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Have looked up all my books and as much I could the internet, but it seems to be a secret!


The effective  range of those cannons I assume it had to be ca 600-800 m for the 12lb and 400-600 for the 6lb.


I would appreciate any help. 

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Tough question to say the least.   The best answer I've found is here:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naval_artillery    About halfway down the page is a table. 


The problem is that wind, waves, etc. could impact the range and accuracy as well as the age and condition of the gunpowder.   Wear on the barrels and the degree of precision or lack there of during casting usually meant that the bores were never exact and thus the "windage" varied or the space between the cannon shot and the barrel.  


Which probably leads us to how far apart the ships were in battle?  From accounts, they could be practically muzzle-to-muzzle or at the maximum range.  Accuracy did decrease as the range got longer, though.   And since the normal strategy was "close with the enemy", I'd assume they were pretty close to each other.

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Hi Messis,

Some time back I found online a pdf of 'A Treatise on Naval Gunnery' by General Sir Howard Douglas, 4th Edition, 1855, 'Dedicated by Special Permission to the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty', 689 pages, apparently scanned by google in Harvard College Library.

A quick look in the tables in Appendix D, 'Tables of Gunnery Practice', I found found some tables with ranges, projectile velocity and penetration over various ranges mainly for larger guns but some tables go down to 12lb, I didn't look extensively to see whether there were tables for 6pounders. There are a lot of different tables which may be of interest, likewise the whole book. Unfortunately some of the tables are quite poorly reproduced and at a glance are unreadable while others are crystal clear, but they may reveal some relevant info with a bit of effort. It appears this was a problem with the source rather than the scanning.

The book is obviously British but I imagine performance would be comparable with French cannon.

Sorry, I can't give you a link, I downloaded it quite a while ago and don't remember where from.


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Am I late ?
I have no data directly for French 12 and 6 pounders, but for 18 and 8 pounders.
That certainly gives an impression as well
The data are from Vol. 4 of The Ship of the Line by Boudriot.
In a test trial under ideal conditions on land.
The French 8-pounder has a theoretical range of 2500 meters by a elevation of 16-degree
But the penetration force through oak with 1,5 KG charge is 0.27 m at 1000 meters and 0.90 m at 100 m.
For the French 18 pounders with 3,0 KG charge, the data is 0.40 m at 1000 m and 1.10 m at 100 m.
More than I expected.
For comparison: The maximum hull thickness of a french 74 gun ship Ship of the period is about 0,8 m.

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@Chapman its never late! As far as we are alive. Thank you very much for your response. Interesting facts and figures. So I guess a 16 degree elevation gives the maximum range.Its been a long time since I learned mechanics at the uni....so I cant recall the ballistic formula 😊.


So the 18lb figures suggest that a reasonable worth  shooting, long and  effective range, would have been about 800 to 1000m, isnt it?A 12 lb should then have been a little less than that. Lets say 600 to 700 or 800m.

Edited by MESSIS

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