Wednesday, July 20, 2011

1895/97 Gatling Gun

  • Weight: 395 lbs
  • Barrel length: 32" (6-10 barrels)
  • Cartridge Caliber: .30-40 Krag and .45-70 Government
  • Range: +1000 yards
  • Rate fire: 600-1000 per minute
  • Service: 1865-1906

Invented by American Dr. Richard Jordan Gatling(neighbor of the Colt family in Hartford Connecticut), the Gatling gun is considered by many to be the first machine gun. It was first introduced during the Civil War in 1865. Several different models existed through out its advent. 6 to 10 barrels are positioned in a cylinder. Each barrel having its own chamber and firing mechanism. Ammunition is placed in a magazine canister and attached on top of the cylinder breech. A crank would be operated by the gunner, which would rotate the cylinder and barrels. The rotation loaded, cocked, fired, and ejected spent cartridges. The Gatling gun initially suffered many issues, as nearly all were hand built at the time and many parts were not uniform. By the 1890s, the Gatling gun had significantly improved, and in 1895 the US Army adopted the weapon. Due to the massive weight, they were first issued to Artillery Units and the guns were transported by horses and mules.

Soliders pose with Gatling Gun at Cavite. Philippine American War.
The Gatling gun saw much action during the Spanish American War. It gained fame in Cuba giving support fire while Theodore Roosevelt and the Rough Riders assaulted San Juan Hill. Several examples were later shipped and used in the war in the Philippines.  
Gatling Gun Operation

Short 5 Barrel Compact Variant: Model 1877 Bulldog Gatling Gun

Model 1877 Bulldog Gatling Gun used in the Philippines 1899.

 "The last decisive use of the Gatling Gun by this country was in the Philippine Insurrection, shortly after the Spanish-American War, when a Gatling-armed gunboat was employed with considerable effect against the insurgents. The nature of the Philippinos made any extensive deployment and use of the heavy guns on land impractical." - Jim Bianchi, October, 1979, Man At Arms.

Caption Photo read: "Gatling guns trained on the Filipinos near Manila Feb 1899"

Gatling Gun at outpost protecting road between San Roque and Cavite. Feb 1899.

Gatling gun mounted on top deck of the armored patrol gunboat Napindan.
Gatling Unit at Baiquiri, Cuba. Spanish American War


  1. Cuarta foto de la parte superior de la página web:
    El hombre de la extrema derecha en esta foto es mi abuelo, Cpl. Jeremiah James Murphy, de Cleveland, Ohio (1852-1936). Sirvió en la Guerra Filipino-Americana en "5th US Artillery, Company K". --E Murphy
    Fourth photo from top: The man standing at extreme right is my grandfather, Cpl. Jeremiah James Murphy, of Cleveland, Ohio (1852-1936), who served in the Philippine-American conflict in the 5th US Artillery, Company K. --E Murphy

  2. E Murphy can be reached at