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  1. #1
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    .303 Prideaux links

    whilst digging out the flare carts., I came across these and thought someone might appreciate seeing them.

    As you probably know, WW1 pilots had a problem with the canvas belts of their Vickers MGs - they flapped about in the slipstream slapping the unfortunate pilots in the face. Prideaux, a dentist I seem to recall, came up with a system of disintegrating links which solved the problem and has been more or less the standard ever since. These are MkIII* made by Enfield. The .303 are 1918 dated Mk VIIZ

    Note how they are very similar to the .5 Vickers links and even the naval 2pdr short links

  2. #2
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    Re:.303 Prideaux links

    Here are some pictures of some earlier links.
    Mark I (sorry, must take a better picture!)



    Mark II, practically identical except for a strengthening nib.


    Prototype Mark III stamped "Prideaux's Patent"


    Experimental linked belt by Sangster.


    Another experimental Sangster type.


    Regards
    TonyE

  3. #3
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    Re:.303 Prideaux links

    Nice posts ,i didnt realise there was so many variations,,

    Any Live or Dug ordnance shown by me has been disposed of by military EOD personnel .


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  4. #4
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    With respect, a couple of quick points:

    1. The first "experimental" Sangster belt shown (the one with the brass split pins) was not experimental but regular issue land service for some time.

    2. The second is not a Sangster at all, but a cold-war era Vickers experimental in .30 '06, not .303".

  5. #5
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    Vickers Belts

    You are of course correct in that the Sangster was an official store. I was using the term "experimental" in the (wrong) sense of having been tried and found lacking. It was introduced by LoC 17637 in January 1916 but had been declared obsolescent just a few months later in October 1916. Mea culpa.

    As for the other belt, I am not sure. I was given that by Herb Woodend and it is shown in Dolf Goldsmith's Vickers book on Page 526 where it is described as a 1915 design by Sangster and Harry R Northover of Winnipeg, under Herb's name.

    Now it is not impossible that this is wrong, as much as I know and love Dolf there are some small mistakes in his otherwise excellent book. However, why would a belt be developed for the .30-06 during the cold war? The Vickers was finished in British service by the mid sixties and in any case the .30-06 had not been considered as a "new" infantry cartridge since 1944.

    Regards
    TonyE

  6. #6
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    Not to belabor the point, but... The Sangster was indeed in service only a few months, but that was a lifetime during the Great War. It was around long enough for several makers to have produced it in several variations in finish, marking, and detail of link form. If it could be called "experimental," so could many of the famous aircraft types.

    The "Canadian Sangster" belt is significantly different from the belt you have pictured. The Sangster-Northover is believed to have been used by Canadian forces in .30 '06, but this has not been confirmed to my knowledge. I don't have Dolph's book to hand, but the links pictured in it were from Herb's collection and identified by Herb for Dolph, so I suspect that the "Canadian Sangster," if shown, looks different from your belt, including finish. My specimen of your belt also came from Herb, as did the ID. The interest in an '06 Vickers was very brief, early in the pursuit of NATO cooperation. It became clear very early on that '06 was not going to be the NATO cartridge and the project was dropped. Your links occur in most link collections, but I have never personally seen any Sangster-Northover links.

  7. #7
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    links

    As I said, I used the term "experimental" in the wrong sense.

    Having studied the picture in Dolf's book I agree that I was too hasty in identifying mine as the Canadian link. Forgive me, I am an ammo man, not a link man (or "Steptoe" as I liked to call the Irishman).

    None the less, it is interesting that the belt was developed for the .30-06. The General Staff statement of November 1942 that the future infantry cartridge was to be the .30-06 may have been the impetus for this, but that decision did not stand for long. The planned new round was soon changed in August 1943 to the 7.92mm, which led to the development of the SLEM etc. Despite the decision in May 45 to set up the Small Arms Calibre Panel and the (very odd) decision of the GS to briefly specify the .30-06 the same month, there was no real chance of the .30-06 ever becoming the new NATO round. After all, the US had been developing the .300 Savage into the T65 in secret for a good while by then.

    My guess is that the belt dates from the period when the .30-06 was a contender for the British future infantry cartridge, i.e. around late 1942/early 1943. Post war any effort to convert the Vickers was to .280 calibre or later the .30 T65.

    Regards
    TonyE

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    Thanks for your patience with my harping on the Sangster's status. It really is important to view time as moving differently during WW I.

    What you say about the timing of the '06 Vickers belt makes sense, but none of the links I have seen differ from yours in finish -- not a wartime finish at all, at all. If I am recalling correctly (and I shall search Herb's correspondence to try to verify), this was an internal Vickers project in "modernizing" the Vickers, involving more than the caliber/belt change.

  9. #9
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    I did not find anything in Herb's correspondence, but I'm told that the gun/belt in question is dealt with on page 351, plates 345 and 346 respectively, of Dolf Goldsmith's The Grand Old Lady of No-Man's Land.

  10. #10
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    I have some prideaux links here which are marked MS III and a star. Which manufacturer is that?
    Thanks in advance,
    regards, DJH
    Last edited by pzgr40; 14th September 2019 at 04:22 PM.

 

 
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