Finish of Guns and Machine Guns

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Steve Stuart
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Finish of Guns and Machine Guns

Post by Steve Stuart » Wed Apr 29, 2015 9:05 pm

Hi All!
It has now struck me that there is the question of just what was the finish of the Guns and Machine Guns on the Mark IV Tank? Were they painted in the 'standard' top coat or were they gunmetal. Has any one any information or insight on this?
Many thanks Steve

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Stephen White
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Re: Finish of Guns and Machine Guns

Post by Stephen White » Wed Apr 29, 2015 10:57 pm

Steve, it's worth doing some research on this because I suspect the answer is not obvious. First thing to say is that Sod's law applies, gunmetal is the one colour it won't be! Gunmetal is a bronze alloy which was used for cannon manufacture in the muzzle loading era but by WW1, it had been superceded by steel.

Smallarms steel is invariably treated electrochemically. Around the First World War, the original process of "blueing" gave way to "parkerising" - I'm not sure which would be appropriate for Vickers MG but the appearance is much the same, the latter is typically more black than blue. Because if the high temperatures when firing, paint was avoided on the weapon itself but I guess the cooling jackets might have been painted.

I'm less clear about the cannon, which may well have been painted. The Australian War Memorial MkIV still has original paint on the interior and a mixture of white and dark grey is seen. I believe dark grey is a factory colour. Although Grit is a female, grey might be relevant as I've seen somewhere that AWM also hold an original 6 pounder cannon which is supposedly dark grey too.

Hope that helps more than confuses!

Stephen

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Re: Finish of Guns and Machine Guns

Post by IAN HINKS » Wed Apr 29, 2015 11:54 pm

Good point Steve. The lewis guns installed on the Mk IV have a sleeve or jacket over the cooling baffles so maybe good take the coat of paint without effecting the operation. I will be very interested in following any research on this matter. Of course I will delve into my books, but don't recall anything on this subject off hand.
Gunner.

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Re: Finish of Guns and Machine Guns

Post by Stephen White » Thu Apr 30, 2015 1:59 pm

Mike Cecil has picked up my reference to his former employer, Australian War Memorial and sent me the following:


www.awm.gov.au/collection/REL/10285

Lewis Gun: jacket blued (actually ‘browned’, same process, different finish). This is the most common finish for the Lewis gun, and the finish of the five that were supplied with the Mk IV Female.

www.awm.gov.au/collection/RELAWM03860

Vickers MMG: This has a jacket painted Khaki. It is a WW1 Brit-built Vickers with the fluted water jacket. Aust Vickers manufactured during WW2 are also painted, usually Khaki Green Number 3 (KG3) Gas Resisting, but with a straight tubular water jacket. The water cooled jacket on a Vickers should not become hot enough to blister or peel the paint provided the water is kept topped up.


He adds that he doesn't recall ever seeing a Vickers which did not have a painted water jacket.

I'm not sure now if the Vickers isn't an irrelevance - the Mk IV was introduced with the Lewis and used it later, whilst production difficulties with the Lewis magazine lead to some being equipped with a Hotchkiss MG with fixed 50 round belt. Space was at a premium and may have ruled out the Vickers. It's certainly contemporary though.

All the best. Stephen

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Re: Finish of Guns and Machine Guns

Post by Steve Stuart » Thu Apr 30, 2015 8:34 pm

Thank you for the replies.
I get the feeling that painting them the Top Coat Colour Brown is not going to be very wrong, as there is going to be nothing categorical to say otherwise. Unless research shows otherwise, that is what I am going to do....
However I am open to changing things 8)
Thanks Steve

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