Machine Gun Section of the British Expeditionary Force (Great War)

The Vickers MG was introduced into the British Army by virtue of List of Changes 16217 in November 1912. At this time, it accompanied the Maxim MG as the only other firearm in the Infantry Battalion’s arsenal alongside the .303-inch Lee-Enfield Rifle, and a few revolvers for Officers. However, until the adoption of the 4-company Infantry Battalion in October 1913, the Machine Guns were held with the Battalion Headquarters while the Machine Gun Officer, Sergeant and Gun Numbers were distributed throughout the Battalion. For more details on the roles of the machine gun section, then visit the manhandling pages on this site.

With the adoption of the 4-company Infantry Battalion, the MGs were allocated to a Machine Gun Section as part of the Battalion which consisted of two subsections containing one gun each.


Transport of the guns was in a limbered wagon and a cart was used for the Small Arms Ammunition for the Section. Each was drawn by two draught horses and the subaltern was provided with a horse for riding.

With the introduction of the ‘New Armies’ in February 1915, the number of guns within the section was increased from two to four and the numbers of men and equipment were increased accordingly.