Poem about Maxim. Retrospective. Part of 8. Machine Guns of Nordenfeld and Gardner
"Machine gun" Palmkrantsa aboard the ship. One sailor suggests, the other rotates the drive handle.
So it was with Maxim's machine gun. It would seem clear what the prospects of its application and what opportunities opens up, but ... "difficult", "expensive", and so on. How many people, so many explanations why this novelty should not be used. In addition, competitors stood in the way of the innovations created by him. It was clear to them that high rate of fire is good. However, they immediately tried to convince the public that it could be achieved in more traditional and familiar ways, without resorting to complex automation. As a result, projects to Maxim like mushrooms after the rain at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century began to appear projects of new and new machine guns with manual drive - still much more familiar. In addition, many designers not only wanted to make money on new types weapons, but also to bypass Maxim, to show that they too can make a “typewriter” no worse than he.
The device mitraliezy Gatling. The complexity of the design is striking.
Mitraleza Gatling for tumbovoy installation.
One such gunsmith’s engineer was the Swede H. Palmcranz, who in 1897 offered his own version of a weapon with a high rate of fire and, according to tradition, with several barrels and a mechanical, manual drive.
Hotchkis five-barreled turret gun with a rotating block of barrels.
In fact, Palmcranz was engaged in nothing more than the improvement of the mitralia known to him, and above all, the Gatling mitraillea. Only she had six barrels and they all rotated, and in the most common version of the Palmcrant machine gun there were only four with a common receiver and separate bolts at each barrel, which were mounted in a row on a single carriage. That, in turn, was mounted on a tumbov installation with an "artillery" type of wheels, which had the necessary equipment for targeting in the horizontal and vertical planes. And this again, no one was surprised. All exactly the same thing there was in other mitralia. Nevertheless, he managed to simplify the design of Gatling's mitraleza in such a way that he became a competitor to Maxim’s machine guns on some kind of “machine gun” he created.
Diagram of the device Hotchkiss.
And this was what he managed to come up with: each barrel of his machine gun, regardless of their number, had its own gate. It was a cylinder, moving in a reciprocating manner inside the receiver along the guides. Inside the gate was a drummer and a mainspring. In the movement of the valves were driven by means of braces connected to the crankshaft. He had a handle for rotation, located on the right side of the side of the receiver. On the shaft were mounted discs, which served as flywheels, which had a lenticular projection. The protrusion was inside the parts in the form of an inverted “P”, mounted on the back of the bolt. During rotation, he forced the shutter to move back and forth. At the same time, the striker was cocked and at the same time with a special lever with a tooth-hook it also rotated and went down.
Five-sided ship installation Palmkrantsa.
For one full turn, each barrel made one shot. If the protrusions of all the discs were in the same plane, all four barrels would fire in one gulp. But at the same time, the recoil would be too high and the position of the protrusions was expanded in such a way that the barrels fired alternately. Now, for a half turn of the handle, two volleys occurred, and for a full turn all the gun barrels made a shot.
Four-barred installation on the wheel machine.
Well, this mechanic worked as follows: aiming, the shooter rotated this handle, rotating the crankshaft. As soon as the shaft with the faces began to rotate, the closures alternately moved back, and the cartridges from the total for all the trunks of the store under their own weight fell down onto the disilline. Then the bolts also alternately pushed the cartridges into the chamber, and at the extreme front point of their movement, the protrusions on the disk protruded. Shots took place, then the spent cartridges were extracted and everything repeated. The system was fully functional, and besides, it was convenient because its rate of fire was easily increased by simply increasing the number of barrels: two barrels - one rate of fire, four - the other, and if you put ten barrels in a row, it will grow and more. However, the more barrels - the greater the weight of the disks on the shaft, and the inertia of the system, that is, rotation of the handle of the 10-barrel machine gun would be very tedious for the shooter. Well, on the other hand, if you put a conventional electric motor instead of a handle, then the rate of fire of such a system could increase many times, and the weight and complexity of the design for the same ship installations would not play a big role!
Diagram of the Palmcrant gate valve group.
Delighted with his success, Palmcranz now began to improve the design of the machine gun. And it is interesting that its development has gone in two directions: the first is an increase in the number of trunks, and the second is an increase in their caliber. At the same time, machine guns with more than five barrels received a special mechanism, which made it possible to separate barrels to the sides and thus create a real fan of bullets flying in the same plane. Due to the deviation of the trunks at a distance of 300 meters, it was possible to move the aiming point of the trunk to the side more than a meter, and thereby significantly increase the density of fire. As for the caliber, various models of Palmcranz machine guns could use ammunition in caliber from 7,69 to 25,4 mm, which turned them into small-caliber guns. But large-caliber samples somehow did not take root, although they had a strong destructive effect on the then destroyers and mineboats. Do not become massive and options with more than five trunks. The United Kingdom, for example, ordered mainly three, four and five barrels of .303 and .45 calibers. It is noteworthy that Palmcranz has developed a special armor-piercing cartridge with a steel core in the nose of the bullet for his machine gun.
Scheme of double-barreled machine gun. Top and side view.
The work of Palmcrantz aroused the interest of the prominent businessman T. Nordenfelt, who first financed the completion of work on the machine gun, and then organized its serial production at his factory ... “Maxim-Nordenfelt”, giving it the name “Nordenfelt machine gun”. In every possible way praising the simplicity, cheapness and effectiveness of his “machine guns,” Nordenfelt managed in 1898 to sell it to the English military, who found this weapon more familiar than the machine gun of H. Maxim. They began to be installed primarily on British ships fleet, after which other European countries became interested in the new product. Apparently, the authority of Britain affected, that is, what is good for the British will be good for us too! In general, by the beginning of the XNUMXth century, the production of these machine guns at the Maxim-Nordenfelt plant had become widespread.
The device stores to the five-barreled machine gun.
Positive in the design of the machine gun Palmkrantsa was that it was simple and, therefore, relatively cheap. At the same time, a large receiver and a flat block of trunks turned it into a rather cumbersome weapon. In terms of weight, he, however, slightly surpassed Maxim's machine gun, but lost much to him in ease of use. One shooter was uncomfortable at the same time and firing, that is, to rotate the handle, and direct the machine gun at the target. Well, then, the rate of fire ... If even the earlier versions of Maxim's machine gun could make 600 shots per minute, Palmcran's machine gun, even with 10 barrels, did not give more 400 shots. For this reason, very soon they began to be removed from service, and by the beginning of 1910, they were completely removed. True, their images remained in almost all military encyclopedias and books about the fleet ...
To be continued ...
- Vyacheslav Shpakovsky
- Poem of Maxim (part of 1)
Poem of Maxim (part of 2)
Poem of Maxim (part of 3)
Poem of Maxim (part of 4)
Poem about Maxim. Interlude (part of 5)
Poem about Maxim. Retrospective. Part of 6. From Montigny to Hotchkiss
Ballad about Maxim. The last song of the poem (part 7)
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