Cartridges/quick loads ca. 1600-1700?

Discussion in 'Early Colonial Wars, Musketeers & Pirates' started by hyuzu, Sep 8, 2019.

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  1. Sep 8, 2019 #1

    hyuzu

    hyuzu

    hyuzu

    40 cal - b

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    What sort of cartridges/quick load devices were Europeans using during this period? In Japan there were the hayago, small wooden tubes containing wad, a measured charge of powder, and the ball stuck in one end. The gunner would open the tube, pour the powder down the muzzle, and then ram the ball and wad into the gun through the tube.

    Was there any European equivalent to this in the 1600s? I've heard mentions of the so-called "twelve apostles" bandolier system containing measured powder charges, but I've seen some debate online about whether that was actually used. I also haven't seen mention of these "apostles" containing the ball and wad, only powder.
     
  2. Sep 9, 2019 #2

    DaveC

    DaveC

    DaveC

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    Certainly small wooden bottles or cartridge tubes were worn suspended from a baldric or bandolier. Loose powder in a flask, "estuche" or similar container was also carried, as were shot pouches or bags. Most, if not all, Japanese matchlock musket accoutrements were at least derived initially from Portuguese examples.

    It is typically argued that the use of paper cartridges was started during the Thirty Years' War during the period when Gustavus Adolphus was the self-derogated defender of Protestantism against the Imperial/ Catholic forces. There is some indication that in the New World possessions of Spain, wooden tubes holding powder and ball were used with wooden cartridge blocks. I should think that some books on pike and matchlock tactics would have information about the muskets? Certainly there are a number of old books on matchlock musketry that were published during the period.
     
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  3. Sep 9, 2019 #3

    hyuzu

    hyuzu

    hyuzu

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    What were the flasks normally made from in this period? And was there any standard or common number of cartridge tubes/bottles on these bandoliers? Were the "12 apostles" a standard?

    Certainly, considering they introduced the guns in the first place. :p
    Did the Portuguese have a version of the hayago then? I admit I'm no expert, but I hadn't heard of anything like that in Europe, where powder, ball, and wad were all contained within the same unit. Would be interesting to know about it.

    I had heard similar. It seemed, from my reading, that by at least the second quarter of the 17th century paper cartridges were known in Europe.

    Very interesting, I hadn't heard of that before. I'll have to see if I can find any info on that...

    Most probably. My book budget is a bit tight at the moment, but I do have a couple on my list which may have info. Maybe our experts here would know if they're accurate re: this subject...

    Matchlock Musketeer 1588-1688, Osprey Publishing
    Pike and Shot Tactics 1590-1660, Osprey Publishing
     
  4. Sep 9, 2019 #4

    Zonie

    Zonie

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    Some interesting information from the book, "Arms and Armor in Colonial America1526-1783" copyright 1956 by Harold L. Peterson.

    (p57-58) "The greatest evolution connected with ammunition, however, is to be found in the methods of carrying and using it. In this aspect is found the transition from flask to bandolier to cartridge box...
    In the early 16th century, when De Soto's men came to America the powder flask and bullet bag were the principal means of carrying ammunition. These powder flasks were usually made of wood, covered with leather and bound with iron. The earliest flasks had nozzles closed by a simple stopper, but probably during De Soto's time and certainly by 1550 three varieties of spring closures had been developed..."

    (p60) "There were, of course, many other types of flask in addition to the usual military

    variety. Many materials, including horn, shell, ivory, leather and metal were utilized, and many designs and mechanisms were employed..."

    "During the very early 1500's, when serpentine powder was used for both the propelling and the priming charges, only one flask was used. Later, two flasks were often carried, a large one containing corned powder for the propellant and a small one holding the
    serpentine powder for priming. Thus, Don Luis de Velasco speaks of his "three wheel lock arquebuses with their large and small powder horns." which he took with him to New Mexico in 1597..."

    (p61) "Another means of carrying ammunition which was popular for a time in America was the bandolier. This device consisted of a leather strap or baldrick from which were suspended a number of cylinders, each of which contained sufficient powder for one
    charge. These cylinders varied in number, although twelve was about average, and they were made of several different materials. Wood was probably most popular, but copper, tin, pewter, and jacked leather were also used. The bandolier is generally believed to have been developed in the Low Countries during the first half of the 16th century. From there it spread rapidly throughout western Europe except in Spain, where it apparently was viewed with little favor. With the bandolier, it was customary to carry a priming flask and a bullet pouch.
    References to the bandolier in America do not appear until the 17th century. There is no reference to them in the unusually complete inventories of the Spanish forts in Florida...
    The records of the French colony in Florida are equally silent, and Le Moyne's pictures illustrate flasks only."

    (p62) "With the arrival of the English settlers at Jamestown and the Dutch and Swedish settlements along the coast, the listings of bandoliers become even more frequent."

    "Before they left England, the settlers of the Massachusetts Bay Colony wrote a contract with John Gace of London for forty bandoliers. This contact contains considerable detail covering the construction and appearance of the bandoliers which these colonists brought with them...

    "Agreed wth John Gace, of London, turner, for 40 bandeleers, neates lether, broad girdles, ech wth 12 chargs, wt of one a priming bx x of wood, covered wth black lether, at 2 s a peece, to bee dd next [weeke]: the boxes to bee for bastard muskett sise, excepting 10 for full mus [ketts], and these to be marked M., the other for bast musketts B."

    (p61-63) "Despite their apparent advantages, bandoliers suffered from several serious defects which did much to undermine their popularity and make their period of popularity relatively short. Lord Orrery, one of the outstanding military writers of the 17th century, analyzed these shortcomings in detail:

    "Besides, I have often seen much prejudice in the use of bandoleers, which being worn in the belts for them, above the soldiers' coats, are often apt to take fire, especially if the matchlock musket be used: and when they take fire, they commonly wound and often kill
    him that wears them and those near him: for likely if one bandeleer take fire, all the rest do in that collar: they often tangle those which use them on service, when they have fired, and on falling off by the flanks of the files of the intervals, to get into the rear to charge again..."

    "The device that appeared to supplant the bandolier in America after less than half a century of popularity was the paper cartridge. This innovation was developed in Europe sometime during the second half of the 16th century. The first cartridges were simply individual charges of powder rolled in paper tubes. the balls were still carried in the pouch.... By the end of the century, however, a means of attaching the ball had been devised. This was done by tying one end of the paper tube to the sprue which was left when the ball was cast or to a special flange which was sometimes added to the ball..."
     
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