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Ol' Choctaw
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Gatling Gun vs. the Williams Gun History

Sun Feb 20, 2011 6:52 pm

Pardon me if I find it hard to understand why the Gatling Gun is included in the game and the Williams Gun is not.

The only Gatling Guns to see service were those 12 guns purchased directly by Gen. Ben Butler for $1,000 each and confined to the Petersburg front, where only 2 guns were used, of these 8 seemed to have been mounted on gun boats. These guns had a rate of fire of 150 rounds per min. and not the later 350 of the 1865 model that was not delivered in time to see service.


The Williams Gun was brought into Confederate service in the autumn of 1861 and 7 Batteries were fielded. The gun had a rate of fire of 65 rounds per min. but it had a 1 lb projectile of 1.57 inch caliber. Roughly 3 times the size of the .58 Gatling Gun which would make it far more effective against fortifications, buildings, and so on.

These were 6 gun batteries except for one 4 gun battery. It was seemingly better than the early Gatling Guns, having only a problem with overheating at high rates of sustained fire, where as the early models of the Gatling had quite a few draw backs. Remember this is not the gun the US Army excepted into service in 1866.

It was light and usually drawn by only a single horse and was said to be an excellent Cavalry support weapon.

Sometimes it is odd that we have one impression of history when in actuality it was much different.

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soloswolf
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Mon Feb 21, 2011 12:53 am

As I said in your thread re: Choctaw (etc) units, this game is in a stage where items like this will not be changed.

It's super cool to chat about all of this as a point of historical perspective, but looking at it through the lens of "why is this the way it is in the game?" is not going to be at all productive.

I'm not trying to be a hard-ass, or act like a moderator... On the contrary! :D There are multiple threads about how to mod as well as ones to enter in hopes/dreams and the like for AACW 2 and I would like for your efforts to help the community.
My name is Aaron.

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Cromagnonman
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Mon Feb 21, 2011 2:01 am

What would this unit look like in the game? It definitely sounds like horse artillery for movement purposes, and firing fairly quickly, but doing less damage due to its small projectile. Sounds like it also had some reliability problems, and was far from being a common piece. In game, perhaps a CSA version of the Gatling gun, dealing less damage but at a longer range with more mobility.

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Gray_Lensman
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Mon Feb 21, 2011 2:10 am

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Ol' Choctaw
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Mon Feb 21, 2011 11:04 am

I didn’t mean to come in and suggest that everything be changed and I know the game is several years old.

I am surprised and impressed that there are still patches in development. Even if they are not focused on units but on bug fixes.

It was more of a face palm when I saw the Gatling Guns in the game.

Thanks very much for the link to AACW 2 Gray Lensman! I will be sure to post on it there.


As to the damage a William Gun would do vs. a Gatling Gun, the Williams Gun was a 40mm projectile with a 2000 yard range for area fire and an effective range of 800 yards for point type targets.

Early Gatling Guns had a maximum range of about 800 yards and a maximum rate of fire of only 150 rounds per min. They had jamming problems and problems overheating.

Against massed troops the 40mm is going to penetrate much more (more than on man) than the .58 cal, so you can see it created more damage than the Gatling Gun, though its effect as artillery would be slight except for destruction of equipment and troops.

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Cromagnonman
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Mon Feb 21, 2011 2:08 pm

So the Gatling gun fired the same round as a Springfield rifled musket, but at a constant rate equal to that of ~50 men (150/min). A Gatling unit in AACW has (I think) 12 pieces, making it the minute equal of 600 men. While the Union did not use a lot historically, they were available, and other rapid-fire guns were also available and used.

While the Williams gun did fire a larger round than than the Gatling, it was also much smaller than other period artillery. This limited it to firing solid shot and canister, which are less effective at range against infantrythan shell/case shot. Likewise, its effective range was much less than that of the Napoleon. It's rate of fire, while several times greater than other artillery, was also several times smaller than the Gatling etc guns. The greater penetration of a 1.57" ball vs a .58" ball against infantry isnot terribly important, as both could disable a man, but the line style of combat would limit tge damage caused as the ball continued beyond the penetrated soldier.

So, if this gun were represented in the game, it should probably have the same mobility as horse artillery, a range of 5, a RoF of 3, and damage similar to infantry (2/20), maybe 1/15 at range.

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Ol' Choctaw
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Mon Feb 21, 2011 9:26 pm

Well, they were for sale. 12 is a good number as that is the amount that Butler bought.

He only deployed two however.

I think this link covers most of the material: http://www.floridareenactorsonline.com/machinegun.htm

8 more of his guns went onto gunboats and what happened to the last 2 I just don’t know.

There may also be one other General that bought himself a dozen also but I am not sure.

They were a thousand dollars each.

Which brings us to very wealthy Generals willing to part with cash for war materials the Government wouldn’t spring for.

The Coffee Mill Guns were bought by the Union. They were deployed in batteries of 6 and they bought 54 guns all tolled.

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