The Gatling gun is an early rapidfire weapon and the forerunner of the modern machine gun. It was the Long-Range weapon of Theodore Roosevelt.
Description[edit | edit source]
- Rate of fire: 900 rounds per minute
- Muzzle Velocity: 2020 fps
- Range: 500-2000 yards
- Weight: 59.6 lbs (27.2 kg)
- Length: 42.5 in (107.9 cm)
- Barrel Length: 30 inch
The Gatling gun consisted of six to ten barrels revolving around a central shaft. It was fired by turning a hand crank, which rotated the barrels, firing from the bottom barrel while a new round was loaded into the top barrel by means of a hopper or stick magazine on top of the gun. Later, the Model 1881 was designed to use the "Bruce"-style feed system that accepted two rows of .45-70 cartridges. While one row was being fed into the gun, the other could be reloaded to allow for continuous fire. The Gatling gun had a theoretical rate of fire of 1,200 rounds per minute, although 400 rounds per minute was a more realistic estimate in combat.
Uses[edit | edit source]
The concept of using multiple barrels was initially used for Volley Guns; which were multiple musket barrels that fired simultaneously to create a spread out shot of multiple rounds, similarly to a shotgun. The Ribauldequin or Organ Gun created in the 14th century has many similarities to the design of the Gatling Gun, except that the barrels are laid out horizontally instead of circularly. Volley Guns were used primarily as anti-infantry weapons. However volley guns lacked the precision of the more popular cannons; and grapeshot were just as effective at hitting multiple targets without increasing costs with extra weapons or decreasing reloading time by requiring all the barrels to be reloaded after every shot.
The 1718 Puckle Gun was one of the first crank-action revolver guns ever built; allowing it to fire 9 RPM. However the gun was rejected by the navy and too expensive to be sold to civilians. The flintlock firing mechanism also had a reputation of failing frequently. 
The Gatling Gun was designed in 1861 by American inventor Dr. Richard J. Gatling. Gatling wrote that the purpose of his weapon was to reduce the size of armies and so reduce the number of casualties by showing how futile war is.
It saw limited action in the American Civil War, due to high costs of this new technology. Generals on both sides were cautious to use unproven weapons and the immobility of the weapon. However the few cases of the Gatling Gun being used in combat confirmed its overwhelming firepower. The first recorded use of the Gatling Gun was at Middleburg, Virginia on March 29, 1862 during Jackson's Valley Campaign.
It did little to impact the war due to its late introduction to the battlefield, but remained relevant and popular within the US Army afterwards. This weapon rarely saw action in the conquest of Native Americans, as the natives know that this weapon was too devastating to face. It is believed that the presence of a Gatling Gun prevented armies from attacking: Native American generals like Crazy Horse were aware of the weapon's deadliness.
Gatling Guns were later used by European powers to expand their colonial empires by killing warriors of non-industrial cultures. The Boshin War and the Scramble for Africa saw Gatling Guns being used against the ancient Japanese Samurai and African spearmen warriors. The devastating victories credited by the Gatling Gun made full frontal charges virtually obsolete from conventional warfare. Close combat was reduced to guerilla warfare, trench warfare or rare desperate standoffs. For several decades after the fact, traditionalist generals would attempt to continue the 'honorable' infantry and cavalry charge; only for a machine gun barrage to silence it with little effort.
The weapon would be used by American forces during the Spanish-American War, and would be used by both sides in the Russo-Japanese War.
The Gatling gun remained in service until just before World War I, when more advanced machine guns replaced it on the battlefield; primarily by the Maxim Gun. The Maxim gun (and its variants) were similar in lethality but were more practical as it was more mobile and could fire from prone positions. Gatlings needed horses to carry it long distances and the heavy wheels made it get stuck in mud and difficult to turn.
Decades later, the Gatling gun would serve as a model for the Minigun during the Vietnam War. They functioned almost exactly the same as the Gatling, except the Minigun is powered by a battery or engine and can be mounted on almost any large vehicle; cars, tanks, boats and aircraft.
Test[edit | edit source]
The Gatling Gun was pitted against the Vickers Machine gun used by Lawrence of Arabia. To test the two long range weapons, they were both situated on a hill and used against 15 static targets and 3 charging targets. The Gatling Gun killed all 3 charging targets and 10 static targets in 1 minute and 11 seconds and the Vickers killed all 3 charging targets and 11 static targets in 1 minute and 41 seconds and jammed once. The edge was given to the Gatling Gun due to it's reliable nature.
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- The Mitrailleuse, invented in 1851 and produced 1866–1908, was a french volley gun that closely resembled the Gatling Gun.
- General Custer was allowed to bring Gatling Guns to The Battle of Little Big Horn led by Crazy Horse but refused to take them, believing that they would slow him down and that his army was strong enough to defeat the Lakota without such weapons.
- There is evidence to suggest that Gatling Guns were mounted onto camels .
- The Gatling gun is one of the only two weapons of season 3 that had it's amount of kills in the simulation revealed. It managed 10,316 kills in the simulation. The other was the Vickers Machine Gun , the weapon it went up against.