Italian belt for 6.5mm Maxim mod. 1906


#1

As I follow-up of my previous post on Italian Schwarzlose belt, here is another Italian belt.
It is a 200-round belt in caliber 6.5mm Carcano for the Maxim mod. 1906 machine gun.

You will note that this belt also bears the “FAB” and crown ink stamp as found on the Italian Schwarzlose belt.

From the makers of that belt, is is possible to determine whether it was produced before or after WW1 ? Does anyone know whether those Maxim machine guns were still in use after WW1 ?

Last but not least any idea why 200 rounds instead of the usual 250 ?

Thanks in advance for any help,

Cheers,

JF


#2

The Italian (M1906) Vickers guns were a small order from VSM Ltd., and delivered in 1906-07. Vickers also supplied the original M1906 Belts with the initial order.
Italy, however, went over to the 1914 Revelli MG (a blowback, “mousetrap” magazine fed gun, wastercooled, with a startling propensity to “cook-off” and suffer also separated cases).
In 1915, the Vickers Guns (by now in store) were ressurrected to arm the newly developed Ansaldo Armoured Patrol Cars (Ansaldo were the large Shipbuilding and Locomotove Works in Genova, which had been tasked with developing a Light armour plate for use on vehicles of their design --Ansaldo also was one of the pre-WW I Auto-makers).
The belt fed guns were more reliable than the Revelli guns and easier to feed as well.
Almost all the M1906 Vickers were assigned to the Armoured car units (used in the river plains area of the Isonzo front, as well as being sent to North Africa and Palestine).
After WWI, these cars were used during the tumults within Italy and abroad (Fiume, 1919, and possibly the Occupation of Turkey(1919-1920)). They seem to have disappeared from view in the mid to late 1920s, possibly to the African Colonies, along with their Guns.

The Vickers Guns were initially also used as Ground Guns, because the Czech Legion (expatriate Czecho-slovaks) had an “Italian” branch, which was fully armed with Italian origin equipment. Several M1906s appear in the Czech Legion display in Prague Army Museum and National Historical Museum.
The illustration of the M1906 also appears in a Colour Postcard “From the Front” of 1915, being used by Bersaglieri ( elite Light Infantry);

As to Why 200 rather than 250??? Weight considerations, as the M1906 was considered a “Light” Vickers ( well, Lighter than its Maxim predecessors).

Maybe someone searching through the recesses of Gheddaffi’s Libya, or deep in Ethiopia, will unearth some of these long Lost M1906 guns???

Regards, Doc AV
AV Ballistics.


#3

Thanks Doc for these information.

As far as I thought to know, the Italian mod. 1906 was of Maxim design very similar to the US mod. 1904 Maxims. Indeed those ~200 Maxim guns were manufactured by VSM around 1906.
However I thought that a further contract from VSM delivered ~900 Vickers class C guns around 1914, also for caliber 6.5x52.

I might guess that a straight forward method to readily take apart Italian Maxim from Italian Vickers is the water jacket : smooth for the Maxim and corrugated for the Vickers. However, this remains to be confirmed.

The pictures I have seen so far with Ansaldo armoured cars were fitted with corrugated water jackets, ie probably Vickers class C guns.

Doc, could you please check on your color postcard whether it is a Maxim or Vickers gun ?

I wonder how the VSM -delivered belts were marked (both for the early 1906 Maxim and the class C Vickers).

Is there any surviving belt around ? can any Italian friend help ?

Thanks in advance,

Cheers,

JF


#4

All the Guns I have seen (Photos, Museums, Postcards,) are “Corrugated jacket” models.
The two in Prague, I actually was able to read the Brass Plate with all the maker’s details, Model and Patent Numbers. They are listed as “VSM Model of 1906”. They had the corrugated Jacket.
I don’t know what Dolf Goldsmith has to say about the two deliveries of Guns, but he certainly mentions the 1906 delivery.

Best regards,
Doc AV
AV Ballistics