Special units

Machine gunners

I believe that one of the most formidable weapons of the Great War was the machine gun. Artillery destroyed more enemies with countless use of grenades. But the work of the artillery, even in the snare fire, was not as spectacular as that of the machine guns. Being a direct-aiming weapon, this weapon instantly showed the impacts: hits, wounds and death.

This was also considered extremely important by the badge published here: “Aim well and destroy as many as possible!” The reminiscences of the soldiers with machine guns also emphasize the mowing down of the charging enemy. Of course, the machine gun nests were the main targets of the enemy artillery and assault teams. The concentrated fire claimed the lives of many machine gunners.

Handling machine guns required considerable expertise. Although the device was not complicated, it required regular maintenance. This was done by the careful commander (typically a corporal) himself. The personnel assigned to it took part in transporting the machine gun and ensuring the supply of ammunition. Schwarzlose machine guns usually had four man operating crews. The attached picture shows such an operator team. The presented badge is a rarer specimen. The depiction of the weapon on it is a bit schematic. The operators wear the previously presented machine-gun staff badge on their collars.

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