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Parabellum 1914/17: Germany’s Ultimate Aircraft Maxim

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The DWM company in Germany had a license on the Maxim gun design prior to World War One. They produced the rather old-fashioned MG08 for the German army, but also wanted to have a modernized type of gun for commercial sales. This was the Model 1913 Parabellum, with the design improved by Karl Heinemann. Like the Vickers, Heinemann’s improvement included inverting the lock to reduce the size of the receiver box. He also moved the mainspring inside the receiver and simplified the lock.

The gun was formally adopted by the German military as the Model 1914 for aircraft use. The water jacket of the original design was slotted like the lMG08 and it was used as a flexible observer’s gun. It had a rate of fire around 1000 rpm – much faster than the MG08 and 08/15, which definitely suited aerial use. An improved version was adopted as the 1914/17, with the barrel jacket reduced in diameter and a 3x telescopic sight fitted. This final version weighted just 22 pounds (10 kg).

After the war, production of the Parabellum simply ended. None of the guns were officially taken by the US as war reparations (unlike the MG08 and 08/15, which were Brough back to the US in large numbers) and all the different patterns (water-cooled 1913, air cooled 1914, and lightened 1914/17) are extremely scarce today. Many thanks to Limex for giving me access to film this one for you!

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