Vickers .50 machine gun

Vickers .50 machine gun

A Vickers .50 machine gun, Polish Army Museum, Warsaw (2006)
Type Machine gun
Anti-aircraft gun
Place of origin United Kingdom
Service history
In service 1932-?
Used by United Kingdom
Wars World War II
Production history
Manufacturer Vickers
Variants Marks I - V[note 1]
Specifications (Vickers .5 Mk V)
Weight 63 pounds (29 kg) (includes 10 pounds (4.5 kg) cooling water)
Length 52.4 inches (1,330 mm)
Barrel length 31 inches (790 mm)

Cartridge 12.7×81mm
Calibre 0.5 inches (12.7 mm)
Rate of fire 500-600 rounds per minute
Muzzle velocity 2,540 feet per second (770 m/s)
Maximum firing range Altitude : 9,500 feet (2,900 m)
Range: 4,265 yards (3,900 m)
Feed system belt

The Vickers .50 machine gun, also known as the 'Vickers .50' was basically similar to the .303 inches (7.70 mm) Vickers machine gun but scaled up to use a larger-calibre 0.5-inch (12.7 mm) round. It saw some use in tanks and other fighting vehicles, but was much more commonly used as a close-in anti-aircraft weapon on Royal Navy and allied ships, typically in a four-gun mounting. The Vickers fired UK 12.7×81mm 50-calibre ammunition, not the better known US 12.7×99mm (.50 BMG).

Mark I

Mark I was the development model.

Mark II, IV and V

Mark II entered service in 1933 and was mounted in some British tanks. Marks IV and V were improved versions and were also used mounted on trucks in the North Africa Campaign. It was superseded for use in armoured fighting vehicles (AFVs) during World War II by the 15 mm (0.59 in) Besa.[1]

Mark III

A four-gun, naval anti-aircraft mounting, on board the destroyer HMS Vanity (1940)

Mark III was a naval version used as an anti-aircraft weapon, mostly by the Royal Navy and allied navies in World War II, typically in mountings of 4 guns. It proved insufficiently powerful in the short-range anti-aircraft role against modern all-metal aircraft and was superseded during World War II by the Oerlikon 20 mm cannon. The naval quad mount featured a 200-round magazine per barrel, which wrapped the ammunition belt around the magazine drum, and provided a maximum rate of fire of 700 rounds per minute, per gun.[2] The four-barrel mounting had its guns adjusted to provide a spread of fire, amounting to 60 feet wide and 50 feet high at 1,000 yards (15–18 m at 915 m).[1] Vickers claimed that it could fire all 800 rounds in 20 seconds and could then be reloaded in a further 30 seconds.[1]

During the Second World War it was also mounted on power-operated turrets in smaller craft such as Motor Gun Boats and Motor Torpedo Boats.

See also


  1. i.e. Marks 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Britain used Roman numerals to denote Marks (models) of ordnance until after World War II.


  1. 1 2 3 Williams, Anthony G. "THE .5" VICKERS GUNS AND AMMUNITION". Retrieved 20 May 2013.
  2. DiGiulian.


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