The Parabellum MG 14 was a German adaptation of the MG 08 machine gun intended for use as a weapon mounted on aircraft. The weapon was designed by Karl Heinemann of Deutsche Waffen- und Munitionsfabriken AG in 1911 and produced from 1914 to 1918 by Deutsche Waffen- und Munitionsfabriken AG under their Parabellum brand.

History[edit | edit source]

The MG 14 was designed by Karl Heinemann of DWM in 1911 and was first produced in 1914 under their Parabellum brand as a lightweight gun which could be used on aircraft.[1] The MG 14 was used on an early version of the synchronization gear, designed by Anthony Fokker.[2] It would later find its use on two-seat aircraft or on Zeppelins; in the case of two-seat aircraft, the observer would use the MG 14 whereas the pilot would have a MG 08/15 stationed out in front. Those fitted on these aircraft were usually fitted on flexible mounts to take advantage of the weapon's light weight and high rate of fire.[2] Versions mounted in Zeppelins featured water cooling.

The MG 14 also saw use as an infantry weapon, although initially it was not given in significant numbers to troops. As the war progressed, MG 14s were a slightly more common sight in wars, with the weapons being retrofitted with bipods and similar implements for the purpose. Interrupter gear was later introduced to allow the weapons to fire through propeller blades, although the MG 14 was incapable of ready modification to use said gearing; nevertheless the MG 14 continued to see use, particularly by aircraft observers.[3]

Anecdotal reports claim that the MG 14 was less reliable than its contemporary, the Lewis gun.[3] The weapon was withdrawn from service after World War I.

Design Details[edit | edit source]

The MG 14 was a major refinement of the MG 08 machine gun, being significantly lightened from the MG 08 and featuring a new toggle mechanism which broke upwards as opposed to downwards on the MG 08. The weapon featured a differential action to speed up feeding of the ammunition. The weapon's action had the sear at the front, ideal for use with a synchronization gear. The weapon fed from 250-round cloth belts wound onto a spool located on the right side of the receiver. The various refinements by Heinemann made the MG 14 quite possibly the lightest variation of the MG 08.[1] Despite it essentially being a refined version of the MG 08, the MG 14 does not appear to share any parts commonality with the MG 08. Various versions were fitted with electromagnetic triggers.

Ammunition[edit | edit source]

The MG 14 used 7.92×57mm Mauser ammunition fed into 30mm 250-round cloth belts. These 30mm belts are known for being somewhat significant as their belts were also compatible with those on their fixed forward-firing guns.

Variants[edit | edit source]

MG 14/17

Improved version featuring mounting rail for scopes and the removal of the large barrel shroud. Often fitted with 3× telescopic sights. Sometimes fitted with bipods for ground use.[2]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 https://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USN/ref/MG/I/MG-4.html
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Williams, Anthony G. and Emmanuel Gustin. Flying Guns: World War I and its Aftermath 1914–32. Ramsbury, Wiltshire: Airlife, 2003.
  3. 3.0 3.1 https://www.firstworldwar.com/atoz/mgun_parabellum.htm
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