Jump to content

Welcome to Model Ship World
Register now to gain access to all of our features. Once registered and logged in, you will be able to create topics, post replies to existing threads, give reputation to your fellow members, get your own private messenger, post status updates, manage your profile and so much more. If you already have an account, login here - otherwise create an account for free today!
Photo

Cannon Breech Rope Length


  • Please log in to reply
40 replies to this topic

#1
mikiek

mikiek
  • Members
  • 1,040 posts
  • LocationS.E.Texas

I'm putting together the Panart Gun Station kit and got to wondering. Most of the tools used to load a gun are something on a stick and maybe about 4'-5' long. Gun crews were counting on the recoil to get the gun into loading position, and the breech rope to stop it at some point.

 

So how far back would a gun be when the reloading begins? Obviously the answer is however long the breech rope is. It seems like it would have to be pretty far in order to be able to use the tools.

 

I've been trying to find a video or Youtube showing the entire process from loading to firing. And I don't mean the little pop-gun loads - those don't even move the gun half the time.  Not as easy as it sounds.

 

Thanks for any feedback you can provide.


  • thibaultron, Canute and Steve 12345 like this

Sail on......

 

  Mike

 

"Dropped a part? Your foot will always find it before your eyes do"

 

Current Builds:

        US Brig Niagara - Model Shipways - First Build

        Section Deck Between Gun Bays - Panart

 


#2
russ

russ

    Special Contributor

  • SPECIAL CONTRIBUTOR
  • 2,691 posts
  • LocationBiloxi, Mississippi

Mike:

Breechings were about 3 times the length of the gun's bore.

 

Russ


  • mtaylor, davyboy, BANYAN and 2 others like this

#3
allanyed

allanyed

    Special Contributor

  • SPECIAL CONTRIBUTOR
  • 1,129 posts
  • LocationAve Maria, Florida

Mike,

 

I think Russ means the bore length, not the bore :)

 

The handles of the tools had to be long enough to reach into the entire length of the bore plus have enough length for a sailor to hold with two hands.  With the gun run all the way in, there was not enough room to get the tool into the barrel unless it was taken outside the hull, presumably through the gun port.   The sketch describes it better than I can put in words.  The gun has a 9 foot barrel and the beam is 40 feet on a 70 gun ship of 1706.  The handle of a tool is shown extending outboard of the hull.

 

Allan

Attached Thumbnails

  • Gun run in.jpg

Edited by allanyed, 18 December 2016 - 11:56 AM.

  • davec, mtaylor, BANYAN and 4 others like this

Current Builds Litchfield (50) 1730, Effie M. Morrissey  

I can explain it to you but I can't comprehend it for you - Ed Koch, former NYC mayor

 


#4
Robin Lous

Robin Lous
  • Members
  • 465 posts
  • LocationThe Hague, Netherlands

weren't the guns turned to the lenght of the ship to reload?

Seems close to impossible to properly clean the barrel and ram in the next shot otherwise.


Edited by Robin Lous, 18 December 2016 - 12:32 PM.

  • thibaultron and donrobinson like this

WIP Dusek 1:72 Greek Bireme http://modelshipworl...ld/#entry432615

signature01_zpslyvgt3sz.png

 Louie da fly: "I think it requires a special kind of insanity to choose a galley to build a model of."


#5
Kishmul

Kishmul
  • Members
  • 38 posts
  • LocationInchlaggan

Nope, not possible with the weight and trucks (wheels) do not swivel.

The recoil forced the cannon far enough inboard, restrained by the ropes, to clean and reload.


  • mtaylor, davyboy, thibaultron and 3 others like this

#6
jud

jud
  • Members
  • 1,090 posts
  • LocationLexington, Oregon

The object was not to clean, it was to swab with a wet sponge to extinguish any embers and to force out any remaining explosive gasses, then to load, ram, run out, prick and prime. Being forced to stand alongside the barrel to do these things was a safety measure, even used ashore, so there was no difficulty or anything unusual in serving the guns from the sides. If an individual was handicapped, the gun captain would not place that individual in a position to slow or disrupt the working of the gun.

jud

 Greasy hand in RVN

 

DIRECT FROM CEARCLICK 165.1.jpg


Edited by jud, 18 December 2016 - 09:23 PM.

  • mtaylor, BANYAN, thibaultron and 3 others like this

#7
mtaylor

mtaylor

    Bilge Rat

  • SPECIAL CONTRIBUTOR
  • 14,221 posts
  • LocationMedford, OR

Go watch Master and Commander (the battle sequences) for a good idea on how this was done.   Jud, Russ. and Allan gave good info.


  • thibaultron, DaveRow, Canute and 3 others like this

Mark

"The shipwright is slow, but the wood is patient." - me


Current Build:

Licorne - 1755 from Hahn Plans (Scratch) Version 2.0

Past Builds:
Triton Cross-Section
USS Constellaton (kit bashed to 1854 Sloop of War (Gallery) Build Log
Wasa (Gallery)


Member of the Nautical Research Guild


#8
mikiek

mikiek
  • Members
  • 1,040 posts
  • LocationS.E.Texas

OK Allen - you cleared it up for me. I guess they stick the non business end of the tool thru the port as far as needed until they can get the business end into the barrel. Had not thought about the length but you are right. A 9' barrel would require a similarly sized tool.

 

Ahww Mark - you gonna make me go watch my favorite movie again :)


  • mtaylor, thibaultron, Canute and 1 other like this

Sail on......

 

  Mike

 

"Dropped a part? Your foot will always find it before your eyes do"

 

Current Builds:

        US Brig Niagara - Model Shipways - First Build

        Section Deck Between Gun Bays - Panart

 


#9
SpyGlass

SpyGlass
  • Members
  • 1,351 posts

a bit stagey but close  enough to show the basics

 


  • allanyed, mtaylor, Ulises Victoria and 5 others like this

#10
dafi

dafi
  • Members
  • 1,845 posts
  • LocationLudwigsburg Germany

I love the small film of the Constitution, gives a rough idea, but the details - all participants should be keel hauled :-)

 

First, no breech line installed, then too, the gun could be retracted 2 more feet, thous giving a inside clearance for the muzzle. So those two acrobats would not have to sit outside the gun port. Also handling the heavy shot hanging out - possibly dropping it in rougher seas - if one would have the possibility to do this in a safer (for the shot) and faster to handle environment on the inside. 

 

Also the working attitude looks very relaxed ;-) And nice of them turning away from the firing gun - and basically looking at the gun beside that is fired possibly the same moment, jumping exactly onto them. Better move behind the gun, stay clear and a bit more safe. Best to be seen on Master and Commander the bonus disc, were the gun drill for the actors is shown.

 

XXXDAn

 

Victory-Guncrew_1259.jpg

 

Victory-Guncrew_1234.jpg

 

Victory-gunportlids_0325.jpg

 

                                          #1154                         


Edited by dafi, 18 December 2016 - 11:40 PM.

  • allanyed, mtaylor, davyboy and 8 others like this

To victory and beyond! http://modelshipworl...ory-and-beyond/

 

By the Deep 17 http://modelshipworl...-display/page-4

 

SMS Trinkstein http://modelshipworl...navy/#entry3314

 

See also our german forum for Sailing Ship Modeling and History: http://www.segelschiffsmodellbau.com/

 

 

Finest etch parts for HMS Victory 1:100 (Heller Kit) and other useful bits.

http://dafinismus.de/index_en.html

 

Honorary Member of the Tic-Tac-Man-Appreciation-Society


#11
Robin Lous

Robin Lous
  • Members
  • 465 posts
  • LocationThe Hague, Netherlands

Thanks guys! I learned something.  :)

 

Still wondering how much stuff went overboard while doing this while under fire, smoke, stress, waves?

 

"oops...there goes the rammer...sorry!" :P


  • mtaylor, thibaultron, Canute and 1 other like this

WIP Dusek 1:72 Greek Bireme http://modelshipworl...ld/#entry432615

signature01_zpslyvgt3sz.png

 Louie da fly: "I think it requires a special kind of insanity to choose a galley to build a model of."


#12
mikiek

mikiek
  • Members
  • 1,040 posts
  • LocationS.E.Texas

Perhaps you wait for a near miss to knock a big hole in the hull right next to your gun. More clearance and some ventilation. :P

 

I think the general idea (and the piece I was missing) was that someone had to stick the tool out thru the port and THEN into the barrel. I'd still like to know how far then gun recoiled inboard before the breech rope stopped it. Doesn't look like the gun even moved after the shot on the video. I would have expected something a little more violent.


Edited by mikiek, 19 December 2016 - 03:35 AM.

  • thibaultron likes this

Sail on......

 

  Mike

 

"Dropped a part? Your foot will always find it before your eyes do"

 

Current Builds:

        US Brig Niagara - Model Shipways - First Build

        Section Deck Between Gun Bays - Panart

 


#13
piratepete007

piratepete007
  • Members
  • 341 posts
  • LocationAdelaide, South Australia

Special message to 'dafi' who made a post today. I tried sending you a PM but I received a message saying that was not possible. Can you send me a PM so I can respond ? Just need a little assistance from you.

 

Pete


  • thibaultron and Canute like this

#14
Jaager

Jaager
  • Members
  • 492 posts
  • LocationNorfolk VA

I would think that the goal would be to have the recoil be enough for

the gun to be sponged, cleared, loaded, and rammed while inside the

ship.  Plus, anyone outside the ship would make a tempting target for

the Marines of the opposition.  But, since the gun had to bet returned 

to brace the trucks against the spirketting,  it would be inefficient to

have the hauling distance be any more than was necessary.  Keeping

the work of hauling at a minimum and having the load and fire interval

as short as possible -  both important?

 

It seems likely that there were tables giving breach rope length for

each caliber or barrel length of gun.


  • thibaultron and Canute like this

#15
Mark P

Mark P
  • Members
  • 251 posts
  • LocationRutland, England

Hi Gentlemen;

 

Further to Jaager's remark in the previous post,  Adrian Caruana,  who was an expert in smooth-bore artillery,  and had fired many of them experimentally,  wrote an excellent book about 18th century (and another on 17th century) cannons.  This is called 'A History of English Sea Ordnance',  and for those who can get hold of a copy,  it answers most things.  He carried out extensive research into the archives of the Ordnance Board,  which was actually responsible for Naval cannon,  and was nothing to do with the Admiralty or Navy Board (much to the frustration of these bodies)

 

He gives a table dealing with breeching ropes,  and discusses the variations in how they were attached to the cannon's breech,  and ship's side,  over time.  His table gives various measurements from official sources (although there are not many of these)  

 

His conclusion is that the rule quoted near the beginning of this thread (which is taken from Simmons'  'A Sea-Gunner's Vade-Mecum',  published in 1812,  although parts of its descriptions only apply to earlier periods)  that the breeching rope length is 3 x the bore (length) is correct enough.  Although the resulting measurement should be rounded up to the nearest foot.  

 

All the best,

 

Mark P


Edited by Mark P, 19 December 2016 - 06:40 AM.

  • mtaylor, davyboy, dafi and 4 others like this

#16
SpyGlass

SpyGlass
  • Members
  • 1,351 posts

I KNEW I had it all somewhere - here you are chaps have fun 

 

The Sea Gunners Vade Mecum

http://https://books...epage&q&f=false


Edited by SpyGlass, 19 December 2016 - 10:01 AM.

  • davyboy, dafi, druxey and 2 others like this

#17
mikiek

mikiek
  • Members
  • 1,040 posts
  • LocationS.E.Texas

That's a help Mark - and I was mis-reading Russ's post. I think I know the answer to my next question but to be sure. Say the bore length is 8' . 3 x 8 = 24'.  Would the breech line be 24' - from eyebolt in hull, around the rear of the gun, to the hull eyebolt on the other side? Or would total length be 48' - 24' on each side?

 

One last one. I have my gun loaded and ready. Guys use the outhaul to get the barrel out the port. Are the outhaul ropes left taught in the blocks or do they get loosened up before firing?


  • mtaylor, thibaultron and Canute like this

Sail on......

 

  Mike

 

"Dropped a part? Your foot will always find it before your eyes do"

 

Current Builds:

        US Brig Niagara - Model Shipways - First Build

        Section Deck Between Gun Bays - Panart

 


#18
jbshan

jbshan
  • Members
  • 1,130 posts
  • LocationWest Coast of NH

Part of the restraining action after firing is the training tackle having to run through the blocks.

A video of reenactors where the gun doesn't recoil merely indicates there was no ball involved.  Equal and opposite, remember?

For tight quarters they had flexible rammers where the handle was stiff rope.

 

For live fire, try this:

or google vasa cannon.


  • mtaylor, druxey, thibaultron and 2 others like this

#19
Jaager

Jaager
  • Members
  • 492 posts
  • LocationNorfolk VA

Mike,

 

I also see the ambiguity with the breach rope length, but

when thinking about it - do the experiment with the scale

model - if the recoil distance is 24 feet?  Is it so far as to

smash gun crews on the opposite side or roll the gun over

a hatch opening  ( as much as those guns weighed, there is

a chance that only the sea floor would stop it.)

 

The tackle -  left taut - it would slightly restrain and spread out

the recoil stress.  It would also stress the tackle gear and probably

shorten its working life.  In the ciaos of battle - I wonder if fingers

could be lost if the gun were fired before crewman loosening the gear 

finished.


  • thibaultron and Canute like this

#20
jud

jud
  • Members
  • 1,090 posts
  • LocationLexington, Oregon

The tackles left to run would act as a shock absorber, and a good one, as anyone who has pulled blocks apart  have discovered. I suspect that the breaching ropes were there as an emergency stop and never intended to bring the gun to a sudden stop. To service the gun, the rear set of blocks were probably used to pull and hold the gun at the limits of the breaching ropes until it was time to return the gun to battery. Any mass like a gun and carriage brought to a sudden stop would cause damage, experience would have taught even those uneducated seamen that, and they would have quickly  done something to prevent it.

jud


  • mtaylor, thibaultron, Canute and 1 other like this




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users

Welcome GUEST to the Model Ship World Community.
Please LOGIN or REGISTER to use all of our feautures.