Villar-Perosa aircraft submachine gun
|Place of origin||Kingdom of Italy|
|Used by||See users|
|Wars||World War I|
|Weight||6.5 kg (14 lb)|
|Length||90 cm (35 in)|
|Cartridge||9 mm Glisenti|
|Barrels||2 side by side|
|Rate of fire||3,000 round/min|
|Muzzle velocity||1,050 ft/s (320 m/s)|
|Effective firing range||1,800 m (2,000 yd)|
|Feed system||Box Magazine|
Originally designed to be used by the second crew member/observer of military aeroplanes, it was later issued to ground troops. Between May and November 1916 a section was assigned to each infantry battalion of the Italian army and from May 1917 the number of sections was increased to 3 per battalion. The weapon was first used at the 12th Battle of Isonzo.
While it was designed to use 9mm pistol ammunition, it is not a 'true' submachine gun because of its intention to be used as a mounted weapon.
The Villar Perosa was designed as a portable double barrel machine gun firing a 9mm round. It consisted of two independent coupled weapons, each with its own barrel firing mechanism and separate 25-round magazine.
As it was originally designed to be operated from airplanes it had a high rate of fire of over 1,500 rounds per minute. However, in practice the 9mm munition was not sufficiently powerful to shoot down aircraft, which had become ever more resistant over the course of the war, and in addition the range was inadequate.
The mechanism of the VP was a sound design, and shortly after the end of the war was used as the basis of a more practical weapon, the Beretta OVP.
- Austria-Hungary, Captured examples.
- Germany, Captured examples.
- United Kingdom, Trial purposes. Chambered in .455 Webley Automatic.
- George M. Chinn, The Machine Gun. History, Evolution, and Development of Manual, Automatic, and Airborne Repeating Weapons, Volume I.
- Philip Schreier, The World's First Sub-Gun. Guns & Ammo Surplus Firearms, September 2009.