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In WW1 the Germans were taken by surprise by the arrival of the tank, and were for a short time at a loss on how to take them out efficiently, artillery could do the trick, however since Germany virtually had no tanks of her own, if these could be disabled or the crews taken out, then they could be used for her forces, or as scrap metal for the war effort. 

The Germans were using the 7.92 "K" bullets which were armor piercing for a while to penetrate static armor plates for snipers and early tanks, but as the allies increased the armor thickness of the tanks this bullet was no longer effective against the tanks. So another solution was needed, the Mauser Company responded with the 13.2mm Tank Gewehr and began mass production at Oberndorf am Neckar in May 1918. Now at this point in history the Germans were not using the word "Panzer" for tanks, they simply used the allies name. 

The rifle itself was single shot bolt action rifle similar to the G98 model in action, just scaled up tremendously with some modifications such as 4 locking lugs on the bolt. The stock was fitted with a pistol grip as the rifle could not be fired in the manner of the smaller caliber rifles, simply due to the size. The rifle also had a detachable bipod, which helped stabilize the gun for firing. The bipod was traversable and could go in a complete circle. Early models of the bipod were tubular in nature, however most encountered today are the type used on the Mg 08/15, this modification simplified production as well. The gun had iron sights that went out to 500 meters, and was typically operated by a 2 man team, a gunner and the ammo carrier/spotter. The rifle had no sling attachments or a sling in general, it was simply carried over the shoulder in some fashion to were it did not wear out the shooter too much, but was mainly meant to be static. The rifle was 169.1 cm long and weighed 18.5 kg with the bipod, so it was not easy to get around. Roughly, about 16,000 were made during the war.

The gun fired an armour-piercing hardened steel cored 13.2 x 92mm (.525-inch) semi-rimmed cartridge, often simply called "13 mm". This gun was a stop gap measure, as this round was originally planned for a new, heavy Maxim MG.18 water-cooled machine gun, the Tank und Flieger (TuF) meaning for use against "tank and aircraft", which was under development and to be fielded in 1919. The rounds weighed 51.5 g (795 gn) with an initial velocity of 785 m/s (2,580 ft/s). The ammo could penetrate 22 mm of armor plate at 100 meters. 

This particular rifle is dated 1918, serial number 868, all matching parts. The barrel and parts of the receiver have the remains of white speckled paint which was used to help conceal the weapon as it was captured in a pillbox and brought back to the US by a member of company "L", 23rd Engineer Regiment. The 23rd Engineers began arriving in France of November 1917 and participated in the Saint Mihiel and the Meuse-Argonne offensives. This unit was also heavily involved in the post war clean up, involving repair and recovery of weapons, gear and equipment, and left in mid 1919. The rifle had the stock cut in two to facilitate ease of shipment home then was reassembled. Also included are some contemporary photos of the gun, the last one shows it mounted in a sponson of a tank. 

 

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Thanks, was on my wishlist for some time, not easy to track down. It is a beast to lug around by the way. Below are some other images from the web in regards to this gun.

13mm_T_Gewehr_1.jpg

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Mauser-1918-T-Gewehr-whiskey-wolf.tumblr.com_.jpg

TGewehr_diagram.jpg

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It reminds of the "Muskete" or "Wallbüchse" in earlier times. The Russians also used a similar weapon in WW2.

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Muskete / "Musketier", 30 year war period till barocque

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Arkebuse

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Wallbüchse - examples

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Zündnadelwallbüchse, System Doersch

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Breech of the Dreyse Zündnadelgewehr

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No, that is a picture I found in the Internet. I don't have such facilities or space.

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Here is a picture I found on the internet showing the 20 round pouch used for this Tankgewehr. These cloth bags were worn by the assistant gunner and fed to the gunner as needed. These bags are extremely rare. One sold recently for over $5000 with the ammo included. 

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Here is a reprinted photo from 1940, showing a trench emplacement for the tankgewehr, obviously not in a combat situation. More likely he is just posing with the rifle, as they normally operated in 2 man teams, and they would be wearing their helmets. But a nice detailed photo nonetheless. 

Tankgewehr1918 x (1).jpg

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Here is a really neat photo, showing the various methods of stopping armored vehicles. Note the soldiers wearing the 20 round pouches for the tank gewehr rifle, as well as the multi head grenades. The wooden boxes are mines, basically wood crates packed with explosives. 

Tankgewehr1918 x (60).jpg

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  • 3 months later...

Another image of a French soldier holding the T-Gewehr. 

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Another rare image of a German Soldier with the rifle, this one has an improvised sling. 

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I did learn recently that the designers of the T-Gewehr tried to modify/upgrade the rifle by adding a 5 round magazine, and a spring loaded butt plate, however none made it into production. Below is a picture I found on the internet showing this modification. 

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Found this image on the internet, rare view of the Tank Gewehr in action. Note the dust kick up from firing the gun. 

german_9-t-gewehr-training-against-a7vs-in-distance.jpg

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After the war, the treaty of Versailles banned Germany from making the Tank Gewehr, however many other countries were interested in the design, for example, the US used its basic design to make the .50 Cal round for the M2 Machine gun. The Soviets also improved upon the design, in 1941, they introduced a modified version which was chambered in 12.7mm and added a muzzle brake and new bipod, however it still closely resembled the WW1 version. A few hundred were made, supposedly in support of the defense of Moscow. 

mauser_t-gewehr_1918-7.jpg

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Yet another image of the weapon in action. The US 30th Infantry was one of a few US Divisions serving with the British in WW1, they wore US uniforms for the most part but had British rifles and field gear. 

p15012coll10_1840_medium.jpg

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That's rare beast and such a big weapon. It looks ahead of its time. Reminds of the Barrett M82 for its size if nothing else. Awesome piece of history you have there Gildwiller1918 👌

 

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Thanks you A.S., in many ways it was ahead of its time, and did influence a lot of large bore rifles. However it was only meant to be used as a stopgap measure until the newly designed (back then) MG 18 could get up and running, but the war ended before that could happen. The US experimented with the rifle and bullets a lot during and after the war, in which the .50 cal round was derived from. Many other countries also experimented and tested captured rifles, so it is not known how many survive today. 

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