MG 13

The MG 13 (shortened from German Maschinengewehr 13) is a German light machine gun developed by converting the Dreyse Model 1918 heavy water-cooled machine gun into an air-cooled version.[1]

MG 13
Maschinengewehr 13
TypeLight machine gun
Place of originWeimar Republic
Service history
In service1930–1945 (Germany)
Used bySee Users
WarsSpanish Civil War
World War II
Second Sino-Japanese War
Chinese Civil War
Portuguese Colonial War
Production history
Mass13.3 kg (29 lb)
Length1,443 mm (56.8 in)
Barrel length718 mm (28.3 in)

Cartridge7.92×57mm Mauser
Rate of fire600 rounds/min
Muzzle velocity890 m/s (2,900 ft/s)
Maximum firing range2,000 m (2,200 yd)
Feed system25 round box magazine, or 75 round saddle drum, 5 round stripper clip


Dreyse Model 1918 Machinegun: In 1907 Louis Schmeisser of Erfurt patented a machinegun named in honor of the inventor of the needle gun by the heads of the factory where it was made which was founded by Dreyse. The Dreyse machinegun was a heavy, usually tripod mounted, belt-fed and water cooled machinegun.

The 1907 model was succeeded by the 1912 and later 1918 models. On ascending to power Adolf Hitler immediately ordered the Model 1918 to be modernized by the company Simson in Suhl. It became the MG13.[1]


The MG 13 was introduced into service in 1930, where it served as the standard light machine gun until 1935.[1] It was superseded by the MG 34 and then later the MG 42.

MG 13s were sold to Spain where they retained the designation of MG13 and to Portugal which used them into the late 1940s as the 'Metralhadora 7,92 mm m/1938 Dreyse. [1] Those MG 13's that were not sold but rather were placed into storage, and these later saw use in World War II by second line German units. As it was easy to handle and reload, many second line troops could use the MG 13 with efficiency.

On later examples a 75-round saddle drum was also used. It was equipped with a folding butt stock and a carrying handle.[2] It was used in the turret of the Panzer I[3] tank.

The Chinese Nationalist Government also imported the MG 13 with the Panzer I Ausf A. tanks from Germany in 1936. The MG 13 was also used against the Japanese Imperial Army during the Second Sino-Japanese War. Portugal used it as squad automatic weapon during Portuguese Colonial War, under the name m/938.[4]



  1. Smith, Joseph E (1973). Small Arms of the World (10th ed.). Harrisburg, PA, USA: Stackpole Company. p. 137.
  2. "MG 13 'Dreyse' machine gun (Germany) ." Retrieved: 4 December 2013.
  3. "Panzerkampfwagen I." Retrieved: 4 December 2013.
  4. Abbott, Peter; Rodrigues, Manuel (1998). Modern African Wars 2: Angola and Mozambique 1961-74. Osprey Publishing. p. 18.
  5. MG34 and MG42 in Norway, Post WW2, by Folke Myrvang

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