Ethnographic Arms & Armour

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

M ELEY 28th February 2009 07:29 AM

'Pirate manual', aye? I always knew you were a true scalawag, Jim! :D :eek:

I was wondering if anyone with knowlegde of munitions has any concrete stories or historical references to portable coehorn cannons being taken to sea. In Gilkerson's 'Borders Away II', he seems to discourage the idea that a short-range portable mortar that fired an anti-personnel shell that dispersed grapeshot had much use in naval battles. Yet, many books mention coehorns and mention their use. True, it might have been a limited bombardment with two ships near each other and one basically lobbing shells onto the others' deck. Let's face it, the whole purpose of the 'fighting tops' was to kill as many of the enemy sailors on their decks as bullets would allow. Likewise, thrown grenadoes had the same effect. So why not a coehorn shell? Gilkerson says (I'm quoting from memory, so I might be wrong) that the fire produced from the blast could have set fire to the rigging, but this explanation seems weak, considering the use of swival guns, which also produced flame. Perhaps it was the unpredictability of the scattering of grape? With the swivals and cannon, the shot would have been directed directly at the enemy ship, whereas the lobbed coehorn shell came down and exploded, sending projectiles in every direction. Thoughts, anyone?

fernando 28th February 2009 12:33 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by M ELEY
... I've seen sketches of the above shot, but never the real pics...


I've seen at least a real one in 'person', in the Oporto Military museum; just don't know how old it was :shrug: .
Fernando

.

M ELEY 2nd March 2009 03:10 AM

Bump. Anyone comments on coehorns at sea?

More shot...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:D..._balls_Vasa.jpg

Matchlock 4th March 2009 04:30 PM

Bar Shot in the 1514 Mary Rose Armament Inventory
 
PRO E36/13, pp.55-62: Inventory of the Mary Rose, 27 July 1514

Ordnance, artillery & habillaments (implements) of war left in the said ship in the charge and custody of John Browne master, & John Bryarley purser, of the same, by indenture as is aforesaid, that is to say - (margin)

Great curtows of brass 5
Murderers of brass 2
Chambers to the same 3
Falcons of brass 2
Falconets of brass 3
Great murderers of iron 1
Chambers to the same 1
Murderers of iron of another sort 2
Chambers to the same 4
Cast pieces of iron 2
Chambers to the same 4
Murderers of iron of another sort 1
Chambers to the same 2
Slings of iron called demi-slings 2
Chambers to the same 4
Stone-guns 26
Top-guns 3
Chambers to the same 75
Serpentines of iron 28
Chambers to the same 107
Forelocks for stone-guns, top-guns and serpentines 94
Myches (swivels) to the same 80
Stone shot, great and small 500
A little gun of brass without (a) chamber 1
Hammers for guns 13
Picks for stone 22
Heads for arrows of wildfire 8
Hocks for arrows of wildfire 29
Strings 600
Bags of leather 9
Parchment skins 20
Lead - 2.25 sows and certain cast (lead) Charging ladles of copper 2
Ladles of iron for casting pellets 2
Bolts of iron 17

Bows 20
Arrows 20
Bills (pole weapons) 20

Artillery and habillaments of war delivered to John Millet & Thomas Elderton by bill signed by with the hands of the foresaid commissioners, that is to say - (margin)

Hacbusshes (muskets) 91
Iron shot of divers sorts 457
Iron shot with cross-bars 120

Lead pellets, great and small 1000
Pellets for hacbusshes 900
Iron dice (for shot) 1500
Arrows of wildfire (incendiaries) 74
Balls of wildfire 2
Salets (helmets) 180
Breast(-plates) 206
Gorgets (armoured neck pieces) 146
Splints (leg armour) 172 pairs
Gun-powder 21.5 barrels
Gun-powder cartridges 1 chest-full
Charging-ladles for falcons and curtows 7
Sponges to the same 6
Stamps 3
Iron crow(-bars) 14
Bows of yew 123
Chests to the same 2
Arrows 504 sheaves
Chests to the same 11
Bills 218
Stakes for the field (pointed wooden stakes) 149
Morris pikes 159

From

http://www.maryrose.org/project/index.html

Michael

Matchlock 4th March 2009 05:07 PM

4 Attachment(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by M ELEY
Bump. Anyone comments on coehorns at sea?

More shot...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:D..._balls_Vasa.jpg



Thanks a lot for that important link, Mark!:)

I hope you do not object to my posting that image of various shot found on the Vasa, which sank in 1628.

Thanks again,
Michael

Matchlock 4th March 2009 05:25 PM

Mark,

Here is a link to some very cheap copies of Dudley Pope's Guns at abebooks.com:

http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/p...y-pope/guns.htm

Michael

M ELEY 5th March 2009 08:22 AM

Michael,
Thank you so much for the link to the Dudley Pope book. Just purchased a copy. Thanks, also, for the extensive ordenance listing from the Mary Rose. I am frankly surprised at some of the items on that list being ordenance and not merchandise being shipped. In the later years of "Fighting Sail", with the exception of cutlass, muskets, pike, axes and of course, cannon and shot, there was little else carried for battle. In this early listing, we see breastplates, slings, arrows, and even those implements needed to make more shot, etc. Very interesting.
Yes, the Vasa is incredible and I hope to someday see it in person in my lifetime. Amazing to see a ship raised as it was in such perfect condition. Very glad you posting more pics of this important vessel.
Mark

Gavin Nugent 11th March 2009 07:52 AM

Another image
 
1 Attachment(s)
Another image for reference. These items are from the "Victory"

Gav

Matchlock 11th March 2009 03:47 PM

Good material - thanks a lot, Gav!

Michael

M ELEY 12th March 2009 10:31 AM

Just fascinating how many forms and types of barshot there really were. makes me want to lay my hands on an authentic piece. Too bad way out of my price range! Maybe someday... :(


Got my Dudley Pope book today! Awsome volume! I particularly like all of the artillary pieces covered here. Not your typical book on the subject. Thanks, Michael and Fernando, for mentioning it.

Matchlock 7th May 2009 05:29 PM

Bar Shot ex-Visser Collection
 
10 Attachment(s)
Only one piece complete.

Sold Bonhams 2007.

Michael

Matchlock 29th May 2009 03:34 PM

1 Attachment(s)
An illustration of ca. 1560 picturing chain shot and a shell .

Michael

Matchlock 12th June 2009 03:04 PM

10 Attachment(s)
This specimen was sold for 555 euro on Ebay in April 2009. It does not actually look very old to me, telling from the patina, maybe 19th century.

m

M ELEY 13th June 2009 01:16 AM

Yet another awesome piece, Michael. Thanks for posting it. I had a question...
In your experience, have you ever seen a piece of barshot of the type with disc ends that had a round bar vs the square bar commonly seen? Kind of like a barbell? From my research, it seems that the French favored the kinds with the disc-like ends (think 'hockey-puck') vs the full round (American/Brit) and half round shot ends (Brit). Your thoughts? Also, any indication that factories that made dumbells in the mid-late 19th centuries also produced these? There's a Civil War site that has a small listing of round barshot for sale that are pretty much identical to barbells. They show some age and have black primer like naval items, but then again, most of the weights of this period appear as such, so...?

Matchlock 14th June 2009 02:32 PM

Hi Mark,

The only bar shot with disc ends I have ever seen was published by Dudley Pope. I posted it earlier above, p. 1.

I am sorry to say that I do not know anything about manufacturing or national preferences of shapes. I just like them the way they are. :)

Michael

M ELEY 15th June 2009 02:57 AM

Thanks for replying, Michael. Yes, this is a bit of an obscure subject. I do appreciate all the pics you've posted of bar- and chainshot. You just don't see much of it now-adays to find much research on it.

Matchlock 4th November 2011 06:59 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Hi there,

I found this yesterday.

Best,
Michael

kronckew 4th November 2011 12:02 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
...
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.
...


i've read many accounts of battles where the writer described seeing the 'low' velocity roundshot cannon balls destroying a whole file of troops, removing limbs, cutting them in half, etc., and even descriptions of new recruits thinking they could catch one as it seemed to be going slow (and losing an arm or a hand) and people losing legs when they tried to stop a slow ball with their foot. i seem to recall a crimean description of similar instances where troops were warned not to try this foolishness, and photos of hundreds of cannon balls that had rolled back down the hill. at waterloo wellington lost a few generals, one lost a leg next to wellington to a cannonball, and said 'excuse me sir, i seem to have lost my leg'. another had his horse cut in half by one.

roundshot was deliberately aimed to strike before advancing troops so it would skip and take out the whole file. troops prayed for soft ground that would absorb the shot without skipping.

along with grape, cannister, and langridge, as well as the thousands of musket balls flying about, i'm surprised at how few actually were wounded or killed, even tho it was in the thousands at such battles, many more made it, and in most cases disease actually killed more than firearms.

Jim McDougall 4th November 2011 03:30 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by kronckew
i've read many accounts of battles where the writer described seeing the 'low' velocity roundshot cannon balls destroying a whole file of troops, removing limbs, cutting them in half, etc., and even descriptions of new recruits thinking they could catch one as it seemed to be going slow (and losing an arm or a hand) and people losing legs when they tried to stop a slow ball with their foot. i seem to recall a crimean description of similar instances where troops were warned not to try this foolishness, and photos of hundreds of cannon balls that had rolled back down the hill. at waterloo wellington lost a few generals, one lost a leg next to wellington to a cannonball, and said 'excuse me sir, i seem to have lost my leg'. another had his horse cut in half by one.

roundshot was deliberately aimed to strike before advancing troops so it would skip and take out the whole file. troops prayed for soft ground that would absorb the shot without skipping.

along with grape, cannister, and langridge, as well as the thousands of musket balls flying about, i'm surprised at how few actually were wounded or killed, even tho it was in the thousands at such battles, many more made it, and in most cases disease actually killed more than firearms.



Michael thank you for that stunning photo and shown with the open book to set wonderful context, its great to see this thread revived and on such a fascinating topic.

Kronckew, thank you for this dynamic perspective and it is great to get a more realistic picture, though gruesome, of how warfare was in those times. I think one of the best books I ever read on the subject was "The Face of Battle" by the late John Keegan of Sandhurst. He truly showed the nature of human reaction in terrible combat situations, and it is so interesting to better understand how people thought and responded in these circumstances.

I think I mentioned before in this thread or elsewhere, my great grandfather who was a Civil War veteran in reading one of his accounts in a newspaper article recounting his memoirs, when asked if he was ever wounded responded, "..nah, got hit by a cannonball at St.Petersburg but didn't hurt me none!". Naturally thoughts were was this simply embellished hyperbole of an extremely old soldier? or might this have been an extraordinarily 'spent' ball bouncing along as described. I always thought it was a curious tale :)
Much better perspective on it now .

All very best,
Jim

fernando 4th November 2011 07:50 PM

Hi Michl,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matchlock
Hi there,
I found this yesterday.
Best,
Michael


Strange device; is it actually a chain shot set ?
Not certainly a prison chain ...
But it looks a bit odd for chain shot ... or am i short sighted ? :o :eek:

Matchlock 5th November 2011 01:19 AM

Thanks a lot for you inputs, Jim, Kronckew and 'Nando, ;)

I was sent this image about two years ago by an East German antiquarian book deealer (sedulitas) and they assured me that both the ball and chain illustrated were a half ball from a chain shot, and they were not willing to sell it. They regarded it as kind of permanent historical decorative basis for advertisimg their old mss. So that's all I can telly you, folks, sorry though I am. :eek:

Best,
Michael

broadaxe 6th November 2011 07:23 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matchlock
Hi there,

I found this yesterday.

Best,
Michael


What about the leg cuff and padlock on the right of the ball?...

Matchlock 6th November 2011 03:19 PM

Brilliantly observed! :)
I overlooked these important items ... :o That of course makes it a ball and chain.

Best,
Michael

M ELEY 7th November 2011 10:31 AM

So many times for the early types of barshot, one sees the four-sided bar attached to two cylindrical balls. I have heard others say that the classic barbell type with round bar and balls existed, perhaps late 18th/early 19th century? I have what I believe to be one of these types and will post pics. The only other thing one might say is that it is so-called "early strongman circus barbell type", but mine seems to fit the pattern of barshot better. :shrug:
Does anyone have any arsenal pics or museum artifacts showing this type? I've been researching this area for awhile, but not alot of indepth info out there...

broadaxe 7th November 2011 11:45 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by M ELEY
So many times for the early types of barshot, one sees the four-sided bar attached to two cylindrical balls. I have heard others say that the classic barbell type with round bar and balls existed, perhaps late 18th/early 19th century? I have what I believe to be one of these types and will post pics. The only other thing one might say is that it is so-called "early strongman circus barbell type", but mine seems to fit the pattern of barshot better. :shrug:
Does anyone have any arsenal pics or museum artifacts showing this type? I've been researching this area for awhile, but not alot of indepth info out there...


I never thought of it this way, but since you put it, I think of a problem: if you load a cannon of sort with a proper diameter "barbell", you get a projectile more than twice the weight of the regular cannon ball: 1ball+bar+1ball; so you need much more powder with the danger of exploding your cannon. The bar shots I'm aware of are consisted of two half-balls connected via simple or extending (sliding) bar, so the weight is just marginally higher.

M ELEY 7th November 2011 12:43 PM

Point well taken, but I have seen fully round barshot, not the half shot popular with British and American ships. It's just that the full shot always seem to have the square bars, yet many contemporary sources will show penciled sketches of barshot looking exactly like barbells (i.e. with a rounded bar). Michael shows one example above in close-up of what appears to be what I'm speaking of, but it is broken and consists of just the ball and a partial stub of a round bar. Can anyone find other examples??

fernando 7th November 2011 08:50 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by M ELEY
... Can anyone find other examples?? ...



http://marinhadeguerraportuguesa.bl...-de-lisboa.html




.

M ELEY 8th November 2011 03:44 AM

Thanks, Fernando. I had some old sites showing potential barshot for which I'm speaking, but upon trying to upload sites and pics from them, none still work- :mad: :(

M ELEY 8th November 2011 04:09 AM

Trying again-
www.submerged.co.uk/cannonballs%205%20big.jpg
http://www.travelmuse.com/articles/...sunken-treasure

M ELEY 8th November 2011 04:11 AM

2 Attachment(s)
Attachments...maybe?! The second reported to be War of 1812 with provenance from battle site.


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