EAA Research Consultant
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Michael, thank you so much for updating this fantastic thread!
It was wonderful reviewing the artwork and information you have so thoughtfully shared with us constantly, and reminds me how much your contributions mean here.
Also, this topic nicely addresses the question I posed to you in recent talks, why did they need sights on these early smoothbore guns, whose accuracy was typically questionable at best. It is interesting to see the intensity of these combats as reflected in these works.
In response to one of the questions from Fernando, it does seem interesting that so much attention to detail was given, yet license took over in many cases in depiction of the position and detail of locks.
Extremely interesting responses by everyone here also, especially comments on aiming and the use of the forked mounts etc. In my most limited experience with firearms, I once had the opportunity to fire a flintlock musket and can well understand concerns about having these 'explosive dynamics' close to your face. I would suspect that during the intensity and chaos of battle, there were far more incidents with exploding guns than were ever recorded or for that matter even noted in the carnage.
As far as aiming, with combat in those times largely being comprised of pitched battle in melee in huge masses of combative forces, it would not seem that aiming would be necessary with singular firearms. In the actual intensity of battle, I often wonder how much 'psychological' effect would even be recognized as the combatants reach levels of adrenalin driven fear and frenzy and these effects would diminish any such detail. The dense smoke from guns present, noise and chaos would in effect be close to insanity in perspective it would seem, and everything would seem surreal, with the thought of determined pyschological effect being hardly any more noticeable than the rest.
As always, the hardest thing in accurately studying the history of weapons is having to understand the inherent unpleasantries that there were. Just the same, it is an aspect that must be considered on occasion, and these things came to mind. Having said that, I return to the wonderful designs and colorful pageantry of the costume seen in these works, leaving the other aside.
All the best,