The idea was to load the gun barrel as follows:
- 1. insert the usual amount of gunpowder
- 2. insert the first piece of clod shot
- 3. repeat step 1
- 4. repeat step two etc.
When the maximum amount of powder clod shot, dependig on the length and strongness of the barrel, had been inserted, fine priming powder would have to be rinsed thru the central holes in the clod pieces, and all its way down to the lowest piece of shot, until the central hole of the top clod piece was filled with powder.
Then the barrel was ignited from the muzzle (!) either by a clamp holding a smoldering length of matchcord or by a red hot iron - see original illustrations of 1411! - , and all shots were fired in rapid succession ...
As D.R. Baxter has shown in his unparalleled work Superimposed Load Firearms 1360-1860
, Hongkong, 1966 (warning: extremely rare to find and extremely extensive as well!), the very same system remained in use throughout the muzzleloading area ...
And now there is a piece of 14th century high tech for the earliest superimposed load system - in my collection!
It is the only known existing specimen of its kind worldwide ...
The watercolors are from Johannes Hartlieb, Buch der Kriegskunst
, dated 1411, Austrian National Library ÖNB, cod.vind. 3069.
When wondering at the seemingly wrong scales of the shot, please remember that the authors of Medieval manuscripts tended to exaggerate in size the most important details that often were rather tiny in reality!
Michael, proud as a peacock!