By Garry James
Designed in Nepal in the late 1890s, the half-ton Bira gun was the last of the mechanical machine guns.
Though the Bira gun was designed toward the end of the 19th century, its actual story begins several decades earlier, in 1814, when the Nepalese launched an attack on India and occupied the hill stations of Mussoorie, Simla and Dehra Dun.
As those areas were particularly favored by the British due to their temperate climate during the summer, and because they were more than a little miffed that the Nepalese should have the nerve to attack at all, the authorities moved against the Gurkhas. Though initially rebuffed, British East India Company troops, led by Gen. David Ochterlony, finally took command of the situation and ultimately threatened Nepal’s capital, Katmandu.
The King of Nepal, deciding at this point that discretion was the better part of valor, met with the British and allowed them to establish a residence in Katmandu. He also gave them the right to cross Nepal and trade with Tibet. The Company was further permitted to recruit Gurkha soldiers, whom they would take full advantage of in the First and Second Sikh Wars, the Indian Mutiny and beyond.
Source:: Guns and Ammo