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Remembered Today:

HOTCHKISS GUN


TerryK
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Can anyone tell me why the Lewis Gun was replaced by the Hotchkiss Gun in the Australian Light Horse and New Zealand Mounted Rifles brigades in the Middle East?

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Did not all cavalry/mounted arms use this weapon?

Perhaps it had something to do with weight?

Cant help any further than that I am afraid.

regards

Arm

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Your right in that the LH did use the Lewis.........but I was lead to believe the switch was made from the Hotchkiss to the Vickers.......just like the Brit MGC Cavalry units.

The Lewis did not require a tripod to be fired accuratly.......it used a fold down bipod. A light weight Hotchkiss was later produced.

Hotchkiss was too bulky as an assault weapon.

Low rate of fire when compared to the Lewis.

The Lewis was more reliable in trench warfare.

Both guns weighed in at about 12KG each. But if you removed the cooling jacket from the Lewis it would only be 9KG.

Hope this helps.

Steve.

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It is important to distinguish between the automatic weapons that were integrated into the squadrons (Lewis guns for Light Horse and Hotchkiss automatic rifles in the cavalry) and the separate machine gun support units. The latter were initially armed with Maxim MGs, then the lighter Vickers as they became available, then the change to Hotchkiss MGs in April 1917. The latter were lighter than the Vickers, in part because they were not water-cooled. The high quality air-cooled easy-to-replace barrels of the Hotchkiss could sustain quite high rates of fire.

Robert

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I should have been clearer. I know that the regimental MG Sections (equipped with a mix of Vickers and Maxim guns) were amalgamated into Brigade MG Squadrons in July 1916 in Egypt. To replace them, the regiments received Lewis guns on a scale of one per squadron. Later, the Lewis guns were replaced with Hotchkiss guns, on a larger scale of one per troop. What I am interested in knowing is why the Lewis guns were withdrawn and replaced with Hotchkiss guns.

Thank you.

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Apologies. The New Zealand MG Squadron continued to use the Vickers MG until the end of the war. The change in April 1917 was from the Lewis gun to the Hotchkiss automatic rifle. The latter was different from the Hotchkiss MG. It was issued to the British cavalry on the Western Front, for example the 15th Hussars received Hotchkiss automatic rifles on 27th February 1916. There is a picture of one here:

http://www.rememuseum.org.uk/arms/machguns/armmg3.htm

I don't know why the change was made. As you say, there was no significant difference in weight and both were air-cooled. The Hotchkiss did have single shot capability.

Robert

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The Lewis is cooled when with the firing of the weapon air is drawn through the barrel shroud. In the dry dusty and sand swept enviroment of the middle east that may have caused problems for both the firing and maintaining of the weapon??

As well the Lewis being fed by a 47 round drum may tend to interupt sustained firing, which the Hitchkis auto rifle is fed by strip or belt.

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Some good points, but if the Lewis was so poor in a desert conditions why did the LRDG use it during WW2?

A fool can surely ask more questions than a wise man can answer! :)

Steve.

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Hi all

I have never seen any photographs of N.Z.M.R or N.Z.M.G.S using the Lewis in Sinai Palestine.

so was surprised to hear that.

Plenty of photographs of them using the Hotchkiss,

Vickers and Maxim.

I have to say I like the look of the Hotchkiss something about it :), I saw one for sale a while back a very solid looking weapon.

Jonathan.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Some good points, but if the Lewis was so poor in a desert conditions why did the LRDG use it during WW2?

A fool can surely ask more questions than a wise man can answer!  :)

Steve.

And the Lrdg would not have used them for long ! Most of the weapons shown in potograghs are actually VGO ("Vickers Gas Operated") or Vickers "K" guns designed as a replacement for the Lewis Gun by the RAF in the 1930's but soon replaced by the Browning in .303 because of the widespread use of power operated mountings. Many of the suplus weapons making their way to the organisations like the LRDG.

See ==> LRDG Weapons

Edward

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Some good points, but if the Lewis was so poor in a desert conditions why did the LRDG use it during WW2?

A fool can surely ask more questions than a wise man can answer!  :)

Steve.

And the Lrdg would not have used them for long ! Most of the weapons shown in potograghs are actually VGO ("Vickers Gas Operated") or Vickers "K" guns designed as a replacement for the Lewis Gun by the RAF in the 1930's but soon replaced by the Browning in .303 because of the widespread use of power operated mountings. Many of the suplus weapons making their way to the organisations like the LRDG.

See ==> LRDG Weapons

Edward

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Some good points, but if the Lewis was so poor in a desert conditions why did the LRDG use it during WW2?

A fool can surely ask more questions than a wise man can answer!  :)

Steve.

And the Lrdg would not have used them for long ! Most of the weapons shown in potograghs are actually VGO ("Vickers Gas Operated") or Vickers "K" guns designed as a replacement for the Lewis Gun by the RAF in the 1930's. Based on the Vicker's Berthier (adopted by the Iandian Army in lieu of the Bren prior to WW2 but soon replaced by the Bren after the shooting war started). "K" gun was soon replaced by the Browning in .303 because of the widespread use of power operated mountings. Many of the suplus weapons making their way to the organisations like the LRDG.

See ==> LRDG Weapons

Edward

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