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In 1897 Maxim Nordenfelt Guns & Ammunition Co. Ltd. merged with Vickers, Sons & Co. Ltd., becoming Vickers Sons & Maxim Ltd. The The service Maxim went through several design changes becoming the Vickers-Maxim, the 'light pattern" Vickers, and finally the Vickers Mark I. The Vickers Mark 1 weighed 33 lbs, where the service Maxim weighed 56 lbs Because the toggle broke upward in the Vickers instead of downwards, a new rear sight was developed to replace the Maxim's Peddie-Calochiopulo sight which protruded down into the receiver when raised. The design changes were considerable, too many to go into here, but The Grand Old Lady of No Man's Land, by Dolf Goldsmith, goes into great detail about the development of the Vickers. More about this book at the bottom of the page.


Front view.
The Maxim lock, at left, is shown next to the Vicker's lock on the right. The Maxim lock has the sear on the bottom, whereas the Vickers lock has its sear on top (red arrows).
The toggle on the Vickers lock breaks up instead of down, it uses the empty space behind the feed block, allowing the receiver to be substantially shorter in height. Spent cartridges are dropped out the bottom of the Vickers receiver instead of through a tube and out the front as in the Maxim.
Front view of Maxim and Vickers locks.
SPECIFICATIONS
Vickers Mark I
Nation...................................
Date of design......................
Production period.................
Service duration...................
Operators.............................
War service..........................
Variants................................
Type......................................
Operation.............................
Caliber .................................
Ammunition .........................
Muzzle velocity ...................
Capacity...............................
Weight - Gun .......................
Weight - Tripod....................
Overall length .....................
Barrel length .......................
Rate of fire ..........................
Effective range ....................
United Kingdom
1912
1912-1968
1912-1968
UK, Australia, & foreign buyers
WWI - WWII - Korea
MKI, MKII, MKIII
Machine Gun
Automatic only, recoil operated, water-cooled
.303 (British)
Rimmed, centrefire Mk 7 .303 inch (7.7 mm)
2,440 fps
250-round fabric belt
33 lbs w/o water 40 lbs with
50 lbs
43.31 in.
28.35 in
450 to 600 round/min
810 yd
Vickers Mark I

Schematic, Vickers Mark I, Model of 1915.

GIs training with the predecessor of the Vickers, the Maxim-Vickers.

A beautifully restored early MK1 with the fluted water jacket. It has a large brass dial sight bracket which can be seen in the center and right photos. Images contributed by John.

Left side, full view.

Relative sizes of the Vickers Mark I and the Browning 1917A1

Left side of the receiver.

The Australian pattern Vickers Mark I on the
distinctive tripod with its signature down-swept cradle.

A view from the top.

The bulbous flash hider is typical WW2, and the
steam chest is the standard Shell motor oil can.

A WW1 tripod dated 1918.

Engraving along top left edge of cradle. Click for enlargement.

A single transit chest was used for both the Vickers and the Lewis gun.
Above, right: The standard steam chest for the Vickers was a British Shell Motor Spirit oil can. Though not particularly sturdy, they were cheap and plentiful.

The Vickers spade grips. The central pad is the trigger, and is bracketed by the safety, which had to be held rearward to fire.

A Vickers Mark I being portaged across a creek. From another stereo card.
As in the Maxim, the handle caps unscrew and have a grease covered brush for gun maintenance.

A Vickers machine gun team during a training exercise. This is one panel of a stereo card.

Another view.
Chick here to go to Armorer's Chest page
Above are two shots of my Vickers Spare Parts and Tools box, sadly empty.
Click here, or on image above to go to the Armorer's Chest page to see contents.

This steel ammo container held two metal reinforced plywood ammo boxes.


The two ammo boxes in turn each
held a sealed metal ammo can.
British .303 round.

Each of the ammo cans held 250 rounds
of belted .303 caliber ammunition.

A heavy steel double hinged ammo box for tanks.


This pristine Vickers parts kit became the gun on this page.

The kit came from IMA, one of my favorite sites to browse
for such goodies.
* Information on the Vickers was taken from The Grand Old Lady of No Man's Land, by Dolf Goldsmith. Though out of print, copies can still be found for around $79.00 as of this writing (4/2009) if you search the Net. I have seen copies for sale for as high as $625.00. Whatever. Do your homework.
I have been limited by my meager collection of Vickers accessories and my one gun. If anyone has photos of accessories in their collection that they would be willing to share it would be very helpful in fleshing out this page. I never intended for this to be an exhaustive survey of the Vickers, but it could definitely use some help. My E-mail address is jon@liberatorcrew.com . Thanks for any help. As always this is a group effort. -Jon, aka Nosegunner