History[ edit ] The Lewis gun was invented by U. Army to adopt his design, "slapped by rejections from ignorant hacks", in his words,  and retired from the army. The design was officially approved for service on 15 October under the designation "Gun, Lewis,. Marines field tested the Lewis machine gun in The Lewis was produced by BSA and Savage Arms during the war, and although the two versions were largely similar, enough differences existed to stop them being completely interchangeable, although this was rectified by the time of the Second World War. Note the magazine is only partially filled.
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History[ edit ] The Lewis gun was invented by U. Army to adopt his design, "slapped by rejections from ignorant hacks", in his words,  and retired from the army.
The design was officially approved for service on 15 October under the designation "Gun, Lewis,. Marines field tested the Lewis machine gun in The Lewis was produced by BSA and Savage Arms during the war, and although the two versions were largely similar, enough differences existed to stop them being completely interchangeable, although this was rectified by the time of the Second World War.
Note the magazine is only partially filled. The Lewis gun was gas operated. A portion of the expanding propellant gas was tapped off from the barrel, driving a piston to the rear against a spring. The piston was fitted with a vertical post at its rear which rode in a helical cam track in the bolt, rotating it at the end of its travel nearest the breech. Unlike the more common drum magazines , which hold the rounds parallel to the axis and are fed by spring tension, pan magazines are mechanically indexed.
The Lewis magazine was driven by a cam on top of the bolt which operated a pawl mechanism via a lever. The operating rod had a toothed underside, which engaged with a cog which wound the spring.
When the gun fired, the bolt recoiled and the cog was turned, tightening the spring until the resistance of the spring had reached the recoil force of the bolt assembly. At that moment, as the gas pressure in the breech fell, the spring unwound, turning the cog, which, in turn, wound the operating rod forward for the next round. As with a clock spring, the Lewis gun recoil spring had an adjustment device to alter the recoil resistance for variations in temperature and wear.
Unusual as it seems, the Lewis design proved reliable and was even copied by the Japanese and used extensively by them during the Second World War. Light Infantry Pattern Lewis Gun", which lacked the aluminium barrel shroud and had a wooden fore grip designed as a form of assault rifle. During the first days of the war, the Belgian Army had put in service 20 prototypes 5 in 7.
The Vickers was withdrawn from the infantry for use by specialist machine-gun companies. The US government was unwilling to supply the Tsarist Russian government with the guns and some doubt exists as to whether they were actually delivered, although records indicate that 5, Savage weapons were delivered to Russia by 31 March The Lewis guns supplied by Britain were dispatched to Russia in May , but it is not known for certain whether these were the Savage-made weapons being trans-shipped through the UK, or a separate batch of UK-produced units.
The Lewis was chosen for its relatively compact magazines, but as soon as an improved magazine belt for the Hotchkiss was developed, the Lewis was replaced by them in later tank models.
They used captured Lewis guns in both World Wars, and included instruction in its operation and care as part of their machine-gun crew training. Don L. Palmer of the 25th Aero Squadron. Albert Ball in an S. Because of this, the Lewis was first mounted on the Vickers F. The problem in mounting a Lewis to fire forward in most single-engined tractor configuration fighters was due to the open bolt firing cycle of the Lewis, which prevented it from being synchronized to fire directly forward through the propeller arc of such aircraft; only the unusual French SPAD S.
Some British single-engined tractor fighters used a Foster mounting on the top wing to elevate a Lewis gun above the propeller arc for unsynchronized firing, including production S. These had become available by September On the French Nieuport 11 and later Nieuport 17 sesquiplanes , a Lewis gun was mounted above the top wing in a similar way as fitted to the British S.
The Foster mount usually incorporated an arc-shaped I-beam rail as its rearmost structural member, that a Lewis gun could be slid backwards and downwards along the rail towards the cockpit, to allow the ammunition drum to be changed in flight — but RFC fighter ace Albert Ball VC also understood that the Lewis gun in such a mount also retained its original trigger, and could thus be fired upwards. He used the upward firing Lewis to attack solitary German two-seater aircraft from below and behind, where the observer could not see him or fire back.
It was his use of the weapon in this way, in a Nieuport, that led to its later introduction on the S. The later Sopwith Dolphin , already armed with twin synchronized Vickers guns just forward of the pilot and just above its V-8 engine , could also use one or two Lewis guns mounted on the forward crossbar of its cabane structure, between the top wing panels, as an anti-Zeppelin measure.
A few of the Dolphins in use with No. Lewis guns were also carried as defensive guns on British airships. The SS class blimps carried one gun. As an airborne weapon, the Lewis was largely supplanted by the Vickers K , a weapon that could achieve over twice the rate of fire of the Lewis. It could be found on major warships, armed trawlers and defensively equipped merchant ships.
It was often used in twin mountings and a quadruple mount was developed for motor torpedo boats. British submarines generally carried two guns on single mounts. American forces used the Lewis gun in. The US Navy used the weapon on armed merchant cruisers, small auxiliary ships, landing craft and submarines.
This was the designation given to. Large numbers of these guns were also produced by Savage for the British Army and in an aircraft configuration, for France and Italy. In the Netherlands , the Lewis in both ground and aircraft versions was used in 6.
The man next to him is carrying the drum magazine. Mark I. This was the first purpose built aircraft version of the Lewis, earlier versions had been improvised from Mk I guns. The cooling fins were omitted to save weight, but a light protective shroud around the barrel was retained. The wooden stock was removed and replaced with a "spade" grip, which resembled the handle of a garden spade. A round drum magazine was introduced which required a larger magazine spigot on the body of the gun.
An improved Mk II with an increased rate of fire introduced in Mark III. A further upgrade of the Mk II with an even faster rate of fire and the barrel shroud deleted, introduced later in The British designation for the US.
These guns were modified for ground use by the replacement of the spade grip with a crude skeleton stock and the addition of a simple wooden fore-stock which would allow the gun to be fired while resting on a sandbag, or from the hip while advancing. The designation for the. Mark IV. After all the usable weapons had been reconditioned and issued, there remained a large number of incomplete Lewis guns and spare parts. There was a particular shortage of the fragile "clock" springs for the Lewis, so a simpler spring was manufactured and housed in a straight tube which extended into the skeleton stock.
Many of these guns were fitted with a simple and light tripod which had been specially produced. A few of these were modified for aircraft use, when intended for non-synchronized emplacements on an airframe. M Lewis. A purpose built aircraft version of the M Experimental projects[ edit ] A commercial venture in by the Birmingham Small Arms Company was a version which fired the At around the same time, BSA developed the Light Infantry Model which had a round magazine and a wooden fore-stock in place of the radiator fins and shroud; it was intended to be used in a similar way to the Browning Automatic Rifle.
Another development was a twin Lewis for aircraft use in which the bodies of the two weapons were joined side-by-side and the drum magazines were mounted vertically, one on each side.
None of these projects was accepted by any armed forces. Despite being three pounds lighter than it and loaded with very forward-thinking features for the time such as an ambidexterous magazine release , the U. Army still chose to adopt the BAR.
It came with a hand guard and was fed from a round Bren magazines; however, it was decided by the British authorities to concentrate production on the Bren , which had the advantage of a changeable barrel.
The mine was a development of the Tellermine 35 with improved resistance to blast. It was followed by the simplified Tellermine The Tellermine consists of a circular pressed steel main body with a large central pressure plate. Two secondary fuze wells are provided for anti-handling devices, one in the side, and one on the bottom of the mine. The mine has a carrying handle.
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