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L003857 FLAK MACHINE GUN PROTECTIVE MUZZLE COVER. (Überzug für Fliegerabwehr MG)
BACKGROUND: Among other restrictions, the Treaty of Versailles banned Germany from developing any type of heavy machine gun. To circumvent this, German development of an all purpose machine gun were secretly being done in Switzerland in the early 1930's. By 1934 designer Louis Stange of the Rheinmetall armaments factory had made improvements to the secret machine gun developed in Switzerland and the MG34 was introduced as an all purpose selective fire weapon. In spite of the relatively high production cost the MG34 was accepted by the Wehrmacht Ordnance department and deliveries of the MG34 began in 1936. The MG34 was manned by a three person crew with one individual being designated the "#1 gunner". The gunner was equipped with a specific gunners belt pouch which carried special tools and accessories for the weapon including an anti-aircraft ring sight. When used in the anti-aircraft role the MG34 would be mounted on the Dreifuß 34, (Tripod 34) or the Lafette 34, (Gun Mount 34), with a special adaptor. When utilized in conjunction with a tripod as an anti-aircraft weapon the MG’s were outfitted with a protective muzzle cover to prevent dirt and debris from falling into the barrel when the weapon was not in use or in transit. The covers were produced in light weight fabrics and could be readily shot through if required. This example also has an additional red pennant intended to make it more visible for safety reasons. Of Note: Although Hermann Göring’s Luftwaffe was the ultimate authority of all things concerned with flight including anti-aircraft defence most division within the German army also had a subordinate Flak battalion that usually contained three 88mm caliber batteries, an additional two 20mm caliber batteries and anti-aircraft dedicated MG’s to provide internal air defence.
PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: The roughly, 13 3/4" long, 4" wide, light weight, off-white cotton construction cover features a rounded, bottom end and an opened, top end with machine stitched side seams. The bottom edge near the opened top end has the addition of dual, off-white, cotton tie tapes machine stitched into the seam and were designed to secure the cover to the barrel of the MG. The bottom edge near the rounded, bottom end has the addition of a downward, vertically extended, triangular, red cotton, visibility pennant also machine stitched into the seam. The obverse body of the cover is well marked with black printed script that includes, "Überzug Fla. MG", (Cover Anti-aircraft Machine Gun), with the date, "3/1943", and an additional unknown letter, "J". The cover is in overall good condition with light to moderate age and usage toning and one small tear to the obverse. Scarce anti-aircraft MG cover.
GRADE ***1/2 PRICE $352.00
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