Vickers machine gun

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The Vickers machine gun or Vickers gun is a name primarily used to refer to the water-cooled .303 inch (7.7 mm) Machine Gun produced by the Vickers company, originally for the British Army.

A modified form of Maxim gun, the British Army formally adopted it on 26 November 1912 and it remained in service until 30 March 1968. The weapon typically required a six to eight-man team to operate: one to fire, one to feed the ammunition, and the rest to help carry the weapon, its ammunition and spare parts.

The gun had a reputation for great solidity and reliability, and many of its gun crews became very devoted to the machine, spending off-hours lovingly maintaining each piece at highest efficiency.

Missing image
Vickers_IWW.jpg
Vickers machine gun and crew

The weight of the gun itself varied based on the gear attached, but was generally between 25 and 30 pounds (11 and 13 kg), with a 40 to 50 pound (18 to 23 kg) tripod. The ammunition boxes for the 250 round ammunition belts weighed 22 pounds (10 kg) each. In addition, it required about 7.5 imperial pints (4.3 L) of water in its evaporative cooling system to prevent overheating.

In British service, the Vickers gun fired the standard .303 inch (7.7 x 56 mm) cartridges used in the Lee Enfield rifle, which generally had to be handloaded into the cloth ammunition belts. There was also a 0.5 inch (12.7 mm) calibre version used as an anti-aircraft weapon and various other calibres produced for foreign buyers. Some British tanks of the early Second World War were equipped with the 0.5 inch (12.7 mm) Vickers.

Rimmed, centrefire .303 inch (7.7 mm) cartridge from WWII
Enlarge
Rimmed, centrefire .303 inch (7.7 mm) cartridge from WWII

The gun was 3 feet 8 inches (1.1 m) long and its cyclic rate of fire was between 450 and 600 rounds of ammunition per minute, with a range of approximately 4,500 yards (4,100 m).

The machine gun became standard weapons on all British and French military aircraft after 1916. The gun was fitted with interrupter gear to allow it to fire through aircraft propellers, and slots were cut in the water jacket so that it was cooled by air flow instead.

As the machine gun armament of fighters moved from the fuselage to the wings in the years before WW2, the Vickers with its cloth belts was replaced by the Browning with metal clips in some aircraft, especially fighters. The Fairey Swordfish torpedo bomber was one British plane that used the Vickers in the Second World war.

See also

Vickers K Machine gun


External links

See also

Template:WW2 Brit Comm Infantry Guns

Template:Commonsde:Vickers Maschinengewehr pl:Vickers (ckm) sl:Mitraljez Vickers

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