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.