Third Party Press

1918 Mauser Tankgewehr

chrisftk

Senior Member
Hi all,

This was one of my bucket list rifles. A couple pop up every year and timing and price were right. As many of you know these were chambered in 13.2mm TuF (Tank und flieger) and were manufactured in mid 1918 through the end of the war. While they could technically pierce armor in certain instances, they did not produce any game-changing impact.

The first incarnation of this rifle was the "Kurz", a heavier model with a short and thick barrel. Ultimately, sufficient results were obtained with a longer, thinner barrel. The kurz was only produced through SN 281 or so. Subsequent production was standard configuration

I've been keeping track of these and will be posting my serial # study in the near future. This is rifle #5938 and is in pretty great shape. The features are all text book based on my research. Total production was around 15000 units, but I have not seen much higher than 8000ish in my survey. I'm assuming much of later production never reached the field and was destroyed postwar.

The stock is a 2-piece Elm (Rüster-- hence the "R" on the stock), which is very typical after the first 200 or so rifles (which have single piece walnut furniture) Elm doesn't seem to hold stamps well, so these are rather crisp compared to many.

The rifle matches except for the bolt, which matches itself-and rather close in SN proximity . The bolt body SN is very faint. And appears to have been cleaned long ago. The bolt is simply massive, though the cocking piece and safety are close in size to a Gew 98.

The bipod is the MG08/15 type. (One of two correct variants) there is a trademark stamped below the bipod. In my sampling there is around a 50/50 mix between this and the tubular style bipod with large feet. Initially the MG08/15 bipod was used exclusively, but in muddy conditions, the small spikes and feet caused the rifle to sink under its weight, necessitating a design change.

The take-down of this rifle is quite involved, much more so than standard 98 Mauser. I took extra time to photograph it in detail, as nice studies of these do not typically exist.

As a sidebar, this exact rifle was featured on Forgotten Weapons earlier this month. The two models were compared. Didn't realize when I bought and not like it adds anything, but still neat to see it. Lol

Here is some data:

Receiver: 5938
Barrel: 5938 (on barrel and in front of rear sight) marked KK in front of band
Bolt body: m/m
Bolt shroud: m/m
Cocking piece: m/m
Safety: m/m
Firing pin: m/m
Stock: 5938
Barrel band: 5938
Triggerguard: 5938
Front guard screw: 38
Rear guard screw: 38
Front sight: 38
Rear sight leaf: 938
Bolt release: 5938
Bottom of rear sight: 38
Trigger: 38
Bipod: Stamped, green paint. MG08/15 style. Unnumbered.



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Battle

Senior Member
That is awesome! :thumbsup:

Seeing the comparison between the two bolts really shows how massive the Tankgewehr is. Great photos!
 

cj556

Senior Member
Congrats Chris. I’m glad you were able to cross this one off your list. Big accomplishment. Very nice example of a standard Tank Gewehr. I’m looking forward to any info we can glean from these.
 

Slash

Moderator
Staff member
Great rifle Chris and well done with the detailed photo spread. Good reference. I am a student of these rifles as well and have researched for some time. Personally, I feel that only the heavy tubular machined bipod is correct. From my observations more rifles are observed with the MG08/15 stamped bipod. As noted, somewhere in the area of 15.000 Tankgewehr produced while a significantly larger quantity of MG08/15 were manufactured. The MG08/15 bipods was manufactured in much higher numbers making them easier to locate than the correct tubular type. Over the years I've seen far less of the tubular bipods offered than the stamped MG08/15 version. There are period photos of the Tankgewehr mounted on the MG08/15 bipod although some are of captured weapons which could have been fitted with whatever bipod was readily at hand. Again, great rifle.
 

Slash

Moderator
Staff member
An additional size comparison that might be of interest. Original Tankgewehr rounds are quite scarce and highly collectable as well .....
 

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chrisftk

Senior Member
Great rifle Chris and well done with the detailed photo spread. Good reference. I am a student of these rifles as well and have researched for some time. Personally, I feel that only the heavy tubular machined bipod is correct. From my observations more rifles are observed with the MG08/15 stamped bipod. As noted, somewhere in the area of 15.000 Tankgewehr produced while a significantly larger quantity of MG08/15 were manufactured. The MG08/15 bipods was manufactured in much higher numbers making them easier to locate than the correct tubular type. Over the years I've seen far less of the tubular bipods offered than the stamped MG08/15 version. There are period photos of the Tankgewehr mounted on the MG08/15 bipod although some are of captured weapons which could have been fitted with whatever bipod was readily at hand. Again, great rifle.

Thanks Lance, they are certainly interesting, as well as ridiculous to handle. The bolt is surprisingly smooth to operate.

On the Bipods, I'd agree the tubular is specific to the model and is a much better design (and is "beefier" so makes a great display). I do think it was introduced after the rifle though, so not as easy to find as I'm sure fewer than 15,000 of them were produced. Lots of rifles, to your point, captured without bipods too. I've seen enough photos of both types in German use (and even heard of bipod-less firing from the top of a trench), that I'm not disappointed about the type I have. I've even seen a couple of MG08/15s for sale with the t-gewehr style bipod. I'm sure plenty of swapping occured during and post war too, so it clouds things even more.

Again, thanks as always Lance. Knowing you are into these let's talk offline- I'd be curious to hear your thoughts on a few things.

Sent from my XT1635-01 using Tapatalk
 

chrisftk

Senior Member
An additional size comparison that might be of interest. Original Tankgewehr rounds are quite scarce and highly collectable as well .....
I was just about to take a couple pics of the same. I've got an unstruck round on my desk. Great minds think alike!

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PrayingMantis

Senior Member
So glad you got your hands on one of these, Chris! The photos really help the reference thread, thanks for the detailed study.
 

feldmütze

Senior Member
What a beast! Congrats on the pickup. I'll assume you wont be attempting to shoot it with that m/m bolt, lol
 

chrisftk

Senior Member
What a beast! Congrats on the pickup. I'll assume you wont be attempting to shoot it with that m/m bolt, lol
Thanks Mike! No, shooting it is not in my immediate future. The original 13.2mm TuF is worth its weight in gold and it'll take some doing to make new ammo.....and that's before even inspecting for fit and functionality for the rifle to feel comfortable with shooting a higher dollar piece like this. This may just join my G41m as a fancy eye candy.



Sent from my XT1635-01 using Tapatalk
 

sprat

Senior Member
Nice rifle I remember reading about these years ago never saw one. I would not shoot it either, notice the two piece stock

I would definitely get a few original rounds
 

Fal Grunt

Senior Member
Wow! Wonderful rifle. One of my wish list items that sadly will likely just remain a WISH.

Thanks so much for sharing!
 

Fal Grunt

Senior Member
If I remember right, Speed noted that the remaining inventory was hidden away by Mauser and can be seen in inventory lists into the 20’s and 30’s. I think that is in the Archive book.
 

Loewe

Moderator²
Staff member
Quite a find! I didn't have this recorded which is a big plus! Rare too is the thorough examination.

You have to be a stout young man to handle one of these bastards... regarding their effectiveness, I wrote about these about a decade ago, generally using AEF intelligence summaries and period comments. They were very effective if used properly and things were prepared to utilize them, but artillery was the main weapon too deal with tank concentrations. I will see if I can post a few pictures tomorrow from the summaries, they were a common topic when they first came out, the French, English and AEF did experiments with them, testing their effectiveness.

Some early encountered detailed - one Bavarian encounter.
 

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