Hotchkiss Pack Saddlery (large images)

David Hamilton
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<font size="1"><font color="maroon"><i>Good afternoon all,

Tom has some more research on the Hotchkiss MG pack saddlery, thought I would start a fresh thread so as to show up better when searched for.

Images are UK MoD copyright and used here for research purposes only, not for publication.

- Dave.</i></font id="maroon"></font id="size1">

(e-mail form Tom below)

Dear All

having done some research at the Pattern Room on the Hotchkiss Portative I would like to add a few comments on the related saddlery.

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LoC 18394 of 11 Dec 1916 covers Hotchkiss pack saddlery and introduced a set of equipment to go on a riding saddle, notably a pair of wallets to take strips of ammunition for the front of the saddle and a strange gun bucket of sorts which carried the gun butt downwards on the near side behind the saddle so the body and the barrel of the gun pointed diagonally across the riders back, left hip to right shoulder.

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There was a bandolier (I will ask a mate for pics of his) for the gunner which took the smaller sized (10 round) strips/clips in six pockets and had a tube to carry a hand extractor LoC 18393.

The equipment is covered in more detail in “S.S. 587 Pack Equipment Pattern 1917 for Hotchkiss Machine Gun (Cavalry)” which I have also copied. I’m fairly sure amongst the still to be labelled mass of LoCs I copied there will be the details of when the saddle equipment was made obsolete and any alterations to it.

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<font size="1"><font color="maroon"><i>(Note UP 1912 swivel tree - Dave)</i></font id="maroon"></font id="size1">

I’ll also ask a friend in NZ for permission to post a photo of his Hotchkiss wallets and a more traditional style of gun bucket he has for the Portative which I think he says was used by the Light Horse.

- Tom.


David Hamilton
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One quick comment - for those of us that have been too lazy to take the "Smelly" out of its bucket prior to mounting and subsequently kicked it with your right leg can appreciate the dilemma for the poor trooper trying to mount here!

- Dave.
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Great stuff
Thanks for sharing
Sam

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Pat Holscher
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Wow!

Very revealing.

Was any US light machinegun every carried like this? I would never have guessed that the Hotchkiss was carried in a bucket attached to the troopers saddle.

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During what period did the British use the Hotchkiss as a ground gun?

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David Hamilton
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<font size="1"><font color="maroon"><i>...more from Tom</font id="size1"></font id="maroon"></i>

A bit more on the Hotchkiss

According to Chappell the Portative was introduced to British cavalry units in 1916, the earliest LoC I can find is 18419 of Jan 1917, which fits in with the usual wartime lag. It was last used actively in 1941 but wasn't made obsolete until LoC C2493 20th June 1946. Skennerton has them being issued to Australian Light horse not long after the British and still in use in 1941 if only "a reserve status"

The earliest guns had a rather spindly bipod attached very near the muzzle, theres a good photo of a Indian team of the 18th King George's Own Lancers which illustrates this well in Chappells LMG booklet, dated July 1916.

The photo shows a pair of strip/clip wallets and more traditional style of Gun bucket kindly supplied by Mr Rod Woods of New Zealand. He comments, "My scabbard is as used by the NZ Mounted Rifles in Palestine in WW1 (the Aussies called their MR "Light Horse" but same type of unit)" It has New Zealand markings.

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All the best

Tom
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John M
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I will just add a comment, which may provoke further discussion...and possibly a recap on earlier discussions. What weapon is the bucket in the previous posting being related to?.

The bucket is not for the SMLE ....the bolt slot being in the wrong position. But it does seem to have been fairly conclusively identified in previous discussions as made for the MADSEN.

Note that there is also a longer...by about 4 ins...version of this pattern of bucket.

John.M.

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p.s...thanks for the information in this thread, Tom.
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John, I've linked in this old thread on what apparently was the Rexer bucket, given as I think this is the odd item you mention that we previously discussed.

topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=3664&whichpage=1

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Tom Ready
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Hi John
I'm getting some conflicting information on the bucket above! Could it be that there are two very similar ones? I'll send Dave a pic of the Bucket which is very like the one Rod has which apears in the 1906 Handbook for the Rexer. I've asked Rod for details of the markings on his and he says that he will soon be able to try a Portative in his.

What I need to do is have a look in the copies of Indian LoCs at the Pattern Room to see if they used Madsen LMGs as the eyewitness acount on the other thread sugests. They were certainly used by Empire forces in the Natal Rebellion of 1906,3 being issued to the Zululand Mounted Rifles that I know of. I've also a asociated group photo of officers with two Vickers Maxims and a Rexer in front.

However the the illustration from the Rexer Handbook is very convincing in my opinion, It does look a lot like the one you sent me pics of.

Come September when hopefully the new Patern Room building is completed and the guns are in situ, would it be worth me getting hold of one of the buckets and seeing which guns fit? I'm sure it woudn't be a problem.

ATB

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Yes Tom. That's a good idea, perhaps we can arrange something,
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Tom Ready
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Hi Folks
I've sent Dave another pic with some text and this will make more sense when he has put it up but I'll post now as I may not be on the net tomorrow or the day after...

Having reread a excellent article on the British Madsen it seams that the the British Rexer company was very short lived and due to litigation with the original Madsen manufacturers/syndicate in Denmark had gone under in 1908. Infact it seams unlikely that any Rexers were manufactured in the UK, the factory here making some parts and assembling guns from parts made by the Swiss Rexer company. However 900 Masdens in .303 were ordered from Denmark during the war but due to various convoluted reasons only a few came to the UK for trials post war and most ended up being supplied to the Estonians to fight the Red Russians, 600 odd arriving and “a large number” were lost when a ship was mined in the Baltic.

The Madsen was considered and rejected again (it had happened pre war as well) for British service emediately post war. I suspect the the gun and equipment in the pic that Dave will be putting up for me from the series of 9 photos I have from the Pattern Room was one of the half a dozen guns brought over in about 1918. 25 sets of cavalry equipment had been part of the order for 900 guns.

Rolls Royce tried to manufacture a Madsen in the UK during the war but despite a lot of (goverment)investment they only managed to produce a few components and the whole project came to nought.

Tom

I really need to learn how to put up my own pictures...
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<font size="1"><font color="maroon"><i>More from Tom.

Images are UK MoD copyright and used here for research purposes only, not for publication.

- Dave.</i></font id="maroon"></font id="size1">

Dear All
is this the Madsen bucket that your are you on about?


The pic is from one of a series of nine portrait like photos I found in the Pattern Room. From the other photos wiser heads than mine have identified that it is of British cavalry men either trialing or demonstrating the British made Rexer LMG (or possibly the Madsen that the Rexer was a licensed copy) and that the Pic was taken just Post WW1, probably in 1919-1920.

On the other pics the cap badges, medal ribbons etc are visible.

All the best

Tom

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<font size="1"><font color="maroon"><i>More from Tom</i></font id="maroon"></font id="size1">

From "The Rexer Automatic Machine Gun " handbook of 1906, Page 15.

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<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by David</i>
<br /><font size="1"><font color="maroon"><i>More from Tom</i></font id="maroon"></font id="size1">

From "The Rexer Automatic Machine Gun " handbook of 1906, Page 15.

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<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

This would appear to be a standard SMLE rifle bucket modified to cater for the gun ( Madsen?) it contains by forming a slot for the bolt.
John.M.

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I don't know what happened here!! My reply refers to the first photo...which appears to be an SMLE bucket modified for the Madsen (or whatever gun it contains) by forming a slot for the bolt.


The second photo appears to be of the special flaptop bucket designed for the Madsen...or Rexer. These buckets have two hanging straps inferring they were meant for the Colonial pattern saddle rather than the UP.

John.M.

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[quote]<i>Originally posted by David</i>
<br /><font size="1"><font color="maroon"><i>More from Tom</i></font id="maroon"></font id="size1">

From "The Rexer Automatic Machine Gun " handbook of 1906, Page 15.

Have just noticed that this bucket is hung from the near side!...and I can't see the strap which should connect to the circingle.
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[quote]<i>Originally posted by David</i>
<br /><font size="1"><font color="maroon"><i>...more from Tom</font id="size1"></font id="maroon"></i>

My flaptop buckets are virtually identical to the one of Mr.Woods,
Except they lack the "scallop" to the flap.
John.M.

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Tom Ready
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Hi John
its just me confusing matters by adding a post before Dave had a chance to put up the two with pictures! Give me a day or two and I'll confuse it some more by dragging the Vickers-Berthier bucket (from the Vickers-Armstrong commercial handbook I think is on the CD I sent) into it <i>and</i>the Indian LoCs for their issue version of the same.

Perhaps I should start a new thread for that one... ;-{D)

And I've still to waffle on about the stuff I've dug up on the actual pack saddlery for the Lewis and Hotchkiss..

By the way did anyone else spot the early (pre 1930ish) Lewis pack saddlery 9 pan ammo case on eBay last week? I copied the pics if any one cares to see it? Its mentioned at the end of Appendix 3 in the SAT Volume II 1931 along with the new version being introduced.

ATB

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<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by David</i>
<br /><font size="1"><font color="maroon"><i>More from Tom</i></font id="maroon"></font id="size1">

From "The Rexer Automatic Machine Gun " handbook of 1906, Page 15.

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<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

1906! Remarkable really.

Pat
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