Many types of automatic small arms, which was created in the twentieth century, easily recognizable due to characteristic features of appearance. It is hardly possible to confuse the “Maxim” with any other gun, when he is on his “truck”. Or a submachine gun PPSH with his grenade disk. Well, the “Kalashnikov” just with any other weapon will not entangle.
The same can be said about the hand-held Lewis gun with his “calling card” – a thick trunk. Experts in the field of armaments explain why this weapon is “barrel”. And the trunk if at all, as such.
The idea of the design of the machine gun belonged to the British, Samuel McLean, but embody it in the life of a retired us army Colonel Isaac Lewis. In fact, by the name of its Creator, the weapon was named. However, in the US, Lewis could not run his machine gun into production. After resignation, a former Colonel moved to Europe. In 1913, Lewis founded the Belgian arms firm Armes Automatique Lewis, where he continued work on the creation of the machine gun.
In its initial version, the Lewis Machine Gun was designed solely as a heavy machine gun with water cooling of the barrel. About how the legendary “Maxim”. In the design process, the idea Lewis had to be abandoned. In those years was considered a more advanced air cooling system, which the designer has implemented in his gun, snapping the barrel cooling shroud in the form of a pipe. This detail became the hallmark of gun system of Lewis.
After successful testing, manufacture the Lewis Machine Gun was started in 1913 in the UK. In the same year the machine gun entered service with the Belgian army. With the outbreak of world war I “Lewis” armed English infantry units. In 1916, Britain began to supply guns for the army of its ally, the Russian Empire.
By the beginning of the October revolution in Russia, there were about 11.5 thousand units of the weapon, which once were widely used in the Civil war. Noteworthy is the fact that the protection of the anarchist revolutionary Nestor Makhno called “Lewisite”, as it were armed, for the most part, these machine guns.
During the Second world war, “Lewis” remained in service in Britain, and the Soviet Union. In the Soviet Union machine guns were mostly given to the people’s militia fighters.
Interesting is the fact that the casing in which the Lewis gun is so recognizable, it turned out, was absolutely not necessary. Found out English infantrymen who took part in the “Battle of Britain”. Admitted to the “Lewis” had no shrouds, but the cooling of the barrel is not affected. The gun just did not manage to test before the start of the First world war.