Number of MG 13 - an attempt

Discussions on the small arms used by the Axis forces.
CroGer
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Joined: 27 Oct 2017 19:27
Location: Germany/Croatia

Number of MG 13 - an attempt

Post by CroGer » 21 Jul 2019 00:50

Hello,
I can't sleep without figuring out the exact number of german small-production machine guns. :milwink:
This is an attempt to estimate the number of produced MG 13.
I own several books about machine guns, but in no one could I find a number of how many MG 13's were produced. It is somehow considered an insignificant stop gag.
The MG 13 was based on the Bergmann MG 13 of WW1. It was reworked by Louis Stange, who simultanously developted the MG29, which would morph into the MG 30. Later Stange developed the MG 34.
I guess the germans chose the MG 13 over the MG 30 for the way the barrell was changed, which made it suitable as a tank machine gun. (see "Forgotten Weapons"-Episode about the portuguese M938).
The first prototype of the MG 34 was submitted in 1932. By 1934 production begann, still in secrecy, and still in development with various refinements done. The MG 34 effectively replaced the MG 13 on 2nd April 1938. The MG 13 was relegated to motorised and horsemounted "Panzerspäheinheiten" (tank reconnaissance detachments). ("Waffen Revue 44")
So now the calculation:
According to the excellent book "Sturmgewehr" by Handrich, Wehrmacht & Waffen-SS had 42.722 pre-MG 34 german produced machine guns. During the Weimar Republic, the Reichswehr had a secret stock of 12.000 MG 08/15. The allowed number of MGs was 831 Heavy MGs and 1.418 Light MGs. In 1933 they had 22.024 MGs.
I assume that they stopped producing MG 08/15 by 1930. The number of MG 08 was probably the allowed 831; the MG 08 was extremly expensive: 3100 dutch gulden in 1910, which was the equivalent of 5.555 Reichsmark in 1933. I guess the MG 08/15 wasn't much cheaper. So since the MG 13 was not much more expensive than the MG 34, there was no reason to build more MG 08.
So I assume that the number of MG 08/15 was at least 13.418 (1.418+12.000). The rest must have been MG 13.
The number MG 13 in Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS in 1939 was probably around 28.000 (13.418+831 - 42.722 = 28.473) - maybe more, because I don't know whether Maxim-MGs used in Bunkers were included.
The numbers provided by Handrich are clearly for Infantry only. He doesn't give any numbers for machine guns in use by the Navy or Air Force.
Germany had previously sold MG 13's to Spain (2.000) and in 1938 to Portugal (2.800).
I also assume that the number given by Handrich was only the machine guns in use as LMGs. 3.170 were mounted in Panzer I's (1483 Panzer I's Ausf. A&B + 184 Befehlspanzerwagen) and on 800 Spähpanzerwagen 231.
So overall, the produced number of MG 13 was probably/possibly 37.243 (28.473 + 4.800 + 3.170 + 800).
So, this is at least something. I think this number is realistic.
Can somebody confirm or correct this number?
Btw: historical currency converter used here for the price of an MG 08:
https://www.historicalstatistics.org/Cu ... erter.html
Of croatian blood. In Internet-parlance, you can call me an "autist". I love numbers.

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