Mystery German WW1 Sub Machine Gun

YouTube user JManTime posted up a video on a very unique firearm from WW1 that I would contend that our own Ian from Forgotten Weapons would not know its provenance. The design is a mechanical marvel, if only for the complexity and sheer number of parts that go into the design.

The firearm is housed at the Tula State University Museum in Russia, which only recently released the photographs of the firearm. Full video below from JMan, but it includes some insightful commentary on the design, features, and likely intended usage of the firearm.

Thanks, Miles!

Description from the video:

Published on Aug 20, 2014

Forgotten German World War 1 Submachine Guns

In 2014 the Tula State University museum in Russia released photo’s of a Mystery German submachine Gun from World War 1. It might have been captured by Russian Forces during the war. During World War 1, the imperial German military designed at least 7 Submachine Gun prototypes, with the Bergmann MP-18 being the only one adopted by the military in 1918. This Submachine gun seems to be based on both the MG 08/15 and the Danish Madsen machine guns. No one knows how this weapon ended up in Russia, but it could have been captured during the Romanian Campaign of 1916 – 1918, but that’s just a guess.

Sources –……

Book – G. de Vries, BJ Martens: The MP 38, 40, 40/1 and 41 Submachine gun, Propaganda Photos Series, Volume 2, Special Interest Publicaties BV, Arnhem, The Netherlands.First Edition 2001


Nathan S

One of TFB’s resident Jarheads, Nathan now works within the firearms industry. A consecutive Marine rifle and pistol expert, he enjoys local 3-gun, NFA, gunsmithing, MSR’s, & high-speed gear. Nathan has traveled to over 30 countries working with US DoD & foreign MoDs.

The above post is my opinion and does not reflect the views of any company or organization.


  • Tassiebush

    What a fascinating design. The feed mechanism is particularly interesting in this configuration.

  • Sianmink

    It looks like it has some similarities to the Maxim design which I guess isn’t surprising, of course adapted to a pistol cartridge. The swivel seems to imply it was intended as a light emplacement gun. that feed is ridiculous.

    • Dolf Goldsmith’s book on the Maxim MG shows a scale model fabricated in 7.63x25mm Mauser.

    • Kolibri

      That swivel made me think aviation, something that could be used on a WW1 plane and taken down when not needed (?)

  • Salami

    Tbh it seems fake. Not sure why but just got that feeling.

  • DIR911911 .

    it was steampunk before there even was steampunk

    • marathag

      More of a Dieselpunk vibe to me.

  • mosinman

    yup you can definitely tell it’s german

  • C

    Ian mentions it in his lecture on the history of clips and magazines. I believe he said that the Russians don’t even know where it came from.

  • Glenn

    It’s a broom handle smg ! How old was Paul Mauser in 1818 ?

  • Tassiebush

    Leave it alone you bully! I’d let it into my sleeping bag…

    • Then you, my friend, are kinkier then I. And that’s saying something.

      • Tassiebush

        Hehe totally platonic of course… 😉

  • BryanS

    Is there real video of this and not just a powerpoint presentation on youtube?

  • Zebra Dun

    A Machine gun for horse mounted cavalry?