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Old 25th April 2011, 08:29 PM   #1
Per Lillelund Jensen
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Default Vast amount of early 16th.c lead shot found in Denmark

Hi there this is my first post on this great forum. I found this forum only days ago while searching info on the internet on early 16th.century firearms and artillery... Ohe boy did i find what i looked for and much more, what a great forum.

While my primary interest is late medieval and early 16th.c European armour, late 15th italian armour in particular, i have for many years been involved in researching a Danish castle that in the middelages belonged to a bishop.

The castle was besieged twice in the early 16th.c in 1523 and again in 1535.

Danish metal detectors enthusiast have over the last year found more than 700 lead shot in the fields surrounding the castle. Estimated that approx 95% stems from these two sieges. Together with the lead shots have some cast iron balls and some stone balls been found.

Very interesting is the lead shots for small caliber cannons, with iron or stone core. With a cal. of 45-47mm.

HagebÝsse/Hagenbusse shot in cal. from 10/11mm and up to 20/21mm.

Some very small lead balls with a diameter from 6,3-9mm confuses me? could it be from some form of canister or grapeshot??

Some of the shots still retain that little tap from when they where cast.

Shown on attached images is only a small portion of the over 700 shots found so far. Many of the shots is only fragments or deformed on impact. Most of them is believed to have been shot from the castle at the besiegers. When i get a chance to examine the rest in the near future, i might post a update if something interesting is found.

Regards

Per Lillelund
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Old 26th April 2011, 06:06 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forums Per .
An interesting assortment .

Rick
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Old 26th April 2011, 07:04 PM   #3
fernando
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Welcome to the forums, Per.
Interesting question on the tiny lead balls. Wasn't that period a bit too early for the use of canister or grapeshot ?
... Why not "shoulder arm" (haquebut or handgonne) ammunition ?
Let's see what the masters say about this .
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Old 27th April 2011, 01:35 PM   #4
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Thanks for the welcome guys, yes i was hoping Mr."Matchlock" would join the discussion, i am sure he could give some information on the matter.

An inventory from the castle survive from the year 1536, the year after the castle was besieged. It shows that the castle was crammed with firepower.
Some 36 arcubusses or hookguns and 17 cannons of various caliber, some very large indeed. And many of them cast i bronce.

Regarding canister: I know of the "Riddarholm ship" found in Stockholm. A ship sunk i the harbour contaning canons, of wish one of them still had a grapeshot canister in the barrel.

regards
Per Lillelund
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Old 28th April 2011, 01:26 PM   #5
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Hi Per,
When did Riddarholm ship sink?
Actually we can read that cannister shot was used during the thirty years war, when Swedish King Gustavus launched his tactical innovations in the battle of Breitenfeld 1631.

" ... Along the same line of rate of fire thinking, he also placed small cannons, or so called infantry guns among the units. These were mobile, lightweight three-pound brass cannon, by some called the first field artillery. Loaded with canister or grapeshot, they were devastating, like huge shotguns capable of gutting an opponent's formations ..."

This is an interesting reality as, if you browse the Net or consult 'common' artillery books on this type of shot, you will find that the current coment is that cannister (case) and grapeshot were widely used during the 18-19th centuries.

On the other hand, there is an early codex (14th century?) in the Paris National Library, with a drawing showing a mounted man (Eques sclopitaris)firing two projectiles in a simultaneous manner, from his handgun (sclopitus or scopitus). Somewhere in this forum there is a thread where this situation is quoted (Michl-Matchlock either the author or involved in it), with a picture most probably larger and better than this one shown here:


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Old 28th April 2011, 11:25 PM   #6
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Hi Fernando
The Ridderholms ship: i dont have the book handy here, but its a late 15th.century ship. The cannon is typical forged construction with chamber in the back. It could have sunk in the early 16th.c.

The Canister: Maybe its just my bad english. The barrel holds a wooden container, a sort of kartesche full of flint pieces/stones.

The very small leadshot from the castle findings (6mm) is just an enigma to me, thats why i thought of maybe a kartesche?? hope someone here can shed light on it.

Also i dont know how common findings of medieval and early 16th .c lead balls is??

Regards
Per
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Old 29th April 2011, 04:49 PM   #7
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By the way Per,
Have you followed this thread?

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=13586
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Old 30th April 2011, 01:03 PM   #8
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Here is a pic of some of the canisters from the shipwreck outside of Riddarholmen. Taken at the Medieval Museum in Stockholm.
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Old 1st May 2011, 02:05 PM   #9
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Fascinating !
Thanks for the accurate pictures, Kisak
So they were conical ?
The ammunition looks like stone fragments ?!
How did these devices keep their direction?
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Old 1st May 2011, 06:53 PM   #10
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They were indeed conical, and filled with sharp shards of flint. According to the museum description the idea was for the wooden canister to remain in one piece during the flight, and then shatter as it hit, sending the stone shards flying all over the place. I would guess that accuracy and effective range were both quite poor.

The pictures here show one of the cannons from the wreck. They also had another similar cannon on display from the same wreck, with the same stock, breech-loading, and rack of spare chambers as this one, but with a smaller calibre. The fourth picture shows some chain and bar shot, also from the same wreck.
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Old 1st May 2011, 07:12 PM   #11
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Excelent info and pictures, Kisak.
Thanks for sharing them.
(Oh, i love these cannons )
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Old 21st May 2011, 05:11 PM   #12
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[QUOTE=Per Lillelund Jensen
Very interesting is the lead shots for small caliber cannons, with iron or stone core. With a cal. of 45-47mm.

HagebÝsse/Hagenbusse shot in cal. from 10/11mm and up to 20/21mm.

Some very small lead balls with a diameter from 6,3-9mm confuses me? could it be from some form of canister or grapeshot??

Some of the shots still retain that little tap from when they where cast.

Shown on attached images is only a small portion of the over 700 shots found so far. Many of the shots is only fragments or deformed on impact. Most of them is believed to have been shot from the castle at the besiegers. When i get a chance to examine the rest in the near future, i might post a update if something interesting is found.

Regards

Per Lillelund[/QUOTE]


Hi Per and a rather late welcome to the community!

My computer was down for some five weeks so I could not reply any earlier.

Personally I tend to believe that the smallest lead balls actually were used as shot, firing a number of them at once in order to increase the effect. On the other hand, small caliber arquebuses (handguns) of ca. 9-11 mm were quite commonly in use in the 15h and early 16th centuries. Haquebuts (hagebosse) normally had calibers ranging from ca. 20-30 mm. All the bigger caliber balls should be assigned to lighter pieces of cannon.

Do you have more images, and in what museum are the objects?

Please do keep us updated on this interesting but seldom documented topic!


Finally, like 'Nando, I 'd like to recommend the following related link:

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=13586

Best,
Michael
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Old 10th June 2011, 07:23 PM   #13
Per Lillelund Jensen
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Hi Michael and thanks

Unfortunately i haven't had time yet to go and examine the rest of the found lead-balls, but these approx. 700 lead-shot is found this last year(2010) Last month another 60 was found. Apart from lead-balls, hundreds if not over a thousand other findings has turned up. Medieval coins, bronze seal (signet) and all kind of every day life objects. Surprisingly no crossbow bolt-heads has been found so far.

Some years ago, i found on the castle grounds some forgotten cannonballs, that amazingly enough have been lying arounds in the vegetation's since 1535. 2 large cast iron cannons balls and 2 stone balls. The largest of the stones and the largest of the iron-balls both are Kartove kloder/Karthunen with a diameter from 20- 25cm and the iron one weigh around 36kg

Its known from historical sources that the besiegers i 1535 had brought 10 kartover/karthunen with them from Copenhagen to blast the castle with.
And they did for several months. Near 2000 german landsknecth and an army of citizen and peasantry under the comand of Graf Johan von Hoya besieged it and tried to take with storm several times, all in vain. The castle was impregnable.

Most interesting is a Inventory of the castle the year after the siege (august 1536) when the king took control over the castle. It list all the various cannons (17) and 32 hagebÝsser of various types.


Attached is a mid 17th.c illustration of the castle and some photos of the cannonballs.

I will return with more photos of the leadshot when i have them.

Best
Per
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Old 11th June 2011, 07:45 AM   #14
Per Lillelund Jensen
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Ohe forgot to attach the image of the Castle.

Michael the lead balls are not residing in a permanent museum collection yet. they are for now stored at a local museum, who has to inspect them. But i hope the museum again turn most, if not all of them over to the castle again, to be displayed there.

Best

Per L
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Old 11th June 2011, 05:06 PM   #15
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Thank you so much, Per!

Best,
Michael
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