Part of the remit of the VMGCRA is to increase and share research relating to the Vickers MG. There are several elements to this including an archive, physical experimentation and historical analysis.
Where possible findings from this research is published through this website, magazines and books. Assistance is provided to other authors and researchers as well.
As well as the physical collection of artefacts, the Association has a wide range of related books and published materials. This library is available to researchers who wish to visit the collection for their studies but also we are happy to look up information that may be of use for those who support the Association.
Within the collection of the VMGCRA, there is an extensive collection of archival material that is both published and unpublished. A substantial library is also held for researching the use of the Vickers MG in context.
The archive is continually developing and has been registered with The National Archives where the catalogue is available through their search function. This is continuously updated.
Our online archive of manuals is available at archive.org.
The VMGCRA now includes the Machine Gun Corps History Project. As part of that, an accessible repository for the Project’s research material is part of the VMGCRA archive. This includes an extensive range of MGC material from published histories through to research carried out into individual soldiers, mostly on behalf of the descendants of those soldiers. A list of the soldiers covered by this research is available here: PARKER Archive.
Graham Sacker’s Machine Gun Corps Database is now included in our online archive through the National Archives. More information on the database, and finding aids is available here.
The archive also includes the original manuals and paperwork related to the Vickers MG. The majority of this is available for free download as PDFs through this website.
One of our major research projects is the scanning, centralising, indexing and sharing of the British small arms trials and development documents during the period the Vickers was on service (plus some surrounding years). This includes the Small Arms Committee (1900-1915,1918-1938), Small Arms Section of the Munitions Design Committee (1915-1918), Small Arms Sub-Committee of the Ordnance Board (1938) and the Ordnance Board (1938 onwards). This is a long term project that can be accessed through patronage on Patreon. The index for the series as it is available so far is in an excel spreadsheet that has hyperlinks to specific meeting minutes.
Should any person wish to access the archive, they can do so as part of a visit.
Donations of material are continually welcomed, whether primary or secondary.
Twenty Years After
One of our research and archival projects is digitisation of the Twenty Years After series from the 1930s. More details, including contents and links to online PDFs freely available are here.
By holding living history displays and having an accessible collection, it is possible for interested parties to become engaged in understanding the Vickers MG first-hand. Even a simple task such as lifting the original items gives an understanding of the weight and physical constraints of managing the Vickers MG.
Firing the Vickers makes it possible to understand the operation of the gun and the problems of operating it. This is not possible on a routine basis but blank-firing demonstrations are carried out as part of living history displays and they provide an opportunity to film and study that film.
The VMGCRA has also held studies into the use of indirect fire and the equipment utilised as part of it. This improves understanding between modern military capability and historic possibilities, including gap analysis and opportunities to learn lessons for the modern defence environment.
An academic view of the Vickers MG and its use is being developed. There are many books and magazines that will cover the Vickers but in-depth analysis and robust research is sometimes insufficient.
The VMGCRA seeks to publish its findings and analysis as far as possible. This has included mainstream media such as Armourer magazine.
The MGC History Project has a specific ambition to publish a comprehensive history of the MGC and the legacy of that Corps.
The Association has, through Richard Fisher, published a history of the Small Arms School Corps. This was commissioned by the Commanding Officer of the Corps and was published in 2019 by Helion & Company – https://www.helion.co.uk/history-of-the-small-arms-school-corps-1853-2017.html
We’ve also supported other publications with photographs and information, including the Haynes Manual on the Vickers Machine gun.
In the spirit of open-access, copies of the published material is available here where copyright permits: ResearchGate: The Vickers Machine Gun