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A unique chapter in the history of firearms, the multibarrel, hand-cranked Gatling gun was one of the first practical rapid-fire weapons ever to be used in battle. It changed warfare by introducing the capability to project deadly, high-intensity fire on the battlefield, and portended the devastation that automatic weapons would wreak in World War I. During its 40-year career, it saw widespread service with US, British, and other forces on a host of battlefields through conflicts in Zululand and the American West, to the Spanish-American War. Although it saw widespread use in the hands of industrialized nations against various groups of indigenous native warriors, it was famously left behind by Custer at the Battle of Little Bighorn, where some argue it could have made all the difference. Featuring full-color artwork plus contemporary and close-up photographs, this engaging study investigates the origins, development, combat use, and lasting influence of the formidable Gatling gun.
Throughout the Napoleonic Wars, there was a growing perception that a muzzle-loading rifle was more practical compared to the limitations of rifles then currently in use. This thinking ultimately resulted in the 1853 Enfield Pattern, a rifle which, for the first time, was issued to every soldier in the British Army instead of the few trained marksmen. Its use during the Crimean War and later the Indian Mutiny would vindicate this policy when it became clear that the infantry were now capable of outgunning artillery. In addition, this was the first British weapon manufactured using new American technology, which meant that the component parts were interchangeable, ensuring that the weapon was easy to maintain on the battlefield. There were three main types based on the P 53 - the long rifle, the short rifle and the carbine, and this volume provides a concise history of the development and use of each type. In addition, the book discusses the privately manufactured varieties which were used for sport as well as the standard accessories issued to the infantryman in the field including bayonets, combination tools, the cartridge, ammunition pouch, muzzle stopper and ramrods. The P 53 first became notorious during the Indian Mutiny when the use of pig fat to lubricate the bullets led directly to the rioting by Hindu and Muslim troops within the British Army. However, its most widespread use was during the American Civil War when over a million rifles were sold to both the North and South. The author, a leading expert in the subject who worked at the Royal Armouries for a number of years, also details the effectiveness of the weapon during each conflict, including range, rate of fire, powder charge, accuracy and what it was like to be fired on by a P 53.From the Trade Paperback edition.
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