of the crank handle causes the tail of the crank handle to glide along the under surface of the roller. This action, together with the a'ction of the fuzee spring, causes the recoiling portions to be driven forward about one inch, whilst the lock completes its backward movement. The rotation of the crank withdraws the lock, and causes the fuzee to wind the links about itself, so causing a further extension of the fuzee spring. As the lock comes back, the extractor brings with-it a live round from the feed block, and the empty case from the chamber. The horns of the extractor engage upon the top surface of the cams and ride along them until they get to the end, when they drop either by their own weight or assisted by the action of the cover springs. This places the live round opposite the chamber and the empty case opposite the ejector tube. The live round is prevented from falling off the face of the extractor by the bottom projection of the gib, and the empty case by the extractor spring. When the lock is right back the lock flanges are clear of the lock guides and it is kept in position by the steel block on the underside of the cover. Cocking Action of the Lock. 23. As the lock comes back, the rotation of the crank gives a downward motion to the connecting rod and screwed head, the latter bearing on the tail of the tumbler, causing it to rotate on its axis; and as the head of the tumbler is engaged in a recess in the rear end of the firing pin, it causes the firing pin to be forced to the rear. The long arm of the lock spring is engaged in a recess in the front end of the firing pin, while the short arm bears against the upper part of the trigger, so that as the firing pin is drawn back the lock spring is compressed by the longer arm being drawn towards the short arm.
12

As the tumbler rotates, the nose of the trigger is forced under the bent of the tumbler, but a continued motion of the tumbler forces the firing pin still further back until the bent of the sear is forced into the bent of the firing pin (the sear being actuated by the sear spring). The lock spring is now fully compressed and the firing pin prevented from flying forward. FORWARD MOVEMENT OF THE RECOILING PORTIONS. Action of the Fuzee Spring. 24. When the force of the recoil is spent, the fuzee spring, which is extended, comes into play, and carries the whole of the recoiling portions forward again. Action in the Feed Block. 25. As the recoiling.portions travel forward the recess in the prolongation of the left side plate carries forward the stud on the bottom lever. This causes the top lever, slide and pawl and fresh cartridges to move from right to left. The fresh cartridge is placed in position in the face of the feed block, ready to be gripped by. the extractor, and against the cartridge and bullet stops, whilst the groove of the cartridge is engaged by the spring on the undersurface of the top of the feed block. The belt as it passes to the left causes the bottom pawls to be depressed, which, when the cartridge has passed over them, rise behind it, so holding the belt in position when the first cartridge is withdrawn. Rotation of Orank. 26. The fuzee spring, assisted by the rebound of the tail of the crank handle from the roller pulling on the links of the fuzee, causes them to unwind from the fuzee; this rotates the fuzee, which causes the crank to rotate, which lifts up the connecting rod and screwed head. This causes the lock to move forward, placing the live round in the chamber, and the empty case in the ejector tube; when the lock is almost home the extractor is forced upwards by the side levers bearing on the extractor levers, the extractor spring passes over the base of the empty case in the ejector tube, where it is held by the ejector tube spring until it is pushed out by the next empty case. The bottom projection of the gib passes over the base of the live round in the chamber. The cap of the cartridge is thus placed opposite the firing pin hole, and the fresh cartridge, which has been fed up into the feed blo'ck, is engaged by the extractor, by the top projection of the gib passing over its base.
13

As soon as the extractor reaches its highest, position, the two side plate springs engage in slots in its side and so ensure the extractor remaining at its highest until the horns engage on the cams. A,s soon as the lock is right home, and the extractor at its highest, the screwed head rises slightly above the horizontal, and lifts the tail of the sear, thereby disengaging the bent of the sear from the bent of the firing pin, which allows the lock spring to carry the firing pin slightly forward till the bent of the tumbler is engaged by the nose of the trigger. TIRING ACTION. First Shot. 27. If the safety catch lifter is pushed to the right, and the thumbpiece pressed, the firing lever draws back the trigger bar, and the projection on it, engages, and draws back the tail of the trigger, this releases the nose of the trigger from the bent of the tumbler, and the lock spring carries the firing pin forward, thus firing the the cartridge. Subsequent Shots. 28. If the pressure is maintained on the thumbpiece, the trigger bar is held back, so that each time the lock goes forward the tail of the trigger is tripped, which prevents the nose of the trigger from engaging under the bent of the tumbler. When the lock is right home, and the extractor at its highest, the screwed head rises above the horizontal, lifts the tail of the sear, disengages the bent of the sear from the bent of the firing pin, and as there is nothing further to prevent it, the lock spring carries the firing pin forward, thus firing the cartridge. This continues as long as pressure is maintained on the thumbpiece. The lifting of the sear is so timed that the firing pin cannot be released until the lock is in the firing position. Cease Fire. 29. If the pressure on the thumbpiece is released, the trigger bar is forced forward, therefore, when the lock goes forward the tail of the trigger is not tripped. When the bent of the sear is released from the bent of the firing pin, the firing pin cannot go right forward, because the short arm of the lock spring forces the nose of the trigger under the bent of the tumbler.

14

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Betting the Sights. 31. I t must be remembered that the tangent sight is graduated in metres and not in yards. At close ranges no allowance need be made for this, but at the longer ranges it m a y be necessary to make a correction if the range has been ascertained in yards. I t will be sufficiently accurate to subtract one-tenth of the range in yards in order to convert it into metres, e.g., range in yards = 2,000 yards; range in metres = 2,000—200 = 1,800 metres, to which reading .the tangent sight should be set. IMPROVISED MOUNTINGS. 32. I t may sometimes occur that a heavy German machine gun has been captured, but without a mounting. Figure 2 shows the construction and dimension of a simple form of auxiliary mounting which can be made in a workshop.
IMPROVISED AUXILIARY M O U N T I N G FOR G E R M A N '08 H E A V Y M A C H I N E GUN.

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P L A N (Gun cradle noh shown)

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AUXILIARY M O U N T I N G F O B G E R M A N ' 0 8 HEAVY MACHINE GUN—continued.

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ELEVATION

i

Details or gun cradle.
Pig. 2. THE TELESCOPIC SIGHT. 33. The telescopic sight for the '08 machine gun is used for the following purposes = — 1. To secure better definition of indistin'ct targets, especially at the longer ranges, and in dull lights or moonlight, when laying over the ordinary sights would not be possible. 2. To meet special atmospheric conditions, such as mist, fog, snow, or very brilliant sunshine. For this two yellow glasses of different strengths are provided, which fit over the front lens. The external features of the sight are: — 1. The eye-piece " A " (see Figure 3). 2. The range drum " B ". This is graduated in hundreds of metres, and is set to any required range by rotating it until the correct reading is registered against the pointer which is . marked oh the body of the sight.
18

3. Th-e front lens " C." This is provided with a leather cap, which protects it when not in use. 4. The dovetailed base " D " of the sight, which slides into a special seating attached to the bree'ch casing of the gun. The method of use is as follows: — The sight being attached to the gun, the range drum is first set to the estimated range to the target. On looking through the eyepiece, the firer will see an arrow head. He lays the gun so that this arrow head (the position of which is controlled by the range drum) is aligned on the target, when the gun will be correctly laid. It must be remembered that the scale on the range drum is graduated in metres, and not in yards. At close ranges no allowance need be made for this, but at the longer ranges it may be necessary to make a correction if the range has been ascertained in yards. It will be sufficiently accurate to subtract one-tenth of the range in yards in order to convert it into metres, e.g., range in yards 2,000; range in metres 2,000—200 = 1,800 metres. The telescopic sight must be treated carefully and protected from jolts, blows, or falls. The cap should be placed over the eyepiece when the sight is not being used.
TELESCOPIC S I G H T .

Fig. 3.

19

SECTION II.—The '08/' 15 (Light) German Machine Gun.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION. (See Plate II.) 1. Weight of gun (with 5 pints of water in barrel casing) ... ... .... Weight of bipod Weight of belt drum holder complete with i belt drum and filled belt ... Total weight ...

BH lbs. H lbs.
7 lbs. 43 lbs. lbs. ins. ins. ins.

Weight of belt drum with filled belt 4i Length over all 4 ft. 7 Length of butt 1 ft. 0 Height of axis above ground ... 11 The gun is fitted with a rifle sling. The gun is divided into two portions:— (a) The non-recoiling portions. (b) The recoiling portions.

How Operated. 2. It is recoil operated, and is worked by two forces—(a) The force of explosion, which forces the recoiling portions backwards, and (b) the fuzee spring, which carries them forward. THE 3. NON-RECOILING PORTIONS.

Barrel Casing consists of three parts:— . (a) The Front Gap which is screwed on to the body and carries the foresight block and the foresight. The barrel opening, which carries asbestos packing, is threaded to receive the muzzle attachment or a packing gland when the muzzle attachment is not in use. (b) The Body which is closed by steel caps front and rear. Underneath the body is a bracket to which the carrying sling is connected.

20

(c) The Bear Gap which is screwed to the body. Gn the left top side is a hole for filling purposes, closed by a screwed plug. On the right top side is a fitting to which the steam escape attachment is fitted. The steam escape attachment is of metal and is secured by means of lugs; it is locked by J turn. On the under side are projections into which the tripod mounting fits, in the centre of which an opening is bored to let out water. This opening is closed by a metal plug. Below the feed block on the right side it is fitted with a recess to take the belt drum holder. Below the feed block opening is the barrel way, and on the right side is a fitting to receive the ammunition. On the left side is a seating for the fuzee spring box and catch. The diameter of the barrel casing is 3 | inches, and its capacity about 5 pints. 4. Steam Tube.—Inside and running along the top of the barrel casing is a steam tube. It consists of a fixed tube and an outer tube termed the Slide Valve, so arranged as to slide freely over the fixed tube. The fixed tube has three holes, one near each end and one in the threaded portion in front, connected with the steam escape hole. ; It is retained in position by a keeper screw, which ensures that the third hole coincides with the steam escape hole. If the gun is elevated the valve slides backwards, closes up the hole at the rear end preventing the escape of water, but leaves the hole at the rear open to allow of the escape of steam. Vice versa if the gun is depressed. 5. The Belt Brum Holder is connected to the casing below the feed block and held in position by a spring catch, the belt drum being kept in position by flanges and supported at the base. 6. The Breech Casing consists of two side plates, a bottom plate, a cover, and a rear crosspiece. The breech casing is dovetailed into the rear extension of the barrel casing and secured by rivets'. The empty cases are ejected through an aperture in the front of the breech casing. The left plate is fitted with an undercut projection at the rear end to receive the fuzee spring box. Both plates are provided with slots'; these are partially closed by projections on the rear crosspiece. The slots are reinforced to take the crank bearings. On the inside of both sideplates are the cams and sideplate rests, as in the heavier type of machine gun. At the top rear end of the breech casing is fitted a lever catch actuated by a spiral spring.
21

7. Pistol Grip and Safety Catch.-—On the bottom, plate are the pistol grips and trigger guards to which a safety catch is pivoted on the left side. The safety cat'ch consists of a milled thumb-piece, which, on being pressed downwards, causes a projection to protrude behind the trigger, thus preventing the trigger from being pressed. 8. The Cover is hinged in front to the barrel casing and rests on the top of the breech casing. On the top is the backsight bed with springs and ramps. The backsight is of radial pattern sighted from 400 to 2,000 metres and adjusted by means of a slide with spring catch. At the rear end a cover lock fits over a projection and is held in position by means of a spring. On the under side of the cover are two springs, which act on the horns of the extractor, and. a blo'ck, which holds the lock down when in the backward position. 9. The Bottom Plate is riveted to the two outside plates and carries the pistol grip and trigger; the trigger is connected to the trigger bar, which lies along the inside bottom plate and is actuated by a spiral spring. Near the front left corner of the bottom plate two holes are bored to allow surplus oil and dirt to escape. 10. The Rear Crosspiece is hinged to the side plates at bottom by a joint pin and is recessed to receive the rear ends of side plates, so stiffening the breech casing. It is fitted at the rear end with a butt which is hollowed to carry an oil container. The butt is secured to the rear crosspiece by two screws. Towards the top of the rear crosspiece are twc projections which, when in position, partially close the slots in rear end of breech casing. The right projection carries a stud on which the check lever, roller, collar and split pin are fitted. The left projection carries an undercut lug to receive the rear end of the fuzee spring box. When closed, the rear crosspiece is secured by the cover catch at the top. A recess is cut through the butt for the carrying sling, and the shoulder-piece is milled and shaped to fit the shoulder. 11. Feed Block.—The feed block fits under the cover into a recess cut for it in the breech casing. It has a slide to which is attached a pawl and spring for the purpose of moving the cartridges from right to left; the slide has a transverse motion given to it by means of two levers which are fitted together at right angles; the top lever fits between projections on the slide, and on the bottom lever is a stud which engages in a recess in the prolongation of the left inside plate. By this means the slide is connected with the recoiling portions. It has two stationary pawls, both of which are on a bar, which is operated by a lever at the right rear end of the feed block.
22

These pawls are actuated by a coil spring. The pawls engage under the belt and prevent it slipping out of the feed block during firing. Inside, at the front end, is a spring to position the cartridges. At the rear end, and above the cartridge guides, is another spring which engages in the groove at the base of the cartridge. There are two stops inside, which prevent the cartridge from going too far to the left. NOTE.—Owing to the cover joint pin protruding, before the feed block can be taken out the slide withdrawing the bottom lever must be moved to the right. 12. The Dust Protector is of metal, and when in use covers the opening of the feed block on the right side. On the right top side of the feed block is a hole to receive the pin of the dust protector. When in use the pin presses through the dust protector and the recesses in the feed, block, being held in position by a plunger and spring.„ 13. Fuzee Spring Box.—On the left of the breech casing is a box which contains the Fuzee Spring, underneath the fore end of which is a catch actuated by a spiral spring, which must be pressed up before the box can be removed. _ The Fuzee Spring is a strong spiral spring, the rear end of which is connected to the fusee links by. means of a hook. The Fuzee Spring is attached to the fuzee spring box by means,of a long adjusting screw, which passes through the front end of the fuzee spring box and screws into a gunmetal bush. The strength of the spring is altered by means of a vice pin. On the outside of the box is a scale reading from 0 to 70. The best average setting is at 33. BALL FIRING ATTACHMENT AND FLASH OBSCURER. 14. The muzzle attachment consists of a steel cylinder which is connected to the barrel casing by a screwed thread. It is unnecessary to remove the muzzle attachment when changing the barrel. The action of the attachment is as follows:— As the gases escape from the barrel after the bullet, they are partially confined in the cylinder and strike back on to the muzzle, giving increased energy of recoil. The gases then escape through holes in the inner cylinder, thus causing the flash to be obscured by the outer cap.
23

15. The Belt Drum Carrier.—.The cartridge belt 'carrier is a semi-circular metal box and fits on the right side of the breech casing near the feed block. The belt (holding 100 cartridges) is wound around a drum, the holes in the brass tag engaging in projections on the 'spindle, which is wound from the outside, and is prevented from unwinding by means of a ratchet and spring v hen not in use. When firing, the handle which turns the drum must be raised at right angles to allow it to revolve freely. The top casing is hinged and secured by hooks actuated by a spiral spring. 16. The Mounting (bipod pattern) is of steel with double feet, and has two legs about 12 inches in length. It is attached to the gun by means of a circular band passing over the barrel casing and held in position by a thumb screw. The circular band is pivoted to permit the gun being traversed. RECOILING PORTIONS. The recoiling portions (which move inside the non-recoiling portions) consist of the barrel, two side plates, the lock, the crank, and everything the crank carries; i.e., crank handle, fuzee, etc. 17. The barrel is threaded at the muzzle to receive an outer muzzle casing which is keyed to hold it in position. The outer muzzle casing gives an enlarged diameter to the barrel, thereby giving it a greater bearing surface at the front end of the barrel casing. At the rear end "is a cannelure which when packed with asbestos prevents the escape of water at the rear end of the gun. In front of the barrel block is a gun-metal valve which prevents the escape of water when the barrel is at rest. The barrel block has two trunnions which engage in two bearings in the side plates. The inside side plates are each provided with holes or bearings to engage the trunnions on the barrel. The left inside plate is prolonged, and has a recess cut, in which the lower lever of the feed block works. Each side plate has a spring, which is called the side plate spring. This ensures the extractor being at its highest when the lock is fully home. Each side plate has guides in which the flanges of the lock move, which are enlarged at the rear end to act as crank stops; in addition each has a bearing through which the crank passes; these bearings move in slots in the breech casing. The crank is fitted with a 'connecting rod which is free to rotate on the crank pin; on the left, screwed into the crank, is the fuzee and links; on the right, fitted on to the crank shaft and secured by a screwed pin, is the crank handle, which has a curved arm and tail.
24

The connecting rod is attached to the crank by means of an axis pin, called the crank pin, and takes the lock by means of an interrupted screw, so connecting the lock and crank. The lock is attached to the connecting rod by the screwed head, and when in the firing position closes the breech. When in this position it is held by the side levers, the connecting rod, and the crank (which bears against the crank stops), which are all slightly above the horizontal, to prevent a premature opening of the breech. The lock has a reciprocating motion given to it by the rotation of the crank, and is kept in position during its backward and forward movements by the lock flanges working in the lock guides on the side plates, and when clear of the guides by the steel block underneath the cover. The extractor is moved upwards by means of the side and extractor levers, and when in its highest position is retained there by the side plate springs, so preventing the extractor from falling until the horns have engaged on the cams. The upward and downward movement of the extractor is regulated by guide ribs and stops. The top stop is part of the lock spring: the bottom stop is removable. On the face of the extractor are firing pin hole and extractor or spring. On either side of the latter, the extractor is cut away to facilitate the ejection of the 'cartridges. At the top are horns for engaging on the cams (inside the-breech casing). Inside the lock are the sear and spring, tumbler, firing pin, lock spring and trigger. The lock spring is positioned by an axis pin, which also acts as a keeper pin for the bracket on which the extractor levers work. * The gun is supplied with cartridges from a belt which is almost identical with the Vickers belts. ACTION OF MECHANISM. 18. To Load.—Pass the tag end of the belt through the feed block from the right, turn the crank handle as far forward as it will go, pull the belt to the left as far as it will go, and let go the crank handle. Eepeat these motions and the gun will be loaded and ready for firing. 19. To Unload.—Turn the crank handle forward as far as it will go, but without touching the belt, and let go the crank handle. Eepeat the motion. Remove the belt by pressing towards the gun the button on the rear end of the feed block and remove the belt. Eelease the lock spring by pressing the trigger and then pushing down the safety catch to " S."
25

20. To Fire.—Suppose the gun to be loaded: if the safety catch is drawn back to " P " and the trigger pressed, the gun will fire and continue to fire until the belt is empty or the trigger released. I n the latter case, there will always be two live rounds gripped in the extractor, one in the chamber and one in the feed blo'ck, so that the gun will fire again by simply pressing, the trigger. BACKWARD MOVEMENT OF T H E RECOILING PORTIONS. 21. Action on Recoil.—Suppose the gun to have just fired: the extractor will be gripping a live round in the feed block, and an empty case, which has just been fired, in the chamber; the force of explosion, assisted by the action of the muzzle attachment, forces the recoiling portions backward through a distance of about 1 inch, thereby causing the fuzee spring to be extended. 22. Action in the Feed Block.—As the recoiling portions move backward, the re'eess in the prolongation of the left side plate carries with it the stud on the bottom lever of the feed block. The bottom lever, which is at right angles to the top lever, causes the top lever slide and pawl to move from left to right, and the top pawl passes over and engages behind a fresh cartridge, which has up to now been held in place by the bottom pawls. As soon as the extractor reaches its highest position, the two side plate springs engage in slots in its side and so ensure the extra'ctor remaining at its highest until the horns engage on the cams. As*soon as the lock is right home, and the extractor at its highest, the screwed head rises slightly above the horizontal and lifts the tail of the sear, thereby disengaging the bent of the sear from the bent of the firing pin, which allows the lock spring to carry the firing pin slightly forward till the bent of the tumbler is engaged by the nose of the trigger. 23. Rotation of Crank.—The backward movement of the recoiling portions causes the curved arm of the crank handle to roll on the roller, which action rotates the crank. The rotation of the crank withdraws the lock, and causes the fuzee to wind the chain about itself, so causing a further extension of the fuzee spring. As the lock comes back, the extractor brings with it a live round from the feed block, and the empty case from the.chamber. The horns of the extractor engage upon the top surface of the cams and ride along t h e m until they get to the end, when they drop either by their own weight or assisted by the action of the cover springs. This places the live round opposite the chamber and the empty
26
,

case opposite the ejector tube. The live round is prevented from falling off the face of the extractor by the bottom projection of the gib, and the empty case by the extractor spring. When the lock is right back the lock flanges are clear of the lock guides and it is kept in position by the steel block on the underside of the cover. 24. Cocking Action of the Loch.—A's the lock comes back, the rotation of the crank gives a downward motion to the connecting rod and screwed head, the latter bearing on the tail of the tumbler, causing it to rotate on its axis; and as the head of the tumbler is engaged in a recess in the rear end of the firing pin, it causes the firing pin to be forced to the rear. The long arm of the lock spring is engaged in a recess in the front end of the firing pin, while the short arm bears against the upper part of the trigger, so that as the firing pin is drawn back the lock spring is compressed by the longer arm being drawn towards the short arm. As the tumbler rotates, the nose of the trigger is forced under the bent of the tumbler, but a continued motion of the tumbler forces the firing pin still further back until the bent of the sear is forced into the bent of the firing pin (the sear being actuated by the sear spring). The lock spring is now fully compressed and the firing pin prevented from flying forward. FORWARD MOVEMENT OF THE RECOILING PORTIONS. 25. Action of the Fuzee Spring.—"When the force of the recoil is spent, the fuzee spring, which is extended, comes into play, and carries the whole of the recoiling portions forward again. 26. Action in the Feed Block.—As the recoiling portions travel forward the recess in the prolongation of the left side plate carries forward the stud on the bottom lever. This causes the top lever, slide and pawl and fresh 'cartridges to move from right to left. . The fresh cartridge is placed in position in the face of the feed block, ready to be gripped by the extractor, and against the cartridge and bullet stops, whilst the groove of the cartridge is engaged by the spring on the undersurface of the top of the feed block. The belt as it passes to the left causes the bottom pawls to be depressed, which, when the cartridge has passed over them, rise behind it, so holding the belt in position when the first cartridge is withdrawn. 27. Rotation of Crank.—The fuzee spring, assisted by the rebound of the tail of the crank handle from the roller pulling on
27

the chain of the fuzee, causes t h e m to unwind from the fuzee; this rotates the fuzee, which causes the crank to rotate, which lifts up the connecting rod and screwed head. This causes the lock to move forward, placing the live round in the chamber, and the empty case in the ejector t u b e ; when the lock is almost home the extractor is forced upwards by the side levers bearing on the extractor levers, the extractor spring passes over the base of the empty case in the ejector tube, where it is held by the ejector tube spring until it is pushed out by t h e next empty case. The bottom projection of the gib passes over t h e base of the live round in the chamber. The cap of the cartridge is thus placed opposite the firing pin hole, and the fresh cartridge, which has been fed up into the feed block is engaged by the extractor, by the top projection of the gib passing over its base. FIRING ACTION.

28. First Shot.—If the safety 'catch is pulled back to " F " and the firing trigger pressed the trigger bar is slightly withdrawn, and the projection on it, engages and draws back the tail of the trigger. This releases the nose of the trigger from the bent of the tumbler, the lock spring carries the firing pin forward, thus firing the cartridge. 29. -Subsequent Shots.—If the pressure is maintained on the firing trigger, the trigger bar is held back, so that each time the lock goes- forward the tail of the trigger is tripped, which prevents the nose of the trigger from engaging under the bent of the tumbler. When the lock is right home, and the extractor at its highest, the screwed head rises above the horizontal, lifts the tail of the sear, disengages the bent of the sear from the bent of the firing pin, and as there is nothing further to prevent it, the lock spring carries the firing pin forward and explodes the charge. This continues as long as pressure is maintained on the firing button. The lifting of the sear is so timed that the firing pin cannot be released until the lock is in the firing position. 30. Cease Fire.—If the pressure on the firing trigger is released, the trigger bar is forced forward; therefore, when the lock goes forward the tail of the trigger is not tripped. W h e n t h e bent of the sear is released from the bent of the firing pin, the firing pin cannot go right forward, because the short arm of the lock spring forces the nose of the trigger under the bent of the tumbler.
28

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30

APPENDIX. ANTI-AIRCRAFT SIGHTS.

A similar pattern of anti-aircraft sight is used for both the heavy and the light German machine guns. It consists of a foresight and a backsight (see Figure 4). The foresight is constructed of two metal rings with vertical and horizontal cross wires, and is attached to the gun by means of a circular-hinged metal strap, registration being secured by the portion which fits over the foresight of the gun. The ba'cksight consists of a rectangular metal frame, divided down the centre by a thin strip. In the case of the heavy gun, this backsight is attached to the stem of the tangent sight, which must be raised and set at its lowest reading, i.e., 400 metres. For the light gun, however, the tangent sight must not be raised; the backsight is attached by simply passing it over the front end of the backsight on the gun, and sliding it to the rear, when a spring clip secures it in position. The method of use is as follows: — The outer ring is not used at all; aim is always taken using the inner ring on the foresight. The aeroplane must always appear to be flying towards the intersection of the cross wires (see Figure 4). Aim is taken over the V of the backsight, through the point on.the inner ring where the propeller of the aeroplane appears to cut it, on to the propeller of the aeroplane. The target will only come within the dispersion of the cone of fire when and so long as the propeller appears to cut the inner ring, and fire should be continuous as long as this is the case. If it is not possible to maintain this condition when firing, short bursts should be fired and a fresh aim taken between bursts, fire being opened dire'ctly the propeller of the aeroplane appears to cut the inner ring. If the target is flying approximately horizontally, and towards the gun, the lowest point of the inner ring should be used. If away from the gun, the highest point of the inner ring should be used. If the aeroplane is diving straight towards the gun, aim should be taken through the intersection of the cross wires.

31

A.A. F O R E S I G H T F O R G E R M A N MACHINE GUNS. [Slip-wing (diagramatically) correct and incorrect methods of aiming.]
CORRECT JV3_

CORRECT

Aim taken over here
O O

Alternative forms of A.A. Backsight for German Machine Guns. Fig. 4.

32

Plate I.
GERMAN (HEAVY) MACHINE GUN '08.

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. (a)

Barrel casing. Breech casing. Traversing handles. Feed block. Tangent sight, raised. Fuzee spring box. End of barrel. Sledge runner when front legs are folded back. (d) Securing catch for adjusting the height of front legs working in the slots cut in the curved plate.

(e) Bearings for vertical motion of the gun. (m) Front legs. (n) Pad resting on gunner's shoulder when mounting is carried by one man, (o) Box for spare lock. (_p) Box for lubricants and small spares. (q) Elevating gear handle and quick release catch, (r) Jambing handle for elevating gear. (s) Hinged joint, (t) Elevating gear link.

(u) Curved arm for elevating or depressing gun. (v) Traversing jambing handle. (w) Trunnion fixed on top of the barrel casing, allowing horizontal motion, of the gun. (x) Wing nut, securing the gun in the mounting.

Plate II.
GERMAN (LIGHT) MACHINE GUN 08/15.
Foresight

Afuzz/e detachment and f/asfi odscurer. f/tcfhp for attacning condenser GobeS^ Barrel casing feat/ block Tangent ^ ^ s s ^ S ^ F ^ s a J i v ^

^ ^
CranA nandle-£ \\\ Buct

"

\ \ / v\.
Trigger

\\Br3clcec for

/ Bipod

Safety c3^P^>^^\r^t

\}8f&S.f'isG0t grip ^-^

V
r^
Bipod

Prsto?

grip

S/ing

i_r
F
r
Spnng fTr'9.9er bar

Stamping on the li/zee spring box

\ j Triyge,

Muzzle attachment and flash obscurer Packing Barrel gland

Bracket /or belt bor

Position of belc bo*

Total weight (barrel casing filled) ... 43 lbs. Length over all ... ... 4' 7" Length of butt ... ... 1' 0" Height of axis of gun above ground... 11"

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