Nothing Deadlier: How the Machine Gun Invented Modern War (And Millions Died)

By John Warwick Brooke - This is photograph Q 3995 from the collections of the Imperial War Museums (collection no. 1900-13), Public Domain,
April 2, 2019 Topic: Security Region: Europe Blog Brand: The Buzz Tags: Maxim GunMachine GunWorld War IWorld War IIModern War

Nothing Deadlier: How the Machine Gun Invented Modern War (And Millions Died)

A brutal story.

None of the world’s great powers were ready for the carnage World War I. The armies of 1914 looked a lot like the armies of 1814, but they didn’t go to war with 19th century weapons. The modern world was born in blood on the battlefields of Europe … to the hammering sound of the machine gun.

Today, soldiers carry machine guns as part of a standard kit. But at the outbreak of the Great War, commanders relegated the new and deadly contraptions to the artillery line. Some felt the guns were ungentlemanly.

The British Empire had no problem deploying machine guns during its colonial conflicts, but some shirked away from unleashing them on the continent. That opinion changed as World War I morphed from just another European conflict to one of the bloodiest wars in human history.

This week on War College, we sit down with Ian McCollum of Forgotten Weapons as he walks us through the Maxim Gun — one of the earliest machine guns — and how it changed the pace of war forever.

This article by Matthew Gault originally appeared at War is Boring in 2015. You can check out their podcast in the link to the left. 

Image: Wikimedia