Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 91.djvu/499

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Popular Science Monthly

��Vol. 91 No. 4

��239 Fourth Avenue, New York City

October, 1917



��Is This the Machine-Gun of the Future?

The men are concealed and the trigger is pulled by machine ; the barrel is cooled like an automobile engine ; the ammunition supply is continuous

Bv Edward C. Crossman

��MACHINE guns talk in stutters- staccato stutters. They can fire at the rate of six hundred shots per minute, but they can't keep up the pace. Part of this failure is due to the fact that the ammunition containers are limited in capacity, part is due to the fact that the very first rattle of shots jars the gun off the mark, unless the mark be a very large one. The gun must be "relaid," before fire is resumed. Also, there is the fact that a continuous fire in any sort of machine-gun, water-cooled or air-cooled, would ruin the bore. The great heat of powder gases (more than four thousand degrees) results in a washing away of the steel of the barrel in short order when the fire is continuous enough. The chief reason, however, for this break in fire continuity is the necessity for re-aiming the gun every twenty or thirty shots unless the mark is practically unmissable.

What the machine-gun could use very nicely are these little things: A mount with possibly a recoil absorbing mechanism to pre- vent the gun from jarring off the mark; a better cooling system than ones now used — i which the wate boils away and the air doesn't cool ; a device for continuous { fire for certain conditions; me- chanical control of the firing, the feeding, the ele- vating, and the traversing

���The belt-loader on this machine-gun is operated by- power from the motorcycle on which it is mounted


��mechanism of the gun, so that the crew can operate it in safety, from a distance.

There comes now an inventor with the significant name of Ford — not Henry, how- ever — with some startling improvements for the machine-gun.

The first one is a mechanically operated loading machine to keep the belt of the gun filled all the time, regardless of its speed of fire and the duration thereof. The belt-loader is operated by the power of the machine on which the gun is mounted, this to be motorcycle, motor-tricycle, automo- bile, airplane or other power vehicle.

The second is a circulating water-cooling system, a la automobile, in which the water passes from the jacket around the gun- barrel to a regular automobile radiator, which in turn is cooled by a fan driven by the power that operates the loading mechanism and which in turn is merely the power plant of the car. A centrifugal pump makes the water move, although it would surely thermo-siphon hur- iedly if this system were used "nstead of the pump.

The third startler is the that the gun is de- ed to be an integral part of its car- riage, which is a gas engine pro- pelled vehicle. Perhaps this idea was borrowed from the fight- ing airplane, in which the ma- chine gun is rig- idly mounted to fire through the propeller.

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