The Model 1897 Trench Gun is an old lead dispenser indeed, but it is the Great Granddaddy of our modern day combat shotguns.
Shotguns have come a long way since John Moses Browning introduced the M97 to the world. In modern day warfare shotguns serve to solve a number of different tasks such as breaching, close quarters battle, and even nonlethal methods of adversary control. They are truly the multi-tool of weapon systems.
When the United States decided to enter WWI they understood the brutality of trench warfare. They learned this by observing our allies and the casualties they sustained the three years prior to the U.S. entering the war.
The trench gun was developed for one main purpose. The goal was to provide American troops with the capability of delivering a maximum amount of destruction at close range in a short amount of time.