MG 11
The Maschinengewehr Modell 1911 or MG 11 is a Swiss heavy machine gun
Heavy machine gun
The heavy machine gun or HMG is a larger class of machine gun generally recognized to refer to two separate stages of machine gun development. The term was originally used to refer to the early generation of machine guns which came into widespread use in World War I...

 which was introduced before and during the First World War. The MG 11 has a narrow constructive relationship with the German MG 08 heavy machine gun.


The MG 11 was based on the water-cooled Maxim machine gun, which had been developed by Hiram Stevens Maxim
Hiram Stevens Maxim
Sir Hiram Stevens Maxim was an American-born inventor who emigrated to England at the age of forty-one, although he remained an American citizen until he became a naturalized British subject in 1900. He was the inventor of the Maxim Gun – the first portable, fully automatic machine gun – and the...

 in 1885. The MG 11 was the last of a series of Swiss derivatives of the Maxim machine gun.

7.5 mm Maschinengewehr Modell 1894 (MG 94)

Between 1891 and 1894 Switzerland procured 72 heavy machine guns, designated MG 94, from Maxim and Nordenfelt in London and Deutsche Waffen und Munitionsfabriken
Deutsche Waffen und Munitionsfabriken
Deutsche Waffen- und Munitionsfabriken Aktien-Gesellschaft , known as DWM, was an arms company in Imperial Germany created in 1896 when Ludwig Loewe & Company united its weapons and ammunition production facilities within one company...

 (DWM) Berlin. These weapons were issued to fortress troops and mountain troops and were operational until 1944 as spare arms with the Territorial Battalion. The MG 94 was mounted at the front end and at the rear on the knees of the gunner. Two leather padded rings on the left and on the right sides of the breech of the weapon rested on the knees of the machine gunner sitting behind it and permitted sweeping fire. The machine gun MG 94 was chambered for the 7.5x53.5 mm GP 90 cartridge and was later, along other minor technical modifications, adapted for firing the more powerful 7.5x55 mm GP 11 cartridge. Six MG 94 had their water-cooling mantles drilled and cut open, making these guns air-cooled and thus water-free and lighter for use as aircraft machine guns. These 6 MG 94 air-cooled guns were taken out of service in 1944.

7.5 mm Maschinengewehr Modell 1900 (MG 00)

In 1899 Switzerland procured 69 heavy machine guns, designated MG 00, mainly from Vickers & Sons Maxim in London. These guns had tripod mounts designed for cavalry use with a gunner's seat attached to the rear support strut. The machine gun MG 00 was chambered for the 7.5x53.5 mm GP 90 cartridge and was later adapted for firing the more powerful 7.5x55 mm GP 11 cartridge.

7.5 mm Maschinengewehr Modell 1911 (MG 11)

The MG 11 at first was originally procured from DWM Berlin. As German deliveries ceased during World War I, the manufacturing of the MG 11 was taken up in 1915 by the Eidgenössischen Waffenfabrik W+F (confederate weapon factory W+F) Bern
Waffenfabrik Bern
Waffenfabrik Bern, also known as W+F Bern, was an arms manufacturer in Bern, Switzerland and was a government-owned corporation.-List of W+F weapons:*Vetterli rifle*Schmidt M1882 1882 revolver. Chambered in 7.5 Swiss Ordnance...


The MG 11 was a water-cooled heavy machine gun and mounted on a tripod. It was chambered for 7.5x55 mm GP 11 ammunition and came into service with the army, cavalry and was also used in fortresses, tanks and on airplanes of the Swiss Army. When applied in a fortress an optical sight and ball armoured screen was applied, the water cooling was connected to a tank and a sealing rubber was mounted behind the muzzle to prevent the penetration of flamethrower
A flamethrower is a mechanical device designed to project a long controllable stream of fire.Some flamethrowers project a stream of ignited flammable liquid; some project a long gas flame. Most military flamethrowers use liquids, but commercial flamethrowers tend to use high-pressure propane and...

 oil into the bunker.

1934/1935 modernization programme

In 1934 and 1935 the MG 11 machine guns were adapted for using then modern metal machine gun belts that started to replace the canvas belts used by the original Maxim machine guns. A flash suppressor
Flash suppressor
A flash suppressor, also known as a flash guard, flash eliminator, flash hider, or flash cone, is a device attached to the muzzle of a rifle or other gun that reduces the visible signature of the burning gases that exit the muzzle. This reduces the chances that the shooter will be blinded in dark...

 at the muzzle was also introduced. Further a new trigger system was fitted that allowed one handed firing, so the gunner could simultaneously operate the sweeping fire control wheel at the tripod, and additional kit for anti aircraft usage. The modernized MG 11 machine guns were marked with a white stripe running along the length of the cooling sleeve.

Beginning in the early 1950s the MG 11 was gradually replaced by the air-cooled 7.5 mm Maschinengewehr Modell 1957 (MG 51) general-purpose machine gun. The replacement process was finished in the 1980s.


  • MG 94 on knee-mount
  • MG 00 on tripod, with simple sweep mounting
  • MG 11 standard version during World War I
  • MG 11 (revisions 1934/1935)

External links


  • Schweizerische Armee (Hrsg.): Technisches Reglement Nr. 3, Das schwere Maschinenge-wehr (Mg. 11), provisorische Ausgabe 1939, Bern 1939
  • Bericht des Chefs des Generalstabes der Armee an den Oberbefehlshaber der Armee über den Aktivdienst 1939-45
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