The South African
Military History Society

Die Suid-Afrikaanse Krygshistoriese Vereniging

Military History Journal
Vol 1 No 2 - June 1968


by G. R. DUXBURY, Director

On 9th January, 1968, the Vickers .303 Medium Machine Gun was retired from use in the British Army.
The passing of the gun was marked by a ceremony in the Vickers headquarters at Millbank Tower in England. Major-General P. Young, Director of Infantry in the British Army, presented one of the guns to the Vickers factory on behalf of the Infantry.

It is said that in its 55 years of service it killed more people than the atom bomb. The gun was first taken into use in 1912 and became the backbone of infantry units throughout the world.

In England it has been replaced by the sustained fire General Purpose Machine Gun.
The Vickers had a rate of fire of 1,000 rounds per minute and was regarded by experts as one of the best infantry weapons ever produced.
It was still in use during the Korean War and later in Borneo. The armies of some countries are even today equipped with it and, no doubt, will continue to use it for a long time to come.
Famous for its accuracy and reliability, the Vickers was fired continuously for seven days in one experiment before it broke down. Mounted on ships, tanks, armoured cars and aircraft, the gun served in many roles and will certainly go down on record as one of the most famous weapons in military history.

Return to Journal Index OR Society's Home page

South African Military History Society /