Tag Archives: Pulemyot Maxima Sokolov Model of 1910

Maximum Maxims

The Russians have long been in love with the Maxim gun. One of the largest early users of the Gatling, but then moved to upgrade to belt-fed water-cooled Maxims in 1899, later contracting with Vickers in 1902 to manufacture the design in Russia, which led to the easily identifiable PM M1910 with its “Sokolov” shield.

I give you: Pulemyot Maxima

Made in quantity, the gun was present in Port Arthur and with Gen. Kuropatkin’s forces in Manchuria during the Russo-Japanese War, then in WWI (where the Russian Army actually started the conflict with some 4,000 machine guns of all type, a fact not commonly known).

The Russians and later Soviets used them in armored trains:

Maxims inside Russian armored train

From motorcycles:

 

Tsarist Russian soldiers with bike-mounted Maxim

In anti-aircraft mounts:

Maxim P1910 Sokolov on AAA anti-aircraft mounting Red Army, 1936

From Tachanka gun carts, a practice honed in the Russian Civil War.

Russian tachanka horse-drawn machine gun cart 1941 Tehran, Iran

The M1910 continued to see much service through WWII and then was shuffled to the reserve and given away as military aid.

A popular mounting was in Russian naval service:

Soviet navy with GAZ-AA 1931 model, a quad AA machine gun Maxim

Soviet GAZ-AA navy mount composed of four 7,62 mm maxim served by Sgt. D. Janowski aboard an armored train

A GAZ-AA quad Maxim in propaganda art. “Meet enemy planes with a shower of fire from the ground !”

However, the Russians never threw anything away and lots of Maxims have been pressed into service in the Ukraine, where they no doubt still work just as well as they did at Port Arthur.

Ukrainian soldier mans an M1910 Maxim gun at a checkpoint on the road leading to separatist-controlled Yasynuvata, Donbass.

Twin-linked Maxim guns, with red dot sight, Ukrainian Conflict.

 

The M1910 Maxim Sokolov Machine Gun: The gun wheeled around the world

At first glance, it seems like something from a steam punk fantasy. With more parts in common with an early automobile than a modern machine gun, the Russian M1910 Maxim Sokolov variant represents a thought process from a very different age. But what make this gun truly amazing is that while the technology of its day is long gone, it is not uncommon to find this hearty century-old gun still in service on the battlefields of today.

Today we are used to driving from place to place over nice paved roads in automobiles that have computers in them to keep them from driving too far over 100mph. Back in the 1900s, roads from city to city were made of dirt that turned to thick mud in the rain; even in the industrial United States, there was no such thing as asphalt. In 1903, it took an epic 63 days to cross the US from coast to coast by automobile—the roads in 1903 Russia were far worse. The primary means of transport for the Tsar of Russia’s 15 million man Imperial Army was by the soles of their boots.

With the heavy water-cooled Maxim guns issued to them weighing in at 60 kilos, even the strongest Ivans found it a tough hump. With this in mind, the Tsars machine gunners got a set of wheels.

The 1910 Maxim going for a drag

The 1910 Maxim going for a drag

Invented by the American-born British inventor Sir Hiram Maxim in 1889, the machinegun that bears his name was the worldwide standard for automatic weapons by 1900. The militaries of Germany, Great Britain, as well as the US Navy among others had it in regular service. When the Russians adopted it, they greatly simplified the design to make it as soldier proof as possible. With the adoption of the short-wheeled mount and a steel plate shield to protect the gunner, the gun became known as the Pulemyot Maxima Sokolov Model of 1910, or simply PM 1910.

Read the rest in my column at GUNS.com