Gatling Gun

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The Gatling gun was an early machine gun that utilized a set of typically six revolving barrels; it was patented by the American Dr. Richard J. Gatling in 1862. First used by the Union Army during the American Civil War, it was to be a mainstay of warfare for the more industrially advanced nations for several decades, being used in the Anglo-Zulu War and the Spanish-American War, among others.

After the introduction of single-barreled automatic weapons the Gatling gun fell out of favor, but in motor-driven form it has recently become popular in applications where a high rate of fire is of paramount importance. These include fighter aircraft and the Phalanx anti-missile system.

It was also, perhaps unusually, celebrated in poetry. Sir Henry Newbolt's patriotic appeal Vitai Lampada has as its middle verse:

The sand of the desert is sodden red-

Red with the wreck of the 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 its banks,

And England's far, and Honour a name,

But the voice of a schoolboy rallies the ranks-

"Play up! Play up! And play the game!"