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Old 28th December 2008, 03:03 PM   #1
Matchlock
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Default 16th/17th century chain shot

Pic taken at the reseve collection of the Fortress (Feste) Hohensalzburg, Austria in 1987.

Michael
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Old 28th December 2008, 04:06 PM   #2
Pukka Bundook
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I know you are a busy chap, Michael,

But are the indentations in the split shot there to recieve musket balls,...to hold the two halves 'square' 'til they leave the muzzle?

I am a little surprised at the early date for this, having only seen 18th century types, joined with chain as here, or with the bars.

Though designed for taking out rigging, one flying a bit low would certainly take out one's personal 'rigging' in a rather horrendous manner!


Best wishes,

R.
On looking again, I think the 'holes' in one side are in fact studs protruding. Makes much more sense, and answers my dumb question!
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Old 2nd January 2009, 05:25 AM   #3
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Awesome piece, and I am also surprised by the early dating on this piece. True, they could take out rigging, but also personnel. During one of the many wars between Spain and England, one Englsi captain was cut in half by a fired piece of chain-shot. I remember the reference, but not the exact battle. The indented protrusions fit into the depressions just long enough to hold the two halves together prior to firing. Once in the air, they of course separated for maximal damage. Green with envy on this piece...
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Old 2nd January 2009, 01:42 PM   #4
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Regarding the dating, here's some chain and bar shot from a ship which sank in Stockholm somewhere around the late 15th/early 16th century. Picture taken at Stockholm's Medieval Museum.
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Old 2nd January 2009, 06:06 PM   #5
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Very interesting. Kisak, the ship is the Vasa that sunk at 1628. Chainshots (and barshots!) recovered from the Vasa were clearly not a new thing by that period, thus taking the invention a little more back in time. Although no scale or dimensions I assume the chainshots are in between 6 to 8 pounds, check the chains themselves: the one in the 1st pic is significantly longer than the chains from the Vasa, the latter have only 3 links each. The longer the chain - the wider the spread.
The eternal excavations in the city of Acre, Israel, have revealed tons of cannon projectiles from the Napoleon siege of 1799, including chainshots and barshots, but the most common are small solid balls (1/2 & 1 pound) from canister/grape shots.
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Old 3rd January 2009, 03:29 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by broadaxe
Very interesting. Kisak, the ship is the Vasa that sunk at 1628.


No, the ship in question here was a considerably smaller vessel, dated to the late 14th century (the stocks for the four cannons aboard where late 15th though, so it had been around fora while before it sank), which sank between the Old Town and Riddarholmen.
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Old 5th January 2009, 09:01 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pukka Bundook
I know you are a busy chap, Michael,

But are the indentations in the split shot there to recieve musket balls,...to hold the two halves 'square' 'til they leave the muzzle?

I am a little surprised at the early date for this, having only seen 18th century types, joined with chain as here, or with the bars.

Though designed for taking out rigging, one flying a bit low would certainly take out one's personal 'rigging' in a rather horrendous manner!


Best wishes,

R.
On looking again, I think the 'holes' in one side are in fact studs protruding. Makes much more sense, and answers my dumb question!



Hi Richard,

Please forgive my not answering back any earlier.

Your question was not dumb in any way. Your first guess was correct: there are holes and studs respectively to hold the two halves 'square'.

These have been in use since at least the 16th thru the 19th century. They are hard to date but as nothing has been added to the Hohensalzburg armory after the 17th century we have a terminus ante quem.



Best wishes,
m
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Old 7th January 2009, 04:33 PM   #8
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Mark,

I sent you a private message.

Michael
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Old 7th January 2009, 09:39 PM   #9
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Thanks, Michael!
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Old 19th January 2009, 10:09 PM   #10
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Interesting stuff here!! I had heard of all manner of assorted items being fired out of cannon in naval melee's in early battles, and of the chain shot as well. It is interesting to see actual examples as shown by Michael, and those by Kisak.
I am always astounded by the severe damage done by low velocity shot and material, as my limited exposure to understanding ballistics always assumes that the high velocity was essential to carry out the end result. To see an object moving at a speed it could actually be seen moving through the air is surprising that it could sever bodies and so on. Obviously, that was the case, except perhaps when the projectile was well spent.
Many years ago, I found an old account from a grandfather who had fought in the Civil War, when asked if he was ever wounded, as he fought in a well actioned unit in many battles and campaigns. His dry and folksy reply, "..well I got hit by a cannon ball once, but didnt hurt me none". !!

All best regards,
Jim
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