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Login Name Post: Naval Cannons        (Topic#307330)
Artificer 
Cannon
Posts: 7378
06-08-18 11:35 PM - Post#1688971    

    In response to tenngun

Don't forget the prize money that crews earned in both war and peace time, though it was harder to earn prize money in peace time outside capturing pirate ships or slave ships - after slavery was outlawed.

There were many British Frigate Captains who refused promotion because they made fortunes capturing prize ships.

Gus

 
tenngun 
Cannon
Posts: 7575
tenngun
06-09-18 02:00 PM - Post#1689038    

    In response to Artificer

And crews too. The great mutiny of 1797 wasn’t about food or flogging, it was about pay.
Oversimplification for sure but that’s pretty much the universal beef.

 
crockett 
Cannon
Posts: 6325
06-10-18 12:46 PM - Post#1689181    

    In response to tenngun

I got interested in this by reading Ships and Seamen of the American Revolution by Jack Coggins. There is a lot on the weapons and tactics. From the book, it seems a lit match was kept near the cannon. I could not quite understand the priming unless the gunner had a small powder horn used to fill a priming area on the cannon.


 
tenngun 
Cannon
Posts: 7575
tenngun
06-11-18 12:23 PM - Post#1689300    

    In response to crockett

The guncaptian kept a horn at his side for priming. The loading exercises called for priming after the gun was run out.

 
crockett 
Cannon
Posts: 6325
06-12-18 10:13 AM - Post#1689424    

    In response to tenngun

So some guns being fired, others being reloaded, lighted matches, powder horns, some gun crews injured from enemy fire, black powder smoke all over the place, the waves knocking around, and somebody trying to sail the boat!
And that lower deck- only about 5' of headroom.
Good golly Miss Molly.

 
Artificer 
Cannon
Posts: 7378
06-12-18 01:38 PM - Post#1689451    

    In response to crockett

The Gun Captains' Powder Horns were about the size or a little larger than FIW period horns. They often to usually had threaded butt cap plugs to refill the horns and very commonly had some kind of metal snout with a spring loaded closure for safety. Finally they often had some kind of staple behind the snout that along with the threaded plug, were used to suspend the horns in storage. I've seen some of these original horns erroneously described as "storage horns" in the past.

Gus

 
crockett 
Cannon
Posts: 6325
06-20-18 09:17 AM - Post#1690490    

    In response to Artificer

Just finished another book on Trafalgar. Boy I thought it was "The Navy gets the Gravy and the army gets the beans" but this book describes the battle in detail. A cannon ball would burst through the hull spending wood splinters everywhere, the splinters killing people.
Any reason the cannon balls were iron instead of lead?

 
Artificer 
Cannon
Posts: 7378
06-20-18 12:17 PM - Post#1690529    

    In response to crockett

  • crockett Said:

Any reason the cannon balls were iron instead of lead?



One reason was cost, Iron was a LOT less expensive than lead due to the weight.

Weights of Various Metals in Pounds Per *Cubic Foot
Iron, Cast Grey 442.00
Lead 707.96

However, the main reasons were Iron made the most accurate projectile with less powder to send it long distance, due to higher velocity from the lower weight of Iron. Iron Cannon Balls also were easily cast vs chipping out Stone Cannon Balls to size and so replaced stone balls for use against Stone Castles/Forts in the late 17th century. Iron worked as well to batter the wooden hulls of opposing ships, or fixed emplacements, and as a long-range anti-personnel weapon.

BTW, the Mexican Field Artillery in the Mexican War used Brass Cannon Balls, because it was cheaper for them than Iron. Though Brass was not quite as expensive, it still worked well enough for them - and this information came after modern trials with both Brass and Iron Cannon Balls in period Cannon.

Gee, haven't had to put on my Ordnance Officer Hat for Artillery, for the past 25 years.

Gus


 
Artificer 
Cannon
Posts: 7378
06-20-18 12:58 PM - Post#1690535    

    In response to Artificer

Oops, forgot one. Iron Cannon Balls could be reused if fired as an anti-personnel round and if it did not hit something hard enough to deform it.

However, the soldiers had to be taught that even though they could see the cannon balls bounce along the ground, they had best not try to catch them or they lost a hand, arm, foot or leg.

Gus

 
tenngun 
Cannon
Posts: 7575
tenngun
06-20-18 01:47 PM - Post#1690539    

    In response to crockett

There were times when crews were hit pretty hard. The Constitution and United States Victory over British Frigats did inflict near 50% causulties, and Victory crossing Redoubtable stern inflicted 2/3 causulties. However in general war ships didn’t get the causulties that infantry did. Cannon were knocked, out steering shot away, and dismasted, put ships in to positions they could no longer fight. This led to the ship striking more often then crew loss.

 
Smokey Plainsman 
45 Cal.
Posts: 853
06-20-18 08:59 PM - Post#1690586    

    In response to tenngun

I can't imagine what it must have felt like if an individual sailor got hit with one of those cannon balls... ouch!!

 
Rifleman1776 
Cannon
Posts: 14421
Rifleman1776
06-21-18 08:31 AM - Post#1690631    

    In response to Smokey Plainsman

  • Smokey Plainsman Said:
I can't imagine what it must have felt like if an individual sailor got hit with one of those cannon balls... ouch!!



I imagine one would never realize being hit with a cannon ball. Death would probably be instant. The horror on a ship came from flying chunks of wood. Some hideous injuries, lots of amputations, decks ran red with blood.

 
Col. Batguano 
69 Cal.
Posts: 3059
07-16-18 02:38 PM - Post#1693807    

    In response to crockett

Iron balls lent themselves better to being cast as hollow balls for the purposes of fused shells as well. Iron will shatter in to shrapnel better than lead as well. It would be interesting to know the differences in ballistic coefficient of a 32 pound iron ball vs. a 32 pound lead one though. You have to also remember that the actual SIZE of the hole mattered too, particularly when it came to naval cannons--more splinters to cause casualties.

 
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