Gatling Gun - History of Gatling Gun

Gatling Gun

Before the invention of rapid-fire machine guns small enough to hold, the only multi shot weapon available was the Gatling gun. Supported by two large wheels, the multi-barrel gun was the first to be able to fire continuously. It also could be moved freely around a battlefield. Originally created to reduce the size of armies, and therefore deaths from battle, this gun led to the creation of the most deadly weapons of today.

In 1861 Dr. Richard Gatling created the first Gatling gun. To use it, a person had to load and crank the barrels, which would then fire a signal shot out of each barrel and eject the empty cartridge. The gun was enhanced by a gravity reloading system, so that when an empty cartridge was released, a new one fell into place. This was advantageous, because it allowed unskilled soldiers to continuously fire on the enemy.

In the battles of the American Civil War the first Gatling gun's were used. In 1864 Union commanders purchased the guns to help their men take control of Petersburg Virginia. By 1866 the American Army began purchasing and using them in multiple battles across the country. This provided the American troops a vast technological advantage in the battles against the Indians.

Internationally, the Peruvian Navy and the British army also began to use Gatling guns in 1879. For the next decade Gatling guns were used by the British against many African tribes, the Russians against the Turks and the United States during the Spanish-American war.

The size, weight, and cumbersome movement of the Gatling gun eventually led to its decreased use. It became unable to keep pace with infantrymen, especially in tough terrains. Therefore, the Gatling gun was traded for other, newer guns of the time, which included recoil guns and gas operated weapons. Eventually, these newer weapons, became the prototypes for the machine guns used today.

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