Lewis gun Query

Fang_Farrier

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#1
1521244039413.png


A Lewis gunner of the 1/7th Battalion, King's Liverpool Regiment, part of the 165th Brigade, 55th Division, cleaning his gun in the line at Givenchy, 15 March 1918.
...


My query is thus, is this an improvised anti aircraft mount or is it just propped up on some wood to make it easier to clean?
 
#2
View attachment 326684

A Lewis gunner of the 1/7th Battalion, King's Liverpool Regiment, part of the 165th Brigade, 55th Division, cleaning his gun in the line at Givenchy, 15 March 1918.
...


My query is thus, is this an improvised anti aircraft mount or is it just propped up on some wood to make it easier to clean?
Looks like a metal pipe attached to the Bipod
 
#3
View attachment 326684

A Lewis gunner of the 1/7th Battalion, King's Liverpool Regiment, part of the 165th Brigade, 55th Division, cleaning his gun in the line at Givenchy, 15 March 1918.
...


My query is thus, is this an improvised anti aircraft mount or is it just propped up on some wood to make it easier to clean?
Looks like an improvised mount to me. I stand fast to be corrected by the more grown-up arms interested people.
 
#4
Looks very much like an anti-aircraft attachment.
ae259ba0697cf643006a1eb07e64e9de.jpg


One things for sure, 6 days later he would be running westwards far too fast to ever attach it for AA fire!
 
#6
Looks very much like an anti-aircraft attachment.
View attachment 326685

One things for sure, 6 days later he would be running westwards far too fast to ever attach it for AA fire!
Kudos for finding this picture, which is highly relevant to the original question.




However, the next question is, how does he fit and use the bayonet to the lewis gun for anti aircraft...?
 
#9
Hoping not to detract from the original question but, curiosity piqued, may I expand the thread?

How many drums were issued with the gun?
How many in the crew?
What happened in an attack - were the guns left behind because of their bulkiness? If so, did the gunner pick up a rifle and join the attack, waiting for somebody else to load it and the ammo onto a mule for use in defending the captured trench? Or did the gunner have to carry it into the attack, hoping that both he and his mate carrying the ammo would reach the objective (because if either of them went down, the gun wouldn't be a lot of use)? Or were gunners kept behind their own lines to provide protective fire, moving forward when the objective had been won?

So much easier since the advent of disintegrating link and the requirement for every soldier to carry belted ammo for the section gun.
 
#10
Also interesting to see a receiver cover being used on the SMLE on the left in the background.
 
#11
Hoping not to detract from the original question but, curiosity piqued, may I expand the thread?

How many drums were issued with the gun?
How many in the crew?
What happened in an attack - were the guns left behind because of their bulkiness? If so, did the gunner pick up a rifle and join the attack, waiting for somebody else to load it and the ammo onto a mule for use in defending the captured trench? Or did the gunner have to carry it into the attack, hoping that both he and his mate carrying the ammo would reach the objective (because if either of them went down, the gun wouldn't be a lot of use)? Or were gunners kept behind their own lines to provide protective fire, moving forward when the objective had been won?

So much easier since the advent of disintegrating link and the requirement for every soldier to carry belted ammo for the section gun.
Lewis light machine gun, Mark I - Arms of the First World War - Royal Armouries collections
There’s interviews of users in this link. It was used as the section weapon. Probably the origin of ‘gun group’
 
#12
Lewis light machine gun, Mark I - Arms of the First World War - Royal Armouries collections
There’s interviews of users in this link. It was used as the section weapon. Probably the origin of ‘gun group’
Thanks - includes a nice photo of one attached to a wheel as an improvised [expedient] anti-aircraft mount but, apart from "Crew: 2", doesn't detail how it was integrated into the battle order. As a new weapon and concept, I imagine that tactics were very much a case of trial and error and that once stagnated in trench warfare, a whole new set of tactics would have had to have been developed.
 
#13
The original crew of a Lewis gun was six but by 1918 it was less, three or four, with two guns to a platoon.

The number of drums would depend on the number of men to carry them. I've seen photos of a leather drum carrier which held four of the 47-round drums, but how common they were is another matter.

The guns weren't left behind in an attack, any more than a platoon of my antiquated generation would leave its GPMGs behind. They were so much lighter than the Vickers that they were regarded as 'walking firepower' and part of the evolution of infantry tactics through the war.

The AA mounting is a standard pattern, intended to be lighter and easier to move around than some of the earlier cartwheel-inspired ones.

And, the 55th Division didn't do much running in Spring 1918 - they missed the 21 March Michael attack, being in 2nd Army, were still there on 9 April and formed the stable south flank against the George attack.
 
#14
Due to the bulk of the magazines, they couldn't be distributed around the platoon and had dedicated ammo humpers with appropriate carrying equipment.

What's interesting (and contrary to the popular myth) is that the Gemans still used this approach into WW2 with their universal MG's, whereas the Brits went over to "every rifleman in the section carrying BREN mags" just prior to WW2. Partly since the Germans didn't develop any carrying gear that would allow riflemen to carry MG ammo without using their hands...

Which meant that the No.2 on the German MG in WW2 didn't even get a rifle (his hands were literally full with belt drum carriers and ammo boxes), and I can't recall seeing a photo of a belt draped over anyone's shoulders other than a No.1 or No.2 on the gun.
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
#15
Hoping not to detract from the original question but, curiosity piqued, may I expand the thread?

How many drums were issued with the gun?
How many in the crew?
What happened in an attack - were the guns left behind because of their bulkiness? If so, did the gunner pick up a rifle and join the attack, waiting for somebody else to load it and the ammo onto a mule for use in defending the captured trench? Or did the gunner have to carry it into the attack, hoping that both he and his mate carrying the ammo would reach the objective (because if either of them went down, the gun wouldn't be a lot of use)? Or were gunners kept behind their own lines to provide protective fire, moving forward when the objective had been won?

So much easier since the advent of disintegrating link and the requirement for every soldier to carry belted ammo for the section gun.
May I suggest you look up Stuart Minor. All novels but the man has done serious research into infantry platoon tactics. I get his books free to read on Kindle.
 
#16
Due to the bulk of the magazines, they couldn't be distributed around the platoon and had dedicated ammo humpers with appropriate carrying equipment.

What's interesting (and contrary to the popular myth) is that the Gemans still used this approach into WW2 with their universal MG's, whereas the Brits went over to "every rifleman in the section carrying BREN mags" just prior to WW2. Partly since the Germans didn't develop any carrying gear that would allow riflemen to carry MG ammo without using their hands...

Which meant that the No.2 on the German MG in WW2 didn't even get a rifle (his hands were literally full with belt drum carriers and ammo boxes), and I can't recall seeing a photo of a belt draped over anyone's shoulders other than a No.1 or No.2 on the gun.
There were the leather carriers and also these jobbies:

Original British WWII Lewis Machine Gun Drum Pouch Carrier Set- 2 Pouches with 1 Strap

A loaded 47 round drum weighed about 4.5lb.

"double drum pouches complete with shoulder strap, designed to be worn in sets of four pouches (capacity 8 drum mags)"
 
#17
Kudos for finding this picture, which is highly relevant to the original question.




However, the next question is, how does he fit and use the bayonet to the lewis gun for anti aircraft...?
Presumably he's not the No.1 in the team and so carries a rifle and bayonet.
 
#18
Presumably he's not the No.1 in the team and so carries a rifle and bayonet.
He's definitely not the No.1, since he's wearing rifle gear and a bayonet. The No.1 carried a revolver.
 

Joshua Slocum

LE
Book Reviewer
#19
I saw this image of Australian troops firing a Lewis gun, but the mounting seems to be improvised, I cannot see how the weapon rotates, if at all? was their a spindle underneath ?
Lewis_gun_world_war_I.jpg
 

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