Battle Sights – Clinometers – Indicators and Pointers – Bar Foresights – Dial Sights – Night Sights – Telescopes – Zero Posts – Pegs – Aiming Lamps – Aiming Posts – Direction Dials – Bases – Anti-Aircraft – Protractors – Compasses – Plotters – Directors – Binoculars – Spirit Levels – Instrument Boxes – Equipment Sets – Hyposcopes and Mirrors
Due to the extensive use of clinometers, further details can now be found on a dedicated page.
Before the introduction of the battle sight on the tangent sight slide (the sight usable when the tangent sight stem in folded down), the gun could only be sighted using the full tangent sight. This took time and effort which may not have been required.
To resolve this, a specific battle sight was introduced.
General Routine Order 1005 dated 13 July 1915
Machine Guns – Battle Sights
Approval is given for the issue of Battle sights for .303-inch Maxim guns and .303-inch Vickers guns to cavalry regiments and Infantry battalions on a scale of one per gun.
These sights are not interchangeable between the Vickers and Maxim guns and it must be stated on indents for which type of gun they are required.
Indents should be sent to Ordnance Officers concerned, and issue will be made as supplies become available.
Pointer, Staff, Mk. 1
Cases, Pointer, Staff
Foresight deflection bars
- Cat No. C1/BD 8989, EQUIPMENTS, FORESIGHTS, BAR DEFLECTION – Comprising: Clinometer, Vickers .303-in. M.G., Mk. 1 or Mk. 2; Clinometers, Vickers .303-in. M.G., case, Mk. 2; Foresight, bar, deflection, Mk. 1; Lamp, aiming, M.G., Mk. 3; Post, aiming, M.G., Mk. 3; Post, zero, M.G., Mk. 1; Pouch, foresight, bar, deflection, Mk. 2; Sight, night, back, Vickers .303-in. M.G., Mk. 2; Sight, night, fore, Vickers .303-in. M.G., Mk. 1
- Cat No. C1/BD 0270, List of changes A 3312, FORESIGHTS, BAR, DEFLECTION, MK. 1 – For Guns, machine, Vickers, .303-in., Mk. 1; consisting of a graduated bar with fixing screws with retaining pin; 2 stop screws and spring stud with fixing screw; and sliding sight with wing clamp screw
- Cat No. C1/BD 0271, …Pins, retaining, screw fixing bar
- Cat No. C1/BD 0272, …Screws, fixing, bar – With cross-pin, assembled
- Cat No. C1/BD 0273, …Screws, stop – 3 per sight, 2 for bar and 1 for fixing spring stud
- Cat No. C1/BD 0274, …Screws, wing, clamp, sliding sight – Riveted over after assembly
- Cat No. C1/BD 0275, …Sights, sliding – With clamp wing screw assembled
- Cat No. C1/BD 0276, …Studs, spring
The sight is of steel and consists of:-
(a) A bar about 10 inches in length, graduated in intervals of 10 minutes, and degrees up to 7 degrees right and left of the centre line.
(b) An inverted U-shaped bracket to which the bar is a fixture, and which is arranged to assemble over the protecting wings of the ordinary gun foresight, where it is secured by a screw in the left side of the bracket and a spring stud in the right, the former engaging in the hole in the left wing and the latter in the opening in the right wing.
The upper surface of the wing is graduated in 10-minute intervals in continuation of the graduations on the bar, the centre line being indicated as zero.
(c) The sliding sight with clamp screw for fixing in any desired position on (a).
The sight has a central blade and protecting wings, and is arranged to take night sights when required for night firing.
Two indices are provided on the slide to register respectively, with the scale on (a) and on (b).
Instructions for assembling sight to gun.- Turn fixing screw of bracket outwards towards the stop, then press bracket downward over foresight protecting wings of gun until lower end of arms of bracket seat on base of sight bracket of gun and spring stud engages opening in right wing; then turn fixing screw inward until its point engages firmly in hold in left wing.
Care must be taken to see that excessive pressure is not applied to the screw, as such will disturb the sight protecting wings of the gun, and thereby affect the level of the bar.
The sight protecting wings of gun may require adjustment in order to permit of correct assembly of sight and to bring bar of sight into a truly horizontal positions; this position can be determined by observation in conjunction with stem of tangent sight to which it should be at right angles when the latter is upright.
- Cat No. C1/BD 2520, List of changes A 9233, POUCHES, FORESIGHT, BAR, DEFLECTION, Mk. 1 – For 1 deflection bar foresight. Canvas and web
- Cat No. C1/BD 2521, List of changes A 3312 and A 9048, POUCHES, FORESIGHT, BAR, DEFLECTION, Mk. 2 – For 1 deflection bar foresight. Web
- Cat No. C1/BE 2019, List of changes A 9941 and C 2732, POUCHES, FORESIGHT, BAR, DEFLECTION, Mk. 2, Fasteners, quick-release, Female part. To be demanded as “Holdalls, Lewis .303-in. M.G., Mk. I – Fasteners, quick-release”
- Cat No. C1/BE 2020, List of changes A 9941 and C 2732, POUCHES, FORESIGHT, BAR, DEFLECTION, Mk. 2, Fasteners, quick-release, Male part. To be demanded as “Holdalls, Lewis .303-in. M.G., Mk. I – Fasteners, quick-release”
The VMGCRA collection holds several examples of the pouches, including a sealed pattern example from the Central Ordnance Depot, Didcot, which would have been used for manufacturers to reference and for repairs to be compared to if required. It was manufactured by MECO in 1939.
Due to the extensive use of dial sights, further details can now be found on a dedicated page.
Sights, Luminous, Vickers .303″ Gun
Sights, Luminous (with Shield), Vickers .303″ Gun
Sights, Night, Fore and Back, Vickers .303-in. M.G.
- Cat No. C1/BD 2611, List of changes A 1253, SIGHTS, NIGHT, BACK, VICKERS .303-IN. M.G., MK. 1
- Cat No. C1/BD 2612, List of changes A 1253, SIGHTS, NIGHT, BACK, VICKERS .303-IN. M.G., MK. 1, Bodies, No. 1
- Cat No. C1/BD 2623, SIGHT, NIGHT, FORE, VICKERS, .303-IN., M.G., MK. 1
- Cat No. C1/BD 2624, SIGHT, NIGHT, FORE, VICKERS, .303-IN., M.G., MK. 1, Body
- Cat No. C1/BD 2625, SIGHT, NIGHT, FORE, VICKERS, .303-IN., M.G., MK. 1, Plate
- Cat No. C1/BD 0907, SIGHT, NIGHT, FORE, VICKERS, .303-IN., M.G., MK. 1, Screw, graduated plate, upper
- Cat No. C1/BD 2627, SIGHT, NIGHT, FORE, VICKERS, .303-IN., M.G., MK. 1, Screw, spring
- Cat No. C1/BD 2628, SIGHT, NIGHT, FORE, VICKERS, .303-IN., M.G., MK. 1, Spring, left
- Cat No. C1/BD 2629, SIGHT, NIGHT, FORE, VICKERS, .303-IN., M.G., MK. 1, Spring, right
- Cat No. C1/BD 2613, SIGHT, NIGHT, BACK, VICKERS, .303-IN., M.G., MK. 2
- Cat No. C1/BD 2614, SIGHT, NIGHT, BACK, VICKERS, .303-IN., M.G., MK. 2, Body
- Cat No. C1/BD 2615, SIGHT, NIGHT, BACK, VICKERS, .303-IN., M.G., MK. 2, Plate, sight
- Cat No. C1/BD 2616, SIGHT, NIGHT, BACK, VICKERS, .303-IN., M.G., MK. 2, Screw
- Cat No. C1/BD 2617, SIGHT, NIGHT, BACK, VICKERS, .303-IN., M.G., MK. 2, Spring
There wasn’t ever a telescopic sight issued for use with the Vickers machine gun by the British Army; however, it was considered from the initial trials of telescopic sights as to whether one would be suitable for the Maxim Gun (Minute No 743, Proceedings of the Small Arms Committee, 30 March 1903).
Those telescopic sights that were used with the Vickers by others are discussed below.
MUNITIONS DESIGN COMMITTEE, SMALL ARMS SUB-COMMITTEE, Minute (S)2., 3 March 1916.
TELESCOPIC SIGHT FOR MACHINE GUN
Referred to Committee by D.D.G.M.D.(S.)
A sample of a captured German telescopic sight for use with machine guns was laid before the Committee. The sight consisted of a prsimatic telescope 6 inches long by 4 inches high, with focussing wheel; designed to slide by a feather on the telescope into a feather way on the gun.
The number of the instrument ZF12 No. 8325, Emil Busch, A.G. Rathenow.
This sight has been reported from G.H.Q., France, to be extremely efficient, and adoption is recommended for the Vickers, Maxim, and Colt guns.
The War Office inform, 10.11.15, G.H.Q., France, that the production of this telescope would interfere with the output of more important optical munitions, and recommend that this demand be dropped.
ACTION TAKEN- War Office decision noted and proposal dropped, telescopic sight sent to C.I.W.
MUNITIONS DESIGN COMMITTEE, SMALL ARMS SUB-COMMITTEE, Minute (S)17., 19 February 1916.
TELESCOPIC SIGHTS FOR MACHINE GUNS.
C.M.I.D. forwards (10.1.16) drawing and description of telescopic sight intended for use with a machine gun.:- “A band is clamped round the fore end of the barrel casing and supports by means of a hinge, a rod, the rear end of which is attached to the ordinary tangent sight. The rod is provided with clamps adapted to receive a telescopic sight which can thus be elevatd or depressed by manipulating the tangent sight in the ordinary way.”
D.D.G.M.D.(S.) forwards to C.I.S.A.:- “This seems a practical proposition and has evidently been made use of in the field. Please give your views on the possibility of standardisation.”
Report by C.I.S.A. 26.1.16:- “There appears to be no great difficlty as regards standardisation, but it would be advisable to have the telescope bar adjustable. It will not be possible to open the rear cover and remove the feed block when the telescope bar is assembled to the gun. This is a serious objection. Further, the telescope with the tangent sight stem raised will afford a large target for the enemy. If a telescopic sight is required, the German type fitted to a bracket on the left side of the breech casing seems preferable.”
D.G.M.D. asks War Office if they desire telescopic sight for machine gun. He points out that the German sight referred to by C.I.S.A. is difficult to manufacture; that the present proposal is simple but will interfere with the normal working of the gun.
Deputy Chief of the General Staff replies, 31.1.16:- “In view of the objections pointed out by C.I.S.A., it is not desirable to introduce this device.”
Referred by D.D.G.M.D.(S.) to Munition Design Committee to note.
ACTION TAKEN- This decision is noted by the Committee.
Posts, Zero, M.G., Mk. I
- Cat No. C1/BD 2516, List of changes A 3312, POSTS, ZERO, M.G., MK. 1
This post is provided for use in conjuction with machine guns employed for indirect fire. It consists of an iron road ½-in. diameter, bent at one end to form an aiming ring of 4-in. internal diameter and pointed at the other for insertion into the ground. The post, which is painted service colour, is about 38½-in. overall length.
Pegs, Night Line, M.G., Mk. I
- Cat No. C1/BD 2480, List of changes B 921-P, PEGS, NIGHT LINE, M.G., MK. I – Comprising one 9-in. and two 18-in. pegs, and one collar
- Cat No. C1/BD 2481, List of changes B 921-P, PEGS, NIGHT LINE, M.G., MK. I, Collars
- Cat No. C1/BD 2482, List of changes B 921-P, PEGS, NIGHT LINE, M.G., MK. 1, Pegs, 9-in.
- Cat No. C1/BD 2483, List of changes B 921-P, PEGS, NIGHT LINE, M.G., MK. 1, Pegs, 18-in.
- Cat No. C1/BD 0168, List of changes B 921, CASES, PEGS, NIGHT LINE, M.G., MK. 1 – For two sets of Pegs, night line, M.G., Mk. 1
Lamps, Aiming, M.G.
Due to the extensive use of aiming lamps and posts, further details can now be found on a dedicated page.
Posts, Aiming, M.G.
Due to the extensive use of aiming lamps and posts, further details can now be found on a dedicated page.
- Wheel, Elevating, Mk. I
MACHINE GUN TRAVERSING DIAL
MUNITIONS DESIGN COMMITTEE SMALL ARMS SUB-COMMITTEE. Minute (S)29, 4 Mar 1916.
M.I.D. reports to D.D.G.(S.) 21.2.16:-
“At the request of the Advisory Committee of this Department he sends herewith for consideration particulars of a machine gun traversing dial with rotating scale for zeroising. He understands some thousands of the present pattern are now on order, but considers it would no be possible to alter these satisfactorily, so he has had a drawing made of one with movable scale, similar in size and appearance, and if this is thought an improvement it might be possible to substitute it for some of those now on order.
“He also encloses, alternatively, a design which only entails alteration to the pointer, but only gives an adjustability of 60°.”
The particulars of employment are as follows:-
Improved method of fire direction for machine guns.
It is only by means of very careful target description that the fire from two or four machine guns can be concentrated on one target. In action or even on manoeuvres this is frequently found to be impossible.
The following method shows how by a single device, fire can be controlled on two, four, or six guns, so that they can immediately bring concentrated fire to bear on any target by the simplest fire orders.
The method was introduced in Egypt during the early part of 1915 in the 1/6th Battn. Manchester Regt., was adopted by the Manchester Infantry Brigade, and was found of great value on manoeuvres in Egypt and in action at the Dardenelles.
The invention includes the following features:-
1. The use on the tripod of a graduated scale which is cylindrical and so can be used without exposing the head.
2.(a) The use of a scale which can be rotated by hand and clamped in any position so that the zero mark can be brought opposite the pointer while the gun is laid on the aiming point. The pointer is attached to the crosshead of the tripod.
(b) Or alternatively the use of a pointer which can be adjusted laterally. This, when used with a fixed scale, is equally good for a front aiming point, but is not satisfactory for a flank aiming point.
(c) The use of a director which is made on the same principle as (a), having a pointer attached to the sights and a single graduated scale which can be rotated. For direct fire the director need not be used, as fire can be directed by obtaining the angle from one gun and giving orders to the other guns, i.e., one gun is used as director.
Method of use, direct fire.
A front aiming point is chosen, preferably at about the same range as the target is likely to be, since this will give convergent lines of fire from the different guns. This point is carefully described, and the director and guns are all laid on it and all scales adjusted to zero.
The guns can now be immediately laid on any target by merely ordering:-“Range, angle, short description of target.”
While description of targets is reduced to a minimum, fire from several guns can be immediately concentrated on any target with greater certainty than by other methods.
The fixed scale on the contrary, while of value or an individual gun, involves a large amount of calculation if used for combined fire.
No calculation of angle is necessary. Guns can be laid in the required direction without exposure of the teams. If necessary all laying may be done by means of periscopes. In the case of a small target, difficult to describe, it is found that the direction can be obtained accurately enough from the angle to enable the target to be recognised. Guns can be employed to sweep away certain sectors, and can immediately concentrate in one direction.
The device can be fitted to any Mark IV tripod as easily as the fixed scale.
A front aiming point havng been chosen and carefully described, all guns and the director are laid on it and all scales adjusted to zero.
Four guns are in action.
(1) “300 yards trenches. R section, 350 to 360 degrees. L section 0 to 10 degrees inwards traversing fire.” Target to L. of aiming point. (2) “400 yards 18 degrees, group of men, rapid fire.” Target to R. of aiming point. (3) “300 yards 340 degrees, emplacement, rapid fire.”
The method employed is similar to that employed with artillery. A flank aiming point will generally be taken. This gives parallel lines of fire. As with direct fire the scales on guns and directors are adjusted to zero while laid on the aiming point. Convergent lines of fire can be obtained by a slight correction on the different guns. This can be arranged in a table, but is best found by practice.
A distant rear aiming point is very often of value for indirect fire.
In the case of indirect fire also no calculation of battery angle is necessary, the angle being read off direct on the guns.
D.D.G.(S.) to Munitions Design Committee 25.2.16:-
“Please consider. It does not seem that there is any marked advantage in this over the existing patterm of traversing dial, and it would be unwise to have it adopted unless it was of superlative value.”
Reported to D.D.G.M.D.(S.).
The Committee recommend that one sample be made up in accordance with Drawing 370 in final form, ready in every respect for use with a Vickers Machine Gun, and that in addition an 18-pounder dial sight of the original design before the introduction of the panorama sight be put before the Committee at the same time.
MUNITIONS DESIGN COMMITTEE. SMALL ARMS SECTION. Minute (S.)47, 1 April 1916.
A Traversing Dial made up in accordance with Drawing 370 in final form, ready for use with a Vickers Machine Gun, and an 18-pounder Dial Sight of the original design, were put before the Committee.
ACTION TAKEN- Reported to D.D.G.M.D.(S). The Committee recommends that this Machine Gun Traversing Dial be forwarded to C.I.S.A. in order to ascertain if it is suitable in construction for use with the Vickers Gun; and, if suitable, that it be submitted to General Headquarters in France for their opinion.
MUNITIONS DESIGN COMMITTEE. SMALL ARMS SECTION. Minute (S.)51, 15 April 1916. (Ref. Min. (S)47, 1.4.16.)
D.D.G.(S.), 5.4.16, forwards the Traversing Dial to D.S.3, to carry out the trial recommended by the Munitions Design Committee.
Report by Experimental Officer, School of Musketry, 10.4.16.
I have tried this improved dial. It is a slight advantage to be able to set the dial correctly, but as against this there is a risk that a blow would injure the moving part of the dial. As it is assumed that this dial would be carried as part of the mounting, this is an objection, as it will not stand rough handling. There is no real difficulty in doing all that is required without this alteration.
It was noticed that the dial will not fit all Mark IV mountings.
Referred to Munitions Design Committee by D.D.G.(S.), asking for a re-consideration of its recommendation on Minute (S.)47 in the light of the report from Hythe.
ACTION TAKEN- Reported to D.D.G.M.D.(S). On re-consideration of this subject and in view of the report by the Experimental Officer, the Committee is of the opinion that this design has not sufficient advantage over the service traversing dial to warrant its adoption or further trial.
Converted from Mk. I
Base, .303-in., M.G., Tripod Mtgs., Mk. I
- Cat No. C1/BD 8099, BASE, .303-IN. M.G., TRIPOD MTGS., MK. 1
MUNITIONS DESIGN COMMITTEE, SMALL ARMS SUB-COMMITTEE, Minute (S)20., 19 February 1916.
ANTI-AIRCRAFT SIGHT FOR MACHINE GUN (CAPT. NEWTON)
C.M.I.D. (4.2.16) forwards a design of anti-aircraft sight for machine gun, consisting as follows:-
(a) A height range chart and scale. The height and range of the target being known a line is drawn joining the corresponding point on the chart with the origin. The line is produced backwards and the reading where the line cuts the scale gives the setting for the sight.
(b) A plane mirror is pivoted on the breech of the gun and is provided with a scale which is set against a pointer on the gun to the reading found as in (a) above. The mirror is mounted on a frame carrying a pin-hole sight, and has two crossed lines mounted on it. The chart is so ruled that when the sight is set according to the reading obtained by its means, and the gun elevated so that the target is visible on the intersection of the crossed lines through the pin-hole, the tangent elevation, corrected for the angle of sight, is given.
Experimental Officer, School of Musketry, Hythe, 14.2.16, reports that it would not be so easy to attach this sight at the place indicated, as the fusee spring box is in the way. Also it would appear to be necessary to engrave an arrow on each gun to read by. If all the details as to range and sight are known it would appear to be just as easy to use the ordinary sights with a mirror [t]o reflect them in. Two such mirror fittings have been made in the past (Lieut. Meissner’s and S.W.E.’s). I do not think that even if an anti-aircraft sight is required for machine guns that this would be a good pattern.
Referred by D.D.G.M.D.(S.) to Munition Design Committee for consideration.
The Committee wish to point out that it is not stated how it is proposed to attach the sight to the gun; it appears undesirable to attach it to the fusee box, for this may foul the mechanism. Further, it is doubtful if there is sufficient metal in the fusee box to hold the attachment. The assumption that the height and range are known is a large assumption to base any calculations on; even if this assumption can be made there is no allowance for the speed and movement of the aeroplane after the moment when the observation is taken.
The Committee does not recommend the adoption of this sight.
The Committee recommends that a statement be obtained from General Headquarters in France as to the value generally of rifle and machine-gun fire against aircraft, and that they be requested to place at the disposal of the Committee any record of practical results which have so far been obtained and the conditions under which such results were achieved.
119. Stadia range indicator
- This indicator is merely to show whether a machine is in range or not, and not to measure the exact range.
- It consists of a flat piece of metal with four circular apertures – two for the two-seater type, and two for the single-seater or scout type of aeroplane – a string 24 inches in length, with a bead at the end.
- Method of use. – Hold the indicator as far away from the eye as the string, held against the cheek, will allow.
- If the aeroplane fills the aperture, it is within range.
- If the aeroplane does not fill the aperture, it is out of range.
- Care must be taken to use the correct aperture for the particular aeroplane which is to be ranged on.
- The indicator was designed for use against typical two-seater aeroplanes and scouts; if it is desired to make apertures for any special type of aeroplane for which the indicator is unsuitable, the required size of the apertures can be easily calculated by means of the following formula, having first ascertained the dimensions of the aeroplane:- The equation should be worked out in inches.
- Acetate range table / protractor
- Charteris Protractor
- Cat No. C1/BD 0169, List of changes B 3714, CASES, PROTRACTOR, RESECTOR, MK. 1 – For Protractor, resector, Mk. 1
- Cat No. C1/BD 2527, List of changes B 3714, PROTRACTORS, RESECTOR, Mk. 1
- Cat No. C1/SM 343, List of changes C 3680, PROTACTORS, RESECTOR, Mk. 2
The VMGCRA collection has a resector protractor and, due to its fragile construction, is believed to be one of the only remaining examples in existence (no others are known). It is a printed acetate / plastic with three arms, one of which has a protractor on it. It is carried in a case that includes an instruction card.
The purpose of the plotter was to calculate the line of fire from a director to the gun position and to the target. The measurements taken using the plotter could then be put on to the direction dial, bar foresight or dial sight on the gun.
The first plotter in use with the Vickers was the Plotter, Field, Mark IV. This was an artillery instrument and suitable for much greater ranges; however, the 1925 Machine Gun Training manual specifically covered its use with machine guns.
75. Plotter, field, Mark IV
- The field plotter is used for solving triangles mechanically. If the base, the range from one end of it to the target and the included angle are known, and the plotter is set to read them on one side, the range from the other end of the base and the included angle can be read off on the other side of the plotter.
- As the Mark IV plotter is designed primarily for use by the artillery, the ranges given on the range arms are greater than machine-gun ranges. It will therefore be necessary for the machine gunner to use some multiple of the ranges in the triangle to be solved. In most cases the most convenient multiple will be two.
The example in the VMGCRA collection was made in 1916 by Taylor, Taylor and Hobson. It was originally lacquered to prevent the steel construction rusting. The thumb-screws for tightening the arms are in brass.
The Mark IV field plotter was carried in a leather case.
- Cat No. C1/VE 0128, List of changes A 9932, B 3615 and B 5106, PLOTTERS, M.G., No. 1, Mk. I – Steel; for Vickers .303-in. M.G., with Mk. VII ammunition
The No. 1 machine gun plotter was introduced into service in 1936 for use with Vickers .303-in. machine guns with Mk. VII ammunition. It is employed in conjunction with the No. 9 director for indirect laying to enable the line of fire to be picked up from an observation post at any distance up to 2,000 yards from the gun position.
The example in the VMGCRA collection is believed to be a Canadian-made version. It appears to be identical to British examples, with the exception of a ‘C’ suffix on the serial number. Whilst it’s recorded as manufactured from steel, it appears to be a stainless or coated type as it does not rust in the same manner as the Mark IV field plotter.
- Cat No. C1/OS 1A, List of changes B 3005, B 3615 and B 5106, PLOTTERS, M.G., No. 2, Mk. I – Steel; for Vickers .303-in. M.G., with Mk. VIII Z ammn.
- Cat No. C1/OS 333, List of changes B 2996 and B 5106, CASES, M.G. PLOTTERS, MK. 1 – For Plotters, M.G., Nos. 1 and 2, Mk. 1
A web case with a shoulder strap and quick-release closure tab. It has a laminated fibre-board insert to stop the case from bending or folding and damaging the plotter. The example in the VMGCRA collection is manufactured by MECO and dated 1942.
The director is an instrument for measuring angles in connection with the control of indirect gun fire. Angles are measured in both the vertical and horizontal planes. Horizontal angles are measured 180 degrees left or right of some arbitrary reference point; vertical angles are required to a limited extent, and are always measured from the horizontal. Errors are caused if the planes of measurement are not truly horizontal or vertical; means must therefore be provided to ensure this.
No. 4 Director
The No. 4 Director was that first used with the Vickers MG. It was originally designed for light artillery but instructions were easily adapted for the Vickers MG.
The No 4 Director was mounted on its own dedicated stand. This consisted of three wooden legs with a degree scale plate and mounting bracket on the top.
No. 9 Director
The No. 9 director was introduced into the service in 1936 to meet the requirements of a light and accurate director for machine guns.
- Cat No. V5/OS 369GA, Director, No. 9, Mk. I
- Cat No. V5/OS 371GA, Director, No. 9, Mk. IA
- Director, No. 9, Mk. II
- Case, Director, No. 9
- Cat No. V5/OS 803A, Stand, Instrument, No. 28, Mk. I
The No. 28 instruments stand, which is a tripod stand with telescopic legs, was introduced into the service in 1936 for use with the No. 9 director.
- Stand, Instrument, No. 28, Mk. II
- Cat No. V5/OS 349A, Boxes, No. 9 Director case, Mk. I
This was the same external design as the dial sight box; however, it wasn’t made with any internal fittings as it was expected to have the director put inside still in its own leather case for protection. The strap can be left on and coiled in the space at one end of the box.
Binoculars for machine gun sections were an important part of their equipment, for either target identification or range determination. With the expansion of the British Army at the start of the Great War, they had to be limited to specific units and not all would have had binoculars straight away. For example, Army Council Instruction 192 of January 1915 authorised two pairs of binoculars, prismatic to be issued to each machine gun detachment of battalions of the Special Reserve in defence ports.
In 1916, binoculars and other instruments were restricted from general sale and those offered for sale had to be marked so that their quality was known to the purchaser. This included a classification of those that were not suitable for government use.
- Level, Spirit, M.G.
The spirit level forms the basis of all indirect fire, except when graticules can be used … The level itself cannot be adjusted but its correctness can easily be checked by comparing it with a clinometer known to be level. The error (if any) when determined, should be marked on the instrument.
When applying the level (but not during reading), the gun should be gently tapped (not pressed), with the hand on the top of the barrel casing so as to shake the level slightly and assist the bubble in taking up its true position.
It was also in the 1923 handbook but was not in the 1930 edition. It appears that it was no longer in use by machine gun teams themselves, but in the hands of armourers ‘for testing alignment of barrel and breech casings’ as mentioned in the Instructions for Armourers, 1931, as gauge number 4741, becoming C1/SM 37A in the later lists of armourers’ tools and gauges.
The Instruments Box was carried with the Platoon and Section Commanders. It’s purpose was to protect the sensitive fire control equipment from the rough handling during transport. Initially this would have been in the limbered wagon, then the 15-cwt. truck and then the universal carrier.
The boxes were initially only carried by the Platoon Commanders; however, with mechanisation in the 1930s, the contents varied between Platoon and Section Commanders as their roles were slightly different.
- Platoon commander’s box:
- 2 cases, batteries and bulbs
- 2 bulbs
- 2 batteries
- 1 director, in case
- 1 protractor, resector, in case
- 1 screw clamp, checking traverse
- 2 lamps, electric
- Section commander’s box:
- Platoon commander’s box:
- Platoon Commander’s box:
- 1 Director (in case)
- 1 screw clamp, checking traverse
- 2 case, batteries and bulbs
- 2 bulbs
- 2 batteries
- 2 lamps, electric
- 1 protractor, resector (in case)
- Section commander’s box:
- Platoon Commander’s box:
- Cat No. C1/BD 6045, List of changes B 4738, BOXES, M.G. INSTRUMENTS, Mk. 1 – Converted Box, carrier, magazine, Lewis .303-in. M.G., Mk. I*. Steel, with spring catch lock, web handle and 2 Cases, battery and bulbs, Mk. I
- Cat No. C1/CM 1611, List of changes B 7343, BOXES, M.G. INSTRUMENTS, Mk. 2 – With spring catch hook, web handle and 2 Cases, battery and bulbs, Mk. 1
- Cat No. C1/BD 6034, List of changes B 7343, BOXES, M.G. INSTRUMENTS, Mk. 3 – With web handle and Case, battery and bulbs, Mk. 2
- Cat No. C1/BD 6069, List of changes B 7343, CASES, BATTERY AND BULBS, Mk. 2 – For Boxes, M.G. instruments, Mks. 1*, 2* and 3
- Cat No. C1/SM 3A, List of changes C 1, CASES, BATTERY AND BULBS, Mk. 3 – For Boxes, M.G. instruments, Mks. 1*, 2* and 3
- Cat No. C1/BD 8989, EQUIPMENTS, Foresights, bar, deflection, Comprising:- Clinometer, Vickers .303-in. M.G. Mk. I or Mk. II (Qty 1); Clinometer, Vickers .303-in. M.G., Case, Mk. II (Qty 1); Foresight, bar, deflection, Mk. I (Qty 1); Lamp, aiming, M.G., Mk. III (Qty 1); Post, aiming, M.G., Mk. III (Qty 1); Post, zero, M.G., Mk. I (Qty 1); Pouch, foresight, bar, deflection, Mk. II (Qty 1); Sight, night, back, Vickers .303-in. M.G., Mk. II (Qty 1); Sight, night, fore, Vickers .303-in. M.G., Mk. I (Qty 1).
- Cat No. C1/BD 8987, EQUIPMENTS, Sights, dial, M.G., Comprising:- Box, dial sight, Vickers M.G., Mk. I or Mk. II (Qty 1); Lamp, aiming, M.G., Mk. III (Qty 1, for every 2 guns); Post, aiming, M.G., Mk. III (Qty 1, for every 2 guns); Post, zero, M.G., Mk. I (Qty 1); Sight, dial, M.G., Mk. I*, III or IV (Qty 1); Bubble, spirit, glass, “L”, Mk. I (Spare) (Qty 1);
Hyposcopes and mirrors
For a machine gun in an emplacement, it is a vulnerable task to be the No. 1 Machine Gunner responsible for the firing of the gun. Sighting and firing the gun would require that person to expose themselves to line up the gun on the target. To reduce this risk, a number of accessories were developed to enable the gun to be lined up from below the level of the gun, and fired remotely.
The earliest idea was originally developed for a rifle or Maxim to be fired from behind cover. This was called a Hyposcope and was proposed by a Mr Youlton, subsequently becoming known as ‘Youlton’s’ hyposcope. It was presented to the Small Arms Committee in 1901.
“Hyposcope” proposed by Mr. Youlton.
Mr. Youlton submitted his invention, and explained that it consisted of an arrangement of prisms for taking aim from behind cover. The ordinary sights are used for elevation and direction, the firer seeing the object from below and in the infrascope, of which this is a development.
Secretary to arrange for Mr. Youlton to take the instruction to Hythe for examination, and for a report upon its suitability for Service purposes.Minute No. 419, Proceedings of the Small Arms Committee, 25th March 1901.
A trial took place in April 1901.
V. “Hyposcope” proposed by Mr. Youlton.
D.G.O. forwards for consideration, W.O. Paper 84/Y/437, containing the following report on the trial, at Hythe, of the “Hyposcope.”
REPORT by the COMMANDANT, SCHOOL OF MUSKETRY, dated 29 April 1901, of Trials with the “HYPOSCOPE.”
1. For Machine Guns, described as the “Ordnance Hyposcope.”
2. For Small Arms, described as the “Small Arms Hyposcope.”
“1. The Hyposcope was affixed to the rear cross-piece of a Maxim gun by a holdfast bracket. The gun was then fired at 100 and 800 yards with deliberate and rapid shots with the ordinary tangent sight, and with the Hyposcope adjusted to the proper distance. The shooting with the Hyposcope gave satisfactory results, but the graduation mark for 800 yards was found to be incorrect – fault capable of easy remedy.
“This Hyposcope when perfected, would, I believe, be of great value when attached to machine guns in a fortress, an entrenchment, or any other defensive position.
“When the holdfast bracket is added to the Maxim gun the Hyposcope is easily affixed to it, and as readily removed.
“2. The “Small Arm Hyposcope” was fitted to a rifle and tried by a firer kneeling behind a table rest, the rifle resting on the table, and a good diagram was made with ten deliberate shots at 600 yards, the mean deviation being 1.46 feet.
“Magazine fire cannot be satisfactorily delivered with the instrument as at present constructed; the attachment (which is called an auxiliary butt and placed on the shoulder) being so much below the body of the rifle that it is difficult to open and close the breech.
“This instrument in its present form is not, I think, suited for adoption, and it is doubtful whether, when perfected, it would be of practical value to the soldier.”
The Committee are of the opinion that the Hyposcope is not suitable for use with small arms, and they do not recommend any further action being taken with it.Minute No. 455, Proceedings of the Small Arms Committee, 20th May 1901.
The recommendation of no further action was approved in June 1901.
X. “Hyposcope” proposed by Mr. W. Youlten.
Previous Minute 455 V. 20.5.1901.
D.G.O. notifies that he approves of the Committee’s recommendation in above Minute.Minute No. 469, Proceedings of the Small Arms Committee, 17th June 1901.
Some additional trials of an ‘improved’ model took place in 1902 and this resulted in further notes by the Small Arms Committee. [The 1902 Minutes are not currently available].
V. Improved Hyposcope, proposed by Mr. Youlton.
Previous Minute 670 I 3.11.1902.
D.G.O., 10.12.1902, notified that the Committee’s recommendation in above-quoted minute had been approved.
Noted.Minute No. 705, Proceedings of the Small Arms Committee Meeting, 12th January 1903.
The rifle variant of the hyposcope was trailed again and reported on 26 January 1903. It was then more successful through the trial and both the small arms and ordnance (Maxim gun) variants were approved for a further trial and small issue to the regional Commands.
…The Committee are of opinion that this is an instrument very well designed for its purpose, and suggest that a small number be purchased and issued to commands for trials, and report as to whether such an instrument would be a useful addition to the soldier’s equipment for service. It is for consideration if this instrument would not be a useful addition to the equipment of permanent fortifications either in its rifle or ordnance form.Minute No 712, Proceedings of the Small Arms Committee, 24th January 1903.
This positive recommendation seemed to go against the previous recommendation it not be approved, yet the Director General Ordnance (DGO) allowed for it to be treated as a telescopic sight, although it’s unclear as to what difference that would make.
VI. Mr. Youlten’s Hypo-telescope for Rifles.
D.G.O., 10.2.1903, minuted as follows:-
“There seems no alteration in principle, which latter was dealt with by the Commander-in-Chief, who approved that it was not suitable for adoption (84/Y/459).
“If the Committee wish to treat this sight as a telescopic sight there will be no objection.”Minute No 729, Proceedings of the Small Arms Committee, 2nd March 1903.
A telescopic sight for the rifle, designed by My Youlton, was then exhibited at a meeting at Bisley in October 1903 (Minute No. 808, 19 October 1903) and recommended for further trial by the School of Musketry, which happened in December 1903 (Minute No. 834, 4 January 1904).
A new pattern was introduced in 1904, yet it was still not thought to be of practical use for the rifle (Minute No. 883, 31 October 1904). Again, changes and a further submission for trial in 1909 (Minute No. 1115 I, 22 December 1909) did nothing to change this view and it was felt to be of no practical value in the field.
During the Great War, a hyposcope became an issued item of equipment.
General Routine Order 797 dated 23 April 1915.
Machine Gun Equipment.
Approval is given for the issue of the following stores for use with machine guns:-
Ammunition box carrier 1 per machine gun Stove pipe attachment 1 per machine gun Hyposcope 1 per machine gun
Indents to complete to above scale should be sent to Ordnance Officers concerned, and issue will be made as supplies become available.
VICKERS AND MAXIM GUN, AUXILIARY HANDLES FOR USE IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE YOULTEN HYPOSCOPE
MUNITIONS DESIGN COMMITTEE SMALL ARMS SUB-COMMITTEE. Minute (S)7, 3 Mar 1916.
Referred to Committee by D.D.G.M.D.(S.).
Sample submitted by C.I.S.A. as follows:-
“The wood plate which engages the handles of the gun is common to that on the hyposcope for Maxim and Vickers guns (wood box pattern).
“The two levers are for operating the safety catch and firing lever respectively.
“It is proposed to make the woodwork of ash or beech in supply if the design is approved.
“Although the handles are suitable for all patterns of Maxim guns, the Youlten hyposcope is suitable only for the .303″ Maxim Gun – not for .303” converted guns. There is, of course a separate pattern for the Vickers gun.
“Mr. Youlten has taken particulars which should enable him later on to provide, if required, a design suitable for all Maxim guns and for the Vickers gun, which can be used with a battle sight without raising the tangent sight stem, as in the case of the present pattern for the Vickers gun.”
ACTION TAKEN- The Committee recommends that this auxiliary handle attachment be sent to France for trial, explaining it is less expensive and easier to obtain than the steel tubular handles now supplied.
Recommendation submitted to D.D.G.M.D.(S.)
General Routine Order 927 dated 17 June 1915
Machine Gun Equipment.
Approval is given for the issue of the following stores with Machine Guns when night firing:-
Mirrors for night firing, complete with stick, 1 per machine gun.
Indents should be sent to Ordnance Officers concerned, and issues will be made when supplies become available.
- Munitions Design Committee, 1916
- Machine Gun School (1917), Machine Gunners’ Pocket Book, Grantham: Machine Gun Training Centre.
- The National Archives, WO 123/57, Army Orders 1916.
- The National Archives, WO 293/2, Army Council Instructions 1915 January to June.
- Small Arms Committee (1901) ‘Hyposcope’ proposed by Mr. Youlton, Proceedings of the Small Arms Committee, 25 March 1901, Minute No. 419.
- Small Arms Committee (1901) V. ‘Hyposcope’ proposed by Mr. Youlton, Proceedings of the Small Arms Committee, 20 May 1901, Minute No. 455.
- Small Arms Committee (1901) X. ‘Hyposcope’ proposed by Mr. W. Youlton, Proceedings of the Small Arms Committee, 17 June 1901, Minute No. 469.
- Small Arms Committee (1903) V. Improved Hyposcope proposed by Mr. Youlton, Proceedings of the Small Arms Committee, 12 January 1903, Minute No. 705.
- Small Arms Committee (1903) 103 Sights. Mr. Youlton’s proposed Hypo-telescope, Proceedings of the Small Arms Committee, 12 January 1903, Minute No. 712.
- Small Arms Committee (1903) VI. Mr. Youlton’s proposed Hypo-telescope, Proceedings of the Small Arms Committee, 2 March 1903, Minute No. 729.
- Small Arms Committee (1903) II. Telescopic sight for maxim gun, Proceedings of the Small Arms Committee, 30 March 1903, Minute No. 743.
- Small Arms Committee (1903) IV. Mr. Youlton’s Telescopic Sight, Proceedings of the Small Arms Committee, 19 October 1903, Minute No. 808.
- Small Arms Committee (1904) Report on Mr. Youlton’s telescopic Rifle Sight, Proceedings of the Small Arms Committee, 4 January 1904, Minute No. 834.
- Small Arms Committee (1904) New pattern Hyposcope proposed by Mr. Youlton, Proceedings of the Small Arms Committee, 10 October 1904, Minute No. 883.
- Small Arms Committee (1909) ‘103. Sights’, Proceedings of the Small Arms Committee, 22 December 1909, Minute No. 1115 I.
- War Office (1924), Small Arms Training, Volume I, London: His Majesty’s Stationery Office.
- War Office (1925), Machine Gun Training, London: His Majesty’s Stationery Office.
- War Office, 1921; 1940a; 1941; 1942; 1944c; 1949a; 1953
- Specific source references can be provided if required.