Category Archives: weapons

Ottoman Machine Gun Unit

Ottoman Machine Gunners in Gaza

Ottoman Machine Gunners in Gaza, 1917

 

Ottoman troops take up positions against the advancing British and their Arab allies in Gaza, 1917. Despite insurmountable short comings in logistics, supply and weaponry, the Ottoman Empire put up a good fight against the allied powers, even scoring some impressive victories.

Pictured below is a closeup of the machine gun crew. Note the heavy belt fed machine gun, which would have been extremely difficult to transport especially in the heat and terrain of the Middle East.

machine gun

Close up pf the machine gun

The Ottomans were able to hold the front in Sinai and Palestine until near the end of the war, when their resistance collapsed and the British entered Jerusalem.

Tool Kits and Uniforms of Austro Hungarian Soldiers

Here is a nice picture of a group of soldiers serving in the Austro Hungarian Army during World War 1, followed by closeups of the men in the picture to show greater detail of their weapons and uniforms.

austrian soldiers  world war 1

world war 1 medalThe man in the center, probably an officer, is wearing a medal on his uniform. He has a handgun tucked into his belt as well as two knives, one in his stockings and the other on his belt. In this type of warfare, you didn’t want to be caught without a weapon.

closeup of the soldiers on the right

Closeup of the Soldiers on the Right of the Photo

The two men on the right of the photo have an interesting assortment of tools and weapons attached to their belts. The man on the left also has a medal.

another closeup of the Austrian WW1 soldier

The second man on the left has two hand grenades attached to his belt as well as several tools.closeup of one of the soldiers on the left of the group photo

The man furthest on the left has a couple of tools on his belt including what looks like a wire cutter.

closup of the soldiers' tool belt

Above is a closeup of the tools and weapons attached to the belts of some of the soldiers. In addition to knives and grenades they both have what appears to be tools used to cut or bend barbed wire. This may have been used to install barbed wire or cut through enemy obstacles. I am not sure what the item shaped a bit like a rolling pin hanging a by a string is for.close up of the soldiers in the center of the group photoA closeup of the two Austrian soldiers in the top center of the picture. The man on the right has two medals on his uniform.

Maxim Machine Gun

Romanian Machine GunAbove is a photo of a Romanian Maxim machine gun on a horse drawn carriage, during the early part of World War 1. Machine Guns of this type were not much different from the maxim guns that had been first introduced in 1884 and therefore represented military technology that was nearly 30 years old. . Although they could lay down a relatively heavy fire (about 500 rounds per minute), they were large and cumbersome and needed to be dragged by horses. Also their size made it difficult if not impossible to use the terrain to protect the firing crew so that they were mostly used in open fields where they were effective against exposed infantry, but also were very vulnerable to enemy counter fire.

When Hiram Maxim invented his machine gun in the 1800s, its usefulness was immediately recognized by the United States and the European powers, who rushed to add it to their arsenals. However by the start of World War 1, the maxim gun was yesterday’s technology and both sides had invented much better tools for killing.

Nevertheless the maxim gun was still a common sight on the battlefields of Europe.

Maxim Gun Firing

 

Both sides including France and Germany had a number of these fairly obsolete machine guns in their arsenals at the start of the war, the major powers quickly equipped their soldiers with lighter and more mobile machine guns, which not only had a higher rate of fire but also a lower silhouette so that the machine gun crew stood a better chance of survival and could move their gun into a new position themselves rather than having to hitch it to a horse.

Despite the eventual obsolescence of the maxim gun, it continued to see service on the fringes of empire, in the colonies, and during the Russian Revolution, as well as in the proxy wars in China and elsewhere, well into the 20th century.

A famous propaganda poster from the Russian Revolution credits Lenin with heroically manning a maxim machine gun mounted on on a horse drawn cart, firing while being pursued by counter revolutionary White Russian forces.