fitted with recoil intensifier, flash hider and flash shield, optical sight bracket affixed to left of receiver, remains of camouflage paint on water jacket
The standard German machine-gun of the First World War, the MG08 was a water-cooled weapon employing the Maxim system of operation (see FIR 8095).
The German Army was well equipped with machine-guns and accorded its machine-gunners an elite status. Sophisticated optical sights for the guns were issued as standard. However, the actual design of the MG08 was inferior to that of the British Vickers Gun (see FIR 8032), being heavier and more difficult to repair in the field. It was also fired from a heavy four-legged "sledge" mount. This mount frequently proved difficult to use in the trenches and a wide variety of extemporized "trench mounts" were produced. These mounts put MG08 gunners at a disadvantage, as they precluded the use barrage, indirect or overhead fire.
This particular gun was one of 17 captured by the 1st Battalion, Essex Regiment on 20 November 1917, during the advance on Masnières in the opening phase of the Battle of Cambrai.
1-3. stamped in cartouche on fusee spring cover
4. stamped on top cover