Vickers machine gun crew with gas masks
British Vickers machine gun crew wearing PH-type anti-gas helmets. Near Ovillers during the Battle of the Somme, July 1916. The gunner is wearing a padded waistcoat, enabling him to carry the machine gun barrel. See Image:Vickers machine gun crew with gas masks rear view.jpg for an alternate view of this crew.
The Vickers machine gun is a British heavy machine gun that was widely used during the First and Second World Wars. It was designed by Hiram Maxim in 1884 and adopted by the British Army in 1912. The Vickers machine gun was renowned for its reliability, accuracy and durability and was often used in defensive positions. It fired the .303 British cartridge and had a water-cooled barrel to prevent overheating. The Vickers machine gun had a maximum rate of fire of 450 rounds per minute and could be fired continuously for hours without overheating. It was used by many countries during both World Wars, including the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and India. The Vickers machine gun was eventually replaced by lighter and more mobile weapons such as the Bren gun and the Browning M1919.