Original British WWII .303 Vickers K Machine Gun Drum Magazine

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is a rare World War Two issue, circular, one hundred round drum magazine with web handle, for use with the Gas Operated .303 inch Vickers 'K' machine gun. It is offered in excellent condition. A near identical example can be found at the Australian War Memorial website at this link.

The Vickers K machine gun, known as the Vickers Gas Operated (Vickers G.O.) in British service, was a rapid-firing machine gun developed and manufactured for use in aircraft by Vickers-Armstrongs. The high rate of fire was needed for the small period of time when the gunner would be able to fire at an attacking aircraft. The weapon was also adopted for land use during World War II.

The Vickers K was fitted to light and medium bombers in RAF service such as the Fairey Battle and Handley Page Hampden. It was also used in gun turrets, such as the dorsal turret in the Bristol Blenheim, the nose turret in the Armstrong Whitworth Whitley and the rear of the cockpit in the Fairey Battle. It was the standard Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm "Telegraphist Air Gunner" machine gun, on British built carrier (Torpedo Strike Reconnaissance) aircraft - the Fairey Swordfish, the Fairey Albacore and the Fairey Barracuda.

As supplies of air-cooled .303 in (7.7 mm) Browning machine guns increased the Vickers G.O. was phased out of use with the RAF. These machine guns were then reallocated from RAF stocks to units of the British and Commonwealth armies. The gun continued in service with the Fleet Air Arm and its last recorded use by the navy was by 812 Squadron RNAS Barracudas in anti piracy patrols off Hong Kong in October 1945.

The Long Range Desert Group was supplied with large numbers of the Vickers G.O. for use on its vehicles. They were used in single or custom built twin mountings. The Special Air Service adopted it for their hit and run tactics, mounting it in pairs on their jeeps. Over the years, it was assumed by some that the latter services took the phased-out VGO because they could obtain no other suitable machine guns but with its high rate of fire and low-friction locking design (which proved resistant to jams from sand), the LRDG and SAS found the G.O. markedly superior to either the .303 in (7.7 mm) water-cooled Vickers or the Bren gun.[1][5] In a similar manner, the Airborne Reconnaissance Squadron of the Reconnaissance Corps mounted the VGO on jeeps when they were attached to the 1st Airborne Division during Operation Market-Garden in September 1944. Royal Marine and Army Commandos used the VGO for infantry support/squad automatic weapon briefly around D-Day. In military terminology, it was known as Gun, Machine, Vickers G.O. .303-inch.

In the Coastal Forces of the Royal Navy, the Vickers K began to replace the Lewis gun on board Motor Torpedo Boats, Motor Launches and other light craft, from 1942 onwards.
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