Trench shotgun: US Army melee weapon

The title photo shows an American soldier in Iraq armed with the Mossberg 500 trench-shotgun.

What is the best weapon? That which corresponds to the conditions of warfare. Somewhere in the quality of a melee weapon and a pistol is enough, but somewhere only tactical nuclear weapons can equalize. And the army must quickly respond to changes in these very conditions. And sometimes quite interesting results are obtained, as, for example, in the story about the “trench shotgun”.

It may seem strange to you that at the end of the 19th century in the US Army there was practically no mention of shotguns. And this is despite the sincere love of the descendants of the cowboys to the “guns of the coachmen.” But first things first.

Trench shotgun: an early story

For a long time, the US Army was using standard long-barreled rifles, which were also used as a melee weapon. Well, linear tactics have changed little since the days of the war of independence, except that the rate of fire has increased somewhat.

The fighters still had to fire at the dense ranks of the enemy’s colorful uniforms, occasionally fight off crushing cavalry attacks (and the cavalrymen, by the way, still wore armor in those days), and prayed that the artillery of the enemy would not pay attention to them. And so it was for a long time. Up to the Philippine company, during which the US Army realized that “what happens here for x ** nya happening, how to fight something?”


So. 1898 According to the results of the Spanish-American war, the Philippines is moving away to the United States. But the people of the Philippines themselves turned up to one place by the people of the Philippines themselves, so they declared independence and started a national liberation war.

And then the Americans realized that they were firmly in trouble. Of course, in an open collision, the expeditionary force easily broke 15 thousand soldiers of Emilio Aguinaldo, practically without losing any losses. Even the final defeat and capture of this very Aginaldo in 1901 did not decide anything, because the Americans got bogged down in what they had not yet learned to cope with – in partisan war.

As a result, American soldiers began to supply melee weapons, called “Trench Gun”, which means “trench shotgun.” In fact – the same “hard drive” in 1897, only with a light casing on the barrel and a bayonet from M1917. However, then the design has changed a little and the new shotgun M1912 with a closed trigger firmly gained its popularity in the ranks of the US armed forces.

One interesting “joke”:
There are still comrades who claim that the “trench shotgun” is prohibited by the Geneva Convention. They say that a shotgun is very destructive and traumatic – such a dangerous melee weapon could not be denied. Unfortunately no. Yes, it is quite possible to tear off the limbs with a fraction, to cause large-scale damage and completely clean out any DZOT with one successful salvo. But unlike the bullets with a displaced center of gravity and explosive bullets, the soldiers suffered much less. Then either he died immediately or he got out, possibly at the cost of losing a limb. And the very idea that shotguns should be banned was let out by very humane Germans. Who really disliked the overwhelming advantage of shotguns during the trench warfare. In this case, about their flamethrowers, used for exactly the same, only in much more barbaric ways, they preferred to remain silent. Well, okay, the hypocrisy in the war – is absolutely normal.

After the end of the First World War, no one was in a hurry to deliver the favorite melee weapon to the warehouse. As they knew, at first the “trench shotgun” was useful during the “banana wars” in African countries, as, incidentally, the experience in the jungles of the Philippines.

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