Dreyse Mg 1918 Action

In 1912 a new water-cooled machine gun. caliber 7.9-mm. was introduced to the German service. The weapon was called the Dreyse, in honor of Johann Nikolaus von Dreyse, the inventor of the German needle gun and founder of the arms factory so named. This mechanism was patented, by Louis Schmeisscr of Erfurt, Germany, in 1907 and all rights were assigned to Rheinische Mct-allwaren und Maschinenfabrik A.G. of Dur dorf. Although at first glance the gun appc .r: be but an improved Bergmann, basically it is different and there is no similarity in the mechanism. The main difference between the two is that the Bergmann lock rises vertically while the Schmeisscr (6v Dreyse) lock pivots.

The principal features found in the gun were the mechanical accelerator and a three-claw arrangement on the mainspring housing that withdrew the cartridges from the feed bell. The claws were positioned in a manner that made it practically impossible to have belted ammunition much out of alinement that one of the on would not pick it up and position it for chamber-in?'

The breech lock was known as the oscillating or pivoting type. It was pinned at the bottom of the barrel extension, swinging down for unlocking as the rear port ion rode up a ramp or recoil stroke. The addition of the accel gave a rate of fire of (ยป00 shots a minute.

The weapon, when it made its first appearance, uas looked upon as just another machine gun by German military leaders. Later the Dreyse, Models 1915 and 1918 were introduced as t^ possibilities of its design were better appreciate^ The Model 1915 did not perform successfully.. However the Model 1918 proved to be quite reliable.

The German Army, which had been committed to the Maxim, found that this heavy

weapon and its sled-shaped mount did not lend itself to the mobility that had bv this time been

found vitally necessary. A lightweight machine gun was needed that could be carried by a single soldier and was capable of delivering sustained fire so that relatively few men so armed could hold a position until reinforcement by the heavier Maxims was possible.

The Dreyse had been designed for just such a use. It could fire bursts of great duration since it was water cooled. It was the lightest gun of its type then known, weighing only 37 pounds with water jacket empty. The Germans had several light machine guns but the others were air cooled and the authorities thought much more highly i? O t

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