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 02:03 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 03:06 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 04:25 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 12:42 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 05:06 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 02:29 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 06:29 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 07:37 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 08:01 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 03:33 PM

Mark,

I sent you a private message.

Michael

M ELEY 7th January 2009 08:39 PM

Thanks, Michael! :)

Jim McDougall 19th January 2009 09:09 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 10:28 PM

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

m

Matchlock 18th February 2009 02:06 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 08:20 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 01:03 PM

Hi there,

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

Michael

Matchlock 19th February 2009 01:09 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 01:21 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 03:26 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 02:00 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 02:16 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 02:27 PM

1 Attachment(s)
The title page dated 1622.

m

Matchlock 24th February 2009 10:18 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 04:20 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 05:57 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 06:19 PM

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

Michael

fernando 25th February 2009 07:09 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 07:18 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 01:30 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 03:02 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

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.


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