.5-inch Mk III

Cat. No.IntroductionObsolescentObsoleteRemarks
 L. of C. A.9218
28th July 1932
  Naval use.

This was a version of the .5-inch Vickers gun used by the Royal Navy. It’s only uses were on ships as Anti-Aircraft weapons but possibly used as anti-submarine weapons as well. They were encountered as batteries usually with two or four guns in each.

Members of the crew of the cruiser HMAS Canberra engaged in live firing practice with a 0.50 inch (12.7mm) machine gun under the supervision of a gunnery officer.

This weapon is the only version of the .5-inch Vickers that was used extensively throughout the Second World War. The .5-inch Mark V Vickers fitted into Light Tanks was unsuccessful as the .5-inch ammunition was obsolete as an ‘Anti-Armour’ weapon by the time war commenced.

Alexandria Harbour, Egypt, 1941-04. Signalmen “Slim” Roper (left) and Joe Harris ready for action at one of HMAS Perth’s quad 0.5 inch Vickers machine gun anti-aircraft installations.

When mounted in fours, as the photo shows, the guns each had a 200 round drum of ammunition which was on a metal linked belt. This link was disintegrating and therefore disposable.

The weight of the Mark III was heavier than previous Marks and came in at 56 lbs without water. It had a rate of fire that was the highest out of all the .5″ guns. It spurted out the rounds at 700 rpm and was fired by remote control! This was one of the reasons why it would have had such a devastating effect in the AA role as it could be easily formed in ‘batteries’. It was officially adopted by the Admiralty in 1932 and it stayed on until the end of the war in 1945.