The longest-serving GPMG
Spotted in Ukraine near Chernihiv on Christmas Day: the ever-lasting Pulemyot Maxima PM1910.
On its tripod the machine gun became a nerveless weapon; the human factor of chattering teeth, dripping sweat, and feces in a man’s pants was eliminated. A terror-stricken man could fire his machine gun accurately even by night.
Set up in a sustained fire role with plenty of ammo, thickly greased moving internals, and water for the jacket, such a heavy machine gun can still be as effective in a strong point as it was in 1914– at least until the bunker catches a 125mm HE round from a T-72 or a lucky hit from an RPG or three.
Developed directly from the water-cooled Vickers (Maxim) 08 .303, the Russian-made variant by Pulitov had minor changes beyond its 7.62x54r chambering and sights graduated in arshins rather than yards (the latter something the Soviets would change to meters in the 1920s).
Fitted with a unique sled/two-wheeled shielded cart to a design by one Mr. Sokolov and often seen with an enlarged “snow” or “tractor” cap to the radiator, for obvious reasons, in all the Tsar and Soviets would make more than 175,000 PM1910s through 1945, leaving little wonder that they still pop up from time to time.
It has far outlived all of its water-cooled “Emma Gee” contemporaries, the Lewis Gun, assorted Vickers models, the various German Spandaus, and the M1917, all of which had been retired since the 1960s, even from reserve and third-world use.
With that, Jonathan Ferguson over at the Royal Armouries walks you through a PM1910 they have in the collection.