Captured Turkish Maxim Model 1909 machine gun (Lone Pine) : 3 Battalion, AIF

Place Middle East: Ottoman Empire, Turkey, Dardanelles, Gallipoli, Anzac Area (Gallipoli), Lone Pine Area, Lone Pine
Accession Number RELAWM03859.001
Collection type Technology
Object type Firearm
Physical description Bronze, Steel, Wood
Location Main Bld: First World War Gallery: The Anzac Story: Gallipoli: Lone Pine
Maker DWM, Berlin
Place made Germany
Date made c 1909
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

The Maxim Model 1909 machine gun is a commercial contract weapon produced for Turkey before the outbreak of the First World War. The gun was developed by Deutsche Waffen und Munitionsfabriken (DWM) to modernise the MG08 machine gun and make it compete more effectively with the Vickers machine gun. The gun is characterised by being lighter than the MG08 machine gun. It also featured a new muzzle booster of simpler design and also a lightened tripod.

This particular gun is badly corroded, having been on external display for decades. The gun was painted for external display and remnants of this paint are attached to the exterior. It is equipped with a Model 1909 tripod (see RELAWM03859.002) and a two-part shield (see RELAWM03859.003 and .004). The top of the water jacket is engraved with the Sultan's 'toughra' or seal.

History / Summary

This Maxim Model 1909 Machine Gun was one of two captured by 3 Battalion during their 6 August 1915 attack on the Turkish positions at Lone Pine. The Battalion's war diary for that day notes that 'at night we hung on to the trenches taken against vigorous counter-attacks and heavy bombing.' The diary entry for 7 August states: 'Our casualties were heavy and we confidently expect that theirs were the same. About 70 prisoners and two machine guns were captured the previous night one of which is in action against the enemy. Both our own M/guns were put out of action during the day by enemy m/guns on Johnstone's Jolly.' It is likely the captured machine guns originally belonged to the Turkish 47th Regiment who were defending the Lone Pine position at the time of the initial Australian attack.
After holding the trenches gained, and successfully opposing a number of counter attacks, 3 Battalion was relieved by 1 Battalion at 10:00am on 9 August, having lost 21 officers and 579 men killed, wounded and missing in just over three days.
The fact that this machine gun was retained and removed from the Peninsula after the campaign makes it likely that it was a working gun. An intriguing entry in 3 Battalion's war diary for 18 December 1915 seems to confirm this: 'About 16:30 word was received that ANZAC would be evacuated tonight and tomorrow night. ... At 1800 the Turkish Machine Gun and Crew of 6 men left the line for embarkation.' This entry implies a special team had been formed to operate the captured gun. This is confirmed by a statement made in the battalion's unit history ('Randwick to Hargicourt', p 122) which states that the gun was captured at Lone Pine 'and since used by the battalion'.
Of its later employment, a clue may again be offered in the battalion war diary for March 1916, when 3 Battalion was based and training in Serapeum, Egypt: 'on the 12th [March], the battalion Maxim gun section, consisting of two officers (Lieuts A.L Hewish and D.V. Mulholland) and 31 other ranks, together with the guns, were transferred to help form the 1st Brigade Machine Gun Company. In its place the battalion formed a Lewis gun section.'