The MkIV-I Gatling Gun is a support weapon which fulfils the same role as the Heavy Bolter. It originates from, and is chiefly produced by the weapons foundries of Praetoria. The earliest known references of this type of weapon date back to Preatoria’s original colonisation, though it considered likely by many to pre-date this time considerably.
Historical models of the Praetorian Gatling Gun varied immensely in specification, with no common patterns. It is only relatively recently that a form of classification has been introduced, though this is by no means universally accepted.
MkI Gatling Gun -
Examples of the Mk1Gatling Gun are classified as those which pre-date any reliable technical specifications or examples; typically these were employed by the early colonists and were custom built.
MkII Gatling Gun -
MkII weapons are classed as those designed over two millennia ago. MkII Gatling Guns include the first massed produced examples used by the Praetorian PDF. Ammunition and calibre specifics vary, but all use cased solid slugs. Some examples survive as museum pieces and curiosities.
MkIII Gatling Gun -
The Mk III is a contemporary weapon which is comparable to a Heavy Stubber, and indeed uses the same standard ammunition. Such weapons are normally mass produced on an industrial scale. They are still commonly found in the Praetorian PDF, and as a lighter support weapon amongst Praetorian Imperial Guard forces, even after the introduction of the superior Mk IV-I.
MkIV-I Gatling Gun -
The MkIV-I and later variants differ from all previously known examples of Praetorian Gatling Guns in using Bolter ammunition rather then solid slugs. While it is unclear exactly how this change in specification came about, it is believed to relate to a large surplus of such ammunition which built up as a result of over production during the Warp Storms which isolated the sub-sector in 159-176.M41.
This and subsequent patterns have gained popularity in the Praetorian PDF since its inception, thanks presumably to its greater stopping power. It has rapidly replaced MkIII pattern weapons in many instances. However, the mechanism which drives its six rotary barrels does suffer an increased tendency to jam and/or overheat as a direct result of the greater stresses exerted by the Bolt rounds. This has lead to the weapon having a reduced rate of fire compared to earlier models to compensate.
The weapon has been seen in increasing use with Praetorian Imperial Guard regiments both as an infantry support weapon, and in vehicular mountings, as a result of significant success in the field. One of its early champions was Colonel Gravis of the 4th Praetorian Foot, hence its unofficial designation in some quarters as the ‘Gravis’ Pattern Gatling Gun.
It has been noted however, that with the growing success of this latest pattern, Praetoria’s previously amiable relations with local Forgeworlds of the Adeptus Mechanicus have soured amid allegations of Techno-Heresy related to this weapon.