GBR - Vickers Mk.I* (letecký kulomet)

Vickers Mk.I air machine gun - ?????

Weapon designation in Czechoslovakia - Vickers vz.09 7.7mm calibre air machine gun
Manufacturer : Vickers-Amstrong Ltd., Enfield, UK
Origin : -
Designer : -
Conclusion : Maxim system
Calibre : 7,7x56R mm
Gun length : 1.1m
Barrel length : 0,72m
Weight of weapon : 13,5kg
muzzle velocity : 745m/s
Cadence : 600 rounds/min
Range : 1850m
Magazine : belt with 250 rounds
Note: The weapon is a modification of the heavy machine gun Vickers Mk.I

An aerial liquid-cooled synchronized machine gun designed for pilots. In Czechoslovakia used in all combat aircraft produced before 1929.

V. Němeček, Czechoslovak Aircraft, Naše Vojsko, Prague 1968
J.Fidler and V.Sluka, Encyklopedie branné moci Republiky československé 1920-38, Libri 2006, ISBN 80-7277-256-2

PS: apologies to the section moderators, but I don't know the exact designation of the weapon in the original - I need the topic for linking reasons and don't want to start another lazy forum. If anyone knows the exact name, please correct it.
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The Vickers machine gun was an improvement on the original Hiram Maxim design of 1883. Compared to the original design, the machine gun was considerably simplified, with many parts made of aluminium, thus reducing its overall weight. The most important change made in 1908 by chief designer George Buckham was the reconstruction of the locking system.

The machine gun used the principle of locking by a set of articulated levers. These levers swung downwards on the original Maxim and early versions of the Vickers, but Buckham decided to use the free space at the top of the breech housing to swing them out. This reduced the height of the breech housing by about a third (on the Vickers, the height of the breech housing is about the same as the diameter of the cylindrical radiator, whereas on the Maximus it extends significantly downwards), thus significantly reducing weight and manufacturing costs.

The machine gun thus modified, called the Vickers Class C by the manufacturer, was adopted into the armament of the British Army in 1912 as the Vickers Mk.I. The machine gun proved to be very reliable, and when in 1915 a suitable automatic weapon was sought for the then-new aircraft, it was also chosen.

A lighter machine gun, the Lewis Mk.I, was the first to be used on British aircraft, but this had a 47 or 96 round magazine. By the time the British designers had solved the synchronizer problem, a machine gun with a cartridge belt was needed to ensure that the weapon could be fired for longer periods without further manipulation.

The Vickers seemed ideal for the task, with only the water cooler of the barrel being replaced by a simple jacket with ventilation holes in the aircraft model. Next, of course, the "handlebar" - the two-handed grip on the rear face of the breech housing - disappeared, as the machine gun was fired by a trigger on the aircraft control stick. A Hyland-type breech tension lever was added to the right side of the breech housing, and the classic open sights (sight and reticle) were replaced by circular sights for easier estimation of the preload. This modified machine gun received the designation Vickers Mk.I* to distinguish it from the original version.

However, it quickly became apparent that it would not be so simple. Unreliable mechanical synchronisers caused frequent machine gun jams, which were only solved with the advent of Constantinescu's excellent hydraulic synchroniser system, which could continuously vary the rate of fire depending on engine speed.

The first appearance of the synchronized Vickers machine gun on an aircraft was in December 1915 (non-synchronized had appeared individually on various types of aircraft before), and was a prototype of the Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutter. It was equipped with a Vickers-Challenger mechanical synchronizer (actually more of an interrupter). The same system was fitted to one Bristol Scout in January 1916, which was then deployed to the front in March for practical testing. This made it the first British operationally deployed aircraft with a synchronised machine gun.

In April 1916, the aforementioned Strutters were deployed in combat for the first time, but with the slightly more reliable, but again mechanical, Ross or Sopwith-Kauper synchronizers. The Strutters in turn were the first mass-produced machines to be equipped with this new armament as standard.

The aircraft thus armed proved their worth, and soon the Vickers Mk.I* became the standard British synchronised aerial weapon throughout the First World War. Initially mounted singly, sometime in late 1916/17 it was tested in pairs on six aircraft Sopwith Triplane. The Sopwith Camel was already in standard use in a twin configuration by 1917.

Apart from the UK Air Force, it was also used on aircraft of all other Allies during World War I, notably the French Nieuports and Spads.

The machine gun was used in the UK until the mid-1930s. However, with the advent of wing-mounted machine guns, it had to make way for the lighter Browning AN/M2, used in Britain as the Browning Mk.I.


E. and J. Lawson: The First Air War, publ. Jota, Brno 1997, ISBN 80-7217-035-X

R. Ford: The most famous machine guns and submachine guns, publisher. Svojtka & Co., Prague 1999, ISBN 80-7237-213-0

Windsock Mini Datalife 6
GBR - Vickers Mk.I* (letecký kulomet) - Pohled na dvojici kulometů Vickers Mk.I na letounu Sopwith Camel. Autor fota P. Procházka.

Pohled na dvojici kulometů Vickers Mk.I na letounu Sopwith Camel. Autor fota P. Procházka.
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V ČSR použit u letadel :
Aero Ae-02
Aero Ae-04
Aero A-11
Aero A-12
Aero A-32

Bude postupně doplňováno
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This post has not been translated to English yet. Please use the TRANSLATE button above to see machine translation of this post.

V roce 1917 také vznikla verze v ráží 11 x 59 mm Gras známá jako "ničitel balónů", která používala zápalné a trasovací náboje. Byl používán jak Brity, tak Francouzi a později i Američany, například Rickenbackerem nebo Lukem. Používali se i kombinace jeden klasický Vickers a jeden ničitel balónů.
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