Defence Photo Library, 2017

General Purpose Machine Gun

Not a Vickers, but worthy of inclusion here as its replacement, the General Purpose Machine Gun, more accurately known as the Gun, Machine, 7.62mm, L7A1. It was a derivative of the Belgian FN MAG in 7.62mm NATO.

The key technical details were:

Calibre 7.62mm
Length of gun 49½ inches
Length of barrel 24.87 inches
Weights – Gun 24 lbs
Weights – Tripod – SF role 30 lbs
Weights – Barrel – Light 6 lbs, 1 oz
Weights – Barrel – Heavy 7 lbs
Weights – 200-round belt 12 lbs
No. of Grooves 4
Twist of Rifling Right Hand
Type of Sights: Rear Aperture
Type of Sights: Fore Blade
Sight Range 200 to 2,000 yards
Sight Base: SF Role 31 inches
Sight Base: LMG Role 33½ inches
System of Operation Gas and Recoil Buffer
Cyclic Rate of Fire 600 to 1,000 RPM

It remains in service to this day.

Defence Photo Library, 2017
Pictured is a soldier from the Light Dragoons firing a General Purpose Machine Gun during training Exercise Jebel Sahara with elements of The Queen’s Own Yeomanry and the Moroccan Army, a fellow soldier is behind armed with an SA-80. The Light Dragoons are a Light Cavalry Regiment in the Adaptive Force. As the name suggests, Light Dragoons were originally Light Cavalry mounted on fast horses, able to move quickly across the battlefield. Wherever the Army is deployed, in war and peace, the Light Cavalry soldier is at the front, preparing the way for the rest of the force. As a result, a Light Dragoon soldier must be a master of many roles. These can include scouting for information about the enemy, engaging enemy targets or guiding fast jets. The light nature of the Regiment means they are able to deploy anywhere in the world at very short notice. The L7A2 General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG) is a 7.62 x 51mm belt-fed general purpose machine gun which can be used as a light weapon and in a sustained fire (SF) role. In the SF role, mounted on a tripod and fitted with the C2 optical sight, it is fired by a two-man team who are grouped in a specialist Machine Gun Platoon to provide battalion-level fire support. In SF mode, the GPMG, with a two-man crew, lays down 750 rounds-per-minute at ranges up to 1800 metres.