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Old 8th April 2012, 06:28 PM   #1
Matchlock
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Default An Early 15th C. Handgonne

The characteristically short two-stage barrel, with round forward stage and pronouncedly reinforced octagonal breech, late 14th century, ca. 1380-90, the staged figured stock probably early 15th c.
In the Historic Museum Moscow.

http://books.google.de/books?id=gUz...0barrel&f=false
The article originally published within the Osprey Book series, Medieval Russian Armies 1200-1500. Please see further attachments.

Best,
Michael
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Last edited by Matchlock : 9th April 2012 at 12:28 AM.
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Old 8th April 2012, 09:09 PM   #2
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Please cf. a similar small octagonal wrought-iron barrel, ca. 1390-1410, in my collection, retaining one of its originally two iron rings with remains of nails for fastening to a tiller stock.

Best,
Michael
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Old 8th April 2012, 09:43 PM   #3
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Look at me ... trying to put up a different setup ... but with a somewhat similar cannon ... right Michl ?

.
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Old 8th April 2012, 10:13 PM   #4
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Hi 'Nando,


I of course knew that this existed but thanks for the good new images!

Just in case they are available in higher resolution, please mail them - including the measurements! Thanks anyway, my friend!

Yes, your piece is actually the only seemingly existing - at least the only I have noticed within more than 30 years of closest possible investigation - to come to my knowledge, apart from the one mounted in the famous earliest Berne gun (attached once more) the stock of which seems more or less contemporary, with the hook obviously being a post-ca. 1430's addition. So, all recorded samples included, there seem to still exist ten woldwide at best!

What, apart from their general appearances, is an extremely early feature in both our barrels (at least in my humble eyes as I remember you gave me the honor to explain years ago ) is the fact that the back-breech area is still remarkably long before the smith actually dared strike thru the touch hole. This reflects the earliest gunners' basic fear of the piece exploding.

In my experience, this is one of the earliest criteria of defining the highly important, as obviously totally unrecorded, development after the Loshult gun and my Aljubarrota barrel. The latest, in other words most 'modern', criterion after my still all round Aljubarrota barrel is that the general appearance is now octagonal, meaning Gothic, throughout.
The earliest High-Gothic stylistic criteria are in my opinion the facts that these ca. 1400 barrels are
- octagonal
- and that their flats are of alternatingly irregular width.

In contrast, the few earlier known barrels all seem to follow the obsolete Romanic style scheme of round sectioning throughout.
For such a very rare earliest barrel made of wound banded iron, please see
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ight=handgonnes

Please remember that the color image of the Berne gun attached was taken by the Historisches Museum Bern on special order by me and they charged me a horrid sum for this single image, so please respect my rights. Thank you! The gun has not been on display or accessible to anybody since at least the 1960's.

The measurements and b/w photos scanned from Wegeli's 1949 inventory.

None of the photos or line drawings sadly shows the position of the touch hole which is most important for assigning its early date but the 1948 description given by Rudolf Wegeli luckily records that it is located 3 cm in front of the rear end of the barrel, which is a bit less than is the case on both 'Nando's and my barrels.

I should add that the bore of my barrel, as shown in the photos, has definitely got drilled out at some later time during its working life; the last photo in the foregoing post depicts where the center of the drill entered the bottom of the breech.
The description of the Berne sample does not mention this important question but telling by the cross-section line drawing of the conical 'bore', notably widening towards the muzzle, we may assume that it has survived 'untouched', just the way the barrel smith folded the barrel around a conical core some 600 years ago.

I am most curious to see more of the bore walls and inside bottom of your piece, 'Nando!

Another similar handgonne barrel, more or less contemporary, attached below, is in the Musée de l'Armée Paris. One last small Steinbüchse firing lime stone balls, round and with small breech but wide bore, contemporary but somewhat larger, attached at bottom, and retaining its original stock, is also in Paris.

A more staged and notably larger but similar late Stein- or earliest Bleibüchse (firing the first lead balls) in the Esterhazy arsenal at Burg Forchtenstein, notably larger and of early-15th c. date, is the latest attached here.
Its general appearance is quite close to the Russian sample discussed in the beginning.
Its measurements are:
overall length 37.5 cm
maximum outer diameter 13.7 x 14.6 cm
bore 50 mmm, given +/- ca. 5 mm of internal roughness
bore length 6 balls of bore diameter
weight 17.5 kg
All data from a DWJ (Deutsches Waffenjournal, periodical, Schwäbisch Hall) article published in June 1998.


Best,
Michl
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Last edited by Matchlock : 9th April 2012 at 12:48 PM.
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Old 9th April 2012, 02:09 AM   #5
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I should mention that in the aforementioned French museum of Castelnaud there are three more early wrought-iron barrels, two of them of relatively large and heavy dimensions, mid-15th c., and comparable to two heavy pieces in my collection:

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ht+iron+barrels

Please note that the term 'petards' assigned by the museum is not correct; petards were actually installed to blast fortified places, e.g. their gates.

I will once more post photos of my related pieces, mid-15th c. and ca. 1480 respectively.



The third however, quite small, obviously octagonal and with alternatingly wide flats, the breech seemingly struck with a mark, seems quite close in period to our barrrels of ca. 1400 discussed here.

Best,
Michael
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Last edited by Matchlock : 9th April 2012 at 12:52 PM.
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Old 9th April 2012, 01:28 PM   #6
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Now here are my two early large and heavy wrought-iron barrels, the smaller ca. 1450, the larger with the smaller but pronouncedly molded touch hole ca. 1480.
Originally they were probably parts of a large multi-barrel gun arrangement, possibly a rotating roundel designed to fire in all directions. As we know from various sources of period artwork they were widely in use during the 15th century.

The older and smaller barrel is 36.6 cm long and has an irregular 'bore' of ca. 34.2 cm, weighing 9 kg;
the heavy guy is 36.6 cm long, has inner barrel walls of very irregular diameter, ca. 35.8 x 37.2 cm, which were formed by forging and coarsely 'folding' the barrel around a core; it weighs more than 16 kg.
Of course these 'bores' could not receive balls of standard or 'fitting' caliber; they had to be loaded with shot, most probably consisting of a number of smaller balls packed in a linen sack.

The smaller barrel is struck over the breech with some interesting Gothic-cypher like devices, possibly a pseudo-date struck by an illiterate smith or a numbering, a cross symbol and three circles, while the larger barrel is struck with a Gothic minuscule P mark, possibly that of the famous Peter Pögl, who worked for the armories of the then King Maximilian.

Best, Michael
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Old 9th April 2012, 02:52 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matchlock
... Just in case they are available in higher resolution, please mail them - including the measurements ...

No big deal: after all, you are the "menthor" of this cannon
Have just emailed you new pictures; taken with both my own & my modest camerabilities .
Measurements:
Length - 23 cms.
Width at base - 8,7 cms.
Width at top - 7,4 cms.
Base thickness (before touch hole) - 8 cms.
Caliber - 33 m/m.
Weight - 7,7 Kg.

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Old 9th April 2012, 07:26 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matchlock
Hi 'Nando,


I should add that the bore of my barrel, as shown in the photos, has definitely got drilled out at some later time during its working life; the last photo in the foregoing post depicts where the center of the drill entered the bottom of the breech.

I am most curious to see more of the bore walls and inside bottom of your piece, 'Nando!


Best,
Michl



Thanks a lot once more, 'Nando,

And for considering this special request as well!

Your barrel is much more impressive by dimensions than mine and that in Berne.

Best,
Michl
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Old 11th April 2012, 06:32 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matchlock
The characteristically short two-stage barrel, with round forward stage and pronouncedly reinforced octagonal breech, late 14th century, ca. 1380-90, the staged figured stock probably early 15th c.
In the Historic Museum Moscow.

http://books.google.de/books?id=gUz...0barrel&f=false
The article originally published within the Osprey Book series, Medieval Russian Armies 1200-1500. Please see further attachments.

Best,
Michael

I know this beautiful russian handgonne (пищаль). The caliber of this is 31 mm. the barrel length is 230 mm. The length of the stock is 1300 mm. The bore is a slightly expanded from rear to front side and it has irregular structure inside. Unfortunately, this showpiece has been stolen from the museum
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Old 13th April 2012, 08:36 PM   #10
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Thank you, Alexender,

Could you please post the link to the images you found, or mail me a higher-rz image?

Best,
Michael
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Old 15th April 2012, 04:45 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matchlock
Thank you, Alexender,

Could you please post the link to the images you found, or mail me a higher-rz image?

Best,
Michael

Hello, Michael! Of course, I can. I have send pdf book on your email.
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Old 15th April 2012, 07:02 PM   #12
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Received!

Thank you so much!

Best,
Michael
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Old 15th April 2012, 09:51 PM   #13
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