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Thread: German imitation training machine gun (Zielfeuergerät)

  1. #1

    Default German imitation training machine gun (Zielfeuergerät)

    Hi collectors,
    maybe this is of interest for you:

    The company Haenel (located in Suhl) made some "imitation machine guns" between the wars. These guns were used to imitate enemy machine gun fire for training the German soldiers.

    The guns fired blank rounds from long magazines. The trigger was released by pulling a long wire, fitted to the trigger-system.

    The first "Zielfeuergerät" was in 9 mm caliber, but the serial version was in 8x57 for use with the standard machine gun blank round with wooden bullet.

    With best wishes

    Here an original factory made photo showing the Haenel 9 mm Zielfeuergerät:
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2


    Here the serial version in 8x57:

    First picture shows the stripped gun

    Second picture shows the markings

    Third picture shows the long magazine in comparison to a standard MG13-magazine. Both look very similar, but are not interchangeable.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2009


    Looks like the same "Trainer" but 2 different feed designs since 2 styles of Magazines were used.
    I've never heard of these so , thanks for posting this.
    Have you ever seen any period photos of them in use ?
    "If you have ten thousand regulations you destroy all respect for the law. "
    -Winston Churchill-

    "Do we really need 'Smart Bombs' to drop on these Dumb Bastards ? "
    -PFC Snuffy Smith-

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2009


    That's a great historical item and has to be extremely rare.
    Neca eos omnes. Deus suos agnoscet.

  5. #5


    Hi, I have done some research on this weapon for an article that I wrote for a German gun magazine.

    I will post some more and better photos when I'm back at home tomorrow.
    Unfortunately I have never seen a photo showing the device in use.

    Haenel made the early prototype in 9 mm. The serial version was made in 1938 in calibre 8x57.
    On the muzzle you can see a "devider" to destroy the wooden bullet of the blank rounds. So noone could be hurt if he comes too close to the muzzle.

    I know about 7 devices still in existence.

    There have been two variations:
    - for ground use with bidpod (front) and monopod (rear).
    - for use in tank-dummies (at that time the German army did not have much real tanks).

    The red colour is no rust, it's a special colour to protect the device from rust.

    When the Allied captured the first devices, the thought they are "booby traps". But that's wrong and wouldn't work. The bolt is too light, the spring too weak and you would destroy the device when using live ball ammunition!

    Last edited by GGG; 1st December 2010 at 02:30 AM.

  6. #6


    Sorry for the delay, but here are some more photos of the version that was in dummy-tanks.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  7. #7


    Here you can see a close-up picture of the trigger-housing.

    A rope could be fixed to the front or rear loop to release the trigger.
    The metal bar at the bottom is to protect the cocking handle from getting blocked by obstacles and also it prevents the soldiers from getting hurt. The handle is fixed to the bold and moves backward and forward with every shot.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  8. #8


    Here a picture of the magazine filled with "Platzpatrone" (blank rounds).
    The wooden bullet is hollow and coloured in red.

    On the left you can see the muzzle-attachment. It has four sharp edges inside the bore to destroy the wooden bullets.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2009


    Just out of curiosity, is there any literature that says this blank adapter is meant to destroy the wooden bullet. The only reason I ask is because I've tested wood blanks (original WW2 and Egyptian) in G41's, MG34's and 42's, and never seen proof that anything makes it out the end of the barrel, other than fire and maybe small splinters at 3 meters max. Also, you have your hands on some AWESOME WW2 training weapons.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Round Rock Texas

    Thumbs up

    That is pretty cool!

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