Schwarzlose (8 mm Heavy Machine Gun)


Staff member
Posted 21 May 2010 - 01:23 PM by donniechris59

I am curious about the Schwarzlose (8 mm Heavy Machine Gun) heavy machine gun that I believe became part of the Italian inventory as war booty after the Great War from the former Austro-Hungarian Empire.

How widespread was its use by the Italians? Was it seen in particular units i.e. colonial forces, reserve or militia units etc. or could it be found throughout the Italian army?

How many were in use when compared to the Fiat-Revelli and the Breda?

What was the common soldiers' opinion of the weapon? Was it a popular weapon? What did the Italian veterans say about this gun?

I understand that compared to other heavy machine guns from the Great War, that it was an effective weapon and was on par with the Vickers, the Maxim MG 08 and the Hotchkiss. Is this an accurate statement?

Posted 21 May 2010 - 08:48 PM by Arditi

It's funny you ask this question. I did the same question some years back as well. Of the period photos I have seen of this monster; most appear to be taken in the colonies. I've seen truck bourne examples from photos. Looks cool mounted up there in the flatbed. In an old issue of AMICI magazine I remember seeing a pic of a regular Italian soldier lying dead by one of these machineguns. The photo was grainy and I have been on the lookout for a better photo example ever since. In my book I have a photo of an Italian officer showing a boy child(presumably his son) how to shoot one of these pieces. I have also seen an Italian period shooting manual that discusses this weapons, so it had some importance in the Italian army. I have one mounted prominently in the middle of my war room. I get lotsa "wows" from visitors. haha
Best, Arditi :D

Posted 21 May 2010 - 08:50 PM by Gian

The Schwarzlose was commonly used by the Regio Corpo Truppe Coloniali in Africa alongside with the Steyr M95 carbine (also in 8x50R and provided as war reparation). It is reported to have been popular with its users for its ruggedness and reliability despite its low rate of fire, elaborate mechanics and the need for continuous maintenance.

It was used both for infantry support and in the anti-aircraft role. Folco Quilici speculates that one such weapons might have scored a fatal hit on the aircraft flown by Italo Balbo where his father Nello was a passenger (he was a journalist and Balbo's friend).

Not all of them left for Africa, in fact some of them might have seen service as fortress weapons and then in the Resistance. I have no idea as to how many were used by Italy. They might have gotten some of the Schwarzlose MGs in 6.5 caliber from German-occupied countries, although I'm afraid the Nazis hoarded most of the weapons they captured. And yes, I think the Italian manual does exist.


Staff member
La prima controffensiva italo-tedesca in Africa settentrionale. This information is from allegato n. 10 (pp. 324-349) as footnotes to the named units. This information is as of 1 April 1941.

D.f. Pavia
27º rgt. f. - 12 Schwarzlose

D.f. Bologna
39º rgt. f. - 6 Schwarzlose
40º rgt. f. - 36 Schwarzlose

D.f. Brescia
19º rgt. f. - 2 plotone (4 guns)
20º rgt. f. - 2 plotone (4 guns)

D.f. Savona
15º rgt. f. - 10 St Etienne, 21 Schwarzlose