The ma­chine gun:

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - INSIGHT -

This was the weapon that brought mass in­fantry charges to their knees, of­ten lit­er­ally. The ma­chine gun, which was in­vented in 1884 by Amer­i­can Hi­ram Maxim, was used by both sides of the war, of­ten mounted in con­crete pill­boxes to de­fend trenches from be­ing stormed by hu­man waves. It was an ad­vance over pre­vi­ous rapid-fire weapons as it used the en­ergy from the re­coil to eject each spent car­tridge and insert the next one, pro­duc­ing a fir­ing rate of ap­prox­i­mately 600 rounds per minute.

How­ever, fur­ther ad­vances were needed as Maxim guns were too heavy to be used by ad­vanc­ing in­fantry. Lighter ma­chine guns, such as the Lewis gun, were de­vel­oped for of­fen­sive roles, such as by the Aus­tralian Corps in the Bat­tle of Hamel, France, in 1918.

Im­pe­rial War Mu­seum

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