The history and use of broadsides

Possibly the oldest surviving firearm in Europe, the Loshult gun was discovered in by a farmer in a Swedish parish, which the gun is named after.

The history and use of broadsides

Possibly the oldest surviving firearm in Europe, the The history and use of broadsides gun was discovered in by a farmer in a Swedish parish, which the gun is named after. The Loshult gun is dated to the mid 14th century, Loaded with an arrow-like bolt that was probably wrapped in leather to allow greater thrusting power, it was set off through a touch hole with a heated wire.

This weapon, and others similar, were used by both the French and English, during the Hundred Years' Warwhen cannon saw their first real use on the European battlefield. Before the siege of Constantinople, it was known that the Ottomans had the ability to cast medium-sized cannons, but the range of some pieces they were able to field far surpassed the defenders' expectations.

Instrumental to this Ottoman advancement in arms production was a somewhat mysterious figure by the name of Orban Urbana Hungarian though some suggest he was German. Orban then left Constantinople and approached Mehmed IIclaiming that his weapon could blast 'the walls of Babylon itself'.

Given abundant funds and materials, the Hungarian engineer built the gun within three months at Edirnefrom which it was dragged by sixty oxen to Constantinople. In the meantime, Orban also produced other cannons instrumental for the Turkish siege forces. Orban's giant cannon was said to have been accompanied by a crew of 60 oxen and over men.

Consequently, large amounts of gunpowder were needed, to allow them to fire stone balls several hundred yards.

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Henry II of France opted for six sizes of cannon, [42] but others settled for more; the Spanish used twelve sizes, and the English sixteen. Instead of the finely ground powder used by the first bombards, powder was replaced by a "corned" variety of coarse grains.

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This coarse powder had pockets of air between grains, allowing fire to travel through and ignite the entire charge quickly and uniformly. As they were not effective at breaching the newer fortifications resulting from the development of cannon, siege engines —such as siege towers and trebuchets —became less widely used.

However, wooden "battery-towers" took on a similar role as siege towers in the gunpowder age—such as that used at siege of Kazan inwhich could hold ten large-caliber cannon, in addition to 50 lighter pieces. These new defenses became known as " star forts ," after their characteristic shape.

The large Bibi Mariam Cannon used in the Mughal Empire By end of the 15th century, several technological advancements were made, making cannon more mobile. Wheeled gun carriages and trunnions became common, and the invention of the limber further facilitated the transportation of artillery.

The history and use of broadsides

Due to their relatively slow speed, and lack of organization, discipline, and tactics, the combination of pike and shot still dominated the battlefields of Europe.

Mortars were useful for sieges, as they could fire over walls and other defenses. However, setting the bomb fuse in the mortar was a problem.

This practice often resulted in the fuse being blown into the bomb, causing it to blow up in front of the mortar.

The history and use of broadsides

Because of this danger, "double firing" was developed, where the fuse was turned up and the gunner lighted the fuse and the touch hole simultaneously.

This, however, required much skill and timing, and was especially dangerous when the gun failed to fire, leaving a lighted bomb in the barrel.

Not until was it accidentally discovered that double-lighting was a superfluous process: Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden emphasized the use of light cannon and mobility in his army, and created new formations and tactics that revolutionized artillery.

These could be operated by three men, and pulled by only two horses. Also, Adolphus's army was the first to use a special cartridge that contained both powder and shot, which sped up loading, and therefore increased the rate of fire.

Each regiment was assigned two pieces, though he often decided to arrange his artillery into batteriesinstead. These were to decimate the enemy's infantry, while his cavalry outflanked their heavy guns.

Although severely outnumbered, the Swedes were able to fire between three and five times as many volleys of artillery without losing ground, due to their infantry's linear formations. Battered by cannon fire, and low on morale, Tilly's men broke rank, and fled.

Gunners controlled the range of their cannon by measuring the angle of elevation, using a "gunner's quadrant. It was only in the years prior to World War I that new works began to break radically away from his designs.

By the end of the century, principles long adopted in Europe specified the characteristics of the Royal Navy 's cannon, as well as the acceptable defects, and their severity. The United States Navy tested guns by measuring them, firing them two or three times,—termed "proof by powder"—and using pressurized water to detect leaks.

The guns were, therefore, easier to handle, and also required less than half as much gunpowder, allowing fewer men to crew them.A Symbol Primer: The Alphabet of Human Thought Symbols function as an "alphabet of human thought" — a universal means to convey messages without spoken or written words, devoid of educational or language barriers.

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