|Section C.1, 7.J.1167||L. of C. C.1027, 270/MG/132, 18th January 1945||L. of C. C.2630, 270/MG/132, 12th February 1946||L. of C. C.3375, 270/Vocab/428, 10th November 1947||Land gun, with shoulder piece and pistol type trigger guard.|
(Note: There is evidence it was in service prior to the introduction date so assume this is administrative)
This version of the Vickers G.O. was a variant of the No. 1, Mk. I. It was originally adapted for use by ground forces of the Royal Air Force for airfield defence. It’s high rate of fire meant that it was suited to effective suppressive fire unlike any other weapon that the British Armed Forces had available.
In around 1943 it was viewed upon for use with the Army Commando units. It required additional moficiation by the addition of a bipod and the provision of improved sights (using existing Bren L.M.G. parts).
With these modifications, it was used by No. 4 Commando (particularly the French section) during Operation OVERLORD – the Allied invasion in Normandy. It is believed to have been used in lieu of the M.M.G.s usually carried by the Heavy Weapons Troop as these were not appropriate for the initial assault phases. It is unclear whether V.G.O.s replaced all M.M.G.s or whether they supplemented them. It does seem that M.M.G.s did return to the line after the assault phases. There is evidence that they were also used in Operation INFATUTATE which was the invasion of the Walcheren Islands in the Netherlands.
This variant was also used by the 1st Airborne Reconnaissance Squadron, 1st Airborne Division, when it was sent to Norway in May, 1945. The purpose of this operation was to manage the surrender and disarming of the German forces in Norway. The 1st Airborne Division was deployed after having been completely refitted due to the loss of equipment in Operation MARKET GARDEN. This weapon was used in the portrayal of their action as part of ‘Theirs is the Glory’ – a film made in 1945 which included many of the original troops that took part in the battle.
This weapon does not seem to have seen any action post-war.
The special Ammunition pouches, each holding a single 100-round magazine, were used for the No. 2 gun. They were carried by the Gun No. 1 and the ammunition bearers, of which there seem to have been four or five for each weapon. Footage of Operation INFATUATE also shows that toggle ropes were used to loop spare magazines with.