Gatling Gun

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The Gatling Gun was an early machine gun utilising a revolving barrel; 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.

It was also, perhaps unusually, celebrated in poetry. The Anglo-French author Hilaire Belloc summed up the realities of colonial warfare in the rhyme

Whatever happens, we have got

The Gatling gun, and they have not

while 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!"