German Light Machine Gun Models in World War I
The German high command earlv in World
War 1 realized the need lor a light companion arm lor the heavy, water-cooled machine gun that lacked mobility for modern offensive infantry tactics. True, they had the ideal weapon in ileinemann s Parabellum but this weapon was in stich demand by the air force that the thousands needed by the army were not available.
The (¿crinan ordnance department was also greatly concerned with producing the desired weapon as cheaply as possible with simplicity of design for easy mass production.
In early 1915 a conference was held and the best known German automatic arms designers were assigned the task of developing the proposed weapons. The Rheinische Metallwaren und Maschinenfabrik of Dusseldorf and the Bergmann Industrie Werke Abt. Waffenbau of Suhl were the companies selected for the undertaking. Rheitnnetall was to produce the light highly portable machine gun for infantry use, while the latter plant would develop an aircraft version especially adaptable for flexible mounting. II this should prove reliable, it would free thousands of Parabellums urgently needed for fixed installations.
Rheinmetall, which owned Louis Schmcisser's patents upon which the action of the Dreyse machine gun was constructed, attempted to solve the problem simply by modifying the already existing Dreyse Model 1912. The pans were lightened together with a little redesign and a n o c?
change in metal. The result, which used Schineis-
o ser's pivoting lock, was given the factory designation, Dreyse Machine Gun, Model 1915. The change in manufacturing procedure and, in particular, the poor selection of metal resulted in a bad showing by the weapon during subsequent tests. It was practically dropped as a project until 1918 when more pains in manufacture and a better choice of steel resulted in a reliable gun that became known as the Model 1918. I lowever the wai was too close to its end to draw
. 1 ' • ' Dreyse Machine Gun, Model lülo, 7.92 mrn.
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