|Type||Light machine gun|
|Place of origin||United Kingdom|
|Used by||British Empire India Latvia|
|Wars||World War II|
|Manufacturer||Vickers-Armstrong, Ishapore Rifle Factory|
|Weight||24.4 lb (11.1 kg)|
|Length||45.5 in (1.156 m)|
|Calibre||0.303 in (7.7 mm)|
|Action||Gas-operated, tilting breech-block|
|Rate of fire||450-600 round/min|
|Muzzle velocity||2,450 ft/s (745 m/s)|
|Feed system||box 30 rounds|
The Vickers–Berthier (VB) light machine gun manufactured by Vickers-Armstrong was based on a French design of just before World War I intended for use on aircraft. In 1925 Vickers in Britain purchased licence rights for production in their Crayford factory, and as a replacement for the Lewis Gun. It was an alternative to the water-cooled Vickers machine gun of same manufacture. The weapon used a similar gas and tipping bolt mechanism to the Bren gun, and also had a removable barrel, and was air-cooled like the Bren. It was adopted by the Indian Army in 1933.
During the British Army trials of several light machine guns which began in 1932, the Vickers–Berthier was in direct competition with the Bren light machine gun. The British Army adopted the Bren, and the Vickers–Berthier was adopted by the British Indian Army. A production line for the Vickers–Berthier Light Machine-Gun Mk 3 was established at the Ishapore Rifle Factory. It was slightly heavier, at 24 pounds than the Bren at 22 pounds. It was also slightly longer, and harder to stow away. The Bren also had a slower cyclic rate of 500 rpm. The only major advantage the weapon had over the Bren was the far simpler design; it could be produced more efficiently.
Appearance and Design
The Vickers–Berthier Light Machine Gun has a 30-round box magazine and a bipod stand, and is sometimes mistaken for the Bren as both used a similar curved magazine to accommodate the rimmed .303 British cartridge.
Apart from India, it was only sold to a few Baltic and South American states, but the design was modified into the Vickers K machine gun, called the Vickers Gas Operated (VGO). it was used in rather small numbers by the Latvian army during 1930's , its unknown what happened to these weapons during and after World war 2.
The weapon is fairly rare to see nowadays, but it remains in reserve with the modern Indian Army.
- "Rifle-Machine Gun Increases Efficiency of Infantry" Popular Mechanics, December 1930 early article with photos of first Vickers–Berthier