Colt-Vickers Model 1915
|Colt-Vickers Model 1915 Machine Gun*|
|Magazine Capacity||250- or 300-round fabric web belt|
|Cyclic Rate||450-500 rounds/minute|
|Country of Origin||United States/England|
This water-cooled medium machine gun was the second British machine gun to be adopted by the United States Army, the first being the Maxim Model 1904. The Vickers was, in fact, a highly improved Maxim.
Like many others, the British started with the Maxim and then sought something lighter. Vickers developed their answer. Formerly a steelmaker, the Vickers company went into partnership with Hiram Stevens Maxim in 1883 to produce the Maxim machine gun. The company is best known for its Vickers machine gun, used by the British Army from 1912 to as late as 1965, and was declared obsolete in 1968. This machine gun was based on the original Maxim design. Vickers however, redesigned the traditional Maxim toggle to break upward and used steel alloys and aluminum to reduce the gun’s overall weight. Even so, the guns itself weight 18.1 kilograms (39.9lbs), and its tripod another 22.7 kilograms (50lbs). It was an impressive performer. Water cooled, it could drink out 10,000 rounds nonstop without a hiccup.
In 1913, the United States was far behind Europe regarding machine guns. As war clouds gathered, the United States Ordnance Department authorized trials of a version of the Vickers gun, built in Hartford, Connecticut by Colt. The gun was adopted as the Vickers Model 1915. The Government ordered 4,600 of the Colt-Vickers guns, but they were not delivered until 1917. Colt had been producing the gun in 7.62mm for Russia, and retooling for the .30-06 cartridge that the Ordnance Department took time. By the end of the First World War, the United States had purchased more than 12,000 Colt-Vickers and at least 12 American divisions in France were equipped with the Model 1915.
When England was under threat of German invasion in 1940, the United States sent over a large quantity of Colt-Vickers Model 1915 machine guns for the home guard. These were prominently marked with red and yellow paint to remind gunners that only .30-06 cartridges were to be used in these guns, which were otherwise indistinguishable to their British counterparts.