Royal Armouries

Vickers Mk.I machine gun

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Vickers Mk.I machine gun and Tripod Mk.IV with overbank mounting

Vickers Mk.I machine gun and Tripod Mk.IV with overbank mounting. PR.188 and PR.189.

  • Vickers Mk.I machine gun and Tripod Mk.IV with overbank mounting

    Vickers Mk.I machine gun and Tripod Mk.IV with overbank mounting. PR.188 and PR.189.

Date: 1920 | Object number: PR.188 and PR.189

Vickers Mk.I machine gun

Description

Collection no: PR.188 and PR.189
Country: Britain
Date: 1914
Calibre: .303 in
Barrel length: 633 mm
Overall length: 1020 mm

The Vickers machine gun was a development of the original 1884 design by the American-born Sir Hiram Maxim. It offered much increased firepower over the small-arms of the day, firing 500 rounds of rifle-calibre ammunition per minute, but could only fire from a fixed position and had to be kept cool with water – or sometimes even soldier’s urine!

In the First World War, the Machine Gun Corps was formed specifically to provide small teams who could operate and move these guns where they were needed most on the battlefield. Contrary to popular belief, Vickers were used more like artillery pieces than for spraying the enemy with bullets point-blank. Both sides in the First World War used the weapon to deadly effect.

Introduced into British service in 1912, it was only finally withdrawn in 1968. This Vickers is mounted on the Mk.IV tripod that is fitted with an overbank mounting and extended trigger grips. It was designed to give the maximum protection for the crew when firing from a trench.

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