Maxim MG08/15 Light Machine Gun : Lieutenant P V Storkey, 19 Battalion, AIF

Place Europe: France, Picardie, Somme, Amiens Harbonnieres Area, Villers-Bretonneux Area, Hangard Wood
Accession Number RELAWM00774.001
Collection type Technology
Object type Firearm
Physical description Metal
Place made Germany
Date made 1917
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

The MG 08/15 Maxim machine gun is a short recoil operated, water cooled, full automatic, belt fed weapon. The operating system uses a two part toggle lock connected by a hinge which is located between the breech block and a barrel extension. The entire barrel extension and breech block recoil inside receiver against the tension of a spring located under the separate cover outside of the left receiver wall. The cocking handle is located on the rear axis of the toggle lock and serves as both an unlocking member and a breech block accelerator. The MG08/15 is usually attached to a bipod. The Maxim gun fires from closed bolt toggle lock action. The feed system uses non disintegrating belts, made from cloth or tarpaulin, with metallic struts. Feed was from the right side only and was accomplished through the horizontally pivoting pin / levers system by the recoiling barrel group. The top cover plate is stamped with the serial number, M.G.08/15 M.A.N. NURNBERG 1917.

A bullet has hit the muzzle compensator and put a hole in the front water jacket which has exited out of the side. On the left side of the action is D1592 in yellow paint and on the water jacket side is C4899. The weapon has a feed block and an ammunition box bracket but is missing the butt and breech block mechanism. The trigger group is RELAWM00774.002

History / Summary

This gun was captured by a small party of the 19th Battalion under the command of Lieutenant Percy Valentine Storkey during the attack on Hangard Wood on April 17 1918. For his conduct during the fighting, Storkey was awarded the Victoria Cross.

Storkey's VC citation describes the action and the capture of the gun:

'For most conspicuous bravery, leadership and devotion to duty when in charge of a platoon in attack. On emerging from the wood the enemy trench line was encountered and Lieutenant Storkey found himself with six men. While continuing his move forward a large enemy party - about 80 to 100 strong - armed with several machine guns, was noticed to be holding up the advance of the troops on the right. Lieutenant Storkey immediately decided to attack this party from the flank and rear, and while moving forward in the attack was joined by Lieutenant Lipscomb and four men. Under the leadership of Lieutenant Storkey, this small party of two officers and ten other ranks charged the enemy position with fixed bayonets, driving the enemy out, killing and wounding about thirty, and capturing three officers and fifty men, also one machine gun. The splendid courage shown by this officer in quickly deciding his course of action, and his skilful method of attacking against such great odds, removed a dangerous obstacle to the advance of the troops on the right, and inspired the remainder of our small party with the utmost confidence when advancing to the objective line.'