This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "Mauser MG 213" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (April 2008) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

Mauser MG 213 cannon
TypeAircraft cannon
Place of originNazi Germany
Service history
WarsWorld War II
Mass75 kg (165 lb)
96 kg (212 lb) assembled
Length1,907 mm (75.1 in) (20 mm)
1,630 mm (64 in) (30 mm)
Barrel length1,394 mm (54.9 in) (20 mm)
1,295 mm (51.0 in) (30 mm)

Cartridge20x135mm (112g)
30×85mmB (330g)
Calibre20 mm (0.79 in) (112g)
30 mm (1.2 in) (330g)
ActionShort recoil gas outlet, revolving cartridge feed
Rate of fire1300-1400 rounds/min (~21 rounds/s) (20 mm)
1100-1200 rounds (30 mm)
Muzzle velocity1,050 m/s (3,400 ft/s) (20 mm)
530 m/s (1,700 ft/s) (30 mm)
Feed systemBelt

The Mauser MG 213 was a 20 mm aircraft-mounted revolver cannon developed for the Luftwaffe during World War II. A further development using a 30 mm round was developed as the MG 213C, alternately known as the MK 213. Neither design was put into service before the war ended.

The designs were studied by the Allies after the end of war. The 30 mm version was copied almost without change to form the British ADEN and French DEFA, while the 20 mm version was used by the US as the basis for the M39 cannon.[1]


During World War II, the German firm Mauser began development of a radically new 20 mm autocannon using a motorised firing mechanism in order to improve the rate of fire. The weapon got the preliminary designation Mauser MG 213 and by the late-war period the design was beginning to mature. However the presence of large heavy bombers like the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and Avro Lancaster led to the need of up-arming Luftwaffe fighter aircraft with heavier cannons. Mauser responded to this by adapting the MaschinenGewehr 213 to fire the 30 mm rounds from the MK 108 cannon. This variant got the preliminary designation Maschinenkanone 213, as the 30 mm caliber meant that the weapon was classed as a cannon in German nomenclature. The 30 mm rounds on the MK 108 cannon had a fairly short cartridge with limited propellant capacity (30×90mm), and thus had a low muzzle velocity of around 550 m/s (1,800 ft/s). However, as they were adapted with mine shells, which could effectively knock out any aircraft at the time with just a few hits, they did not need high velocity to be effective against non-manoeuvering targets like bombers. Despite frantic efforts, production of the MK 213 never commenced due to development problems such as excessive barrel wear, not to mention the Allied Combined Bomber Offensive campaign against German industry.[2] At the end of the war only 5 prototypes (V1 to V5) of either 20 mm MG 213 or 30 mm MK 213 were finished.[2]


The gun was developed by Mauser but, as far as known, was never deployed. It was developed from an earlier design: the MG 213A. The MG 213A utilized a gas-driven operation. In the MG 213, the direct movement of the revolver cassette was changed to a diagonal cam with a follower. This actuated a rammer that both fed cartridges into the cylinders and revolved the cassette. Sealing was accomplished by packing the cylinder and breech with heat resistant steel. This innovation allowed chamber movement while the gas pressure was very high. The revolver cassette had five chambers[3] and at least 3 chambers were full during operation, feeding, firing, and extracting. The cylinder was fed at the 5 o'clock position and fired at the 12 o'clock position. Upon discovery of examples of the gun, it caught the attention of autocannon developers in Switzerland, France, Britain, and the US. The British ADEN cannon was developed eight years later, while the US M39E cannon, first designated T-160, was rushed into combat evaluation during the Korean War.[4]

20mm MG213

30mm MK213

See also


  1. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2019-08-12. Retrieved 2018-02-11.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ a b Volume 2, Part 3, Hunter Weapons, The 30mm ADEN Gun, Rocket Projectiles, Air To Air Missiles, Bombs, etc. pp. 2–6.
  3. ^ "Revolver cannon - Heavy Machine Guns". 12 February 2021.
  4. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2019-08-12. Retrieved 2018-02-11.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

Further reading