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Left: Cronjw’s Pom Pom — A Boer weapon furnished with a bulletproof shield captured by the British. Right: An Australian Pom-Pom. Click on image to enlarge it. Images from the site quoted below.

According to Old British Guns site, “The British Government approached Hiram Maxim with a request for a 37mm Maxim gun, similiar in action to the 37mm Hotchkiss. Maxim scaled up his machine gun to fire one pounder shells. The construction was similiar in all respects, but on a huge scale. The speed had to be reduced to 300 rounds per minute, and was a wild success. Africans who heard the gun in action called it the pom pom, from it's distinctive sound while firing full auto.”

The British army, however, thought the shells fired at 300 rounds per minute, which cost 6 shillings apiece, were too expensive. Judging that it fired too large a bullet to against personnel and too small to serve as artillery, they rejected it, only to later discover that the French and Boers, who actually understood how they should be used, purchased them and used then them with devastating effect against the British and Imperial forces in South Africa: “The guns were using smokeless powder by this time, reducing their chances of a concealed gun being spotted. The Boers would have one hidden close to a British artillery battery, and fire one ranging shot. If on target, the Boers would let it rip, putting an entire battery out of commission. The British gunners couldn't return the fire effectively with nothing but the sound to fire on.”

Last modified 22 December 2014