Encyclopedia - Spandau Gun

Spandau Gun The Spandau Gun - otherwise known as the Maxim LMG 08/15 and nicknamed "the Devil's paint brush' - was deployed by the German air service as a replacement for the Parabellum Gun.  The latter had not proved suitable for use with new Interrupter Gear, a device which enabled (initially German) pilots to forward fire machine guns through the aircraft's propeller blades.

Weighing 12kg - somewhat heavier than the Parabellum - the Spandau Gun, which was so misnamed by the Allies because it was exclusively produced at the German Spandau arsenal (and was a modified form of the widespread infantry MG08) - had a theoretical cyclic firing rate of 500 7.92mm rounds per minute.  Production of the gun increased rapidly throughout 1916 with some 23,000 produced by the armistice.

Key modifications over the Parabellum saw the removal of the stock, pistol grip and rear sight.  The gun's water jacket was perforated to facilitate air cooling; however later wartime models featured a purpose-designed air-cooling jacket.

In order to allow the pilot to fly the aircraft with one hand while operating the gun with the other, the cocking and reloading device (the 'Klingstrom') was incorporated onto the right side of the weapon.  Fed via a 550-round fabric belt a counter was attached to the rear of the gun so that the pilot was made aware of the status of ammunition supplies.

By 1918 German pilots flew with two Spandau guns in place on each aircraft.

Battle Police were military policemen deployed behind an attack to intercept stragglers.

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