Military Science Paper

Military Science Paper - The Machine Gun: Forever Changing...

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The Machine Gun: Forever Changing Modern Warfare Trevor Salas LTC Stokes 08 November 2009 Word count: 1816
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War has been around since as long as humans have recorded history, beginning thousands of years ago with brutal man to man combat and handheld weapons. Over the centuries and millennia, civilizations have been witness to incredible advancements in weapons and tactical technology, forever evolving warfare time and time again. As history runs its course, our planet is bound to witness even further innovation that we as humans can not yet even comprehend. Even when considering these countless new weapons and strategic breakthroughs, it is hard to find a single one that has had the same impact as the machine gun. With primitive versions first seen in the late 1800s, the revolutionary idea of firing multiple bullets in succession from a single fire arm took warfare, and consequently the world, by storm. The machine gun’s rapid firing rate in combination with its eventual ease of manufacturing forever changed the way battles were to be fought, with a new emphasis on defensive and guerilla tactics. The last major war to be fought without the machine gun was fought here on we American’s own soil. The Civil War was a war fought primarily with single shot muskets, more specifically the smoothbore and eventually the rifle, which could shoot fairly accurately from up to half a mile away (civilwarhome.com). The rifle was one of the main reasons for the incredible blood shed in the Civil War, and also the inspiration for the machine guns we see in battle today. The astonishing amounts of death witnessed by Dr. Richard Gatling inspired him to find a way stop this madness, and he believed he could do so by creating a gun “which could by its rapidity of fire, enable one man t do as much battle duty as a hundred”(civilwarhome.com). He believed that if he could create such a weapon, it would stop the need for “large armies, and consequently, exposure to battle and disease [would] be greatly diminished”(civilwarhome.com). And so Dr. Richard Gatling created the self named Gatling Gun, history’s first peek into what would become today’s machine gun. Although it’s multiple barrels and firing pins differ from how modern
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machine guns operate, the revolutionary idea of a fully automatic weapon had finally emerged. After seeing history play out, it would seem ridiculous for such an amazing advancement to be seen in any negative combative light. However, when it first came onto the world scene, Dr. Gatling’s gun was not met with open arms. People and nations were skeptical of its effectiveness, durability, and mobility, especially since the first models required a soldier to hand crank the gun. Some said that it wouldn’t even work and that the operators of the weapon were
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Military Science Paper - The Machine Gun: Forever Changing...

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