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The German use of the Vickers MG was initially restricted to the single gun purchased above, probably for trials use.
However, it’s known that they use captured weapons extensively in the Great War. They were converted to fire the German 7.92mm ammunition and were marked with an ‘S’ to indicate such conversion.
They continued to use them in the Second World War, with these captured guns mostly in defensive positions (including coastal positions).
It’s thought that there were probably two Vickers machine guns in German service in Holland that were re-captured during Operation MARKET GARDEN in 1944, when 1st Airborne Division landed in the area of Arnhem and Oosterbeek. The history of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers serving with the division states that on Monday 19th September:
There was plenty going on around this time. Captain Ewens, Adjutant CREME, sent a message over from Divisional HQ requesting an armourer to report to him. Craftsman Ron Jordan was sent over and was given the task of inspecting and servicing a real piece of history in the shape of a World War One Vickers machine gun, the object being to see if it could be used. This relic had been found outside the Divisional HQ – which was previously tenanted by Germans who beat a hasty retreat when the first lift arrived. To his surprise, Craftsman Jordan found the weapon in excellent condition and it was handed back to the Captain, for onward transmission to one of the Battalions.Roberts, 1996, p.51
Furthermore, a photograph exists of a Vickers machine gun with the muzzle attachment similar to German MG08 Maxims or Dutch M-22 Vickers machine guns. This photograph shows men of the Polish Independent Parachute Brigade, serving alongside 1st Airborne Division, in the Oosterbeek area or at Driel – south of the River Rhine. Given the numbers of Polish dropped in either place, it’s more likely to be Driel. The Vickers is mounted on a French Modèle 1906 tripod for the Hotchkiss Modele 1914 Machine Gun. Little more is known but it’s interesting to see the gun in this period in this location and reinforces the use of Vickers machine guns by the German defenders.
The German forces, in their natural efficiency, had designated captured guns according to the country from which they originated. This was as follows:
- No. 230(e) – British .303″.
- No. 230(r) – .303″ guns captured from Russia and associated states.
- No. 231(h) – .303″ guns captured from the Netherlands.
- Goldsmith, 1994
- Roberts, J (1996) With Spanners Descending. Liverpool: The Bluecoat Press.