Kiev’s forces have revived the use of the Maxim machine gun for air defense purposes © Facebook / Facebook / 118th territorial defense brigade of the Ukrainian Armed Forces
A Ukrainian military unit has shared photos on social media of a mobile drone hunting vehicle – an old ZAZ Tavria pickup with a pair of World War I-era machine guns mounted in the back.
Images of the improvised weapon system were posted on Facebook last Friday by the 118th Territorial Defense Brigade, which claimed to be operating it in Cherkassy Region to intercept Russian kamikaze drones.
The pickup truck used as the platform, which was once produced in the city of Zaporozhye until the early 2010s, appears to originally have been white, but was spraypainted with green stripes, presumably for camouflage purposes.
The machine guns appear to be the PM1910, a variant of the Maxim heavy machine gun that was introduced in Russia in 1910. The Ukrainians placed two of them on a rig with ammo belt feeders and a sight added.
The arrangement is hardly novel. Maxim guns were among the first to be used for air defense purposes and held a strong position in the niche well into World War II. The Tokarev M4, which was developed in 1931, used a quad barrel rig with an improved water cooling system and extended ammo boxes of 500 rounds for each machine gun.
When aircraft became too armored to be reliably taken down by 7.62 caliber rounds, more powerful specialized weapons replaced them, though AA Maxims were sporadically used even in the Korean War and Vietnam War. The Ukrainian territorial defense unit said it is deploying the system against unarmored Geran small drones.
The old machine guns have been used by both Ukraine and Donbass militias since the early years of the conflict. Western media reported the deployment of the weapons by Kiev in the battle for Artyomovsk, also known as Bakhmut, in March. A soldier interviewed by the BBC remarked that the machine gun, which was invented in 1884, has “120 years of history killing Russians.” Russian forces captured the city in May. (RT)