This page provides some information on personal weapons used by, principally British and Commonwealth, Machine Gunners. It is not intended to provide technical information on the weapons but more how they were used by the MGers themselves.

Pistols and Revolvers

Pistols, Revolver, No. 1, Mk. VI – .455-in. Webley; with 6-in. barrel

This was the standard service revolver of the Great War period through to the 1930s, when it was replaced with the .38-in. revolvers. It was first issued to the Nos. 1 and Nos. 2 of the machine gun detachments of Machine Gun Squadrons and Cavalry Regiments in June 1916 (Army Council Instruction 1916/1265) and then to the Machine Gun Detachments of Machine Gun Companies in July 1916 (Army Council Instruction 1916/1382).

Revolver firing was part of the machine gunner training during the Great War, and is known to have required practice with either hand.

It’s thought that pistols remained in use with the Nos. 1 and Nos. 2 until the Machine Gun Corps was disbanded and the machine gun detachments returned to the infantry battalions as platoons.

Pistols, Revolver, No. 2, Mk. I – .38-in., with 5-in. barrel

Pistols, Revolver, No. 2, Mk. I* – .38-in., with 5-in. barrel

Pistols, Revolver, No. 2, Mk. I** – .38-in., with 5-in. barrel

Colt M1911A1 .45-inch Automatic Pistol

The Airborne and Commando units used Colt Automatic Pistols and sidearms for Machine Gunners. Whilst the rest of the British Forces largely used rifles for Machine Gunners, those specific forces used pistols to save on weight and improve ease of movement.

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Pistol, Browning, F.N. 9 mm. H.P., No. 2 Mark I*

Rifles

Rifle, .303-inch, No. 1, Mk. III

Rifle, .303-inch, No. 1, Mk. III*

Rifle, .303-inch, No. 4, Mk. I

Rifle, .303-inch, No. 4, Mk. I*

Rifle, .303-inch, No. 4, Mk. II

Rifle, .303-inch, No. 5, Mk. I

Rifle, 7.62-mm., L1A1

Carbines and Sub-Machine Guns

Carbines, Machine, Sten, 9-mm., Mk. I

Carbines, Machine, Sten, 9-mm., Mk. I*

Carbines, Machine, Sten, 9-mm., Mk. II

Carbines, Machine, Sten, 9-mm., Mk. III

Carbines, Machine, Sten, 9-mm., Mk. V

US M1A1 .30-inch Carbine

Used by the Special Air Service, and other Special Forces units, such as the Raiding Support Regiment, as a light alternative to British machine carbines.

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Gun, Sub-Machine, 9mm, L2A3

Knives and Bayonets

Bayonets, Patt. ’03

Bayonets, No. 1, Mk. I – Patt. ’07

Bayonets, No. 4, Mk. I – For Rifles, No. 4, Mk. I

Bayonets, No. 4, Mk. I – For Rifles, No. 4, Mk. II

Bayonets, No. 4, Mk. I – For Rifles, No. 4, Mk. II*

Bayonets, No. 5, Mk. I

Bayonet, L1A1

Bayonet, L1A2

Bayonet, L1A3

Bayonet, L1A4

Fairburn-Sykes Commando Knife

The Airborne and Commando units used these knives as a personal sidearm. They were also used by the Special Air Service, and other Special Forces units, such as the Raiding Support Regiment.

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Swords

Swords, Cavalry, No. 1, Mk. I* – Service ’08; hilt painted or polished.

Section or Platoon Weapons

Also used within the British and Commonwealth MG Platoons and Companies were the following weapons. They were usually in addition to the personal weapons and would be allocated as required for the task. They were usually carried with the command or administration elements of the unit.

Anti-Tank weapons

Rifles, Boys – .55-in. anti-tank

Projector, Infantry, Anti-Tank, Mk. I

Launchers, Rocket, 3.5-in., U.K., M20, Mk. 1

Launchers, Rocket, 3.5-in., U.K., M20, Mk. 2

Local defence and anti-aircraft weapons

Gun, Machine, Bren, .303-in., Mk. I

Gun, Machine, Bren, .303-in., Mk. II

Gun, Machine, Bren, .303-in., Mk. III

Gun, Machine, Bren, .303-in., Mk. IV

Guns, Machine, 7.62 mm., L4A1

Guns, Machine, 7.62 mm., L4A2


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