The Vickers Machine Gun

updated on 30th August, 2019

The Vickers Machine Gun

Pictured above is the Vickers .303 inch Machine Gun Mk 1 on a .303 inch Machine Gun Mk IV 'B' Mounting Tripod in its 1914-1918 configuration. Note the Mk 1 muzzle attachment and the emergency mount below the water-jacket.  The riveted belt is in position and is being fed from the No.8 belt box.

The gun weighs approximately 42.5 lbs with 7.5 pints of cooling water to prevent overheating.  The actual mounting weight is 48 lbs.  Not only did they have to carry the gun and tripod, the poor soldiers also had to carry the belt boxes, which weighed 22 lbs with 250 rounds of ammunition in each belt.   The gun weight could vary according to the type of barrel casing and whether 'lightening' had been carried out. The overall length of the gun was 3 feet 8 inches and it's cyclic rate of fire was between 450 and 600 rounds of ammunition per minute.  Therefore, while one member of the eight man gun team carried the gun, another would carry the tripod and the other six would have laden themselves down with belt boxes to be sure they would be able to carry out an effective performance once the gun was set up.

The operation of the gun was recoil and fuzee spring.

Many MGC/OCA members own Vickers guns and in the case of American and Canadian members, actually fire them.  The OCA is currently interested in purchasing a Vickers.  If you would like to make a donation towards this, or you have an authentic 'fired in anger' Vickers of WW1 vintage (deactivated) you wish to sell, do please contact the Honorary Secretary will be pleased to hear from you.

In conjuction with the Royal Logisitcs Corps in July 2002 MGC/OCA members annd other invited groups were given the amazing opportunity of firing a Vickers machine gun. You can imagine, this would not have been possible without the participation of the RLC and many other service personnel, both Regular and TA, who generously gave their time. A fantastic day at Bisley was thoroughly enjoyed by all. The awesome power of the Vickers was clear to all those who watched a display of 8 guns firing in formation. We were honoured too to have Dolf Goldsmith attend, the author and world authority on the Vickers and indeed many other guns. The MGC/OCA was lucky to benefit from a large donation made by all those who attended on the day. The OCA in it's turn sent donations to SSAFA and The Army Benevolent Fund.

Copyright Machine Gun Corps Old Comrades' Association.

Articles written by Judith Lappin and Keith Stephenson.