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November 26, 2003

Maximizing the Maxim, Part VII - 2.

Good day, boys and girls! (Special handwave to Gunner and Sasa!) Two days ago we learned that the Sokolov Pulemyot Maxima, M1910, was HONKING HEAVY! And, as anyone who has ever schlepped a ruck, ammo, water, and weapon knows, troops don't like stuff that's heavy.

At all. So, in order to achieve that nearly 100 pound load for the gun, they took the thirty pound gun (with water) and put it on a 70 pound wheeled carriage.

Well, if you are going to expect the troops to lug that thing around (can you imagine doing that in woods? Marsh?) you better give them something to work with. In this case - a towing lunette. Run a rope through it and the crew can share the load. It is better than this approach, perhaps.

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It *is* a complicated versatile mount. The rear legs fold up underneath for easier stowage. The turntable allows left to right traverse. The whole upper mount slides forwards and backwards on the lower mount to allow a great range of movement to account for being in holes, or on high ground shooting down, or low ground having to shoot high. The original version of the mount had two more legs in front so that you could elevate is sufficiently to use it in an anti-aircraft role. More weight, more complexity, that feature was dropped during WWI. The wheels are made of wood, in the classic fashion of wagon wheel design.

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Getting a little closer, we better see the details of the elevation mechanism. Unlike the british Vickers gun, which also had a graduated dial on the mount for precision firing on known targets that either couldn't be seen or to engage multiple targets in an indirect fire mode, the Maxim has only a fine adjustment for elevation, to help gunners attack targets at long range by shooting at a pre-determined elevation. The big black handle was used to level the gun. The coarse thread screw was used for fine adjustment, and the elevation was read off the silver dial. The smaller lever on the upper mount is the release for moving the upper mount forwards or backwards on the rails of the lower mount.

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All right, boys and girls, that concludes our series on Max the Maxim and all his cool accessories. If you thought this was a long series, wait until I decide to tackle the Vickers!

All the parts of this series can be accessed here in the Gun Pics archives.