The Lewis Gun

I have never had more difficulty with a video.  Had to set public from my phone to get around a 500 error.


8 Responses to “The Lewis Gun”

  1. FWIW: Gen. Crozier included his own account of the Lewis controversy in his book “Ordnance and the World Wars.”

    You can download copies from the following link:

  2. anonymous dutch coward says:

    How could it be a reliable trench warfare gun with an open magazine? Everybody always points to the Chauchat magazine as proof of a bad design, but this one is worse! Well, apparently not, but why?

    Fantastic episode as usual

  3. Steve Sheldon says:

    A small correction, only because this stood out at me as being so wrong.

    At 1:41 you mentioned that Samuel Mclean graduated from Iowa State University.

    He would have actually graduated from the State University of Iowa, which is today just known as the University of Iowa. This is in Iowa City… as opposed to Iowa State University which is in Ames. I caught it because you mentioned the Homeopathic School… which was at University of Iowa where the medical college is. Iowa State University in 1877 would have been called the Iowa Agricultural College. Whereas University of Iowa was called the State University right from it’s founding in 1847.

    And I know all of this because I graduated from ISU… and my family is from Iowa… and I just happened to donate a Homeopathic Medicine textbook from 1855 to the University of Iowa medical library about 3 years back which I had inherited from my grandfather. So I’d read a lot about the homeopathy school in iowa and know way more than I ever really wanted to know about that subject. If you had not mentioned homeopathy I wouldn’t have even noticed.

    And the history of homeopathy is simple… It was an alternative to bloodletting. So while there was little to no scientific basis, it generally showed better results and gained a following. Homeopathic medicine is generally the process of doing nothing while feeling like you are doing something. Most of the cures just have no purpose, but they also don’t do much harm either. This was remarkable as it was a vast improvement over the practice of bloodletting and other crap of the 18th century which made the patient far worse off.(see George Washington)

    So now you know, and knowing is half the battle!

  4. singleshotcajun says:

    Wonderful episode. Now I have a much better understanding of the Lewis gun. It is so wonderfully complex. The coil spring and rack gear is fascinating. Thank you so much.

  5. NiKo_Mechanic says:

    Truly great episode complete with history background!
    But i still have questions about usage of the Lewis guns in combat.
    – Since LMG is crew-served weapon, how many men was in MG team? (was it gunner, gunner assist and scout like Chauchat team?)
    – How ammo was caried and stored? (i saw canvas double pouches for Lewis gun drums, but not sure was it for 2 or 4 mags);
    – how many rounds was normal loadout for crew? (and was it in drums or part of suply was loose rounds in bags?)
    P.S.Sorry for poor english.

  6. JF_France says:

    For all the hype over the cooling barrel shroud it was not needed on aircraft mounted guns. Fair enough with a 100 mph wind but in WW2 these were given to ground troops in lieu of scarce Bren guns and they worked fine as ground LMGs without the shroud. The principal LMG of the Home Guard for much of it’s life and a principal LMG for the Merchant Navy and for small Royal Navy vessels early in the war.

    Lewis Gun crews practiced clearing jams ad nauseam and became quick at the standard jams. The magazine loading is slow but then you don’t do that under fire. The no2 Lewis Gun (and any others in support) carried a 4 drum case or x2 2 drum cases ready loaded. With 3 or 5 round aimed bursts gave 235 rounds (the gunner had one on the gun) gives you 47 to 78 bursts from a 2 man crew. The crew had a loading device (as shown) so could reload from loose rounds or 5 round clips in a lull.

    A sound LMG but post war there were cheaper and lighter ones.

  7. Loren Mitchell says:

    Thanks for an excellent and wonderfully detailed episode. The history, the disassembly, the range firing, all were wonderful. The Crozier/Lewis feud is better than the Tucker or DeLorean sagas, approaching that of Tesla.

    Regarding the triple jamming, you are probably correct to assume the crews learned and knew how to deal with that problem. Also, my understanding is that the drums were loaded in advance, so perhaps the crews in the field were not dealing with the tedious and time-consuming task. Regardless, excellent work, and I have been wearing my tee shirt with pride, you know, the one with the two French rifles.


Discuss this article

Share this on:
Collect likes on Facebook Tweet it or whatever Does anyone use Google+?