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Since units' stats always increase along the tech tree, in order to estimate the power of a unit, it is less helpful to look at their individual stats than to look at the overall picture of warfare in their respective eras. If the Crossbowman is the power center of Medieval combat and the Field Cannon is still useful but much more defensive, the Machine Gun gets phased out almost completely by their contemporaries, especially by the Fighter.
For once, it is the most advanced ranged unit yet it is the slowest military unit of its era and every era afterwards. Ranged units' purpose is to kill other land units, yet the Machine Gun is outmaneuvered by all of them, a very similar problem that anti-cavalry units have that leads them to rarely being seen on the battlefield. Furthermore, considering the fighter class aircraft with their huge Range, mobility, and Ranged Strength, you can almost never have a case for using Machine Guns in combat when you have sufficient Strategic Resources for something else. If the Machine Gun were unlocked at the same time as the Biplane, maybe it could still be used considering the limited Range of Biplanes. Unfortunately, the Machine Gun is unlocked in the same era as the Fighter, a unit that, in comparison, has 8 Movement, 5 Range and 100 Ranged Strength yet somehow still manages to be 20 Production cheaper than the Machine Gun. The only times you find yourself with a Machine Gun is when you have a lot of Gold and decide to upgrade all remaining ranged units you have, or when you want to have one Machine Gun to improve your cities' ranged attacks, or when you are desperate for a defense but does not have Aluminum or Oil. All in all, this unit should be your last resort in battle, as investing in an Aerodrome and aircraft is always well worth it at this point (only one Aerodrome is enough if you keep re-basing airplanes to nearby City Centers).
Since the days of the arquebus innovative gunsmiths had sought for a rapid-fire firearm that required little training or skill to use. Stoper’s revolving arquebus in 1597 Nuremberg, the “Puckle Gun” in 1718 in London, Belton’s multi-shot flintlock in 1777 all had their proponents; but it was left to Richard Jordan Gatling to perfect an infantry weapon with controlled rapid fire, automatic loading, portability, speedy reloading of ammunition canisters, and operated by a simple hand-crank. The Gatling gun was immensely popular among military types of all nations, and it laid the foundation for the development of the machinegun, which stalemated WW1 and dominated WW2 infantry combat. In time, the weight was reduced without loss of rate of fire, machineguns becoming submachineguns (such as the Thompson so beloved of Prohibition-era gangsters) capable of being fired from the hip.
- The Machine Gun unit is modelled after World War II period US soldiers. However, they are armed with the MG 42, a World War II German machine gun.
- Interestingly, when a player uses German trained Machine Gun units, they wear World War II German M35 helmets and feldgrau uniforms, like all other German trained Infantry and AT Crews.