Bergmann MG 1902 Machine Gun
Bergmann MG 15 n.A. (Modell 1915 Neue Art), with MG 08/15 type bipod
12.9 (gun with bipod)
|Overall length, mm
|Barrel length, mm
|Cyclic rate of fire, rounds per minute
|Feed and capacity
Belt, 200 rounds
At the turn of the 20th Century Louis Schmeisser was the chief small arms designer for the Bergmann Industriewerke company in Suhl, Germany. In 1900 he began to develop machine gun designs for Bergmann and they announced the first working machine gun in 1901. Schmeisser kept improving these designs for a decade and a half.
Compared to Maxim guns, Bergmann-Schmeisser machine guns were lighter and more compact, as well as more simple in design. However, the heavier Maxims were found to be more durable. Before the war began the German Army showed little interest in Bergmann guns. In 1915, a need arose for a light machine gun from experience in the field. Schmeisser therefore developed his previously water-cooled gun into an air cooled, belt fed weapon, known as the Bergmann Model 1915. This gun fired from an open bolt, and during trials showed poor reliability. Recognizing the flaws, Schmeisser quickly redesigned this gun to fire from a closed bolt and made some other minor improvements. This then became the Bergmann Model 1915 n.A. (neue Art – new model) Machine Gun. Beginning in 1916, the MG15 n.A. was issued in limited numbers to German troops in the field. The Bergmann MG 15 n.A. machine guns then went out of production in 1918, with the end of the Great War.
The Bergmann MG 15 n.A. machine gun is a short-recoil operated, air cooled, belt fed weapon. The finned barrel is enclosed within a tubular jacket with cooling slots. The bolt is locked using a vertically moving locking-block located within the barrel extension. When forced down by cams in the receiver, the locking block engages cuts made on the top surface of the bolt, securely locking it to the barrel extension. Upon recoil, the locking block is forced up by the cams in the receiver, thus unlocking the bolt. A lever-type bolt accelerator was provided for improved reliability.
The MG 15 n.A. fires from a closed bolt, and in automatic mode only. The firing mechanism is of the hammer type, and a manual safety is located at the right side of the receiver.
The MG 15 n.A. uses non-disintegrating cloth belts compatible with Maxim-type MG 08 guns, or proprietary metallic belts. The feed is of two-stage type. The belt-feed unit is operated by the recoiling barrel through a set of levers and springs.
MG 15 n.A. can be used either from a MG 08/15 bipod, or from a light tripod mount.