By the early s, the U. In , the U. One of the weapons considered was the British Vickers machine gun. Seven makes of automatic machine guns were considered and tried out. The Lewis gun during the endurance test had jams and malfunctions, 35 broken parts, 15 parts not broken but requiring replacement as against respectively 23, 0, 0, for the Vickers gun and 59, 7, 0 for the Automatic Machine Rifle. The Board is of the opinion that, with the exception of the Vickers gun, none of the other guns submitted showed sufficiently marked superiority for the military service, in comparison with the service Automatic Machine Rifle to warrant further consideration of them in the field test.
The Board is of the unanimous opinion that the Vickers rifle caliber gun, light model, stood the most satisfactory test. As to the merits of the Vickers gun there is no question — it stood in a class by itself. Not a single part was broken nor replaced. Nor was there a jam worthy of the name during the entire series of tests.
A better performance could not be desired. Field tests were conducted of the Vickers in , and the gun was unanimously approved by the board for the army under the designation "Vickers Machine Gun Model of , Caliber. One hundred twenty-five guns were ordered from Colt's Manufacturing Company in , with an additional 4, ordered the next year, all chambered for.
Design complexities, design modifications, and focus on producing previously ordered weapons meant that when the U. Production began in late with shipments to the Western Front in mid The first twelve divisions to reach France were given French Hotchkiss M machine guns , and the next ten had Ms. The next twelve divisions were to have Browning M machine guns, but there was a shortage of parts.
By August , thirteen U. War damage losses reduced the number of Ms in the U. Several hundred were sent to the Dutch East Indies and the Philippines, and were all eventually lost to enemy action.
Seven thousand guns were sent to Britain under Lend-Lease to re-equip their forces after the Dunkirk evacuation , which depleted the weapon from the U. Because the M Colt—Vickers was not chambered for the standard British. After the end of the war, the British had enough domestic Vickers guns to retire the M from the Home Guard, after which they were disposed of. The ammunition boxes for the round ammunition belts weighed 22 pounds In addition, it required about 7. The heat of the barrel boiled the water in the jacket surrounding it. The resulting steam was taken off by a flexible tube to a condenser container—this had the dual benefits of avoiding giving away the gun's location, and also enabling re-use of the water, which was very important in arid environments.
In British service, the Vickers gun fired the standard. There was also a 0. In practice, it was expected that 10, rounds would be fired per hour, and that the barrel would be changed every hour—a two-minute job for a trained team. The Vickers gun could sustain fire for long durations of time exceeding the recommended 10, rounds an hour due to the water-cooled barrel and hourly barrel swaps. One account states a Vickers fired just under 5 million rounds in a week as a test in at Strensall Barracks and was still operable. The bullet jackets were generally made of an alloy of cupro-nickel , and gilding metal.
Ammunition for the Vickers used colour-coded annuli. Tracer ammunition was marked with a red annulus; armouring-piercing ammunition a green annulus, and incendiary ammunition was marked with a blue annulus. Lastly, explosive ammunition was marked with an orange annulus before the Second World War and was changed to black.
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The gun and its tripod were carried separately and both were heavy. The original design did not anticipate it being carried up jungle-covered mountains on men's backs, but such was the weapon's popularity that men were generally content to pack it to all manner of difficult locations. The tripod would be set up to make a firm base, often dug into the ground a little and perhaps with the feet weighted down with sandbags. The water jacket would be filled with about 4 litres 1.
The evaporative cooling system, though heavy, was very effective and enabled the gun to keep firing far longer than its air-cooled rival weapons.
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If water was unavailable, soldiers were known to resort to using their urine. This problem was addressed using an insulating water jacket cover, introduced in but still in use during the Korean War. Some crews added vehicle antifreeze, others drained the water jacket, or simply fired a few rounds periodically to keep the water from freezing. The loader sat to the gunner's right, and fed in belts of cloth, into which the rounds had been placed. The weapon would draw in the belt from right to left, pull the next round out of the belt and into the chamber, fire it, then send the fired brass cartridge down and out of the receiver while the cloth belt would continue out the left side.
During sustained fire, the barrel would heat up which heated the water in the jacket until hot enough for the water to evaporate or boil thereby cooling the barrel releasing the heat through steam. It took the Mk I rounds of continuous fire to boil the water in the jacket, evaporating at a rate of 1.
A hose was connected to this, which released the steam into a metal water can allowing it to be vented away from the rest of the gun hiding the steam cloud and the gun's position. This also allowed any condensate to be reclaimed from the steam. Before the can got too full, it would be emptied back into the jacket to replenish the water level which would have fallen as the water evaporated and boiled away.
If the water jacket needed to be emptied, a plug under the jacket could be unscrewed to drain the entire jacket. Sometimes a location might be zeroed in during the day, and then attacked at night, much to the surprise and confusion of the enemy. New Zealand units were especially fond of this use. A white disc would be set up on a pole near the MMG, and the gunner would aim at a mark on it, knowing that this corresponded to aiming at the distant target. There was a special back-sight with a tall extension on it for this purpose. The only similar weapon of the time to use indirect fire was the German MG 08 , which had a separate attachment sight with range calculator.
A British, World War 2, Vickers medium machine gun platoon typically had one officer in command of four guns, in two sections of two, each with a crew and a small team of riflemen whose job was to protect the gun and keep it supplied with ammunition. British Vickers gun team in action at the Battle of the Somme.
Both are wearing gas masks. British commandos on the outskirts of Wesel during Operation Plunder in View of the breech of a Vickers gun showing brass feed ramp. An Australian soldier manning a Vickers gun during the Korean War. Vickers machine gun from Polish Army Museum 's collection. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article includes a list of references , but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. Please help to improve this article by introducing more precise citations.
March Learn how and when to remove this template message. Not to be confused with Vickers light machine gun.
A Vickers Machine Gun mounted on a Tripod. This particular model resides at the York Castle Museum. Main article: Vickers. Butler, Office of the Chief of Ordnance . Rear view of Vickers gun team in action at the Battle of the Somme. Vickers gun set up for anti-aircraft purposes during the First World War. Vickers machine-gun of the 1st Manchester Regiment in Malaya, The Irish Times.
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The Chaco War South America's greatest modern conflict. Osprey Publishing. Men-at-Arms Militaria in French. July Retrieved 31 August The Algerian War, Anyone can shoot International or Domestic visitors ; just bring your passport or ID. Previous shooting experience not necessary; great for beginners to experts. Priority bookings not necessary; just walk in during business hours. Locals and tourists domestic and international can experience the adrenaline rush of fully automatic firearms in a safe and private environment under the direct supervision of trained professionals.
When you have picked your machine gun package, a Firearms Specialist will take you through a training with replica guns to teach you proper shooting stance and explain the safety rules in the range. You will then put on eye and ear protection that we provide and enter the shooting range.