Military Wiki
Type Light machine gun
Place of origin  United Kingdom
Service history
Used by  British Empire
Wars World War II
Production history
Manufacturer Vickers-Armstrong, Ishapore Rifle Factory
Weight 24.4 lb (11.1 kg)
Length 45.5 in (1.156 m)

Cartridge .303 British
Calibre 0.303 in (7.7 mm)
Action Recoil (Gas)
Rate of fire 450-600 round/min
Muzzle velocity 2,450 ft/s (745 m/s)
Feed system box 30 rounds
Sights Iron

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.[1] 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.[2] 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. The reasons for its failure were simple; it was heavier, at 24 pounds than the lighter Bren at 22 pounds. It was also longer, and hard to stow away. The Bren also had a slower cyclic rate of 500 rpm, and far better portability. The only 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).

The weapon is fairly rare to see nowadays, but it remains in reserve with the modern Indian Army.


External links

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