Because of this inventor, wars became bloodier

In the midst of the American Civil War, humanity struck a date in 1862 with a unique invention that changed the future of wars and contributed to making them bloodier than before.

During that year, the American inventor Richard Jordan Gatling managed to devise a type of multi-barrel revolving gun operated by a crank or a handgrip and capable of firing about 200 rounds per minute.

Thanks to this new weapon, dubbed the Gatling machine gun, people moved to develop machine guns, which quickly proved effective in future wars.

Innovations and a new weapon

As a young man, Richard Gordon Gatling, born in North Carolina in 1818, turned to help his father, a wealthy farmer, develop new farming methods to increase the yield of his fields and generate additional profits. After many innovations in the field of agriculture, Gatling obtained his first patent in 1844 after his success in developing a new farming method that made him famous in his hometown.

During the same year, Gatling moved to St. Louis, Missouri, where he continued his innovations in rice and wheat cultivation. In addition, this young American went to the same period to study medicine. In the following years, Gatling preferred to continue his interest in the field of agricultural innovations, thus abandoning the idea of ​​​​working as a doctor.

With the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, Richard Gordon Gatling was in Indianapolis. Despite his descent from southern origins, the latter supported the Union cause and the idea of ​​ending slavery. While on the battlefields, the latter followed the soldiers’ suffering from injuries and diseases. Concurrently, this American innovator thought of inventing a new, bloodier weapon capable of causing a greater number of victims and ending the soldiers’ use of old guns and bayonets.

A symbol of American military superiority

On November 4, 1862, Richard Gordon Gatling patented his new machine gun. The Gatling gun consisted of six round tubes mounted on a small cart with two wheels. And with the rotation of the crank, this machine gun begins to fire a barrage of bullets without the need to charge it again between one shot and another.

The Gatling machine continues to direct bullets towards the enemy until the stock of bullets in the small barrel installed on it is depleted. According to designs, this first machine gun was capable of firing 200 58-caliber (14.7320 mm) bullets per minute. And coinciding with the adoption of copper cartridges, this machine gun was developed and became capable of firing 400 bullets per minute.

Despite its success, the Union Army refused to formally adopt the Gatling gun in the Civil War. Meanwhile, Union Army General Benjamin F. Butler did not hesitate to acquire a number of them, personally, for battle adoption. According to a number of sources, a number of these machine guns were used in the spring of 1865 during the siege of Petersburg, which ended with the victory of the Union and witnessed the killing and wounding of tens of thousands.

In 1866, the US Army officially adopted the Gatling machine gun, which soon became a symbol of American military superiority. While the Americans adopted it in many of their campaigns against the indigenous population, the British used this type of machine gun during their suppression of the Zulu people in South Africa in 1879.

In 1903, Richard Gordon Gatling passed away at the age of 85. During his career, the latter obtained about 43 patents in various fields. With the outbreak of World War I, this machine gun lost its luster in favor of the automatic machine guns invented by the American-British Hiram Stevens Maxim.

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