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Machine-guns and the Great War



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Machine-guns and the Great War by Paul Cornish

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The machine-gun is one of the iconic weapons of the Great War indeed of the twentieth century. Yet it is also one of the most misunderstood. During a four-year war that generated unprecedented casualties, the machine-gun stood out as a key weapon. In the process it took on an almost legendary status that persists to the present day. It shaped the tactics of the trenches, while simultaneously evolving in response to the tactical imperatives thrown up by this new form of warfare. Paul Cornish, in this authoritative and carefully considered study, reconsiders the history automatic firepower, and he describes in vivid detail its development during the First World War and the far-reaching consequences thereof. He dispels many myths and misconceptions that have grown up around automatic firearms, but also explores their potency as symbols and icons. His clear-sighted reassessment of the phenomenon of the machine-gun will be fascinating reading for students of military history and of the Great War in particular. AUTHOR: Paul Cornish is currently senior curator in the Department of Exhibits & Firearms, Imperial War Museum, and he previously worked at the British Museum. He is a leading expert on the history of the machine-gun and its use in the Great War. He has written widely on the history of firearms, and his work has appeared in many of the leading military history periodicals including Military Illustrated, and the Osprey Military Journal. He has also contributed a chapter on weapons and equipment to Special Operations Executive: A New Instrument of War. Recently he has turned his attention to the study of Material Culture, and has published papers in Matters of Conflict: Material Culture, Memory and the First World War, Contested Objects and Bodies in Conflict the two latter of which he co-edited (with N.J. Saunders). He has also written military history entries for Microsoft Encarta, obituaries for the Guardian newspaper and book reviews for The Year in Reference, New Scientist and Military Illustrated. SELLING POINTS: * Vivid reconstruction of the role of the machine-gun in the Great War * Detailed analysis of the impact of the machine-gun on the Battle of the Somme * Features graphic eyewitness accounts of the machine-gun in action Insight into the development of machine-gun tactics throughout the war * Dispels myths and misconceptions about the machine-gun * Looks at the early history of the machine-gun and other automatic weapons * Covers the development of light machine-guns, submachine-guns and automatic rifles * Explores the iconography of automatic firearms from the Maxim, to the Thompson, to the AK47 ILLUSTRATIONS 30 illustrations

Author Biography

Paul Cornish is currently working on the project to create a new First World War gallery for the Imperial War Museum.
Release date NZ
July 16th, 2009
Country of Publication
United Kingdom
30 illustrations
Pen & Sword Military
Product ID

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