Machine Gun Memorabilia: V22N3

By Robert G. Segel

British staff officer’s visor cap for the Machine Gun Corps. The cap has red piping around the crown and a gold bullion band to the leather visor. Sterling silver Machine Gun Corps insignia to the front. Maker marked “Hawkes & Co., No. 14 Piccadilly” and owner’s name “Maj. Boder” inked inside the hat.

Italian World War II sleeve insignia for the Bersagilieri Motorcycle Machine Gun Unit. Black embroidered motorcycle with mounted machine gun on a gray uniform background.

New Zealand veteran’s regimental blazer patch for the New Zealand 27th Machine Gun Battalion of the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force in World War II. The queen’s crown (denoting post-1953 coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, thus a veteran’s crest) over crossed Vickers with “27 N Z BN” in the quadrants within the New Zealand fern leafs. Latin motto in banner below and 2.N.Z.E.F. The New Zealand Machine Gun Corps was formed in January 1916 and saw service in France in World War I. The Corps was disbanded at the end of the war in 1918 and was reformed in 1940 as the 27th (Machine Gun) Battalion. This unit became part of the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force and saw service in Greece, Crete, North Africa and Italy and in occupied Japan. The unit was disbanded in 1945.

World War II Japanese commemorative towel. Towels were a common advertisement item in Japan, and stores would put piles at their entrance with their name and good wishes for the shopper. Additionally, military units made commemorative towels available to commemorate their units or special events. This towel celebrates a unit, the First Regiment Machine Gun Company, which “belonged” to Tokyo’s First Infantry Division. The small tag hanging from the branch of the cherry blossom tree indicates “commemorating” but doesn’t specifically indicate what that occasion is—other than possibly being a member of the 1st Regiment Machine Gun Company. The First was an elite division with a long and brilliant fighting history. “Belonged” because they were on Peleliu, and all 10,000 were killed in November 1944. The division was never re-established. The First had been stationed in Manchuria for a long time and was abruptly shipped to Peleliu in time to meet the Marines. The towel could have been associated with its initial deployment to Manchuria and collected as a souvenir taken at Peleliu or a home front commemorative towel of the unit after its decimation at Peleliu. The towel is of very light cotton material with black and blue printing with an image of a Type 92 heavy machine gun and Japanese kanji identifying the unit.

Highly detailed brass and bronze miniature of the World War I German Maxim MG 08 on sled mount with water and ammo cans in approximately 1/8 scale. The gun can elevate and traverse, and the legs of the sled mount can be adjusted to a horizontal position. Details include a ZF-12 optical sight, muzzle booster, condensing hose and water can and spare barrel mounted on the sled mount. The gun and sled mount sits on a stained wood stand with an inscription plate in German that reads, “Schwerer Mashinen Gewehr 08” (Heavy Machine Gun 08). Hand-crafted by Oleg Prokopenko and his brother Dmytro Prokopenko in the Ukraine. The gun measures approximately 6 ¼ inches long.

World War I U.S. headquarters sleeve patch for the 2nd Anti-Aircraft Machine Gun Battalion. Three piece wool felt consisting of a red airplane stitched over blue crossed Vickers machine guns stitched on a blue square backing.

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V22N3 (March 2018)
and was posted online on February 9, 2018


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