Ethnographic Arms & Armour

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-   -   16th/17th century chain shot (http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=8012)

Matchlock 28th December 2008 03:03 PM

16th/17th century chain shot
 
1 Attachment(s)
Pic taken at the reseve collection of the Fortress (Feste) Hohensalzburg, Austria in 1987.

Michael

Pukka Bundook 28th December 2008 04:06 PM

I know you are a busy chap, Michael,

But are the indentations in the split shot there to recieve musket balls,...to hold the two halves 'square' 'til they leave the muzzle?

I am a little surprised at the early date for this, having only seen 18th century types, joined with chain as here, or with the bars.

Though designed for taking out rigging, one flying a bit low would certainly take out one's personal 'rigging' in a rather horrendous manner!


Best wishes,

R.
On looking again, I think the 'holes' in one side are in fact studs protruding. Makes much more sense, and answers my dumb question!

M ELEY 2nd January 2009 05:25 AM

Awesome piece, and I am also surprised by the early dating on this piece. True, they could take out rigging, but also personnel. During one of the many wars between Spain and England, one Englsi captain was cut in half by a fired piece of chain-shot. I remember the reference, but not the exact battle. The indented protrusions fit into the depressions just long enough to hold the two halves together prior to firing. Once in the air, they of course separated for maximal damage. Green with envy on this piece...

kisak 2nd January 2009 01:42 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Regarding the dating, here's some chain and bar shot from a ship which sank in Stockholm somewhere around the late 15th/early 16th century. Picture taken at Stockholm's Medieval Museum.

broadaxe 2nd January 2009 06:06 PM

Very interesting. Kisak, the ship is the Vasa that sunk at 1628. Chainshots (and barshots!) recovered from the Vasa were clearly not a new thing by that period, thus taking the invention a little more back in time. Although no scale or dimensions I assume the chainshots are in between 6 to 8 pounds, check the chains themselves: the one in the 1st pic is significantly longer than the chains from the Vasa, the latter have only 3 links each. The longer the chain - the wider the spread.
The eternal excavations in the city of Acre, Israel, have revealed tons of cannon projectiles from the Napoleon siege of 1799, including chainshots and barshots, but the most common are small solid balls (1/2 & 1 pound) from canister/grape shots.

kisak 3rd January 2009 03:29 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by broadaxe
Very interesting. Kisak, the ship is the Vasa that sunk at 1628.


No, the ship in question here was a considerably smaller vessel, dated to the late 14th century (the stocks for the four cannons aboard where late 15th though, so it had been around fora while before it sank), which sank between the Old Town and Riddarholmen.

broadaxe 3rd January 2009 07:29 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by kisak
No, the ship in question here was a considerably smaller vessel, dated to the late 14th century (the stocks for the four cannons aboard where late 15th though, so it had been around fora while before it sank), which sank between the Old Town and Riddarholmen.


Wow, I wasn't aware of another sunken ship museum in the same place. :cool:

kisak 3rd January 2009 08:37 PM

Well, it is an old port city... Though in the case of this ship the museum hasn't been built around it like the Vasa museum, it's just one of many items in their collections.

Matchlock 5th January 2009 09:01 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pukka Bundook
I know you are a busy chap, Michael,

But are the indentations in the split shot there to recieve musket balls,...to hold the two halves 'square' 'til they leave the muzzle?

I am a little surprised at the early date for this, having only seen 18th century types, joined with chain as here, or with the bars.

Though designed for taking out rigging, one flying a bit low would certainly take out one's personal 'rigging' in a rather horrendous manner!


Best wishes,

R.
On looking again, I think the 'holes' in one side are in fact studs protruding. Makes much more sense, and answers my dumb question!



Hi Richard,

Please forgive my not answering back any earlier.

Your question was not dumb in any way. Your first guess was correct: there are holes and studs respectively to hold the two halves 'square'.

These have been in use since at least the 16th thru the 19th century. They are hard to date but as nothing has been added to the Hohensalzburg armory after the 17th century we have a terminus ante quem.



Best wishes,
m

Matchlock 7th January 2009 04:33 PM

Mark,

I sent you a private message.

Michael

M ELEY 7th January 2009 09:39 PM

Thanks, Michael! :)

Jim McDougall 19th January 2009 10:09 PM

Interesting stuff here!! I had heard of all manner of assorted items being fired out of cannon in naval melee's in early battles, and of the chain shot as well. It is interesting to see actual examples as shown by Michael, and those by Kisak.
I am always astounded by the severe damage done by low velocity shot and material, as my limited exposure to understanding ballistics always assumes that the high velocity was essential to carry out the end result. To see an object moving at a speed it could actually be seen moving through the air is surprising that it could sever bodies and so on. Obviously, that was the case, except perhaps when the projectile was well spent.
Many years ago, I found an old account from a grandfather who had fought in the Civil War, when asked if he was ever wounded, as he fought in a well actioned unit in many battles and campaigns. His dry and folksy reply, "..well I got hit by a cannon ball once, but didnt hurt me none". !!

All best regards,
Jim

Matchlock 21st January 2009 11:28 PM

I cannot but bow down before that really cool and grand grandfather, Jim! :) ;)

m

Matchlock 18th February 2009 03:06 PM

A Chain Shot from my collection, originally from the Emden Armory, 16th/17th century
 
3 Attachment(s)
Retaining its original blackened surface.

Michael

M ELEY 19th February 2009 09:20 AM

Nice piece, Michael. I'm surprised at the relatively small size of these pieces. I guess I always assumed they had much longer chains and were of a heavier weight. There were much later variations of chain shot created in the mid-19th century that were larger and made for more of an "anti-personnel" effect. It was shot out of a double cannon barrel (think shotgun) at troops. Apparently, it had very mixed effects. Anyway, thanks for posting. Do you have any barshot close-ups. It would be interesting to compare...

Matchlock 19th February 2009 02:03 PM

Hi there,

Unfortunately I do not have bar shot as I am not really much into artillery.

Michael

Matchlock 19th February 2009 02:09 PM

Bar shot
 
3 Attachment(s)
You asked for pics of bar shot so here they are (from the web).

Michael

Matchlock 19th February 2009 02:21 PM

Grape shot (quilted grape), 16th/17th century and later
 
7 Attachment(s)
Hope I did not post these before. :eek:

Michael

archer 20th February 2009 04:26 PM

Chainshot
 
M Eley mentions the use of double barreled cannon for large chain shot. I wondered about how the split chain shot was loaded in a single bore chain ahead or trailing. I would think that improper loading could destroy the cannon and would surely raise heck with even a smooth bore.

Steve

M ELEY 21st February 2009 03:00 AM

Thanks Michael for posting that pic from the web. You are a better web-searcher than I am, because I haven't been able to find many pics of chain or bar-shot.

Steve, I have also wondered that same question many times. It would seem the force of the blast would have broken these relatively delicate-looking chains. Perhaps the chains were wrapped in protective material that would come apart in flight? Or perhaps the charge used wasn't as powerful due to it being more of a close-range shot? I have heard that hot shot was fired using low charge so that the ball would embed into the decking and burn rather than shoot right through. Comments about this, anyone? Anyway,check out the following link about what I mentioned concerning the anti-personnel chain shot. Rather interesting, if ineffective :rolleyes:

www.batteryb.com/double-barreled_cannon.html

Matchlock 21st February 2009 03:16 PM

2 Attachment(s)
Hi there,

These charmingly nice things invented for maximum cruelty can be found in contemoprary illustrations in 16th and 17th century books on fireworks and artillery, e.g.
Hans Georg Schirvatt: Kunst- u. Artilleriebuch, 1622, Cod. icon. 232, Bavarian State Library Munich.

Michael

Matchlock 21st February 2009 03:27 PM

1 Attachment(s)
The title page dated 1622.

m

Matchlock 24th February 2009 11:18 PM

1 Attachment(s)
This one was sold at a German auction in September 2008.

Cal. 9 cm, length overall 62 cm.

Michael

Jim McDougall 25th February 2009 05:20 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by M ELEY
Thanks Michael for posting that pic from the web. You are a better web-searcher than I am, because I haven't been able to find many pics of chain or bar-shot.

Steve, I have also wondered that same question many times. It would seem the force of the blast would have broken these relatively delicate-looking chains. Perhaps the chains were wrapped in protective material that would come apart in flight? Or perhaps the charge used wasn't as powerful due to it being more of a close-range shot? I have heard that hot shot was fired using low charge so that the ball would embed into the decking and burn rather than shoot right through. Comments about this, anyone? Anyway,check out the following link about what I mentioned concerning the anti-personnel chain shot. Rather interesting, if ineffective :rolleyes:

www.batteryb.com/double-barreled_cannon.html



Interesting thoughts Mark! It seems that I have seen references noting that the chains did in fact come apart or shatter in many cases, creating a notably gruesome cluster of shrapnel, but often not carrying out the scything effect intended with the whirling projectiles.
I would think also that brittle iron in these might account for such shattering and separating effects with these joined cannon balls crashing into the chain at ignition. If the chain was draped outside the barrel as suggested, the force of the cannonballs would seem to tear loose the attachments.

These obviously produced for effect chained cannonball projectiles seem like they must have been used as described, but with low charges and very close range. It would be interesting to hear narrated accounts of these weapons as actually used.

All best regards,
Jim

Michael, in rereading this thread I just noticed your kind comments on my grandfather, thank you! :) He sounded like quite a character, and was still being interviewed as a Civil War veteran in the late 1930's, he died at 102.

All the best,
Jim

Matchlock 25th February 2009 06:57 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by M ELEY
Thanks Michael for posting that pic from the web. You are a better web-searcher than I am, because I haven't been able to find many pics of chain or bar-shot.

Steve, I have also wondered that same question many times. It would seem the force of the blast would have broken these relatively delicate-looking chains. Perhaps the chains were wrapped in protective material that would come apart in flight? Or perhaps the charge used wasn't as powerful due to it being more of a close-range shot? I have heard that hot shot was fired using low charge so that the ball would embed into the decking and burn rather than shoot right through. Comments about this, anyone? Anyway,check out the following link about what I mentioned concerning the anti-personnel chain shot. Rather interesting, if ineffective :rolleyes:

www.batteryb.com/double-barreled_cannon.html



Thanks a lot, Mark, for pointing out that side by side double barrel 19th century Greek cannon for firing chain shot. I remember seeing similar 400 year old samples and will search to post them to enable sort of a synopsis of special artillery thru the centuries.

Michael

Matchlock 25th February 2009 07:19 PM

6 Attachment(s)
Various chain shot, all from Dudley Pope's highly recommendable book Guns, 1965.

Michael

fernando 25th February 2009 08:09 PM

Michael, you have made my day :eek: .

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matchlock
Various chain shot, all from Dudley Pope's highly recommendable book Guns, 1965.
Michael



I've got that one; the French edition ... nobody's perfect :shrug: .
Having a book recommended by you is an added value :cool: .
Fernando

Matchlock 25th February 2009 08:18 PM

Thanks a lot, Fernando, that praise of yours does me so good. :cool: :eek:

I got the German version. :shrug:

Michael

M ELEY 28th February 2009 02:30 AM

Jim,
thanks for replying and seconding the theory of a lower powder charge for the chainshot to achieve its goal. It seems to make sense that it was used this way. Either way, it was a horrible projectile if you got in its way. One of the English admirals was cut in half by a french chainshot during one of their many naval battles back in the 17th century.

Michael,
Thank you so much for posting these amazing pics. Although I'm not much into munitions, I've always been fascinated in these 'specialty' shots for taking out rigging (and personnel). I've seen sketches of the above shot, but never the real pics. Fernando is right. I've got to ge me a copy of that Dudley Pope book! Thanks again!
-Mark

Jim McDougall 28th February 2009 04:02 AM

Thanks Mark,
It has always seemed so interesting to me that there could be such force in low velocity dynamics concerning ballistics. To think that a projectile moving at a speed where it could easily be seen could have the ability to inflict such gruesome effect.
In combat between ships it seems that just before boarding, a volley was often fired to create confusion on deck, so lesser charge would be needed with the vessels closing. This shot would bring down rigging etc. to add to the confusion. ....at least thats what my pirate manual says :) but then them's just guidelines, right?

All the best,
Jim


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