Mauser 1918 T-Gewehr

The Mauser 13 mm anti-tank rifle (German: Tankgewehr M1918, usually abbreviated T-Gewehr[4][5]) is the world's first anti-tank rifle[6]—the first rifle designed for the sole purpose of destroying armored targets—and the only anti-tank rifle to see service in World War I. Approximately 15,800 were produced.[2]

Mauser Mod. 1918 13.2 mm Tankgewehr
13.2 mm Rifle Anti-Tank at the Musée de l'Armée in Paris
TypeAnti-tank rifle, anti-materiel rifle
Place of originGerman Empire
Service history
In service1918–1933
Used by
Production history
ProducedJanuary 1918
No. built15,800[2]
VariantsM1918 shortened
Mass15.9 kg (35 lb), 18.5 kg (41 lb) loaded with the bipod
Length169.1 cm (5 ft 7 in)
Crewtwo man crew

Cartridge13.2 mm TuF (German: Tank und Flieger)
Caliber13.2 mm (.525 inches)
Rate of firesingle shot
Effective firing range500 m (550 yd)
Feed systemmanual
Sights1,000–5,000 m (1,100–5,500 yd) (notched V)


During the First World War the onset of static, trench warfare saw the rise in the use of armour plate for personal defense, and the development and use of armour-piercing ammunition to counter this. Both Britain and Germany used high-powered rifles, such as elephant guns from their African colonies, for this purpose. The first use of armoured fighting vehicles (tanks) was by the British at the Battle of Flers–Courcelette in September 1916 and were followed by the French. By June 1917, the German Army faced the Mark IV tank, and found that the standard armour-piercing 7.92 mm K bullet was no longer effective. This prompted the development by the Germans of a heavy-calibre and high-velocity rifle as an anti-tank weapon. The makers of the gun were inspired by weapons used to hunt African big game, like the Elephant gun.[7] The Mauser Company responded with the 13mm T-gewehr and began mass production at Oberndorf am Neckar in May 1918. The first of these off the production lines were issued to specially raised anti-tank detachments.[citation needed]


The rifle was a single-shot bolt-action rifle using a modified Mauser action, with rounds manually loaded into the chamber. The weapon had a pistol grip and bipod, but no method of reducing recoil, such as a soft buttpad or muzzle brake. This could cause problems for the shooter with repeated firing. The iron sights were composed of a front blade and tangent rear, graduated in 100-meter increments from 100 to 500 meters. The rifle was operated by a two-man crew of a gunner and ammunition bearer, who were both trained to fire the weapon. Due to the tremendous blunt force of the recoil, it was designed to be shot in a static position, either prone or from inside a trench.[citation needed]


Comparison of a standard .303 British rifle cartridge and a 13.2 mm T-Gewehr cartridge.

The armour-piercing hardened steel cored 13.2 x 92mm (.525-inch) semi-rimmed cartridge, often simply called "13 mm", was originally planned for a new, heavy Maxim MG.18 water-cooled machine gun, the Tank und Flieger (TuF) meaning for use against "tank and aircraft", which was under development and to be fielded in 1919. The rounds weighed 51.5 g (795 gn) with an initial velocity of 785 m/s (2,580 ft/s).[8]

Range Penetration @ 90°
100 m (110 yd) 26 mm (1 in)
200 m (220 yd) 23.5 mm (0.93 in)
400 m (440 yd) 21.5 mm (0.85 in)
500 m (550 yd) 18 mm (0.71 in)[9]

Surviving examples

Examples of the Mauser 1918 anti-tank rifle can be found in several museums:

See also


  1. "Sverige Mall".
  2. C. G. Sweeting (2004). Blood and Iron: The German Conquest of Sevastopol. Brassey's. p. 108. ISBN 978-1-57488-796-9.
  3. Robert Ball (2011). Mauser Military Rifles of the World, 5th Edition. Gun Digest Books. p. 193. ISBN 978-1-4402-1544-5.
  4. Ball, Robert M. (2006). Mauser Military Rifles of the World (Mauser Military Rifles of the World). Gun Digest Books. p. 183. ISBN 978-0-89689-296-5.
  5. Stephen Bull (2004). Encyclopedia of military technology and innovation. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 15. ISBN 978-1-57356-557-8.
  6. "WW1 Anti-Tank rifles" (Microsoft FrontPage 6.0). Retrieved 10 October 2014.
  7. Larson 2020.
  8. Johnson, Melvin M., Jr. (1944). Rifles and Machine Guns. New York: William Morrow & Company. p. 384.
  9. Natzvaladze, Yury (1996). The Trophies Of The Red Army During The Great Patriotic War 1941–1945. Volume 1. Scottsdale, Arizona: Land O'Sun Printers. p. 9. ASIN B001J7LCD2.
  10. "Mauser T-Gewehr Anti Tank Rifle". Australian War Memorial.
  11. "Rocky Hill war items 'nationally significant'". Goulburn Post. December 2015.