Friday, 6 December 2013

Reds: Maxim Gun

Another Copplestone Back of Beyond set - a Red Army Maxim Gun.

I watched a demonstration given of how one of these was used, well the Vickers-Maxim equivalent which was very similar except for water cooling.

They had a rate of fire of about ten rounds per second: the slow pop-pop-pop noise gives no indication of the actual bullet discharges.

You laid it on a bearing on the mount, lifted the safety lever and held down the trigger for a count of four seconds (forty rounds). Then you gave the side of the breech a firm slap with the heel of the hand which changed the bearing slightly by a degree or so and fired another four seconds and so on until you covered your arc whereupon you started back the other way. After an hour's continuous fire you changed the barrel. They almost never jammed.

The target zone would be 1,000 to 2,000 metres away, one hundred to five hundred metres was point blank range. This was an area fire weapon. It was not swung around and fired at individual targets like you see in the movies.

A dozen of these guns could stop a divisional sized attack. At the Somme German Maxims were hitting advancing British troops when they were still half a mile behind the British front line. At 2,000 metres the plunging fire came down into the trenches and bunkers.

Around 1.2 million men were casualties on the Somme and a further 0.9 million at the associated Battle of Verdun. Maxims caused at least one third of them. Artillery killed most of the rest.


  1. Replies
    1. It amazes me that no one asked what would happen when two European armies clashed where they both had Maxim guns.

  2. Nice post and nice looking figures!

  3. Whatever happens, we have got
    The Maxim gun, and they have not.

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