The Motor Machine Gun Service (MMGS) was a unit of the British Army in the First World War, consisting of batteries of motorcycle/sidecar combinations carrying Vickers machine guns. It was formed in 1914 and incorporated into the Machine Gun Corps in October 1915 as the Machine Gun Corps (Motors). Although the usefulness of the machine gun had not been fully appreciated by the British Army before the outbreak of the Great War, it soon became apparent that highly mobile machine gun units would be of considerable value in the fluid warfare that characterised the first few weeks of the war. Accordingly, the formation of batteries of motorcycle-mounted machine guns was authorised in November 1914, under the command of Lt-Col R.W. Bradley, DSO, South Wales Borderers. These batteries were designated part of the Royal Field Artillery, one battery being allocated to the divisional Artillery of each Division of the British Expeditionary Force. Each battery consisted of 18 motorcycle/sidecar combinations, carrying six Vickers machine guns, ammunition and spare parts, eight motorcycles without sidecars, and two or three cars or trucks.
However, as the war became bogged down in the stalemate of trench warfare, few opportunities arose to exploit the tactical mobility of the MMGS batteries. The units did perform useful service on occasion, for example during the Battle of Neuve Chapelle (March 1915); and the MMGS received an official acknowledgement from BEF HQ in April 1915 of the "invaluable" work it had rendered in the fighting line. Nevertheless, up to that date, only seven MMGS batteries had been deployed on the Western Front. Their potential for future use continued to be acknowledged, and by the date of the Battle of Loos (SeptemberâOctober 1915), there were 18 MMGS batteries serving with the BEF.
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