Hotchkiss gun 0f 1891

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by heythrop, Jun 19, 2010.

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  1. During Cecil Rhodes attempt to drive a corridor through to the sea in 1891 his force captures seven Hotchkiss guns at Macequce, Mozambique, one of which was used at the Battle of Bembesi on 1 November 1893, and may have been the same one as in the Bulawayo laager in March 1896. I have been trying to find all I can on that gun but am unable to pin it down to exactly what it was, and am left thinking it was probably a 37mm calibre machine gun, mounted on a wheeled carriage, a multi-barrelled weapon on the same principle as the Gatling, and like the Gatling fired and re-loaded by a crank handle.

    Can anbody please confirm I have got it right, or if I have guessed wrong, then what sort of gun was it please. At one stage I thought it might have been the 1.65" Hotchkiss single barrel gun, but rejected that in favour of the multi-barrelled machine gun.

    Many thanks.
     
  2. Your probably right, in my book it says they had five Maxims, two seven pounders, a Gardener and a Hotchkiss,

    But the Rattray letter says the Gardener was a 1 pounder and also mentions a Nordenfelt, but then George Rattrays name is not on the roll of the column

    Just found a referance on another site that says the Hotchkiss was a three pounder, so a 37mm would be a bit light
     
  3. Just found another ref.that says" the Maxim was better than the Gatlling type Hotchkiss"
     
  4. Thanks for that reply. Peter Gibbs, writing in 'The History of the BSAP', Vol.1 of the guns captured in April 1891 says:
    "........nine machine guns, seven Hotchkiss, two Nordenfelts and thousands of rounds of ammunition"

    Did he mean nine machine plus seven Hotchkiss plus two Nordenfelts, or did he mean nine machine guns comprised of seven Hotchkiss and two Nordenfelt. I tend to think the latter, but I don't know.

    I have had rather more luck with the Gardner gun used at the Battle of Bembesi. Its serial No. was 557 and probably came from H.M.S Raleigh, then the fourth ship to bear that name, when flagship at simonstown between 1890 and 1893. I hope to be able to trace it to a batch from the Enfield factory to RN stores if I can access the National Archives at Kew, which I have been advised is my best chance, but unlikely to produce results. I have a good history of the Gardner from 1893, 1896, it being mounted on a plinth in Bulawayo, restored in 1970's, displayed in Natural History Museum, Bulawayo, then probably the Cranborne Barracks, HQ of the RLI, but then I draw blank. The plinth at junction of Main Street/Selborne Avenue, Bulawayo, was knocked down, and I have tried to find out what happened to the memorial tablets which were on its sides, but no luck.

    Many accounts of weapons used in Matabeleland, but very little on the finer details about them, and your mention of the Bembesi Hotchkiss being a 3 pounder is a great clue. Thanks for that, I will follow it up and see how it fits.

    Regards
     
  5. Hello again. Yes, the Maxim was the first belt-fed, gas operated machine gun and it revolutionised warfare, even though the generals at the time under-rated it considerably, and paid for thie blinkered views.
    The Gatling was a multi-barrelled, hand cranked job, and of course things have come full circle with the multi barrelled weapons systems of today, having moved on somewhat since the hand cranked days !!!!!
    Thanks for that reference to the 'Gatling type Hotchkiss'. That confirms it was the multi-barrelled job, which I think was 37mm but not sure.
    Regards,
     
  6. I have severn books on the history of Rhodesia and the BSAF, but all give different infomation, and the fact that the same weapons may have been used in more than one war makes it very difficult to find a really good and honest referance
     
  7. have severn books on the history of Rhodesia and the BSAP, but all give different infomation, and the fact that the same weapons may have been used in more than one war makes it very difficult to find a really good and honest referance
    ................................................................................................................................................

    You are absolutely right there. I too have quite an impressive array of reference books and have found it just as you say, hence my appeal to this forum to try to get it straight, and have had some very good results from past questions. It sounds as though we are interested in the same field. Possibly you too know the first sight of Bulawayo when driving in on the Vic Falls Road? At the 17 km peg, the sun glinting on the tower block of the Ascot Centre. Happy days.
     
  8. The trouble is that a lot of the people who wrote about the 1st Matabele war might have been great hunters like Selouse but they knew SFA about ordernance, hence the problem