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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Vickers MG question


alex falbo

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The muzzle booster was designed in 1912 but many period photos indicate that it wasn't a common feature. Is this assumption false?

How common was the muzzle booster for the Vickers MGs in the War?

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Are you sure you are not looking at pictures of Maxim guns? There were plenty of those in service in the early part of the war and they do not have a muzzle booster.

The muzzle booster was an integral part of the Vickers Mark I as introduced to the service.

If you have any pictures of a Vickers withut a booster I would be interested to see them.

Regards

TonyE

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My mistake. I meant to ask which type of booster.

Was the type with the pertruding booster used in the War and if so when?

ww1_vickers_machine_gun.jpg

818_l.jpg

Muzzle booster traps the gasses at the muzzle pushing back the barrel to complete the cycle of ejecting the casing and cocking the spring.VickersMuzzleBoosterAnim.GIF

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The extra bit at the end of the waterjacket (business end). It traps propellent gases and helps the recoil thus increasing rate of fire and efficiency of gun. Early ones were flat and later war ones conical to deflect bullets and help hide muzzle flash.

Regards

TT

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Thanks TT thats exactly what I needed to know.

Tony, I don't believe I've ever seen a Vickers without a muzzle booster either.

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Is that not a muzzle brake ?

Mick

Don't think so - a muzzle brake has no moving parts and acts to reduce recoil in high-velocity weapons (shunting part of the exhaust gasses out to the side, IIRC)

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A muzzle brake is designed to deflect gas (usually upwards) to counteract the tendency of the muzzle to rise, and/or rearwards to reduce recoil. The muzzle booster of the Vickers is designed to increase the recoil of the barrel to ensure functioning.

Alex: if you are thinking of the bulbous muzzle attachment seen on WW2 period Vickers, this is really a blast deflector and flash suppressor rather than a different type of muzzle booster, as it fits over the normal booster. It serves to force the muzzle gases forwards as problems had been experienced with fumes in pill boxes and AFVs.

An early type of hemispherical blast deflector had been developed in late 1918 but it was not adopted. A virtually identical type was introduced in 1939 as the Mark I Blast deflector but was not very successful and did not hide the flash. The more familiar bulbous type was introduced in 1940 as the Mark II and served for the remainder of the Vickers service life.

Regards

TonyE

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I am sorry, I have just realised what you were asking! The cone shaped armoured muzzle booster was introduced in LoC Para. 17675 on 2nd March 1916. As TT rightly said earlier it was to prevent the muzzle attachment being damaged by incoming fire. Correct nomenclature was "Cone, front, muzzle attachment, Mark II" and was widely used in the second half of the war.

My apologies for my lack of comprehension!

Regards

TonyE

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That's quite alright Tony. Thanks for clearing that up for me as I appreciate the diffintive date and gun part. I don't recall seeing the cone muzzle attachment very often in period photos.

Again, thanks for your knowledge.

The Vickers progression is sometimes confusing for me as I don't have any real exact books or source as to the official designations and models.

Alex

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Hi Alex

You need to get Dolf Goldsmith's book "The Grand Old Lady of No-Mans Land" from Collector Grade Publications.

The Land Service Vickers only underwent very minor changes during its fifty odd years of service life and never progressed beyond Mark I. The other interesting site is Richard Fisher's www.vickersmachinegun.org.uk , but you are probably aware of that.

Regards

TonyE

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As Tony had already gone into detail as to their introduction, I won't dwell; however, I will only comment to say that there are a number of photos of the Mk. I (flat) muzzle cone in use in the Second World War. I have a number of Mk. II cones and, I believe, only one of them is Great War dated. The production numbers in Grand Old Lady show 1,750 being made; although in the prose within the accessories section the author says that they were fitted to almost every gun - an unfounded assumption I think, certainly for the Great War anyway.

There is an IWM photo of an MGC Officer inspecting a gun that has lost is muzzle attachment and, somewhere, I have some records of the gun being used to fire single shot as it had lost the attachment through enemy fire (it is the most exposed bit!).

Regards

Richard

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  • 7 months later...

Alex out of interest - your vickers mg image is a US colt/vickers, which has a different muzzle assembly again.

I have the original VSM factory drawings sent to the USA in order for them to begin their own colt production but this shows the flat cone example. Clearly the US chose to develop their own pattern.

Ref the armoured cones v flat cones, some MGC postcards show front line vickers in use even in late 1916 with the armoured cone so again this only adds confusion to introduction into service.

Mark

Hi Alex

You need to get Dolf Goldsmith's book "The Grand Old Lady of No-Mans Land" from Collector Grade Publications.

The Land Service Vickers only underwent very minor changes during its fifty odd years of service life and never progressed beyond Mark I. The other interesting site is Richard Fisher's www.vickersmachinegun.org.uk , but you are probably aware of that.

Regards

TonyE

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Do you mean the image of the MG as a whole or the motion image of the muzzle booster in regards to the colt version?

In any event I see that the line where it would be common to see the cone would be drawn around late 1916 but that its introduction and use can be seen as early as January of that year.

Thanks

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