Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Bavaria, Germany - the center of 15th and 16th century gunmaking
A Good and Rare Breechloading Wall Gun (Bockbüchse), Suhl, ca. 1600-20
This interesting piece of light artillery, the wrought iron barrel not marked but doubtlessly made either in Suhl or in the neighboring center of Zella, and the butt of the beechwood full stock carved with floral motifs in the characteristic Suhl manner, is mounted on its original two-wheeled carriage. This way, it could be moved more quickly from one place of the castle walls to another.
The Suhl style of carving stocks was carried out from ca. 1590 - the earliest known is a similar wall gun in the Livrustkammaren near Stockholm, the barrel struck with Suhl marks and the date 1592 - until ca. 1620 when the outbreak of the Thirty Years War in 1618 literally stopped any superfluous decoration of "military" guns.
Although this gun was made on the eve of the Thirty Years War, its breech still opens and shuts the same way breechloaders did around 1540. One iron cartridge is still preserved but oiriginally there must have been several more to enable rapid firing.
Even though this actually could be termed a high-tech item to the world of 400 years ago, it does not have an igniting mechanism. The ingnition had to be done the usual way: pour some priming powder on the pan-like moulded touch hole and touch it with either a glowing matchcord (German: Luntenstrick) clamped in the heaed of a linstock (German: Luntenstock) or a red hot igniting iron (German: Loseisen).
Its overall length including the carriage is ca. 3.5 meters.
The author photographed it in the exhibition rooms at Schloss Hohenlohe-Langenburg, which belongs to the Prince of Hohenlohe.
Similar pieces are in the Bayerisches Armeemuseum Ingolstadt and the Veste Coburg.
In a part-sale of the armory of Schloss Hohenlohe-Langenburg, Thomas Del Mar Ltd., 3 December 2014, there was another breechloading Bockbüchse but with a simpler breech mechanism.
I will post it here soon.
For three interesting wall guns, two of them dated 1525 and 1537 respectively, the third ca. 1535-40, please see:
All photos copyrighted by the author.