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Aircraft Maxim Bits (LMG 08)


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Here are a couple of bits and pieces from a circa 1916-17 LMG 08/15 aircraft Maxim machine gun. I got these by luck in an old tin cigar box full of old mauser parts and for many years had no idea what they were. First off is part of the "Klingstrom" device. This mounted in front of the cocking handle on the side of the reciever and has a roller which the special cocking handle uses to load the belt when the gun is cocked. Therefore a jam can be cleared without the aviator having to pull the belt when cocking. Less than 10% of these guns have survived and these parts are very rare.

Dan Murphy

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This piece however makes the thread. This is the Fokker Interrupter Device. The arm (left) would be attached to a cable that was attached to the rear of the engine. When this spun, the gears would transfer the RPM 90 degrees to a cross shaped device hidden inside. When the cross shaped device was spinning it struck 4 ball bearings which made contact with the spring loaded plunger (right). Here the device is upside down.

Dan Murphy

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Here are the markings on the other side. "Rev III" stamped sideways, the serial number again and an intertwined "WM" or "MW" also stamped sideways. I could not get a better pic, sorry. Somewhere out there may be the gun that is missing these or this may be all that is left.

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Here is a photo of the inner workings. When the cross shaped piece is turning, the centrifugal force causes the ball bearings to be forced to the outer wall. When the ball bearing strikes the tip of the spring loaded plunger it forces it outward. The piece screwed to the plunger normally protruded up into the receiver (this one is broken) and when the plunger moved back this piece would come in contact with the front of the trigger bar and prevent the gun from firing for a split second. It is very difficult to explain and perhaps understand, but all of this would have taken place several times a second.

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No Maxim people here? OK. For those of you that are not familiar with aircraft maxims (Luft Maschinengewehr 08/15), Here is a photo of the right side of one. This one has a newer style pivoted klingstrom device (which is turned 180 degrees in the wrong direction for the gun to operate). When the cocking handle was operated, the attached piece would come into contact with the roller and would force the recoil mechanism to its rearmost position. The recoil mechanism is connected to the feedblock and advances the belt every time it is at full recoil. The pilot could therefore clear a round that failed to fire, advance the belt and load a new cartridge to resume firing. And all with one hand.

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