Encyclopedia - Fiat-Revelli Gun

Fiat-Revelli Produced in Italy, the Fiat-Revelli M1914 was the country's first mass produced machine gun.  It was designed in 1908 and bought for use by the Italian army in 1914 as Army Chief of Staff Luigi Cadorna worked to prepare the Italian Army for eventual war, Italy having started the conflict as a neutral power.

Weighing 17kg the 6.5mm calibre Fiat-Revelli was water-cooled and utilised a 50-round magazine (later 100) comprised of ten columns of five rounds loaded via the gun's left side.  Unsurprisingly given such a loading method the Fiat-Revelli suffered from frequent jamming; nevertheless it remained the Italian army's standard weapon for the duration of the war.

Although bearing superficial resemblance to both the Maxim and Vickers machine guns, the Fiat-Revelli was produced to an entirely separate design.

Utilising a delayed blow-back mechanism the barrel and bolt recoiled a short distance, held in place by a swinging wedge.  As the latter opened the bolt was released so that it could be blown back by the spent case's recoil.  Considered an overly complex design this mechanism led to cartridge extraction difficulties; consequently an oil reservoir was used to lubricate cartridges before they were loaded into the gun.

The Fiat-Revelli was theoretically capable of firing some 400-500 rounds per minute and was accurate to 1,500 metres; in practice it fired approximately 150-200 rounds per minute.  It was modified for use in aircraft in 1915, although in the event its use was displaced by two British models, the Vickers and Lewis guns, in 1917.  The Fiat-Revelli nevertheless held a place within the Italian Army's armoury, albeit with modifications, until the end of the Second World War.

'Whippet' was a term used to describe any light tank.

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