Meet Lewis, the machine gun

In a novel characters need to have a reasonable connection with each other. In The Angel of Mons the main characters among the soldiers were two Vickers Machine Gun squads who fought together at Nimy Bridge, defending it against the Germans.

The Crowning Battle of the Great War: The Battle of Bellicourt Tunnel will also have characters connected with a gun, this time the machine gun that was more widely used later in the war, the Lewis Automatic Machine Gun. The soldiers will be young men from South Carolina, North Carolina, and Tennessee. Having lives in South Carolina for nearly twenty years, I want to draw on the resources that surround me (seven military museums in Columbia, four of them at Fort Jackson.) and several experts on the battle.

Australian soldiers training with the Lewis Machine Gun

Australian soldiers training with the Lewis Machine Gun

The Lewis, fully manned, would have a crew of six soldiers: a gunner, a spotter, a guard, and three carrying ammunition. Though the gun could be handled by two, if it was necessary. This blog is to introduce you to the gun. Or it to you.

It will first be in action in the opening chapter. Later Tommy Atkins will present its fine points in a training session he leads for the Americans. Tommy was a major character in the earlier novel. Later still, when we return to the battle a second time we will meet it again, going about its murderous work.

Lewis machine gun in action. Notice the disk in the hands of the soldier to the left. It is filled with either 47 or 97 bullets. The pan sits on top of the gun and rotates as each bullet is fired.

Lewis machine gun in action. Notice the disk in the hands of the soldier to the left. It is filled with either 47 or 97 bullets. The pan sits on top of the gun and rotates as each bullet is fired.

Take a look at it. You will learn more about it in later blogs.

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