L021260 MG15 GROUND/ORDNANCE MAINTENANCE CREW BARREL CLEANING HOLDER. (Gewehrlauf Haltende für MG15 Bodenpersonal)

BACKGROUND: The Luftwaffe had their own ordnance department under control of the RLM, Reichs Luftfahrt Ministerium, (National Ministry of Aviation), with their primary focus being on aerial weapons and munitions with the basic ground based weapons being obtained through the HwaA, Heereswaffenamt, (Army Ordnance Office). The 7.92mm caliber MG15 was originally developed in 1932 by the Rheinmetall armaments factory as a light weight, general purpose, machine gun with the design being based on the earlier MG30. When developed the MG15 was intended for use as a manually operated, flexible, maneuverable, mounted aircraft weapon. The air cooled, rotating bolt/lock ring MG15 had a rate of fire of roughly one thousand rounds per minute making it a formidable weapon with automatic and semi-automatic firing capabilities and was utilized with a variety of assorted capacity, ammunition drums and magazines, with the most common being the seventy-five round capacity ammunition saddle-drums. Prior to and early in the war, almost all Luftwaffe aircraft were equipped with the MG15, until the began to be replaced with heavier weapons in late 1940. By 1941 most of the MG15's were replaced with newer model machine guns, including the MG81 and the MG131, and the MG15's were retooled and issued to Infantry personnel. As with any other weapon the MG15 required regular maintenance which consisted of stripping the weapon down and cleaning all the components. The OKL, Oberkommando der Luftwaffe, (High Command of the Air-Force), was the responsible authority for all operational aspects of the Luftwaffe and was sub-divided into numerous directorates including the Equipment directorate which was responsible for aircraft maintenance and repair under control of the Generalquartiermeister, (Quarter Master General). Every airfield would be equipped with a mobile repair shop and additional ground crew personnel to perform all the basic required maintenance and repair on the aircraft including the weapons systems. The repair shops and ground crew personnel were equipped with all the necessary tools to perform their required functions and included specific barrel holders for the MG15 to secure the barrel in a prone position for cleaning. In 1938 the RLM, established required specifications for all aircraft instruments and equipment and assigned a specific contract/requisition numeral to each specific item. Of Note: The WWII MG15 should not to be confused with the WWI Bergmann produced, MG15, which was a completely different weapon. Also Of Note: The MG15 was also utilized by the Japanese Imperial Armed Forces and was manufactured in Japan under licence as the (IJA) Type 98 and the (IJN) Type 1.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: The barrel holder/vice consists of a roughly, 13 1/4" long, 4 1/4" wide, 3/4" tall, stained, hardwood base with a beveled, top, outer, edges. The base has a roughly, 1 1/8" long, 2 3/8" wide, 1" tall, carved wooden barrel guide with a central, semi-circular groove to secure the barrel near one end and a roughly, 1 7/8" long, 2" wide, 2" tall, black painted, tooled steel, barrel holder/vice, with a horizontal, staggered bar hinge to one side a vertically extended, screw threaded, securing wing nut to the other side, and a central circular cut-out with inserted mottled, molded tan bakelite inserts. The wooden barrel guide is screwed to the base from the top while the steel barrel holder/vice is bolted to the base from the bottom. The bakelite inserts to the barrel holder/vice are screwed in place. The steel barrel holder/vice is well marked with a stamped Luftwaffe style waffen-amt and the unknown numerals, "82". The steel barrel holder/vice retains about 90% of it’s original black paint. Scarce ground crew aircraft ordnance accessory.

GRADE ****                             PRICE $249.00

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