Premier Firearms Auction
May 12, 13, 14, & 15, 2023
Wonderfully Rare Early Production Serial #25 Model 1918 Tankgewehr Bolt Action Single Shot Anti-tank Rifle With Extremely Scarce Ammunition Pouch And Original Ammunition
Bbl. 35 1/4”. Tangent rear sight marked with numerals to 500 meters and graduated with lines to 2,000 meters in 50-meter increments. Nicknamed “elefantenbuchse” by the German soldiers, these massive anti-tank rifles were the first weapons designed specifically to combat the increasing use of tanks by the allied forces. The new anti-tank rifle allowed a much surer penetration of the relatively thinly armored tanks than was possible using the steel cored “K” ammunition used in rifles and machine guns. Even if penetration with the powerful 13mm cartridge was not achieved spalling and loose rivets could still cause lethal threat to tank crewmen. Mauser Werke was tasked in Nov. 1917 to produce an anti-tank weapon and in a remarkably short time the rifles were issued starting in June of 1918. The ammunition had been under development by the Polte Ammunition Factory in Magdeburg. This ammunition used a semi-rimmed case 92mm long and had a steel cored bullet 13mm in diameter. The bullet weighed approximately 795 grains with a muzzle velocity of 2560’ per sec. this would allow a penetration of approximately 1 inch of armor at 100 meters.
The original intent was to develop a “Tank und Flieger (TuF)” machine gun using this cartridge but the machine gun never reached front line service. The “Kurz” marked rifles are extremely scarce variation of an already rare rifle. The barrels were manufactured 3 ¾” shorter than the later versions of the Model 1918 leaving the barrels notably larger at the muzzle end. There is some question that there were Kurz rifles made with a shorter version of the standard 13X92SR cartridge. This rifle is however chambered for the full-length cartridge. The rifle has a huge breech bolt with a straight handle and 4 locking lugs, 2 each at front and rear. This rifle has a one-piece walnut stock which is rarely seen as most had 2-piece Elm stocks making this rifle a truly unique piece. The receiver is marked on top with a crisp legible Mauser banner and dated “1918”. The bbl. is marked on the left side over the chamber “KURZ”, “25” and the Prussian eagle proof. The right side of the bbl. is marked with “18”, oriented to be read from the top. The S# 25 appears on the left side of the receiver ring, bbl., bolt handle, bolt shroud, cocking piece and trigger guard. The bolt release is unnumbered. Non rotating extractor. Standard Mauser type flag safety. The walnut stock is not equipped with a buttplate as these were not used on the Model 1918s. There is a separate walnut pistol grip located behind the trigger guard. The stock is marked on the right side of the butt with 2 royal monograms and marked underneath behind pistol grip w/ royal monogram. The barrel band is marked on the right side with the “BATF” registration numbers. The band has flanges to accept the “MG08/15” light machine gun bipod. The bipod has the later tubular leg construction with stamped and riveted feet. The right foot is marked “M.O.” Imperial Crown. These bipods replace the sheet metal models made for machine guns which did not prove durable enough.
UNATTACHED ACCESSORIES: included in this grouping is an extremely rare example of a heavy green canvas-like ammunition carrier. The unmarked carrier has internal loops for 20 cartridges and is supported by a woven shoulder strap with an over center buckle. The flap is closed by two leather tabs held by steel buttons (one tab is not present). The carrier contains 19 loaded original cartridges including an example headstamped “P”, “T67”, “18”, “4”(indicating manufactured date of April 1918 which dates before the gun was issued for general service) plus 2 misfires and 1 cartridge which has had the bullet pulled, the powder removed and the bullet replaced in the unfired case. They all have Polte (P) headstamps, are all marked T67 and date from June to November of 1918. The ammunition carrier has light wear & staining. Stitching is generally tight. Carrier strap ends are slightly frayed but have threaded serving. The missing retainer strap leaves a small amount of original attaching thread. The cartridges have varying states of oxidation from long storage but are in generally good condition with legible headstamps.