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  • Machine gun with bellows

    This German MG 08 has mysterious bellows attached to the cooling jacket. Ever seen anything like this? Is the bellows something they pump to drive cooling air into the jacket? I've seen water cans attached to the jacket but never anything like this.

    Last edited by MonsterZero; 16 Nov 07, 21:15.

    "Artillery adds dignity to what would otherwise be a ugly brawl."
    --Frederick II, King of Prussia

  • #2
    Looks like it could be armor plate

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    • #3
      No, look at the sack in the lower right corner. It looks like an accordion.

      "Artillery adds dignity to what would otherwise be a ugly brawl."
      --Frederick II, King of Prussia

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      • #4
        Maybe it is a collapsible water condenser? No way that is a pump! My thoughts were you added water to the water jacket around the barrel and the steam went into a radiator to condense back down into usable water.

        The only time I have ever seen the water being replaced was when I watched a British movie (David Niven, maybe) where the condenser was hit and the MG gunners were refilling the water jacket with spirits of some kind. That was highly imaginative of the writer as I doubt any real soldiers would give up a bottle of vino for such purposes.

        Pruitt
        Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

        Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

        by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Pruitt View Post
          That was highly imaginative of the writer as I doubt any real soldiers would give up a bottle of vino for such purposes.
          You would if your [email protected]# was on the line and about to be blown off, LOL.

          But i do agree with you, that looks like a collapsable water container. Ingenious if you ask me. Anything to lighten the load of having to carry that monster around.
          http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/d...200pixwide.jpg

          Kampfgruppe - A Wargaming Clan Since 1998

          NorbertSnyderJr.com

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          • #6
            I wasn't paying attention to the question. Yes it looks like one of the collapsable water cantainers you see for sale in The Sportsmans Guide.

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            • #7
              Thats probably the air cooled MG08/18, Apparently they removed the water jacket and replaced it with a simple metal sleeve, So yeah, Its probably a air bellow.

              All the other photos I've seen of the MG08 had a Vickers style water jacket.

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              • #8
                I'm equally curious about the optical sight on the gun. Knew they had these, bu have never accquired any details. Where they commonly used, or was it a extra that the crews usually packed away? What magnification was it? Is the round knob on the upper left for setting range, or adjusting focus? Can it easily be adjusted in the horizontal plane to compensate for a cross wind? Where there sight lines in the reticule & how were they laid out?

                Any experts?

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                • #9
                  Most of the sights I have seen are the old "iron sights" that popped up, kind of similar to what you would find on a Mauser or Enfield. If you wanted to hit something over say 200 yards away, it would behoove you to use them! The beaten path of a Machinegun is such I doubt you would have to worry much about windage. Vickers were used for indirect fire in World War 1 to isolate sections of enemy trenches. Useful in trench raids! The only optical sights I have seen are on German MG-34 and 42 types and not all had them.

                  Pruitt
                  Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

                  Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

                  by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

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                  • #10
                    It's an MG 08 with trench armour around the water jacket to help stop damage to it.. The collapsable canvas water container is just that, a collapsable water container.
                    Once you have flown a Spitfire, it spoils you for all other fighters. Every other aircraft seems imperfect in one way or another.
                    LT Colonel William R Dunn. USAAF

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                    • #11
                      It's a condenser-cum-water can. Steam escapes from the water cooling jacket around the barrel, down the tube to the bellows. Steam condenses as it cools into water. The condensed water than can be used to top up the water cooling jacket again.

                      The Vickers used a similar system, except that it used a metal can.

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                      • #12
                        Correct all. The MG08's condenser line ran into a metal bucket or, in this case, a canvas bag. This is definitely not air-cooled - although the Spandau-manufactured MG08s used on aircraft were generally air cooled.

                        Re the movie scene, agreed that it's unlikely a German or Tommy would sacrifice his bottle of wine to cool a weapon, especially if the jacket had been hit and thus leaked freely (a very vulnerable spot for the 08 and the Vickers) - more likely he would donate the wine after running it through his kidneys first.

                        The sight is a Zeiss (I think a Zf.12). Not sure of the magnification - I have one, and I think it's about four power. It has a triangular reticle and is not a bad sight. The iron ones, as indicated, are pop-ups sort of like the off-mounted sights on a Bren or Vickers.

                        Note also the small boxes on the 08's sledge mount for holding extra locks and other small parts. IIRC, that's also a spare barrel you see running parallel to the center piece behind the elevation mechanism. Also note the pads atop the rear legs and behind the front legs - the ones on the rear were knee pads for the gunner if I remember correctly, and the pads behind the front legs were for the unfortunate who had to tote the sledge mount on march.
                        Last edited by Jon Jordan; 19 Nov 07, 05:35.
                        "There are only two professions in the world in which the amateur excels the professional. One, military strategy, and, two, prostitution."
                        -- Maj. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower

                        (Avatar: Commodore Edwin Ward Moore, Republic of Texas Navy)

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
                          I'm equally curious about the optical sight on the gun. Knew they had these, bu have never accquired any details. Where they commonly used, or was it a extra that the crews usually packed away? What magnification was it? Is the round knob on the upper left for setting range, or adjusting focus? Can it easily be adjusted in the horizontal plane to compensate for a cross wind? Where there sight lines in the reticule & how were they laid out?

                          Any experts?
                          Not an expert, but mine's labeled "Z.F. 12," this one made by Emil Busch AG in Rathenow. The large dial is an elevation wheel that runs from 400 to 2000 meters. The sight itself has no windage adjustment, which is a curious thing given the long-range precision the weapon was supposed to have, particularly in making "beaten zones" behind the front lines. The reticle is a pyramid-shaped wire. If you look closely at the picture, you can see the short canvas line hanging down to a small cap used to cover the front optic (the cap is hanging just below the top of the mainspring cover).
                          "There are only two professions in the world in which the amateur excels the professional. One, military strategy, and, two, prostitution."
                          -- Maj. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower

                          (Avatar: Commodore Edwin Ward Moore, Republic of Texas Navy)

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                          • #14
                            I understand a water cooled MG, while clumsy and heavy, could fire pretty much an entire day without harmful overheating. All the troops needed to do was bring up more ammo. I know about the condenser idea whose purpose was to recover as much water as possible for reuse which was probably highly important in desert conditions when 8th Army fought Rommel in Africa.

                            "Artillery adds dignity to what would otherwise be a ugly brawl."
                            --Frederick II, King of Prussia

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                            • #15
                              That's my understanding - pretty much all a Vickers or Maxim needed was water, ammo, and spare barrels (I believe you could go around 2500 rounds before the barrel had to be changed out, a tricky thing to do because you'd have to drain the water jacket first and make sure the asbestos thread was correctly wound around the barrel threads when putting in the new barrel.

                              And, of course, the springs, lock and feeder paws had to be in good shape, and the belts had to be properly loaded and feeding at appropriate angles at all times. Not like the movies, when everything works flawlessly.
                              "There are only two professions in the world in which the amateur excels the professional. One, military strategy, and, two, prostitution."
                              -- Maj. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower

                              (Avatar: Commodore Edwin Ward Moore, Republic of Texas Navy)

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