EAA Research Consultant
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Thank you Michael for explaining that, and mentioning the instance of the Duke of Brunswicks initials and date on the cannon balls. I was wondering if perhaps since these destructive (obviously) pieces of ordnance were being sent to destroy an enemy...that maybe as in the bombs dropped from aircraft in the wars were marked with slogans or taunting phrases toward the enemy...there might have been similar cases in medieval times.
It is known that in some instances in warfare in Biblical times, sometimes the arrowheads were marked to afford the warrior the claim to his victory over an opponent by proving his arrow was the felling one. In North America, the Indian tribes often marked thier arrows with distinctive stripes, colors or identifying features to claim the hunted game brought down.
Obviously there are differences in the arrows marked to claim prey or victims, and items such as cannonballs or bombs which carried symbolic messages, and would be ultimately destroyed themselves....but I thought the idea of personalized and symbolic messaged projectiles or ammunition an interesting aside in our study of the weapons themselves.
Fernando, thank you for the note on the Napoleonic cannonballs, which is indeed an interesting example being marked with his initial. It seems to fall into the category of property or ownership, like U.S. or C.S.A on so many Civil War items (though I'm not aware of ordnance so marked).
Early markings of all types of ordnance in England began with Henry VIII who used the familiar broad arrow, that became distinctive on British military supplies and materials, and I wonder if cannonballs or other materials were so marked.
These are instances that come to mind, and sure would like to hear more on unusually marked ordnance!!
All best regards,