POTD: One Barrel is Not Enough – U.S. Navy Hotchkiss Revolving Cannon


POTD: One Barrel is Not Enough – U.S. Navy Hotchkiss Revolving Cannon

Welcome to today’s Photo of the Day! The Gatling Gun is an iconic piece of artillery. The Hotchkiss Revolving Cannon, however, is literally awesome amounts of artillery. I myself only know of the Hotchkiss reading about its introduction into the military. Rock Island Auction Company always does a really good job going over the juicy details so I will let them take it away:

“The Hotchkiss revolving cannons were Gatling inspired artillery pieces invented in 1872 by Benjamin B. Hotchkiss. Versions were designed for field and naval use in 37 mm, 47 mm, and 53 mm. The 37 mm bore on this example dwarfs the .45 and .30 caliber rounds typically loaded into the Gatling. The original 16 ounce 37 mm cartridges were designed because exploding projectiles that weighed under 14 ounces were prohibited from use because they were deemed “inhumane”. Using a five barrel cluster, the Hotchkiss is fed with gravity driven magazines, which would be replaced by a gunner’s assistant while the gunner operated the elevation and traverse knobs, and kept the main crank running. They were used by several countries throughout the world, including the U.S., France, and Russia, and had an impressive range of over four miles (considered accurate to a mile).

A well experienced crew was capable of firing 43 rounds a minute. A 37 mm Hotchkiss field gun is known to have been used by the U.S. Army during the Indian Wars including during the Ute Uprising in Colorado in 1879. Others were used during the Spanish-American War by both sides. Hotchkiss naval revolving cannons continued to be used even into WWI primarily as defensive weapons used by larger vessels against torpedo boats.”

Lot 1119: U.S. Navy Hotchkiss Revolving Cannon [Photograph found in Auction Catalog #82, Rock Island Auction Company]. (n.d.). Retrieved June 8, 2021, from https://www.rockislandauction.com/detail/82/1119/us-navy-hotchkiss-revolving-cannon

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Writer | TheFirearmBlog Writer | AllOutdoor.com Instagram | sfsgunsmith Old soul, certified gunsmith, published author, avid firearm history learner, and appreciator of old and unique guns.

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