In Action: Lewis Gun
The Lewis Gun became the British Army’s mainstay light machine gun in 1915, it proved a highly effective weapon. The British purchased their first Lewis Guns in the autumn of 1914 and major orders were place by 1915. The number of Lewis guns increasing rapidly during the course of the war. By the summer of 1916 two guns per company were issued but by 1917 at least one per platoon became the norm.
Invented by an American inventor, Colonel Isaac Lewis, a number of nations issued the
Lewis Gun during the war including Belgium, the Russian Empire, the US Marine Corps and most famously by the British & Commonwealth forces. Gas-operated, air-cool and firing from a 47-round pan magazine the Lewis weighed in at a weighty 26 lbs.
The photograph above shows a Lewis Gun team in action, probably during training, on the Balkan Front, in May 1917. A Corporal looks through binoculars at where the gun’s fire is aimed. The Lewis Gunner’s number two looks on ready to change the pan magazine.