Originally Posted by fernando
Jim, in a way i am glad that you are no expert in both artillery dynamics and photography ... for obvious reasons.
If you cared for the details narrated here on the effects of (solid shot) artillery, you wouldn't be surprised that a mid size cannon ball can penetrate a lamp post ... naturally a hollow one, as they all used to be. Neither would we be surprised that the post did not collapse because, being made of some sort of cast iron, would not bend.
Two reasons would explain the impressive quantity of holes in the post. Considering that the rioters had been equipped with nine cannons, after a few hours the number of volleys shot in the same direction would be fairly numerous, those shots on the post not being so implausible. Besides, this was an encounter between nationals; they would either avoid to aim at their keen with precision or, as untrained civilians, didn't have the ability to aim correctly at the target ... adding that the avenue where they were firing from (Liberdade) is rather inclined, a good reason to explain the high aiming.
One last reason to rely on the veracity of this photo is that, in a tiny country like Portugal, there is no Times magazine with their bucks or enough audience to justify a photographer to make up such a fantasy.
And by the way, i don't discern in the picture any background behind the crowd to check for collateral damage in the architecture.
To say that, the only unnatural fact i would admit, is that the (unknown) photographer invited those people to gather behind the post for an historic portrait.
I do appreciate this thorough elucidation as well as Davids keen and experienced insight into photojournalism. In studying the historic aspects of arms and armor, in many cases we do have to rely on photographic evidence obviously in more recent (1850s +) instances. In this the skills used in 'historical detection' are used in evaluating images as you guys have described. Most interesting.
I think, in a way, what is most notable or memorable in the well riddled lamp post photo, is as I have mentioned, the extremely well placed penetrations. These hollow steel fluted posts would not, as mentioned, be terribly thick, so the holes do seem logical.
What I meant by 'collateral damage' is the building walls behind the post, which do not seem (to me) to reflect any damage from these solid shots, while the targeted lamp post has seemingly the entire brunt of the barrage. In most cases with photo images of streets where gunfire or especially heavy rounds in any size of ordnance I have seen, there are chunks of walls and sculptured trim or figures blown off.
Just sayin' 'good shootin'.....fire for effect!
What is impressive is that I had always thought there was a modicum of specialized skill in firing artillery, so having such persons among a crowd of rioting people is remarkable. That indeed makes the outcome here 'historic' and the 'target' pole good evidence of such proficiency .