By David C. Isby, Ron Volstad
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Extra info for The War in Afghanistan 1979-1989: The Soviet Empire at High Tide (Firepower Pictorials 1009)
Gatling was neither a military nor a social visionary. But he was a gifted tinkerer and an unrelenting salesman, and he found good help. His plans proceeded swiftly. S. 舡8 Gatling舗s battery gun, while imperfect in its early forms, was a breakthrough in a field that had frustrated everyone who had tried before. Since medieval times, the pursuit of a single weapon that could mass musket fire had confounded generations of military-minded gunsmiths and engineers. Gunsmiths had long ago learned to place barrels side by side on frames to create firearms capable of discharging projectiles in rapid succession.
But they too suffered. After one Soviet incursion, Massoud attended the funeral of a dead guerrilla. He lifted the man舗s Kalashnikov and carried it to the deceased man舗s younger brother, Ashrat Khan. The commander舗s mastery of quiet ceremony, like his sense for tactics, had reached a high state of polish. 舡 Massoud asked. Ashrat Khan extended his hands. He accepted the rifle. 舠Yes, I am going to take my brother舗s weapon,舡 he said. 舡5 At moments such as these, the Kalashnikov舗s infiltration of the martial world was nearing completion.
It would also be a different book. But the field-guide notion is worth addressing here. A small number of firearms references have attempted this, at least in part, and the United States military has quietly built an arms database, known as CHUCKWAGON, that provides this service to its users. The Pentagon舗s database includes data not just on weapon types by style and serial numbers and their sources of production but also on intermediate handlers, including governments and units that have possessed distinctly identifiable weapons at certain times.