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Japanese Type 1 (Type 98/MG-15 clone) reactivated

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Japanese Type 1 (Type 98/MG-15 clone) reactivated

Postby TactAdv » Mon Apr 12, 2010 11:31 pm

I picked up another interesting one late last fall......as Japanese MG's go the Type 98 clone of the MG-15 is pretty uncommon as it is, but even rarer yet is the Naval Type 1 version which was produced in far less numbers than even the Type 98.

This one was Amnesty registered, though lightly DEWAT'ed even so.....a small tack weld on the receiver and a plugged original barrel.....all easily fixed. The Holy Grail part is that the gun came with an original Japanese-made double-drum, original Jap drums are super hard to find here.

This gun should be up and running very soon....more picture to follow then.

For those familiar with German MG-15's, you'll note on this one that unlike all MG-15's and Type 98's the Naval Type 1 guns were made originally with a secondary vertical hand grip forward of the normal pistol grip, to give the gunner better control.

Courtesy of Edwin Libby, the Japanese markings translate as follows:

Gun Type 1, 7.9mm, (Model) 1
serial number "1101"
("shiken", or tested in the year) "19" (Showa year 19 =1944)
(character) "Yo" (character reserved for Yokosuka Naval Arsenal production)

Note also, the "Anchor-Y" stamp, the trademark for the Yokosuka Naval Arsenal on the top of the receiver ring.
-TomH
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Re: Japanese Type 1 (Type 98/MG-15 clone) reactivated

Postby flemgunner » Tue Apr 13, 2010 7:59 am

Thats pretty cool man

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Re: Japanese Type 1 (Type 98/MG-15 clone) reactivated

Postby IMBLITZVT » Tue Apr 13, 2010 11:30 am

I have never seen one of them before!

I got a really really nice Type 98 parts kit a while back. I mean it was REALLY nice. Came with original drum. I got it at a good price and traded it for a good bit towards a registered MG08/15 sideplate. I hated to see it go... but the guy who bought it turned it into a posty as it was a very light demil cut under the drum. The drum went to Bob Naess. I had a MG13 AA tripod for it that it worked nicely on with the addition of a IMA ground adaptor.

Really cool gun. Its a same I don't think the semi will ever come out. At least that leaves you lots of spares even if they are not Jap made. Please post more pictures when you can.
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Re: Japanese Type 1 (Type 98/MG-15 clone) reactivated

Postby sbl11 » Mon Apr 26, 2010 12:33 am

I have just purchased a type 98, it was also dewatted in a similar fashion(minus plugging the bore), it has a bakelite reciever, not wood or bamboo, but appears to have all matching numbers. I have been told that it could have been built in japan off of german parts, but all parts other than the bakelite are japanese. It is dated 19.1 and the grips are wooden with no horizontal cuts. any idea as to how many type 98's and type 1's were made. The quality seems to be just as good as the german built mg15 in these examples. I have heard all kinds of prices listed for these ranging from $10,000-$25,000. I guess it depends on the day!

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Re: Japanese Type 1 (Type 98/MG-15 clone) reactivated

Postby TactAdv » Mon May 03, 2010 5:42 pm

Ok....quick update on this project.

I just got the gun back from Bob Naess who fixed the DEWAT welding issue and the receiver is now live again and shooting, albeit assembled onto a German MG-15 parts set for shooting purposes.

I will get some firing pictures and video up in a couple days. ;-)

-TomH

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Re: Japanese Type 1 (Type 98/MG-15 clone) reactivated

Postby sbl11 » Tue Aug 31, 2010 5:30 pm

ATF has just approved the conversion of my type 98 from a DEWATT to live. It will be awhile before the shoot, but i will post pictures after.

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Re: Japanese Type 1 (Type 98/MG-15 clone) reactivated

Postby 12thWaffenSS » Thu Sep 02, 2010 9:29 am

sbl11 wrote:ATF has just approved the conversion of my type 98 from a DEWATT to live. It will be awhile before the shoot, but i will post pictures after.


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Re: Japanese Type 1 (Type 98/MG-15 clone) reactivated

Postby TactAdv » Mon Oct 18, 2010 3:51 pm

TactAdv wrote: This gun should be up and running very soon....more picture to follow then.


Here's a very short video of the gun up and running now. I'll get some longer video posted soon. It's running about 1300+ RPM with the Romanian surplus 8mm. These barrels are thinner than a K98k rifle barrel, so no long bursts.

Word to the wise....don't buy re-pop crap from IMA and expect it be usable. That is the second repro front sight from them, both broke in half in short order. That is the third repro ground stock so far- one broke right away, one came in twisted about 30 degrees off center. And I am on the third ground adapter sleeve for the bipod...one didn't fit, one broke the yoke the moment I tried to clamp it on, and I kept the third one but had to seriously hand-fit it just to get it over the German original barrel shroud. Wall hanger stuff.......Urrrrghhhhhhhh...... ;-(

Click on the still image to see it enlarged.

[bbvideo=425,350]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YsztYhq5vM4[/bbvideo]
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Re: Japanese Type 1 (Type 98/MG-15 clone) reactivated

Postby flemgunner » Mon Oct 18, 2010 6:05 pm

Sweet man! I should start on my 15 in Nov. I cant wait

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Re: Japanese Type 1 (Type 98/MG-15 clone) reactivated

Postby Bil » Mon Oct 18, 2010 8:13 pm

Does the ground adapted gun use a differant barrel than when it was aircraft mounted? (the 15) I know it has the mount provision in the grip,but was anything changed in front of the saddle drums? And how close is the Japanese version? Very nice! Wish there was a semi conversion. ---bil
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Re: Japanese Type 1 (Type 98/MG-15 clone) reactivated

Postby TactAdv » Mon Oct 18, 2010 10:57 pm

Bil wrote:Does the ground adapted gun use a differant barrel than when it was aircraft mounted? (the 15) I know it has the mount provision in the grip,but was anything changed in front of the saddle drums? And how close is the Japanese version? Very nice! Wish there was a semi conversion. ---bil


Bil, there are really two answers for your "ground conversion" question. The Germans only ever issued the MG-15 as a ground service gun using the original air-cooled barrel, essentially merely taking the bare minimum steps to adapt the stock air-service guns for use in the ground role. This was basically accomplished by the development of four unique (to the MG-15) attachments- One, a long cast-aluminum cradle-shaped sleeve that allowed the front end of the air-cooled barrel jacket to be clamped and held tightly inside the closed bottom half. This was equipped with two mounting points where a std MG-34 bi-pod could be locked into place, front or back just like the MG-34 mounting positions. Two, a clamp-on detachable shoulder stock that was almost taken straight from the MG-13 but suitably modified to slide over the rear of the MG-15 grip-housing. Third, a dedicated cartridge ejection port dust-door that also did double duty when opened as a cartridge case deflector.....absolutely necessary due to POSITIVE ejection the gun exhibited and without, could cause serious injury to the shooter or anybody near the bottom or sides of the gun. Lastly, there were a couple of special sight sets (front + rear) issued for use when in the ground service mode; they seem to have initially just issued the gun with the common late-style air-combat sights (like on my gun in the video) and then with experience developed a special set of dual-service sights that were micrometer-wheel adjustable for ground ranging, and used in combination with a companion front spider sight that included a fixed post for ground use. These later dual-service sights were pretty darn complex and thus likely quite expensive to make and it seems that likely were not made in great quantity.....they are rare today, surviving examples. Period pictures show the MG-15 in Luftwaffe ground service with all combination of sights, and in fact, with all sorts of mounting adaptations......some guns were used with all these extras, and I have seen plenty that were just basically wired to a post sunk in the ground or similar. It seems that while there existed a definitive program to supply a complete range of accessories to adapt the MG-15 "officially", the farther the guns got from Berlin.....the more the field-expedient type adaptations prevailed.

These same sorts of ground-service adaptations also existed officially for almost all the Luftwaffe air-service guns that had originally been available for flexible mountings in aircraft....MG-15, MG-81(single), MG-131...there are even examples found that mounted the superb MG-151 cannon in both calibers (15/20mm) to ground mountings (Lafette & wheeled carriages). Though much rarer, at least a certain few examples were known to have been discovered of MG-17's mounted in Zwilling (twin) & Vierling (quad) mounts as airfield defences. Point being, the Germans were exceptionally resourceful and were highly reluctant to let go of a proven weapons system just because the air-war had marched on beyond a particular weapons usefulness as an air-combat weapon. Various and sundry special ground-service accessories were designed for all these adaptations.....besides the MG-15, the ground mount fittings and sights for the MG-81 are probably the most common. One has to marvel that these guns, in particular the MG-15 & MG-81, were quite well seen in common airfield defense service as with the extremely high rates for fire and lack of cooling potential, firing any of these guns on the ground would almost certainly destroy the barrels and perhaps the entire guns in VERY short order......a couple-three drums or belts. Clearly these weapons, while quite effective probably due their high volumes of fire potential when cool, would only have been fired in desperation presumably as neither really has a "quick-change barrel" capability as we normally think of it, nor could you easily or quickly reload the MG-15 drums or MG-81 belts in the field, as neither gun was ever intended to be field-serviced. And also, there never existed anything other than the specialized reloading equipment for either, so again presumably, when your MG-15 drum stash ran dry.....you dropped the gun and were done as reloading the drums in the field was really just not feasible.

That pretty much covers the -German Military- adaptations for the MG-15 in ground service; Now we come to the much considered water-cooled conversion of the MG-15 which was known as the ST-61. There has been much written, and >argued< as to the story of these guns, and it appears that the definitive answers are lost to history and we are left with only surviving physical examples and some anecdotal evidence to go from so I won't conjecture here on that anymore that I already have in other threads on this site elsewhere. Suffice it to say, the ST-61 water-cooled variant exists so we can at least examine the physical evidence. Basically this variant seems be a wholly-commercial venture undertaken by Rheinmettal-Borsig and actually built at the French arsenal at St. Etienne sometime after 1943. All such guns are marked on the receiver with only R-B commercial markings and logos, bear no waA or acceptance stamps, and also seem to have never been recorded in any official German military records, the long-standing rumour is that they were commissioned late in the War by the Romanian Government and procurement/delivery probably never actually happened. The base conversion from an air-cooled aircraft gun to a water-cooled dedicated ground gun was accomplished by developing a very simple water-jacket assembly, which also carried a dedicated bi-pod and a set of ground sights, and the whole thing screwed onto the front of the regular receiver in place of the air-cooled barrel jacket with no modifications needed to the receiver. The water-cooled jacket required a dedicated water-cooled type barrel that fit the jacket openings and had provisions for water-proofing the opening via the common use of packing materials. Beyond that , the only other difference was the inclusion of a clamp-on fixed tube-type of butt-stock, that again, was copied nearly directly from the MG-13 stock. The ST-61 stock clamp was slightly different than the second type of MG-15 stock clamp. Most of these ST-61 guns seemed to have survived the War in an unissued state and were only relatively recently sold on the MIL-SURP market about 10 years ago. A parts-set of the water-cooled parts will fit right onto a air-cooled MG-15 receiver with no modifications.

Your last question regards the similarity of the Japanese copies of the MG-15. In general, the Japanese cloned exactly the German guns, up to and including accepting the original German chambering of 7.92 x 57mm ammunition. There are two distinct variants of the Japanese clones, differentiating (as almost all wartime Jap guns do) between those made and used by the Imperial Army and the Imperial Navy. The IJA made and used what they called the Type 98 variant which in almost areas is an exact copy, differing only by the Japanese markings usually. The Japanese Navy produced themselves at their Yokusuka Arsenal and also procured additional guns (from the IJA Nagoya Arsenal under contract to the IJN) what they called the Type 1 gun, which is USUALLY found equipped with a second vertical pistol grip located just behind the ejection port of the gun. IJN Type 1's are the only MG-15 type guns to have this second grip and not all Type 1's have it. The gun I have is a IJN Type 1 and clearly exhibits this unique feature as you can see above. Beyond that there are only small differences in markings, finish, and cosmetic finish between them. Guns of both Types may be found with either wooden or bakelite rear grip housings, depending upon where and when they were made; late-War guns typically used the bamboo wood housings and were not blued or finely finished.

All parts and accessories will directly interchange between German and Japanese production; shooting a Jap-made gun with more common German internal parts is well advised as there is no chance of replacing any of the original Japanese parts,while German MG-15 parts are -relatively- common still. There is one stupid difference between German and Japanese DT-15 drums- the metric cap screws used to hold the cover plate of the drums are different thread specs.

According to noted Japanese scholar Edwin Libby, the Yokosuka Arsenal produced IJN Type 1 guns like mine are quite rare, even during the War, as they likely made somewhat less than 2000 of them total and certainly all but a very few did not survive the War intact or preserved. The fact that my Yokusuka Arsenal-made Type 1 did, completely intact and in pristine condition, is simply a mystery as to how and why. And contrary to urban legends, these Japanese machine guns are exceptionally well crafted and manufactured, equally on par with anything Germany produced.

-TomH

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Re: Japanese Type 1 (Type 98/MG-15 clone) reactivated

Postby flemgunner » Tue Oct 19, 2010 6:47 am

Hey could you delve into the ejection port cover a little more. Ive never heard that they had one

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Re: Japanese Type 1 (Type 98/MG-15 clone) reactivated

Postby TactAdv » Tue Oct 19, 2010 10:30 am

flemgunner wrote:Hey could you delve into the ejection port cover a little more. Ive never heard that they had one


It is an exceptionally simple design, all sheet-metal. Made from a collar of sheet-metal strips bent into a roughly square-from shape and seam-welded together with two tabs front and rear that slip under and lock into the gun's mounting notches that were intended to mount the former shell collector bags ('hulsensacke'). It also included a small hinge line where was pinned a flapping sheet-metal door plate that was spring loaded and had a small latch that flipped open when the gun was cocked forming a side facing surface that served to defect the ejected cases away out from under the gun to the side.

They are rarely seen now, and when they do show up it is usually in with all sorts of other German gun parts and accessories and most people simply don't recognize them for what they are. I believe IMA got a small lot of them when they brought in the ST-61 kits many years ago.

Also, I failed to mention on the above reply that there were also issued dedicated to the ground use guns, a proprietary leather sling that was made and marked for the MG-15 and a companion spare barrel carrier that was issued to each converted ground gun and was also made from leather; Both accessories are exceptionally rare.

-TomH

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Re: Japanese Type 1 (Type 98/MG-15 clone) reactivated

Postby flemgunner » Tue Oct 19, 2010 10:45 am

Thanx for the info. Anyway I could get some pictures of your mag loader? I cant locate one so may have to build my own

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Re: Japanese Type 1 (Type 98/MG-15 clone) reactivated

Postby TactAdv » Tue Oct 19, 2010 11:03 am

flemgunner wrote:Thanx for the info. Anyway I could get some pictures of your mag loader? I cant locate one so may have to build my own


Sure....lookeee here....if you need anything else, let me know!
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Re: Japanese Type 1 (Type 98/MG-15 clone) reactivated

Postby Bil » Tue Oct 19, 2010 5:13 pm

WOW!! :shock: Lots of great info,some new,some I had already uncovered,but certainly the most in one place! Thanks! Flemgunner-there is a guy here that sells reloaders for these drums-no repros,but new-made,simpler design that works the same. I got one several years ago. ---bil
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Re: Japanese Type 1 (Type 98/MG-15 clone) reactivated

Postby flemgunner » Tue Oct 19, 2010 8:11 pm

Thanx much for the info and pictures
Bil, who sells the repos?

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Re: Japanese Type 1 (Type 98/MG-15 clone) reactivated

Postby TactAdv » Tue Oct 19, 2010 8:36 pm

flemgunner wrote:Thanx much for the info and pictures
Bil, who sells the repos?


http://www.mg42.us/viewtopic.php?f=45&t=7982

Contact "Laminatrap", his info is in the above thread. I got one from him also. They aren't copies of the originals, just a very good approximation and they do work well. Be aware though, he only sells the actual ratchet-mechanism loader, you're on your own for making up a drum holder board and a cartridge filler guide as was included with the originals. Basically, anything you can come up with to hold the inverted drum with the loader attached will work.

See my above photos of the original set; you will NEED to make something that presses the loader ratchet against the face of drums while loading unless you have three hands. Again, look at the pictures to see the two bent-metal tabs that are screwed into the wooden holding board.....that's probably enough to go on, but if you need more pictures let me know.

I'd be happy to take a photo of the German loader next to the Laminatrap loader if needed......

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Re: Japanese Type 1 (Type 98/MG-15 clone) reactivated

Postby flemgunner » Wed Oct 20, 2010 7:21 am

I love this place,, thanx guys

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Re: Japanese Type 1 (Type 98/MG-15 clone) reactivated

Postby sbl11 » Mon Oct 25, 2010 3:13 pm

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