Tuesday, May 08, 2007

More Gatlings...

"The sand of the desert is sodden red, --
Red with the wreck of a square that broke; --
The Gatling's jammed and the colonel dead,
And the regiment blind with dust and smoke.
The river of death has brimmed his banks,
And England's far, and Honor a name,
But the voice of a schoolboy rallies the ranks,
"Play up! play up! and play the game!"
("Vitaï Lampada" - Sir Henry Newbolt)

...happy to say that my Gatlings have now been completed and join the British forces in the Sudan, ready to repel ravening hordes of charging Dervish, hopefully in an unjammed state... see pictures below - one for the Naval Brigade, and one for the Army - I'm quite pleased with how they turned out, these are by Essex Miniatures in 15mm

I've been doing some research on them, and found that the design was patented on November 4, 1862 - the diagram above is from the official patent application. The Gatling was the first large scale manufactured machine gun. Although only a handful of the original 1862 model Gatling Guns were ever built, it was enough for the military to see the possibilities... apparently the first gatling guns were very crude; barrels had tapers up to 1/16th of an inch from the breech to the muzzle (!) "Lead would shave, bullets tumble, and black powder spewed forth in all directions. But the battery guns would fire. The awesomeness of the gatling gun’s fi
repower, from 250 to 600 rounds per minute was truly incomprehensible" (from this web site). The later guns (as deployed in the Sudan) used a hopper on top to hold the bullets (720 capacity), and used the metal cartridge - they could reach 1000 rounds a minute depending on ammunition supply, and the speed of the hand turning the firing handle..

...finally - one last word on the Gatling - apparently the Afghans used camel mounted gatling guns to defeat a Persian cavalry force 3 to 4 times their size - the following is from this web site - I have no idea whether this is actually a true representation, but his is the only reference I can find.... can't help thinking the camel would get very cheesed off if the guy actually opened fire! I suspect that the camel was used as transport, rather than as a 19th Centruy self-propelled gun?? Answers on a postcard..
Things proceed apace with the Sudan project - over the weekend I finished 12 mounted Camel Corp for the British forces - basing started this morning ( I got 10 minutes before work) and as usual pictures will be forthcoming soon....

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