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Discussion Starter #1
I have been searching thru a couple of reference books and looking on-line trying to learn a bit more about the .303 Hotchkiss Portable / Portative.
I know it feeds from (inverted) stamped steel feed strips, but what really caught my attention is the 50 round segmented belts.
These were for the aircraft & vehicle mounted guns.
I have seen some mention and non-detailed images of the left side mounted cartridge collection bag (looks like chain mail) and a right side mounted "hopper" into which the rolled up 50 round segmented belt was placed.
I have seen nothing about how these attach or good images to show how they were constructed.
I know that something has to be done about clearing the cartridge ejection as the segmented belt will hang down and cause stoppages.
These guns were used thru two World Wars and for a military weapon that served for so long in so many places there isn't much written about them.
They also were used by the Navy, Air Forces and Army / Cavalry of these countries.
And, these guns were fitted into the tanks and armored cars of WWI.

Does anyone have more detailed info about the mounts and feeding of this gun?

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cmr_cairo.jpg

hotchkiss1909-3.jpg

large.jpg

wwi06.jpg

xPlate04Original.jpg

RoyalNavyHotchkiss.jpg

NavyHotchkissdualgun.jpg
 

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...me too....

Also interested in Hotchkiss and Bene'-Mecier parts/pieces and their usage in WW1. Trying to put together a display of the guns used with the US Army 1917 Machine Gun Carts before and during WW1. The 1904 Maxim,1909 Bene'-Mecier version of the Hotchkiss design,1915 Colt-Vickers and the 1914 Lewis gun. The Browning 1917 was not used until 17 Sep 1918...less than 2-mo before the end of WW1. Any info is appreciated and photo's will be given appropriate credit in the book I am putting together on the 1917 Cart series.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Well, that makes at least two of us that are seeking more info!

I did find a picture of the Hotchkiss Portable mounted in a WWI tank:

MK3007.jpg

I think this next picture is a US 1909 Benet-Mercie on a ship mounted pedestal:

CWO-with-U.S.-Model-1909-Machine-Rifle-Benét-Mercié.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I found a picture of 303 Hotchkiss guns that have the hopper mounted on the right side for the segmented feed belt.
I wish it was a closer view!
Note the spent case catch bag mounted on the lower left side of the gun.
This is needed so the empty segmented belt doesn't block the ejection port.
How do these two things attach to the gun?

the Hotchkiss Mark 1.jpg
 

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>I found a picture of 303 Hotchkiss guns that have the hopper mounted on the right side for the segmented feed belt.<

The segmented belt cannot be held in a hopper, which is what is assembled to the side of the feed port of the gun.
The belt must enter the feed port horizontally with following segments also close to horizontal for the feed to be reliable. The belts can fold in the offside direction, but are fairly stiff in the on side direction and mimic a stripper in this regard. In my experience firing a 1909 .303 with the belts, keeping the segments aligned in the horizontal plane is important. They can't drop too much due to the manner of construction, but do need to be aligned for reliable feed.
A spool would be a more realistic means of preparing the belts for, mounted on the feed side, since they fold up and can be wound about an axle. They are too short for such use in armor, though. Without a guiding hand or a tray on the feed side to support the belts, their use is cumbersome.
Efficient and fast use of the belts in a 1909 with an adapted feedway requires a lot of experience and training as it is not at all easy to feed and use compared to strippers. FWIW


View attachment 35313 [/QUOTE]
 

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Discussion Starter #7
>I found a picture of 303 Hotchkiss guns that have the hopper mounted on the right side for the segmented feed belt.<

The segmented belt cannot be held in a hopper, which is what is assembled to the side of the feed port of the gun.
The belt must enter the feed port horizontally with following segments also close to horizontal for the feed to be reliable. The belts can fold in the offside direction, but are fairly stiff in the on side direction and mimic a stripper in this regard. In my experience firing a 1909 .303 with the belts, keeping the segments aligned in the horizontal plane is important. They can't drop too much due to the manner of construction, but do need to be aligned for reliable feed.
A spool would be a more realistic means of preparing the belts for, mounted on the feed side, since they fold up and can be wound about an axle. They are too short for such use in armor, though. Without a guiding hand or a tray on the feed side to support the belts, their use is cumbersome.
Efficient and fast use of the belts in a 1909 with an adapted feedway requires a lot of experience and training as it is at all easy to feed and use compared to strippers. FWIW


View attachment 35313
[/QUOTE]

Bob, thanks for joining in on this thread.
I was hoping you may be familiar with the Hotchkiss belt carrier, or better yet, actually own one.
I have found a manual that describes the belt carrier and how to load the 50 round segmented belt into it.
Unfortunately it lacks any pictures or drawings!
Here is that text as .jpeg images

Beltfeeding.jpg

Belt use.jpg

In the picture I posted earlier you can see the belt carrier is empty but the segmented belts are in their storage can next to the gun.
Based on the text (above) I don't think these are on a spool (like the Maxim 08/15 drum)
The belt carrier also seems open on top, making the rounds very visible.
The next two images seem to be from Royal Navy ships in WWII.
The .303 Portable must have been made available as AA armament for small craft.
You can see the tops of the rolled belts in both images.

NavyHotchkissdualgun.jpg

RoyalNavyHotchkiss.jpg

Interesting rear sight on that single gun in the second image.
I have seen that same rear sight on a Hotchkiss picture from the Imperial War Museum.

large_000000.jpg

Note that cartridge collection bags are on all guns with belt carriers.
I believe this is so the hanging belt will not foul the ejection port and cause a stoppage.

Where can we locate more detailed info or pictures of this Hotchkiss Portable belt carrier?
 

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to take this thread in a slightly different direction, I will add that while I have seen a lot of the segmented belts, I have never seen the hopper or "hang-on " feed box for them. Of course, back in the old days when I had my first Portative, the belts were brought in and selling fairly cheap, I think 4 belts in a box were like $59, and individual ones were $15-20.ea . I have seen a lot of the posted photos around the net, and I took a look in some of my old books, but did not really find anything new that shows belt boxes. Has anyone come up with a good way to mount the gun on a more substantial Tripod than the little crows foot one ?



1909-5.JPG
1909-6.JPG
 

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to take this thread in a slightly different direction, I will add that while I have seen a lot of the segmented belts, I have never seen the hopper or "hang-on " feed box for them. Of course, back in the old days when I had my first Portative, the belts were brought in and selling fairly cheap, I think 4 belts in a box were like $59, and individual ones were $15-20.ea . I have seen a lot of the posted photos around the net, and I took a look in some of my old books, but did not really find anything new that shows belt boxes. Has anyone come up with a good way to mount the gun on a more substantial Tripod than the little crows foot one ?

in my experience with the segment belts there is no possible way to use them with a box attached to the receiver or close to the mount. They are flexible to a degree but only in one direction.The only reliable and practical way to use them is with a tray leading up to feed. They are an idea whose time never arrived, in my opinion, at least for a ground gun. Used in a vehicle mount, a tray can be employed, and that belt would be useful.
Useful mounts for the Portatives have been made using just the reproduction crows foot tripod cradle adapted to other mounts. I have a number of spare Japanese T92 mounts that I have used as platforms for the Portatives. The width of the Portative trunnions will fit the T92 cradle clasps but are only supported by about 1/4" on either side. If fillers are used to fill the gap in the clasps and center the gun in the cradle, it is a solid mount. Both are strip fed MGs so on "strip-fed MG day" the t92 mount goes out anyway so it can be used with the Portatives.
The 1914 Hotchkiss mounts, Cleveland and Omnibus types, can also be used, but the Portative trunnions are supported by an even smaller length in the cradle clasps of these mounts and fillers are required to properly center the receiver of the Portative and secure it in the cradle. Without fillers the receiver will move sideways on firing with one trunnion falling out of the clasp and the receiver will fall sideways.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
to take this thread in a slightly different direction, I will add that while I have seen a lot of the segmented belts, I have never seen the hopper or "hang-on " feed box for them. Of course, back in the old days when I had my first Portative, the belts were brought in and selling fairly cheap, I think 4 belts in a box were like $59, and individual ones were $15-20.ea . I have seen a lot of the posted photos around the net, and I took a look in some of my old books, but did not really find anything new that shows belt boxes. Has anyone come up with a good way to mount the gun on a more substantial Tripod than the little crows foot one ?



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That is a nice looking Portative!
The British & Australian Armies used these guns during both world wars.
They were Mark 1 and the Mark 1*.
The difference in the 2 Marks was that the Mark 1* "accepted a modified strip which consisted of 3-round strips hinged together to form a belt"
All the guns I have seen for sale or as parts kits were Mark1*
The British paid to have 10,993 guns reconditioned for issue in WWII (info published by Ian Skennerton).
The parts kits that IMA sells (I think they came out of turkey) have the brass blocks on the barrel that allow the small tripod to be mounted further forward.
In the first post I shared a picture of Commonwealth troops who have set the steel post that protrudes from the bottom of the small tripod into a tall upright tube to form a proper A/A tripod mount.
I bet something like that can be constructed rather reasonably.
You might even be able to make an adapter for an existing mount.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I ran across this picture which gives a clear view of the canvas brass catcher bag used with the Hotchkiss Portative when mounted in a tank or any place the segmented belt is used.



Now, if I could find the picture of the opposite side we could see how the segmented belt is supported!
 

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Say, hope it OK to ask on this thread about my recent purchase, a 1922 Hotchkiss kit. Are they very similar to the portative? Anyone have one of these weapons?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I ran across this picture which gives a clear view of the canvas brass catcher bag used with the Hotchkiss Portative when mounted in a tank or any place the segmented belt is used.



Now, if I could find the picture of the opposite side we could see how the segmented belt is supported!

HEY, you look long enough and you can find a picture of most anything!
Here is the other side of the tank gun.
I also read in the Tank gun manual that they used a tube sight.

Mount05.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I just watched this animation of the .303 Hotchkiss portative.
At the end they show how the hopper for the segmented belt works!
Now to find that and the spent casing collector.


It is how they were able to use this gun in tanks and aircraft where the long strips were in the way.
 
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