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New Video Shows World War I Machine Gun Being Used in Ukraine

How can such an old gun be used in Ukraine? A video of a Ukrainian soldier using a machine gun nearly a century old went viral on social media.

In the 21-second clip, the trooper was seen firing a heavily modified M1910/30 Maxim water-cooled machine gun fitted with modern optics, stock, and suppressor.  

It is unclear exactly where or when the footage was recorded — in fact, the soldier may not have been engaged in combat.

Regardless, it is notable that such an old platform remains viable.

As previously reported, Ukrainian forces were taking a number of seemingly antiquated platforms from storage even before Russia mounted its invasion last year.

Along with World War II-era DP-27 light machine guns and American-made M101 howitzers, old weapons such as the M1910 machine gun are still finding a place on the modern battlefield.

History of the Pulemyot Maxima

Officially known as Pulemyot Maxima obraztsa 1910 goda (Maxim’s machine gun Model 1910), or M1910, the weapon seen in the video clip was Russia’s version of Hiram Maxim’s original machine gun design. Developed in the 1890s, the Maxim was adopted variously by European powers. It was greatly refined as the British Vicker’s machine gun and the German Maschinengewehr 08 (MG08).

The Russian version was originally chambered for the 7.62x54mmR round, same as the Mosin Nagant M1890 rifle. It was placed on a wheeled Sokolov mount (sometimes with a gun shield), which made the medium machine gun easier to move.

The original versions of the Imperial Russian M1910s were fitted with smooth brass water jackets, but by the outbreak of the First World War, smooth-stamped steel jackets were produced. The weapons provided considerable firepower, but Russian industry struggled to produce enough of them during the war.

A Civil War Staple to Ukraine War

The M1910 is best remembered for its use against the Central Powers during the First World War and against the Germans in World War II. But it has seen plenty of use by Russians against other Russians, and no doubt has also been used by and against Ukrainians.

The February Revolution of 1917 saw Russia’s Tsar Nicholas II removed from power, while the October Revolution threw the country into a full-blown civil war. The Tsarist Whites and the Bolshevik Red Army employed the M1910, and it was also used by the Green Armies of Ukraine and Russia.

Production of the machine gun ramped up following the outbreak of the Russian Civil War.

From 1918 to 1920, some 21,000 were produced — more than Imperial Russian arsenals had churned out.

Production continued after the Civil War and only ceased in 1939.

It was restarted in 1940, and in total at least 175,000 were produced by the end of the Second World War.

The M1910 was largely used as a secondary or defensive weapon during the conflict, and it went on to see service in the Chinese Civil War, the Korean War, and Vietnam.

Some M1910s have reportedly seen use in Syria during its ongoing civil war, and now it is on the battlefield in Ukraine.

Author Experience and Expertise:

A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.



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