Machine guns and torpedo tubes, the more things change…

Here we see a warrant officer in dress whites aboard USS Walke (Destroyer # 34) leaning jauntily on a stanchion-mounted machine gun, circa 1914. This weapon is a .30 caliber U.S. Model 1909 Machine Rifle (Benét-Mercié), a modification of the French Hotchkiss Portative. The gun appears to be on an AAA mount, which is novel for the time.

Courtesy of Jim Kazalis, 1981. U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph. Catalog #: NH 92544

Walke, an early Paulding-class destroyer, carried as her main battery a half-dozen 18-inch deck-mounted torpedo tubes, intended to poke holes in enemy ships. Her gun armament consisted of five 3-inch guns and a few European-designed machine guns, as shown. Commissioned in 1911, she remained in the fleet until 1934.

Fast forward 105 years…and you still have destroyers with a few .30-caliber European-designed machine guns as well as a half-dozen deck-mounted torpedo tubes, intended to poke holes in enemy ships, albeit of the submarine nature.

200111-N-TI693-1268 MEDITERRANEAN SEA (Jan. 11, 2020) Master-at-Arms 1st Class Jeffrey Deason, left, from Trenton, New Jersey, monitors Ensign Kelsey Ohm, from Huron, Ohio, as she fires an M240 machine gun during a crew-served weapons qualification aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Carney (DDG 64), Jan. 11, 2020. Carney, forward-deployed to Rota, Spain, is on its seventh forward-deployed naval force patrol in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in support of regional allies and partners as well as U.S. national security interests in Europe and Africa. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Fred Gray IV/Released)

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