machine gun

/məˈʃin gʌn/ (say muh'sheen gun)

noun
a small arm operated by a mechanism, able to deliver a rapid and continuous fire of bullets as long as the firer keeps pressure on the trigger.
machine gunner, noun
The first automatic machine gun was designed in the 1880s by American inventor Hiram Maxim. It proved to be one of the most destructive weapons of World War I where it was used primarily as a weapon of defence rather than to attack. It had a far greater range than a rifle and the fire from one machine gun was estimated to equal that of 80 to 100 rifles. The only defence against machine-gun fire was to kill the gunners or destroy the weapon’s emplacement. The German army used machine guns in batteries, to devastating effect; most of the British casualties on the first day of the Somme Offensive were infantry advancing into massed machine-gun fire. Lighter machines guns, such as the Lewis gun, although still cumbersome, were sufficiently portable to be used offensively; they were also mounted on aircraft, with some synchronised to fire in between the blades of propellers. By the end of the war machine guns were also adapted for use in tanks and on warships.

Australian English dictionary. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

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