A couple of weeks ago I had the honour of taking part in a shoot at Bisley to commemorate the disbandment of the British Army’s Machine Gun Corps. The Corps was formed in 1915 and disbanded in July 1922. They left an important legacy of skills and doctrine for machine gun use which remains with the British Army today.
The shoot was organised by my friend Rich Fisher of the Vickers Machine Gun Collection & Research Association. The shoot gathered 16 Vickers Machine Guns, the equivalent of a First World War Machine Gun Corps company. Each gun represented a different period of the British Army’s use of the Vickers Gun from 1912 all the way through to 1968, when it finally went out of service.
Here’s some photos from the shoot (courtesy of Adam Blackmore-Heal):
Throughout the day I captured some behind the scenes footage and Rich Willis was kind enough to run my camera for me during the shoot when I had my hands full. This was the first time this many guns had been fired together in 20 years and all in all around 16,000 rounds were fired and over 700 people turned out to watch the event.
Not only did the day illustrate the impressive volume of fire that the guns were capable of but it also put their lethality into perspective. The shoot illustrated the devastation the weapons could bring and the important legacy of the men who manned them.
I highly recommend visiting the Vickers Machine Gun Collection & Research Association’s YouTube channel to watch the stream of the full 45 minute shoot, a brilliant 360-degree view video which puts you right on the firing point and a really special 20 minute mini documentary about the shoot.
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