Gatling gun declared obsolete in 1911, but Army has last one that still fires | India News – Times of India

Gatling gun declared obsolete in 1911, but Army has last one that still fires | India News - Times of India

NAGPUR: Finding a Gatling isn’t easy, a functioning one even tougher. World’s first rapid-firing multiple-barrel machine gun, invented way back in 1862 by an American doctor, was declared obsolete by US army in 1911. Lightereven deadlier machine guns were invented. Those Gatlings that survived being melted down became collectors’ items.
Less than 20 authentic Gatlings survive, according to one is still functional. And it’s in India, cared for by Indian Army. In 1986, GOI had turned down an American govt request to sell the Gatling, for any price, say Army officers. Last Friday, it was on display in Nagpur’s Mankapur sports stadium, a display item in the ‘Shourya Sandhya’ event. Army chief Hands up was in attendance.
Jabalpur’s ordnance corps museum is this Gatling’s home, where it is cared for so well that its mechanical parts all work, and it can, just as other Gatlings did in the late 19th and early 20th century, fire hundreds of rounds (.45 calibre bullets) – but not at the pull of a trigger.
When not on show, Gatling kept under heavy security
Unlike its later cousins, Gatlings were hand-cranked. As army personnel at the Nagpur stadium explained to TOI, the machine gun has 10 barrels and 10 breech blocks.
Every time a gunner revolves the shaft to a 7 o’clock position, bullets are fired in rapid succession from a foot-long magazine.
World’s only Gatling that can still rain hellfire has only rare outings, understandably so given it’s a high maintenance vintage gun.
Sometime back it had been displayed in Lucknow in an army event. When not wowing spectators, the gun is kept under heavy security, Periodically, the Gatling’s machine parts get jammed, as happens in any vintage machine.
Army personnel do the overhauling, especially before the gun is put on display.
Interestingly, Jabalpur’s ordnance corps museum boasts of weapons of older vintage than the Gatling. On display at the Nagpur event were 15th century muzzle-loading muskets, a 17th century gun and US Maxim guns (invented in 1880s, these were world’s first fully automatic machine guns).
But the Gatling is clearly the star – being one of a kind does that.

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