The Nordenfelt machine gun was designed and patented in 1873 by two Swedish engineers and financially backed by Thorsten Nordenfelt. As a hand-operated machine gun, it tracked its origins to the Gatling gun.
The ammunition was mounted on the top of the gun in a hopper. The gun fired by means of a lever which the operator moved forwards and backwards.
The calibre of the gun was 1 inch. This calibre was chosen because of its ability to penetrate the 1 inch thick iron plates of a torpedo boat (trialled in Portsmouth in 1880).
Both the British and Boers used Nordenfelts during the Boer War. An example of a Boer Nordenfent:
Davitt suggests the Boers obtained at least some of their Nordenfelts from London: "These Maxim-Nordenfelts and Vickers-Maxims' were bought in London. On one of them I found the following inscription:
"Maxim-Nordenfelt C. and A. Co., Ltd., No. 2124, 37 m|m Aut. Gun. Mark II. Maxim-Nordenfelt, London."
These were the "pom-poms" which did almost as much to demoralize the British armies in the larger engagements of the war as the deadly shooting qualities of the Mauser rifle."
It is believed their ammunition came from Germany.
Maurice says that at the start of the war the Boers had "4 Nordenfeldts 75 m/m, supplied with 2,483 rounds".
Maurice differentiates the Nordenfelt from the Vickers machine gun and says about the Boer stocks that they held: "21 Vickers-Maxim (pom-pom) 37·5 m/m (about 1-1/2 inches), supplied with 72,000 rounds (14,000 pointed steel, 58,000 common). 4 Vickers Mountain Guns 75 m/m. Ammunition not known."
The British shipped between 50 and 57 Vickers Maxim guns to South Africa, the first of these arriving in time for the battle of Paardeberg. The early British guns were mounted on field gun carriages.
This picture is entitled 'Dummy Maxim' but I guess it could be mistaken for a field gun too. It is not known which side or whether both sides used tactics like these: