Ethnographic Arms & Armour
 

Go Back   Ethnographic Arms & Armour > Discussion Forums > European Armoury
User Name
Password
FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 28th October 2013, 05:02 PM   #1
thinreadline
Member
 
thinreadline's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Wirral
Posts: 979
Default cannon ball ID

Can any members help me with any info about this item which I hope is some kind of cannon ball . It weighs 1.1 kg and is about 65 mm in diameter .
Attached Images
    
thinreadline is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28th October 2013, 05:16 PM   #2
fernando
Lead Moderator European Armoury
 
fernando's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Portugal
Posts: 6,660
Default

Sure thing; more precisely a grenade. Cannon balls are solid, grenades are hollow, to be filled with explosives or shrapnel. The loading hole also fits a fuse. Early ones were simply matchcord and later ones were 'inteligent' devices, like detonators and timers.
This one was possibly for a 2 1/2" howitzer.
18th or early 19th century, i would say.
fernando is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28th October 2013, 05:21 PM   #3
thinreadline
Member
 
thinreadline's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Wirral
Posts: 979
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
Sure thing; more precisely a grenade. Cannon balls are solid, grenades are hollow, to be filled with explosives or shrapnel. The loading hole also fits a fuse. Early ones were simply matchcord and later ones were 'inteligent' devices, like detonators and timers.
This one was possibly for a 2 1/2" howitzer.
18th or early 19th century, i would say.

Crikey Fernando , you are fast as lightning .... thank you so much for your rapid reply .... it will go well in my Napoleonic display then . One more question , if this is a grenade for use in a howitzer, how would it differ from a hand thrown grenade ?
thinreadline is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28th October 2013, 05:32 PM   #4
fernando
Lead Moderator European Armoury
 
fernando's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Portugal
Posts: 6,660
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by thinreadline
.... Crikey Fernando , you are fast as lightning...

That's what you will turn into, when you retire

Quote:
Originally Posted by thinreadline
.... it will go well in my Napoleonic display then ...

Yes, quite an indicated match.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thinreadline
.... ...if this is a grenade for use in a howitzer, how would it differ from a hand thrown grenade ?

Completely a different universe; in generation, shape, technology.
But don't be lazy; browse the Net
fernando is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28th October 2013, 05:39 PM   #5
thinreadline
Member
 
thinreadline's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Wirral
Posts: 979
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
That's what you will turn into, when you retire


Yes, quite an indicated match.


Completely a different universe; in generation, shape, technology.
But don't be lazy; browse the Net


Ah but I 'm not retired , any how, I will consider myself told off and go and browse the net. However I have to say that I prefer the wisdom of someone like yourself who I perceive to be an authority , rather than the unsubstantiated stuff one often encounters on the internet !
thinreadline is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28th October 2013, 05:52 PM   #6
fernando
Lead Moderator European Armoury
 
fernando's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Portugal
Posts: 6,660
Default

Man, i know nothing; don't be surprised if someone comes after me and says i am wrong
I am comparing yours to mine; although mine is larger (51/2"), the approach is the same.

.
Attached Images
 
fernando is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28th October 2013, 06:13 PM   #7
fernando
Lead Moderator European Armoury
 
fernando's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Portugal
Posts: 6,660
Default

During your browsing you may find these 'grenade launchers' or 'portable mortars'. They date from the 18th century, but i don't think they are the issue here.


.
Attached Images
 
fernando is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28th October 2013, 06:32 PM   #8
thinreadline
Member
 
thinreadline's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Wirral
Posts: 979
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
During your browsing you may find these 'grenade launchers' or 'portable mortars'. They date from the 18th century, but i don't think they are the issue here.


.



No all your info is much appreciated , its an area I am very ignorant of , I am on safer ground with guns & swords etc !
thinreadline is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 31st October 2013, 10:28 AM   #9
M ELEY
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: NC, U.S.A.
Posts: 1,436
Default

Grenades vs mortar shells...this has always troubled me as well. Per Gilkerson, grenades were rarely smooth and often not even perfectly circular, because they didn't need to fit perfectly in the barrel. Mortar shells were more like solid shot in that they were supposed to be well formed and smooth, at least theoretically. Put one in the ground for a few centuries and it might not be so easy. I have what I think is a grenade in my collection, somewhat between the size bigger than a golf ball, but smaller than a tennis ball. It has a very small 1/4" hole and congealed powder inside. It isn't perfectly round, so I assumed grenade. Problem is, most resources claim grenades are larger than mine and with a bigger fuse hole. Hope to someday find a resource that shows other sizes besides what 'Boarders Away' lists.

Another controversy is with the brass grenade launchers. Some sources say that these rifle types were too short and too thin to be effective as launchers and that these guns were more likely for shooting off flares or fireworks.
M ELEY is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 31st October 2013, 05:42 PM   #10
kronckew
Member
 
kronckew's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: CSA Consulate, Rm. 101, Glos. UK: p.s. - Real Dogs Have Feathering.
Posts: 2,637
Default

do a forum search here on 'mortar shell' and 'hand grenade'

these have been discussed here before. some interesting comments. some even might be mine
kronckew is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 31st October 2013, 07:18 PM   #11
fernando
Lead Moderator European Armoury
 
fernando's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Portugal
Posts: 6,660
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by M ELEY
...Another controversy is with the brass grenade launchers. Some sources say that these rifle types were too short and too thin to be effective as launchers and that these guns were more likely for shooting off flares or fireworks.

Speaking of which ...
This example is in exhibition in the Portuguese Royal Palace of Vila Viçosa armour collection.
For what it is worth, the text says that it is a XVIII century Spanish (?) portable mortar, with a 73 m/m mouth. Cast in bronze, with a chamber of much narrower section, with a support hook in the lower part. Silex lock a la French. It shot 'case' with multiple projectiles. It was used in ships and parapets.

.
Attached Images
 
fernando is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 31st October 2013, 08:05 PM   #12
fernando
Lead Moderator European Armoury
 
fernando's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Portugal
Posts: 6,660
Default Grenade definition

I tell you Mark that i concur with your doubts in this issue and find the definition you quote (Gilkerson) rather hard to digest ... though admiting that such person will be an expert in the matter and i, an ignarus .
I don't see why the distinction between a grenade and a shell would be their outer perfection.
I know that hundreds of 5 1/2" howitzer grenades were shot during the French invasions (1807-1814). I am trying hard to locate the illustration of one of these projectiles. On the other hand, i don't see any reason for the example i have shown above not be one of such things. Most howitzers were mounted in fortification lines around Lisbon and i got this one over there.
Despite its corrosion due to age, it looks rather spherical ... and the fuse hole is pretty narrow.
I would quicker assimilate that the difference between grenades and shells and even between mortars and howitzer typology, resides in their time evolution and origin.
fernando is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 1st November 2013, 02:57 AM   #13
M ELEY
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: NC, U.S.A.
Posts: 1,436
Default

Yes, just one of the many frustrating and foggy areas of naval collecting. I like the bronze gun for the 'Tops'. It would have done well against boarders.
I don't necessarily question Mr. Gilkerson, but I feel that his study concentrated particularly on one country's type of grenado from a specific time period (Great Britiain, ca. 1600-1750-ish). As we've seen on this forum, there were all manner of exploding shells around made in different materials (clay, stone, etc). Perhaps in the future, someone will do a more definitive and specific volume on said lobbed bombards.
Here's mine from an old link. As I said, it's smaller than the examples Gilkerson mentions, bigger than golf ball but smaller than a tennis ball, approx 2 1/4" tall with a hole the size of a garden pea (at this small size, I imagine just enough room for a wick with no inner core, as some do-
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ht=hand+grenade
M ELEY is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 1st November 2013, 03:02 AM   #14
M ELEY
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: NC, U.S.A.
Posts: 1,436
Default

Thanks, Kronckew. Have looked them over again for reference, but you see my point with some of the smaller ordnance. Would a small sphere such as mine more likely be a grenade or a very small mortar shell? Did they make them this small??
M ELEY is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 1st November 2013, 09:29 AM   #15
adrian
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 39
Default

The subject of hand grenades & small common shells is too broad to receive an accurate answer to, various countries altered what they used/did as they progressed & not every country did the same thing etc.

However if you ask about British practice there is quite a bit of information covering approx. 1750 onwards.

Some snippets:

Hand Grenades
Some mention has to be made of the hand grenade. The service grenade was a small hollow sphere of iron, with a single hole in it into which was fitted a beechwood fuse.
The sea service hand grenade was 31/2 inches diameter (actually 3.49 inches), and weighed 3 lb 11 ½ oz. The land service hand grenade was smaller: 2 3/4 inches diameter weighing 1 lb 13 1/2 OZ. These sizes were standard from at least 1755 , to 1790 . The fuse had a burning time of 9 seconds , and was tilled with a mixture of equal parts of mealed powder, saltpetre and sulphur. The hand grenade contained 4 oz. of powder. No record has been found of how useful or efficient they were, but the mere fact that 200 of them were carried in a 74-gun ship in 1765 suggests that plenty of employment was found for them. They were supplied in boxes, 20 grenades to a box; some degree of deterioration in the fuse was anticipated, as 20 were carried, fully fixed, as spares, which assumes a 10% unserviceability rate . As an aside, it is worth mentioning that the French Navy issued practice grenades, made of of papier-máché, but there is no trace of any such device in the Board of Ordnance papers of the British Navy. There was however a hand grenade made of glass, of which examples are in
the Rotunda Museum, Woolwich, but when, where and by whom they were used is uncertain.
Bron;
The Historie of English Sea Ordnance 1523-1875.
Volume I: 1523-1715. The Age of Evolution.
Caruana, Adrian B.


------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

circa 1865 info

Handgrenades.

There are two sizes of Handgrenades - 6 pr for Sea-Service, and 3 pr for Land Service. They are simply small shells - the thickness of metal being 1/7 of the diameter. The fuze hole is small; .677", not tapped or countersunk, but closed up with a Cork and bee’s wax. They are painted Black.
A well trained man can throw a Handgrenade from 28 to 32 yards. They are also used as pound shot for Mortars - as Pierrier charges - and are generally issued empty & loose.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The designation of 3 and 6 pr does not refer to their weight but rather to the size of their shell. It can be appreciated that a land service grenade may be transported quite some distance, before it is thrown at the enemy, hence the preference for a rather small shell. Whilst a naval grenade would, usually, be lobbed on to an enemy ship, and little effort comparatively was required with its transportation. A larger heavier grenade was preferable in these circumstances.

The usage of grenades as pound shot has been explained already, vide page 11. Traditionally the tallest and strongest men were selected and trained to carry and throw grenades. These troops were called grenadiers and were commonplace in the 18th century. By the end of that century this practice was virtually a thing of the past. Although grenadiers continued to be generally selected from the tallest and strongest of recruits they fought as regular line infantry and did not carry grenades. For the next century grenades played a fairly insignificant role until they became established as a significant infantry weapon in WWI. Through this entire period they had remained relatively unchanged and the “new” No. 15 Grenade introduced in 1915, or “cricket ball” grenade as they were known, was virtually the same device as had been in service for the previous 200 years, but with an improved fuze.
Various devices were introduced to increase the range to which grenades could be projected. These varied from flintlock “hand mortars” and flintlock carbine grenade cups of the mid to late 18th century to catapulting devices of several designs used in WWI. The Great War also saw rod grenades that loaded into rifle barrels which in turn were followed by the introduction of quite effective grenade cups attached to SMLE .303 rifles.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Land Service 3pr Grenade. Diameters, max 2.778", min 2.738", mean 2.758". Mean metal thickness .379". Fuze hole dia top .6775", bottom .634". Average weight empty 1 lb 10 oz, filled 1 lb 11 oz 12 dr.

Sea Service 6pr Grenade. Diameters, max 3.496" , min 3.456" , mean 3.476". Mean metal thickness .485" . Fuze hole dia top .6775", bottom .634". Average weight empty 3 lb 9oz, filled 3 lb 13oz.
adrian is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 1st November 2013, 09:45 AM   #16
adrian
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 39
Default

Would a small sphere such as mine more likely be a grenade or a very small mortar shell? Did they make them this small??

The smallest mortar in British service was the Coehorn at 4 2/5 " bore.

However that does not help differentiate between a shell or grenade, a 4pr cannon could fire a shell, as could a 3 pr etc. I would suggest that shells were often used as grenades - hence the British (apologies to the rest of Europe etc for using them as an example all the time) had 3pr grenades (same dia as a 3pr common shell) & 6pr grenades (same dia as 6pr common shell) & eventually grenades were purpose made. Just as solid shot were used for the sport of shot putting, eventually shot puts were purpose made.
(but sometimes still found on e-bay being sold as antique cannon balls....)

In summary, its quite likely that what you have could be both, unless you know its country of origin & investigate their cannon calibres which might narrow that probability down if it is not of a cannon caliber.
adrian is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 1st November 2013, 10:21 AM   #17
M ELEY
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: NC, U.S.A.
Posts: 1,436
Default

Thanks for the great information, Adrian! I was unaware of the different sizes in land use vs naval use grenades. Your point about diferent countries and diferent ordnances matches what I was mentioning and, if nothing more, makes the point that other sizes existed elsewhere. I had thought about the grenade/mortar shell being used for the same purposes and it was nice to have some clarity that they could have been interchangable in earlier times. Thanks again for that reference!
M ELEY is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 1st November 2013, 05:03 PM   #18
fernando
Lead Moderator European Armoury
 
fernando's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Portugal
Posts: 6,660
Default

Great info, Adrian,
Glad to have such material posted here, this time by someone extremely well within the matter.
British standards are quite well for me, for one as, during this period, Portuguese artillery material was much inspired or even provided by Britain.
fernando is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 1st November 2013, 05:34 PM   #19
fernando
Lead Moderator European Armoury
 
fernando's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Portugal
Posts: 6,660
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by M ELEY
... I had thought about the grenade/mortar shell being used for the same purposes and it was nice to have some clarity that they could have been interchangable in earlier times...

Yes, it looks like the distinction between mortars and howitzers is the difference of their trajectory capability rather than the projectiles they used. The same way that cannons could use grenades, as mentioned by Adrian, also howitzers could throw both grenades and shrapnel cases ... and mortars could throw grenades, hot shot, ilumination rounds.
fernando is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd November 2013, 03:30 PM   #20
fernando
Lead Moderator European Armoury
 
fernando's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Portugal
Posts: 6,660
Default

I hope you don't mind the hijacking to your thread, Richmond .

I would say that, one reason for this period grenade fuze holes being larger than others was the need for some to be wide enough to introduce shrapnel, namely (lead) bullets ... resuming that thin holes were to fit simple matchcord and respective grenades to be filled with only gunpowder.

The British introduced the shrapnel grenade in Portugal during the Peninsular War, an invention soon adopted by Portuguese. Apparently Wellington had some doubts about the efficiency of such grenades, on grounds that their projectiles impeled by the bomb explosion didn't have enough velocity to penetrate and kill victims, only injuring them. But he appreciated the use of such shrapnel in heavy cannonry (24 pounder), with visible results in Badajoz.

.
Attached Images
    
fernando is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd November 2013, 04:55 PM   #21
adrian
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 39
Default

I have not heard of shrapnel grenades, however there were of course shrapnel shells as invented by Henry Shrapnel. His shells were called Spherical Case Shot until some years after Shrapnel's death when his family petitioned successfully to have the shell officially renamed as Shrapnel shell, in about circa 1850. They were fired from guns (cannons) & howitzers & were designed to burst just above & ahead of the target, usually massed foot or horse troops. The velocity of the shell was given to the bullets within that shell, the bursting charge therefore needed to be as small as possible, just enough to crack open the shell at the right moment in flight & not enough to scatter the balls which would open up their pattern & lessen their effect. Much experimentation was done in the 1850s to perfect the charge size & its placement for best results.

I do not believe that shrapnel shells were used as grenades as they would not have been explosive enough & grenades worked best with fragmentation of their outer layer. The museum photo would more correctly be described by the British as a "Spherical Case Shot" or "Shrapnel Shell".
Also the Shrapnel Sac shown would be known is a "Grapeshot", and nowadays we call this type a quilted grapeshot.
adrian is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd November 2013, 06:00 PM   #22
fernando
Lead Moderator European Armoury
 
fernando's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Portugal
Posts: 6,660
Default

Besides the poor grade of my empirical translations, very often terms are not strictly translatable to the letter.
In portuguese the term 'shell' doesn't apply to the ammunition universe. We either have 'grenade' or 'bomb' for what this issue matters.
Also the attribution of 'sac', admittedly not being the primary term in artillery lexicon, has its origin in the fact that grapeshot was indeed wrapped in a canvas sac, tightened with string to apply solidity to its contents.
Eventually ammunitions involved in this issue have have somehow different names in portuguese, which creates some difficulty in shifting them to english; grapeshot is called 'bunch' (like for grape bunch) and caseshot is called 'lanterneta' (from lantern).
What i infer from Welington's words is that he preferred (sacs of) musket bullets (sic) being shot directly by cannons than shrapnel being bursted by howitzer, call it shells/grenades/bombs.

.
Attached Images
 
fernando is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd November 2013, 06:50 PM   #23
fernando
Lead Moderator European Armoury
 
fernando's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Portugal
Posts: 6,660
Default

Extract of an original list of war material and diverse equipment that was shipped in "English transport Nr. 533", with destination to the brigades of mobile artillery in campaign (Peninsular war).
We can see 5 1/2 inches howitzer ammo called grenades and caseshot called lanternetas.

.
Attached Images
 
fernando is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24th May 2014, 03:16 PM   #24
Matchlock
(deceased)
 
Matchlock's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Bavaria, Germany - the center of 15th and 16th century gunmaking
Posts: 4,310
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by thinreadline
Crikey Fernando , you are fast as lightning .... thank you so much for your rapid reply .... it will go well in my Napoleonic display then . One more question , if this is a grenade for use in a howitzer, how would it differ from a hand thrown grenade ?



Hi there,

Unfortunately, it was only this morning that I noticed your query.

The piece in question is a cast iron grenade indeed, most probably 18th century, and was fired from a piece of ordnance.

Please also see my thread on incendiary objects and grenades:

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=7085


Best,
Michael

Last edited by Matchlock : 24th May 2014 at 04:34 PM.
Matchlock is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump



All times are GMT. The time now is 04:31 AM.


Powered by: vBulletin Version 3.0.3
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Posts are regarded as being copyrighted by their authors and the act of posting material is deemed to be a granting of an irrevocable nonexclusive license for display here.