Hotchkiss Cannon

Used by the Mining Company

According to Bill Blizzard’s book, When Miners March this Hotchkiss Cannon was owned by the local mining companies (currently owned by the UMWA chapter in Matewan, WV)and was fired in the tent colonies that surrounded the town during the Coal War of 1920-21. If one looks at pictures taken by the US army in the aftermath of Blair Mountain, it is possible that a few of these were used by Don Chafin’s forces during the battle.

The term “Hotchkiss gun” refers to the Hotchkiss Revolving Cannon, a revolving barrel machine gun invented in 1872 by Benjamin B. Hotchkiss (1826–1885), founder of Hotchkiss et Cie. It was a built-up, rifled, rapid-fire gun of oil-tempered steel, having a rectangular breechblock which moved in a mortise cut completely through the jacket. It was designed to be light enough to travel with cavalry, and had an effective range beyond that of rifled small-arms. The revolving Hotchkiss cannon had five 37 mm barrels, and was capable of firing 43 rounds per minute with an accuracy range of 2,000 yards (1,800 m). Each feed magazine held 10 rounds and weighed approximately 18 pounds (8 kg).

Published in: on April 20, 2011 at 5:30 pm  Comments Off on Hotchkiss Cannon  
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