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The Canadian "Emma Gees"
A History of the Canadian Machine Gun Corps
Lt.-Col. C.S. Grafton

Transcribed by Dwight G. Mercer

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THE genesis of all modern armament is to be found in the simple weapons of antiquity.  The siege artillery which shattered the Belgian fortresses barring the immense thrust into Northern France by the German hordes in the Great War was the modern version of the catapult which hurled its huge rocks to crash the thick walls of fortified and beleaguered cities of ancient times.

The sling shot of Biblical days was the simple forerunner of the arrow, then the musket and finally the rifle.

And it would be perfectly logical to presume that the first of History's Davids to put two or more stones in his sling shot instead of the orthodox one, touched off that inventive spark that was to sputter, flame up, die down and then flame up again and at long last, produce the modern machine gun.

You may safely presume also that this innovation caused no end of heated discussion around the tribal fires, if and when they were got going.  Indubitably, it would be pointed out that while the intended victim might be made a trifle busier dodging three stones instead of one, the firer had undoubtedly sacrificed something in the way of accuracy.  And if there happened to be a tribal story-teller handy, there also was the beginning of military history.

The realms of conjecture and supposition may be left behind at this point.  There is historical confirmation of the idea of "multiple missiles."

William, Duke of Normandy, threw consternation into the ranks of the sturdy Saxons of our own King Harold and arrows in "sheaves of ten" from a "multiple bow" at the Battle of Hastings.  The arrows were discharged simultaneously.  The breezes and range saw to it that they were scattered wide enough.  It was the first historical bid for a superiority of "fire power" and a saving in man power - the principles of which have actuated the whole evolution of tactical handling of improved armaments right down to this very day.

The evolution of the musket and rifle from its bow and arrow origins carried through a lot of centuries.  And the "multiple missile" principle was never far behind.  Here and there it caught right up.  Here and there it lagged - maybe a century behind.

The "multiple bow" of the Normans was an adaptation of the bow and arrow.

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