Original Nepalese Contract Vickers Machine Gun Parts Set with Colt Tripod and Transit Chest - Serial Number 16
Original Item: Only One Available. When IMA purchased 55,000 weapons from the Royal Nepalese Army in Kathmandu Nepal in 2003 we received 18 World War One .303 British fluted jacket water-cooled Vickers machine guns with matching tripods.
These guns were the complete Vickers contract specially supplied for the mountain Kingdom of Nepal and were serial numbered N1 through N18.
These Vickers guns were a special order in the mid 1930s however the contract was routed through some international arms dealers of the day no doubt because of political or commission based considerations.
The principal go-between was one Rameshwarlal Bazaj who placed this special order with Soley-Grimard, a joint venture between British and Belgian arms brokerage houses. Originally the quantity was to be 36 units but was cut by 50% to just 18 and these were shipped in 1935.
The guns have some of the earliest Vickers features including of course the fluted water jacket and were supplied in the original commercial satin blue finish.
Extraordinarily each gun was fitted with an optical sight mount very similar in style and location to the MG 08 optical system (sight regrettably absent). Additionally each gun was accompanied by a matching numbered tripod (number location is on original tripod data plate). Each of these original tripods was made by COLT and are the U.S. Pattern but the data plates were customized. Unfortunately, over the years the data plate on this tripod was lost, but it is definitely from Nepal and matched to the gun.
The brass crossheads are all marked with matching serial numbers but plus 100 resulting in N 116 on this example, making this an incredibly rare, very limited Vickers contract with a hint of intrigue of the pre WW2 covert arms market.
This parts set comes in its original wood transit chest with inlet to allow use with the optical sight mount. Despite arriving in Nepal just before WWII it appears these never left the mountain kingdom during the conflict and as a result have remained in remarkably good condition retaining most original finish etc.
The Vickers Parts set offered here has Serial number N16 or 16 on most of the major components, with the exception of the lock and the feed block. Marked parts include the water jacket, barrel, top covers, spade grip assembly, crank lever assembly, barrel extension plates, and more. Many components also bear early markings of V.S.M. (Vickers, Sons & Maxim), very desirable early markings.
History of these weapons is discussed in some detail on pages 112 to 115 in the book GUNS OF THE GURKHAS by John Walter, which chronicles the Nepalese cache acquired in 2005.
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