The Great War saw machine gunnery develop from a direct fire weapon through to mass indirect fire barrages. There is an account from High Wood in August 1916 that represents the pinnacle of these developments – firing one million rounds from ten guns in 12 hours. This research examines that account to determine what happened and the technical and logistical requirements of such a feat. By examining the war diaries and characteristics of the Vickers machine gun, it has been possible to identify what actually took place, what would have been necessary for one million rounds to be fired, the potential of Great War machine gunnery and challenge posed when citing first-hand accounts from veterans.
Well I couldn’t figure out where this fits on the Vickers website at the moment so I thought I’d go ahead and write a blog article about it instead.
This document was given to the Association last year to digitise and add to the archive as it was seen as something quite important given the Great War centenary that is coming to an end. This reminds us that 1919 was not only when peace was celebrated but much of the Army was still in service and would be waiting to come home for some time.
In summary, it’s the full staff orders for the Peace Celebration parade that was held on 19th July 1919. There are three sections:
- Parade State, covering who was involved and how many of them, which for my purposes includes the men of the Machine Gun Corps.
- Ceremonial Orders, including the order of march, maps and who was to do what and when. There was a particular concern about how to have the march disperse after the salute as they didn’t want everyone ending up in one place.
- Administrative Orders, covering all of the supplies and rations that were needed to house this many soldiers, sailors and airmen from around the world. There are sections on the different types of rations that were needed for the international contingents. It also includes the maps of Kensington Gardens showing how it was turned into a camp.
It’s a really interesting document to go through and it would be great if something similar would take place in 2019 to commemorate our celebration of peace.
It’s available to download as a low-resolution PDF by clicking on the cover below or here. I’ve gone through it and it is readable in most places – sometimes it’s better to zoom out than in. I’ve kept it low-resolution to keep the file size down but the high resolution version can be purchased using the button at the bottom of the page.
High resolution document: 1919 Victory Peace Celebrations
A high-resolution version of the download. It will be transferred using wetransfer using the purchasing email address. It's 91.9 MB.