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MG 34 Fortress ( Bunker) Mount

This awesome post is courtesy of ARFCOM user, cool-e who was very kind to let me post it here today.


I bought it sight unseen from a collector from Norway who bought it from Ohio Ordnance Works but never took possession on it. He bought it sight unseen from them and then after owning it for some years he decided his plans to ship it home were not going to work so he offered it to me. The mount had been sitting in a Swiss Rail crate at OOW for years. Rumor was it came from a bunker in Belgium, but I do not really know the origin. n 2003 a gun show guy from OOW brought it to the Houston Gun Collectors Show (before the show started to suck) and I picked it up there. Cost me a case of beer and I had to return the box to him, which it did.

Called a Panzernestlafetten, or Armoured Loophole Mount, this on is 1944 dated with makers mark CNX, for Gustav Appel Machinenfabrik, Berlin-Spandau. When I got it, the thing was dirty, missing parts and had some bluish paint poured over parts of it. Some parts are still missing, notably the shoulder stock. I think it was broken off so it would fit in the crate, but who knows.

Designed to be inside a concrete pillbox, the top of the mount retracts when not in use. The access port in the bunker wall would be opened and the mount swung up so the front ball fits into the wall opening. The PZzF1 scope sights through a small hole in the ball. One of these sold about a week ago on Gunbroker for $800 or so. I got this one years ago on ebay (before it sucked) for $175.

Mounts like this and other set ups in vehicles required right hand feed which the MG42 could not do. It is one reason MG34’s were produced throughout the war as they could be set up for right or left hand feed.

The last pics show a page from a manual on these things and pic of one (with a different style base) rusting away in a bunker in Norway ( I think).

How it looks now, and also showing how it retracts.

Here is how it looked when I got it an taking it apart to try to restore it a little bit.

There was a major part missing: the part that attaches the gun to the mount. This thing is complicated and also acts as a soft mount, in that the gun recoils on a spring action in the attachment piece. A friend in Norway who has a mount allowed a local machinist to borrow his a duplicate it, otherwise I never would have this part. Original on right.

The parts he duplicated. You can see how complex just this one item is.

Both together: original and duplicate. Original shows a lot of erosion from rust. To attach the gun to the mount, you line up the rear bipod attachment on the MG34 barrel jacket and turn the wing nut looking lever on the right; It spreads apart the mechanism to lock the barrel jacket into place. The springs inside of this attachment allow the gun to recoil without affecting the rest of the mount and the sight. Yep, overly complex for sure.

Another interesting feature is the headrest on the sight. It attaches to the scope using one of two groves cut into the post of the headrest. There is flap on the back the headrest that can move from one side or the other. The purpose: to allow the shooter to angle the headrest for sighting use the right eye or left eye and the flap to cover the other eye. More overly complex engineering and work, but pretty cool.

Set up for using the right eye.

Left eye set up

250 round ammo can on right side of mount. Below is the inside of the can showing baffles to bear the weight of the special 250 round belt. Belt is made of aluminum.

Scope attached to mount and a view of the small hole in the ball the scope sights through.

8 thoughts on “MG 34 Fortress ( Bunker) Mount”

  1. Holy cow now this is cool! Pretty neat how it mounts and goes back into cover. Wonder if it could be replicated for an AR or another system on a smaller yard sprinkler type deal.

    I like the spare barrel quiver and that specialty ammo can.

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  2. That’s really cool. Leave it to the Germans to come up with something like that. One of my buddies refers to that sort of design tongue-in-cheek as “very Teutonic”.

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  3. Very Nice article. I love seeing that old stuff, over complicated for sure but I bet it worked as intended. Two drawbacks I see though-it won’t take Glock mags and I see no way to hook it up to the internet…

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  4. Man that is a neat piece of undoubtedly rare history. The owner did a great job restoring it as well. I would be curious what the value of something like that is now that it is restored. Thanks for sharing.

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  5. That mount is a perfect example of some of the reasons that the Germans lost that damn war.

    Stop and think about it–All that incredible machining and refined design on a mount that was probably only going to ever be used for maybe a day or two of combat when and if the Allies decided to invade. Sure, that’s the ultimate mount, it’s the perfect thing if you’re the gunner, but how much more time is that mount going to keep the position viable, once the assault comes? Is it worth all that time, money, and difficult machine work to keep that gun position operational for a few more hours?

    Misplaced priorities, and a total lack of a grasp on what was important. Push comes to shove, and that MG position was probably going to get taken out exactly the way the Maginot Line was–By dislocating the defense and making it irrelevant. Meanwhile, the machine time and effort that went into all that exquisite machine work on the mount and the rest of the bunker system just served as a sink for German resources. They could have gotten by with just a damn slit, a flat platform for the Lafette, and bare concrete, but nooooo… We gotta have the ultimate hardware. Meanwhile, the Allies landed somewhere else up the coast, brought up a bunch of 155mm self-propelled howitzers like we did along the old Siegfried Line, and blew the ever-loving shit out of the back of the bunker…

    Thank God for the general German inability to prioritize. It’s mind-boggling to realize they were building this shit in the middle of an existential war of survival, and then plunking it down in the middle of nowhere along the Norwegian coast, which never saw a single serious attempt by the Allies to do more than pull off a few raids on critical assets like the Tirpitz.

    You look at this, and it’s a microcosm proxy for all the reasons the Germans lost the fucking war. I guaran-damn-tee you that there are few, if any, equivalents to be found in any American defense emplacements. I might be wrong, but about the most I’ve ever seen was a re-purposed Sherman tank hull MG mount used to secure a Coastal Artillery position, and I’m pretty sure that was something the local guys cobbled up.

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    • We Americans had our own screwups and inefficiencies during the war. The difference was that we could get away with it. We could afford to spend months and months waiting for torpedoes that went boom. The war was just sitting there waiting for America’s men and materiel to win it.

      Germany’s closest analogue on that front was probably the Russians, for whom the war was a very near-run thing. If they’d made decisions this poor/inefficient, well, who knows.

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      • Yeah, we weren’t logistically perfect, but… Dear God, the Germanic stupid… It burns, it burns!

        The one that I still haven’t ever been able to wrap my head around were any and all of the V-waffen.

        OK… Lemme try to imagine the “pitch meeting” for the V-2:

        von Braun and his buddies: “OK, see, we’re gonna blow about what the Americans are on the B-29, but our program is only going to deliver about a ton of explosives per missile… We’re gonna need a significant fraction of the food crop to make the alcohol that fuels them, and we’re going to have to develop entirely new technologies that are going to cut into our standard weapons programs. All of this for something that’s expendable, and can only be used once… We’re basically pissing away the resources for each launch, we can’t recover and reuse anything, and we’ve got a pretty significant dud rate to consider… Without some kind of WMD warhead, this is essentially insane, but it’s way cool, and we’ll be able to boast about having the world’s first IRBM at the war crimes trials you guys are going to be going to, while we steely-eyed missilemen will get snaffled up by the Allies and forgiven for everything, even the slave labor we’re gonna kill working on Mittlebau Dora…”.

        Nazi leadership: “Great!! Go for it… How much do you need to get started? We’ll speed up losing the war, but we’ll go down in history!!!”

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