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Encyclopedia > Maxim gun
An early Maxim gun in operation with the Royal Navy
An early Maxim gun in operation with the Royal Navy
1895 .303 tripod mounted Maxim machine gun.
1895 .303 tripod mounted Maxim machine gun.
A large bore maxim on the USS Vixen ca. 1898
A large bore maxim on the USS Vixen ca. 1898

The Maxim gun was the first self-powered machine gun, invented by the American-born Briton Sir Hiram Maxim in 1884. Download high resolution version (1033x766, 76 KB) Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Download high resolution version (1033x766, 76 KB) Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (1500x1225, 238 KB) A photograph of a British 1895 . ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (1500x1225, 238 KB) A photograph of a British 1895 . ... .303 cartridge The . ... Image File history File links USSVixenMaximMachineGun. ... Image File history File links USSVixenMaximMachineGun. ... Six ships in the United States Navy have been named USS Vixen. ... A machine gun is a fully-automatic firearm that is capable of firing bullets in rapid succession. ... Look up Briton in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Hiram S. Maxim Sir Hiram Stevens Maxim (February 4, 1840 - November 24, 1916) was the inventor of the Maxim Gun in 1884, the first portable, fully automatic machine gun. ...

Contents

Invention

Maxim's first patents related to the development of the Maxim were registered in June and July 1883.[1] The first prototype was demonstrated to invited guests in October 1884.[2] The weapon was first revealed to the public at an international Inventions Exhibition at Kensington in the spring of 1885.[3]


Functionality

The mechanism of the Maxim gun used the energy from the recoil force to eject each spent cartridge and insert the next one. This made it vastly more efficient and less manpower-demanding than previous machine guns, like the Gatling and Gardner guns, which were built on an entirely different principle, using crank handles and a multibarreled approach. An early naval cannon design, allowing the gun to roll backwards a small distance when firing The recoil when firing a gun is the backward momentum of a gun, which is equal to the forward momentum of the bullet or shell, due to conservation of momentum. ... An 1865 Gatling gun. ... The Gardner gun was an early type of machine gun. ...


Trials showed that the Maxim could fire 500 rounds per minute, equivalent to the firepower of about 30 contemporary breech-loading bolt-action rifles. Compared to modern machine guns, the Maxim was heavy, bulky and awkward. Even though one person could fire the gun, it was usually operated by a team of men. The cooling mechanism of the weapon needed a constant supply of water in order to produce a continuous stream of fire, and several men were needed to move or shift its position. A breech-loading weapon, usually a gun or cannon, is one where the bullet or shell is inserted, loaded, into the gun at the rear of the barrel, the breech; the opposite of muzzle-loading. ... Half opened bolt on a Winchester Model 70. ...


Company

Maxim's first established the Maxim Gun Company, mainly financed by Albert Vickers, son of steel entrepreneur Edward Vickers. Albert Vickers became the company's chairman. Later the company joined hands with the swedish-originated competitor Nordenfelt, and became Maxim-Nordenfeldt. The Post Office Directory of trades in London of 1895 lists the Maxim-Nordenfelt Guns and Ammunition Company Limited office at 32 Victoria Street SW (London) on page 1579. A four barreled Nordenfelt gun at Aberdeen Proving Ground. ...


Finally the company was absorbed into the mother Vickers company, leading first to the Maxim-Vickers gun and then, after Vickers' redesign, the Vickers machine gun.


Use in colonial warfare

A prototype of the Maxim gun was given by Hiram Maxim to and employed by the Emin Pasha Relief Expedition in 1886-1890, under the leadership of Henry Morton Stanley. This was as much a PR stunt as a military consideration. The Emin Pasha Relief Expedition of 1886 to 1889 was the last major European expedition into the interior of Africa in the 19th century, ostensibly to the relief of Emin Pasha, General Charles Gordons besieged governor of Equatoria, threatened by Mahdist forces. ... Sir Henry Morton Stanley (also known as Bula Matari (Breaker of Rocks) in Congo), born John Rowlands (January 28, 1841 – May 10, 1904), was a 19th-century Welsh-born American journalist and explorer famous for his exploration of Africa and his search for David Livingstone. ...


The Maxim gun was first used by Britain's colonial forces in the First Matabele War in 1893-1894. In one engagement, 50 soldiers fought off 5,000 warriors with just four Maxim guns. The gun played an important role in the swift European colonization of Africa in the late 19th century. The extreme lethality was employed to devastating effect against obsolete charging tactics, when native opponents could be lured into pitched battles in open terrain. As it was put in a well-known jingle by Hilaire Belloc, Combatants United Kingdom, British South Africa Police Ndebele Commanders Cecil Rhodes, Leander Starr Jameson King Lobengula, Mjaan, chief induna Casualties fewer than 100 Over 10,000 British Artillery, ca 1900. ... A world map showing the continent of Africa. ... A jingle is a memorable slogan, set to an engaging melody, mainly broadcast on radio and sometimes on television commercials. ... Photograph of Belloc Joseph Hilaire Pierre René Belloc (July 27, 1870–July 16, 1953) was one of the most prolific writers in England during the early twentieth century. ...

Whatever happens, we have got
The Maxim gun, and they have not.

However, the importance and destructive power of the Maxim gun in colonial warfare has often been overplayed by popular myth. Modern historical accounts suggest that, while the weapon was effective in pitched-battle situations such as the Matabele war or the Battle of Omdurman (1898), its significance was as much due to its psychological rather than physical impact, used in a number of less optimal situations, such as hilly or mountainous terrain or dense vegetation, with poor line of sight. Combatants Great Britain Sudan Commanders Horatio Kitchener Abdullah al-Taashi Strength 8,000 British, 17,000 Sudanese and Egyptian 50,000 Casualties 48 dead 382 wounded Total: 430 10,000 dead 15,000 wounded 5,000 captured {{{notes}}} At the Battle of Omdurman (September 2, 1898) an army commanded by...


A larger calibre version of the Maxim, firing a one-pound shell, was built by Maxim-Nordenfeldt. This was known in the Second Boer War as the Pom-Pom from the sound and was used on both sides. Combatants United Kingdom Australia New Zealand Canada Cape Colony Orange Free State South African Republic Commanders Redvers Buller Frederick Roberts Herbert Kitchener Paul Kruger Martinus Steyn Louis Botha Christiaan de Wet Casualties 22,000 6,500 Civilians killed [mainly Boers]: 24,000+ The Second Boer War, commonly referred to as... 2-pounder multiple pom-pom Mark VIII on 8-barrel mounting Mark VI. A pom-pom is a large calibre machine-gun, used mostly famously as an anti-aircraft gun by the British Royal Navy. ...


Adoption by European armies and navies

Maxim's company initially had some trouble convincing European governments of the weapon's efficiency. Soldiers generally held a great mistrust of machine guns, due to their tendency to jam in the midst of battle when needed the most, often resulting in casualties.


The 1906 version of the book Small Wars[4] notes that the Maxim gun is significantly more reliable than other guns of the period, a key issue with pre-1900 machine guns. On page 440 the author notes: "The older forms are not suitable as a rule.... They jammed at Ulundi, they jammed at Dogali, they jammed at Abu Klea and Tofrek, in some cases with unfortunate results."


The Maxim Gun was much more reliable than previous crank-operated weapons, but the mistrust for machine guns was deep-seated, and the reliability of the weapon had to be proven and tested thoroughly before being put to use.


Another more practical problem was that, initially, the position of the Maxim was easily given away by the black clouds of smoke produced by the constant firing of the gun. National and military authorities were therefore reluctant to adopt the weapon. The advent of smokeless powder (developed by, among others, Hiram's brother Hudson Maxim), helped change this. Smokeless powder Smokeless powder is the name given to a number of gunpowder-like propellants used in firearms which produce negligible smoke when fired, unlike the older black powder which it replaced. ... Hudson Maxim (February 3, 1853–May 6, 1927), was a U.S. inventor and chemist who invented a variety of explosives, including smokeless gunpowder. ...


The weapon was adopted by the British army under the guidance of Sir Garnet Wolseley, who had been appointed Commander-in-Chief of the British Army in 1888. In October that year he placed an order of 120 rifle calibre Maxims[5] - using the same .577/450 ammunition as their Martini-Henry rifles. 1882 caricature from Punch Garnet Joseph Wolseley, 1st Viscount Wolseley of Cairo, (June 4, 1833 - March 26, 1913) was a British field marshal. ... The . ... The Martini-Henry (also known as the Peabody-Martini-Henry) was a breech-loading lever-actuated rifle adopted by the British, combining an action worked on by Friedrich von Martini (based on the Peabody rifle developed by Henry Peabody), with the rifled barrel designed by Scotsman Alexander Henry. ...


Wolseley had previously led military excursions in Africa (the Ashanti war and the Gordon Relief Expedition in 1884-85), and had a reputation for being a strong subscriber to military innovation and reform, which he demonstrated in Africa, where he, apart from using machine guns and explored other unconventional ideas, founded the Egyptian Camel Corps.


The design was purchased by several other European countries, setting off an arms and technology race. The Maxim gun first saw significant action in the Russo-Japanese War, where both sides employed vast numbers of Maxim's guns. Nearly half of all casualties in the entire conflict were derived from Maxim guns. Combatants Russian Empire Empire of Japan Commanders Emperor Nicholas II Aleksey Kuropatkin Stepan Makarov† Emperor Meiji Oyama Iwao Heihachiro Togo Strength 500,000 Soldiers 400,000 Soldiers Casualties 24,844 killed; 146,519 wounded; 59,218 POW; unknown Chinese civilians 47,387 killed; 173,425 wounded; unknown Chinese civilians Greater...


World War I

By World War I, many armies had moved on to improved machine guns. The British Vickers machine gun was an improved and redesigned Maxim, introduced into the British Army in 1912 and remaining in service until 1968. Production took place at Crayford in Kent and some models were fitted to early biplanes also fabricated there. The German Army's Maschinengewehr 08 and the Russian Pulemyot Maxima were both more or less direct copies of the Maxim. On the Western Front, 90 percent of bullet-related casualties were inflicted by Maxim-type guns. Combatants Allied Powers: Russian Empire France British Empire Italy United States Central Powers: Austria-Hungary German Empire Ottoman Empire Bulgaria Commanders Nikolay II Aleksey Brusilov Georges Clemenceau Joseph Joffre Ferdinand Foch Robert Nivelle Herbert H. Asquith D. Lloyd George Sir Douglas Haig Sir John Jellicoe Victor Emmanuel III Luigi Cadorna... The Vickers machine gun or Vickers gun is a name primarily used to refer to the water-cooled . ... For other uses, see Crayford (disambiguation). ... MG08 with optical sight. ... 7,62 станковый пулемет системы Максима образца 1910 года Type Machine Gun Nation USSR Era WWI - WWII History Date of design 1910 Production period 1910 to 1939 1941 to 1945 Service duration 1910 to ? Operators USSR, War service WWI - WWII Variants M1910/30 Number built Specifications Type Calibre 7. ... Western Front was a term used during the First and Second World Wars to describe the contested armed frontier between lands controlled by Germany to the East and the Allies to the West. ...


The gun also saw use during the Russian Civil War which followed the Revolution in 1917. A picture of the period depicts a Maxim gun mounted on tachanka, a horse-drawn carriage along with the gunner, firing backwards at a pursuing White Army regiment. Some propaganda Socialist realist art even features Lenin as manning the gun himself, however it is very unlikely that he ever did so. Anarchists attribute this mobile setup to Makhno. Combatants Red Army (Bolsheviks) White Army (Monarchists, SRs, Anti-Communists) Green Army (Peasants and Nationalists) Black Army (Anarchists) Commanders Leon Trotsky Mikhail Tukhachevsky Semyon Budyonny Lavr Kornilov, Alexander Kolchak, Anton Denikin, Pyotr Wrangel Alexander Antonov, Nikifor Grigoriev Nestor Makhno Strength 5,427,273 (peak) +1,000,000 Casualties 939,755... The Russian Revolution of 1917 was a series of political and social upheavals in Russia, involving first the overthrow of the tsarist autocracy, and then the overthrow of the liberal and moderate-socialist Provisional Government, resulting in the establishment of Soviet power under the control of the Bolshevik party. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... White army may refer to: The military arm of the White movement, a loose coalition of anti-Bolshevik forces in the Russian Civil War The Saudi Arabian National Guard The National Guard of Kuwait This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise... An Australian anti-conscription propaganda poster from World War One U.S. propaganda poster, which warns against civilians sharing information on troop movements (National Archives) The much-imitated 1914 Lord Kitchener Wants You! poster Swedish Anti-Euro propaganda for the referendum of 2003. ... Stalin as an Organiser of the October Revolution by Karp Trokhimenko Socialist realism is a teleologically-oriented style of realistic art which has as its purpose the furtherance of the goals of socialism and communism. ... Vladimir Ilyich Lenin ( Russian: Влади́мир Ильи́ч Ле́нин  listen?), original surname Ulyanov (Улья́нов) ( April 22 (April 10 ( O.S.)), 1870 – January 21, 1924), was a... Anarchism is a generic term describing various political philosophies and social movements that advocate the elimination of hierarchy and imposed authority. ... Nestor Makhno. ...


Maxim Guns, Maxim Clones, and Maxim Derivatives

Earlier Maxims had been chambered for earlier British service cartridges, but the Vickers was produced for export available in most of the different calibres and cartridges used by countries around the world, and including a large caliber (.50 inch) as used on Royal Navy warships.
  • Maschinengewehr 01
Made by Deutsche Waffen und Munitionsfabriken (DWM)
and derivatives (e.g. MG08/15)
  • The Maxim gun also popularized tripods and belt-feed. Earlier machine guns were usually mounted on horse carriages like small artillery pieces and fed from a hopper.

The Vickers machine gun or Vickers gun is a name primarily used to refer to the water-cooled . ... The Royal Navy of the United Kingdom is the oldest of the British armed services (and is therefore the Senior Service). ... Deutsche Waffen und Munitions Fabriken (German Weapons and Munitions Works), known as DWM, was an arms company in Imperial Germany created when Ludwig Loewe & Company merged with several other companies. ... MG08 with optical sight. ... 7,62 станковый пулемет системы Максима образца 1910 года Type Machine Gun Nation USSR Era WWI - WWII History Date of design 1910 Production period 1910 to 1939 1941 to 1945 Service duration 1910 to ? Operators USSR, War service WWI - WWII Variants M1910/30 Number built Specifications Type Calibre 7. ...

References

  1. ^ McCallum, p. 46
  2. ^ McCallum, p. 49
  3. ^ McCallum, p. 53
  4. ^ Callwell, 559pp.
  5. ^ McCallum, p. 67

Literature

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
Maxim MG
  • Anon, Vickers, Sons and Maxim Limited: Their Works and Manufactures. (Reprinted from 'Engineering') London (1898). It gives plates showing the mechanism of the Vickers Maxim gun and numerous plates showing the variety of mounts available at the end of the nineteenth century. It also includes numerous plates of the factories in which they were made.
  • Callwell, Colonel C.E. : Small Wars, a Tactical Textbook for Imperial Soldiers. 1990 Greenhill Books, London, Lionel Leventhal Ltd. ISBN 1-85367-071-5. This is a reprint of the 1906 version.
  • Ferguson, Niall (2004). Empire. Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-100754-0. 
  • Goldsmith, Dolf F. (1989). The Devil's Paintbrush. Sir Hiram Maxim's Gun. Collector Grade Publications, Toronto. ISBN 0-88935-056-6. 
  • McCallum, Iain : Blood Brothers. Hiram and Hudson Maxim : Pioneers of Modern Warfare, Chatham Publishing, London, 1999
Weapons of the British Empire 1722-1965

  Results from FactBites:
 
First World War.com - Weapons of War - Machine Guns (1049 words)
Machine guns of all armies were largely of the heavy variety and decidedly ill-suited to portability for use by rapidly advancing infantry troops.
As the war developed machine guns were adapted for use on tanks on broken ground, particularly on the Western Front (where the majority of machine guns were deployed).
Light machine guns were adopted too for incorporation into aircraft from 1915 onwards, for example the Vickers, particularly with the German adoption of interrupter equipment, which enabled the pilot to fire the gun through the aircraft's propeller blades.
NationMaster - Encyclopedia: MG 08 (1073 words)
The MG08, like the Maxim Gun, operated on the basis of a toggle lock; once cocked and fired the MG08 would continue firing rounds until the trigger was released.
In single-turret tanks 7TP, the MG was mounted in gun's shield, and its water radiator was protected with armoured cylinder (in single-turret 7TP the MG was fired by a pedal).
Note: Barrels on the Maxim '08 and the Maxim 08/15 is the same and interchangeable with the exception that barrels fitted to 08/15s have a sleeve threaded on the muzzle end.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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