The Canadian Emma Gees
The Canadian "Emma Gees"
A History of the Canadian Machine Gun Corps
by
Lt.-Col. C.S. Grafton

Transcribed by Dwight G. Mercer

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do with inspiring Dr. R. J. Gatling of Chicago, for it was in the next year - 1862 - that the first of all modern machine guns was invented. It, too, was non-automatic.

It consisted of six rifle barrels arranged at equal distances around a shaft which revolved in front of six breech mechanisms, the whole being actuated by a crank on the right side. It was fed from a hopper on top by the force of gravity. In one complete revolution of the barrels around the shaft it fired 10 shots. It was entirely manually operated. It offered continuous fire. With industrious crank-turning it was claimed that 1,200 rounds per minute could be reeled off.

The Gatling was brought out just in time for a few to be used during the Civil War.

And, remarkably enough, they were often operated by employees of the Gatling Gun Company under real conditions of warfare.

In the history of arms-selling, most of the "Salesmen of Death" have made mighty sure that they were well out of earshot when their merchandise was belching forth destruction.

A 10-round salvo from all six barrels seems indicated for these Gatling salesmen.

The Gatling's effect on the Civil War produced no immediate echoes in the brooding corridors of Europe's war offices.

Next came, in the mechanical succession of the machine gun, the Montigny mitrailleuse, which probably had more far-reaching effects on machine gunnery than its mechanical improvements or departures warranted.

In 1851, M. Montigny, a Belgian engineer, was offered the plans and drawings of a machine gun invention by a compatriot, Captain Fafschamps.

Almost 20 years later, in 1869, the gun, with various improvements, including the adoption of metallic cartridges, was being secretly manufactured in Meudon. On the eve of the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War the mitrailleuse was officially introduced into the French Army.

"Mitraille" is the word for grape-shot and the new word "mitrailleuse," was immediately adopted.

Mechanically, it provided no new principles. Thirty-seven rifled barrels were encased in a wrought-iron tube, looking much like a field gun, even to the mounting. It had a swinging breech-block, allowing for the insertion of a plate of 37 cartridges. The breech-block was then closed and the gun fired, by the operation of a crank handle.

One complete revolution of this crank handle, in one second, would discharge all 37 barrels. Twelve plates per minute could be fired, thus popping off 444 rounds - which was claimed as a record despite ...

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