"Organ Guns (or War Carts) were primitive, yet effective, multi-chambered and multi-barreled monstrosities. As early as 1339, a firearm called the Ribauld, or Ribauldequin, was mentioned as a having several iron tubes that were arranged to fire stone projectiles simultaneously. This weapon was purportedly used to good advantage by Edward III in one of England’s wars with France by blasting an opening in the unyielding ranks of heavily armored pikemen who were to keep the cavalry from the bowmen.
"These muzzle-loading battery guns had their barrels arranged in a side-by-side arrangement in a massive wooden frame that led to them being called “Organ Guns.” When the iron ball projectile came into use in 1381 replacing pebbles and stones, many new variations of the Organ Gun were developed, all in an effort to deliver a great quantity of projectiles in a concentrated area all at one time.
"In 1382, the army at Ghent had 200 battery guns. A design constructed in 1387 had 144 barrels grouped in batteries of twelve allowing twelve salvos of twelve balls each to be fired. In 1411, the Burgundian army had 2,000 battery guns at their disposal. Louis XII (1498-1515) is reported to have used a gun having 50 barrels arranged to be fired in a single volley.
"Obviously, these weapons were clumsy and difficult to transport and could be termed only a moderate success. Though all the barrels could be fired in a single volley or in rapid succession, long periods of inaction due to the manual muzzle reloading of each barrel negated the advantage of momentary volume of fire and were thus employed in an auxiliary or supporting role due to its inability to deliver sustained fire. Nevertheless, their volume of fire was in great demand and used in many theaters of operation throughout Europe.
Though there were many variations as to arrangements of barrels and mounting, the only improvement on these weapons was the train of ignition from one barrel to another. It was shortened in order so that all the barrels could be fired simultaneously or as nearly as simultaneously as possible.
Puckle’s “Defense” Gun
Further development of rapid-firing weapons stagnated due to a lack of technological advancement, particularly in ignition. In the beginning, the practical system of ignition was a manually applied slow-match or fuse. From the thirteenth to the sixteenth century, the slow-match continued to be the primary means of ignition though improvements were made to the application of this method; though fire was still required for ignition. From the sixteenth century to 1807, an era of mechanical means of producing fire evolved using friction of flint upon steel to produce a spark. Wheel-lock and flintlock mechanical methods were prevalent at this time but they did not lend themselves to producing any new revolutionary advancement in rapid fire development. There were many ideas presented by a variety of inventors, and, perhaps a single working model was built, but no guns were ever actually put into production – with one exception.
In 1717, James Puckle demonstrated his gun, called the Defense, to the English Board of Ordnance and a patent, number 418, was granted in London on May 15, 1718, on a single barreled gun with a revolver-like mechanism that allowed a semblance of rapid fire operation. In a demonstration in 1722, Puckle’s gun fired 63 shots in seven minutes; a truly remarkable performance at this time period. The English Board of Ordnance remained unimpressed and no further action was taken on their part. Nevertheless, Puckle’s Defense gun actually went into production, an example is extant, and is historically important for a number of reasons.
The machine gun that we recognize today had to have a genesis in concept. While Puckle’s gun is nowhere near what we now have today operationally, it did contain certain aspects that are worth noting particularly with its mount. The gun operated using a flintlock ignition system on top of the cylinder. A crank arrangement at the rear of the cylinder tightened the cylinder up against the barrel. When tight, the flintlock was activated, igniting the charge in the chamber and expelling the bullet. The crank was unscrewed loosening the cylinder, which was turned to present the next chamber to the barrel. The screw handle was tightened and the gun was ready to fire again. When all the chambers were empty, totally unscrewing the crank allowed it to be removed, the revolving chambers removed, and a fresh, loaded set replaced. A particularly odd feature of the Puckle gun is that the inventor provided two sets of chambers for his gun. One provided for shooting square bullets for use against Turks and the other shot round bullets for use against Christians....
"The Right of the People to Keep and Bear Arms shall NOT be infringed."It is interesting to note that the framers used the broad term of "arms" in the amendment. Which leaves wide open the various types of weapons that were intended to be SECURED in the hands of We The People. If they had meant "pistols", "muskets", "rifles", or "shotguns". Then those are the "arms" that they would have specified. But they were obviously aware of the advances in modern weaponry. And, employed a term that could not be twisted by a tyrannical government. In order to diminish the types of arms available in the hands of the people. We were INTENDED to be armed as our military was armed. To Wit:
"...Little more can reasonably be aimed at, with respect to the PEOPLE AT LARGE, than to have them properly ARMED and EQUIPPED .... but if circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude, that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people, while there is a large body of citizens, LITTLE, if at ALL, INFERIOR to them in discipline and the USE OF ARMS, who stand ready to DEFEND THEIR OWN RIGHTS, and those of their fellow citizens. This appears to me the only substitute that can be devised for a standing army; and the best possible security against it, if it should exist."--Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist No. 29, Independent Journal, Wednesday, January 9, 1788.
"Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of. Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms. And it is not certain, that with this aid alone they would not be able to shake off their yokes . . . . Let us not insult the free and gallant citizens of America with the suspicion, that they would be less able to defend the rights of which they would be in actual possession, than the debased subjects of arbitrary power would be to rescue theirs from the hands of their oppressors. Let us rather no longer insult them with the supposition that they can ever reduce themselves to the necessity of making the experiment, by a blind and tame submission to the long train of insidious measures which must precede and produce it."--James Madison, The Federalist Papers No. 46, Tuesday, January 29, 1788.Believe that the words; "that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people, while there is a large body of citizens, LITTLE, if at ALL, INFERIOR to them in discipline and the USE OF ARMS..." Make it quite clear that we are entitled to EVERY weapon that our military currently possesses. And, that all current 'regulations' and 'laws' currently enacted by our governments. Are, in FACT, direct infringements upon "the right of the people to keep and bear arms".