Item:
ON12935

Original British WWII Vickers MMG Brass Tripod Crosshead Bushing Alignment Tool

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. The .303 Vickers MMG was the main British infantry machine guns used during WWII. The tripod utilized a tripod made with a central brass body, with steel legs, and a brass crosshead. While steel was stronger, brass could be cast and machined in a much more cost effective manner. However specific wear points were fitted with steel bushings to ensure that they did not quickly wear when in contact with the steel cross pins.

Over time, these bushings could wear out, and the brass crossheads could get damaged and need repair. Many tools were made for servicing the tripods, and this brass tool was one of those. It looks somewhat like a tripod crosshead itself, and it is marked clearly on the top:

TOOLS. BUSHING. CROSSHEAD.
MOUNTING TRIPOD 303 M.G. MK IV.
T3778.

This is a tool / fitting that the tripod crosshead fits inside for helping to remove and install new bushings on the front end of the crosshead. These bore the full force of the recoil of the gun, and would suffer the most wear. The tool itself has steel bushings inside the brass extensions on the top, which are used to guide the bushing tools.

The tool is in very good condition, with a lovely aged brass patina.

The Vickers machine gun or Vickers gun is a name primarily used to refer to the water-cooled .303 inch (7.7 mm) machine gun produced by Vickers Limited, originally for the British Army. The machine gun typically required a six to eight-man team to operate: one to fire, one to feed the ammunition, the rest to help carry the weapon, its ammunition and spare parts. It was in service from before the First World War until the 1960s.

The weapon had a reputation for great solidity and reliability. Ian V. Hogg, in Weapons & War Machines, describes an action that took place in August 1916, during which the British Army's 100th Company of the Machine Gun Corps fired their ten Vickers guns continuously for twelve hours. Using 100 new barrels, they fired a million rounds without a single breakdown. "It was this absolute foolproof reliability which endeared the Vickers to every British soldier who ever fired one."

The Vickers machine gun was based on the successful Maxim gun of the late 19th century. After purchasing the Maxim company outright in 1896, Vickers took the design of the Maxim gun and improved it, reducing its weight by lightening and simplifying the action and substituting components made with high strength alloys. A muzzle booster was also added.

The British Army formally adopted the Vickers gun as its standard machine gun on 26 November 1912, using it alongside their Maxims. There were still great shortages when the First World War began, and the British Expeditionary Force was still equipped with Maxims when sent to France in 1914. Vickers was, in fact, threatened with prosecution for war profiteering, due to the exorbitant price it was demanding for each gun. As a result, the price was slashed. As the war progressed, and numbers increased, it became the British Army's primary machine gun, and served on all fronts during the conflict. When the Lewis Gun was adopted as a light machine gun and issued to infantry units, the Vickers guns were redefined as heavy machine guns, withdrawn from infantry units, and grouped in the hands of the new Machine Gun Corps.

After the First World War, the Machine Gun Corps (MGC) was disbanded and the Vickers returned to infantry units. Before the Second World War, there were plans to replace the Vickers gun; one of the contenders was the 7.92 mm (.312 in) Besa machine gun (a Czech design), which eventually became the British Army's standard tank-mounted machine gun. However, the Vickers remained in service with the British Army until 30 March 1968. Its last operational use was in the Radfan during the Aden Emergency.

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