The grandfather of heavy calibre machine guns

Defense and Freedom has a very interesting post about the Tank und Flieger (TuF, tank and aircraft) machine gun. The first prototypes were introduced just before the end of WWI …

One of the few German development programs against this new problem was the development of the granddaddy of all heavy calibre machine guns: The Tank und Flieger (TuF, tank and aircraft) machine gun. It was basically an enlarged Maxim machine gun with a more powerful cartridge that offered the necessary penetration power to turn tanks into swiss cheese and it had the necessary external ballistic performance to serve as air defence in a good radius.

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • According to some documents I found at the Public Records Office in London, some 24 examples of the TuF were completed and issued to units, but probably didn’t have time to get into action. At the end of the war they were rapidly hidden to keep them from the Allies. Another source indicates that some 4,000 were in various stages of production.

    The 13x92SR cartridge is still surprisingly common in collectors’ circles considering how little use it saw (easily pocketable by troops as a souvenir, I guess). You can see it illustrated next to other anti-tank rifle cartridges in the Ammo Photo Gallery on my website, here: