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Captain David Moriarity, 80th, KIA Ntombe
This photograph taken when he was in the 7th Regiment prior to his transfer to the 80th. [Mac & Shad] (Isandula Collection)
The Battle of Isandlwana: One of The Worst Defeats of The British Empire - Military History
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 Gatling gun ammo question

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SRB1965

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PostSubject: Gatling gun ammo question   Sun May 27, 2018 9:45 am

Hi,

The Gatlings used by the British army in Zululand used the hopper instead of the magazine (used in the ACW) - does anyone know how many round these hoopers held and how many hoppers a gun had ready prepared?

I assume that the crew would have reloaded hoopers, between engagements

Also the gun (in the AZW) had ten barrels - if the handled was cranked 360 degrees, did it make one rotation of the 10 barrels (if that makes sense)?

Cheers

Sime
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PostSubject: Re: Gatling gun ammo question   Sun May 27, 2018 12:07 pm

Sime,

The .45 Broadwell Magazine had sixteen columns each containing fifteen cartridges.

10th Battery, 7th Brigade, Royal Artillery’s Gatling Guns had two boxes on the gun’s axle-tree each of which held a loaded spare magazine.

As to reloading, yes the magazines were replenished by the gun crew.  Famously at Ulundi Gunner W. Moorhead despite being seriously wounded continued to reload the ammunition.  For his actions he received the D.C.M.

According to Donald Featherstone in Weapons & Equipment of the Victorian Soldier one complete revolution of the crank would indeed fire all ten barrels.

JY
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PostSubject: Re: Gatling gun ammo question   Sun May 27, 2018 12:15 pm

Thanks John,

So 240 rounds in each - in ideal conditions (200 rpm) just over a minute - OK I realise this is theoretical

Final question - I assume the magazine rotated (at least the internal bits) during firing - was this cyclic (with each crank of the handle) or did it only rotate when each column was empty?

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Sime
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PostSubject: Re: Gatling gun ammo question   Sun May 27, 2018 12:39 pm

Sime,

There’s a decent little Osprey book on The Gatling Gun, sadly I not at home at present otherwise I’d reach for it and give you an answer.

Back there tonight if it can wait.

JY
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PostSubject: Re: Gatling gun ammo question   Sun May 27, 2018 1:26 pm

Yeah, there's no rush John, its just something I was thinking about last night.

thanks

Sime
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PostSubject: Re: Gatling gun ammo question   Sun May 27, 2018 1:29 pm

Steady on haven’t you been warned about doing that!!!

JY
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PostSubject: Re: Gatling gun ammo question   Sun May 27, 2018 3:00 pm

Hi Sime
The Broadwell drum (invented by L.M. Broadwell, a gatling employee in the U.S.A. and patented in 1872) had a base plate which had a hole in the centre which fitted the up right pin of the hopper  plate on the gun.
The gun was operated by turning the crank handle in a clockwise direction which caused the main shaft, barrels, cartridge carrier and breech bolt cylinder to revolve in clockwise in unison.
The first forward motion of the bolt at the 2 o'clock position pushed a cartridge from the carrier through into its particular barrel. At 5 o'clock the bolt was fully forward and fired the cartridge. Continuing to revolve the bolt moved backwards extracting the fired cartridge case, by 9 o'clock the bolt was fully back. At 12 o'clock the bolt was in a position to begin the process again.
300 to 400 rounds a minute with 5 cartridges at a time going through the process of firing and 5 in different stages of being extracted.

When a column was empty the drum was turned by the operator who had to watch the indicator flange which descended as the cartridges dropped down through the hopper into the carrier troughs. Turning the drum too soon or too late could equally cause a jam in action.
There is a very interesting book called 'The Gatling Gun' by Paul Wahl and Don Toppel first printed in 1965 you may be able to get a copy on Abe or Amazon. Its a real barrel of laughs.
Kate Very Happy
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SRB1965

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PostSubject: Re: Gatling gun ammo question   Sun May 27, 2018 4:05 pm

Thanks a lot Kate,

Spurred on by your reply I have scoured the internet and there are a number of 'animations' which show the method of firing, as well as a number of 'moustachioed' Americans blazing away, with gusto, on ranges with them.

It seems like an art to fire one (especially in combat) - get too excited turning the handle - it jammed, turn the magazine too early or late - it jammed and finally if gravity let you down it jammed......it never seemed to happen to Clint Eastwood or John Wayne......

Still it looks impressive when the aforementioned Americans get it right

Once again, thank you

Cheers

Sime
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PostSubject: Re: Gatling gun ammo question   Sun May 27, 2018 4:08 pm

Perhaps we could call it the Bob Marley gun as it was always jammin'
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PostSubject: Gatling Gun Ammo Question    Mon May 28, 2018 2:42 am

Kate
What can I say .....I'll bet the Gatling ( Marley Gun ) was SMOKING ! Joker Joker Joker Joker and I don't mean HOT !
90th
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