Don’t believe those tales you hear of only single shot muskets dominating the battlefields of yesteryear.
In the above video posted to social media by Hans-Günter Würz, a Landsknecht-period reenactor, you get the treat of seeing a 21-barreled muzzleloader on wheels get loaded and fire a salvo at a recent event in Emden, Germany. As such, the language is German and could be a recipe for knockwurst, but you get the gist of what’s going on regardless of your ability to find a bus in Berlin.
Known as organ guns (Orgelgeschütz) or salvo guns (Salvengeschütz) in Germany, such 15th- and 16th-century multi-barreled early firearms were able to lay down an impressive amount of fire at once, giving a battery of such weapons the ability to decimate a line of enemy foot soldiers or cavalry — or at least bathe them in a huge cloud of black powder smoke! Termed ribauldequins in other parts of Europe and volley guns in England, even Leonardo da Vinci came up with a few designs for such machines.
The German History Museum has a single-row five-barreled organ gun in their collection while the HGM in Vienna has a 50-barreled version dating from 1678 — you know, about a century before the Second Amendment was inked. Naturally, various living history groups amass a wide variety of reproduction designs to show off at events such as the one above.