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The Complete Canal Priests Of Mars is now available!

The original publication of Canal Priests Of Mars cut slightly over a third of author Marcus L. Rowland's manuscript to fit GDW's adventure format. The Complete Canal Priests Of Mars restores the cut material, features all new artwork by Paul Daly, and adds many useful player handouts. Enjoy the "author's cut" of a classic Space 1889 adventure, or experience it for the first time!

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Theater of the Bizarre

Gatling Guns and Camels

by Charles F. Hawkins

Reprinted from the American Sentinel

Ever since the first projectile was hurled from a sling, warriors have sought ways to leverage their firepower with multiple-firing weapons. The advent of gunpowder in Europe around the 15th century and improved metal-working skills of the time combined to further the quest of militaries to seek means of delivering rapid and repeated shots against an enemy without increasing the overall number of firearms.

Although some interesting examples came about the Puckle Gun in England in the early 1700s; the French Mitrailleuse, with its 37 rifled barrels in the mid-19th century it remained for an inventor of agricultural machines to bring about the first widely used quick-firing weapon.

The most successful rapid-fire weapon of the mid-19th century was the handiwork of Dr. Richard Jordan Gatling (1818-1903), a South Carolina inventor less remembered for his agricultural inventions than his 200-shots-per-minute Gatling Gun. Patented in November 1862, the gun fired paper cartridges, later replaced by copper rim-fire cartridges, sequentially from six musket-caliber barrels which were rotated by a hand crank that also fired the weapon. Feeding ammunition was accomplished by a gravity-feed mechanism at first and later by a positive-feed magazine in the 1890s.

After numerous modifications, the U. S. Army ordered 100 of the weapons in 1866, and within twenty years, Gatling's "labor saving device for warfare" saw service in nearly all the militaries that could afford it, and in most regions of the world.

Indeed, one place the Gatling Gun saw service was in Egypt in the 1870s, where British troopers and their Egyptian allies mounted the weapon on camel saddles. There is scant information on whether such an arrangement was actually used in battle; the Gatling's life cycle was cut short by the invention by Hiram Maxim of the first fully-automatic machine gun in the mid-1880s. Still, one is left to ponder the circumstances of the camel-mounted weapon and the effect it might have had on foe, friend and camel alike.

Posted Monday, 04-May-2009 19:50:04 EDT

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