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Gun drill and live fire: when the gunz go boooooom

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While researching for information about the gun drill on my Victory model, I also watched attentively some live fire videos on you tube. Once into a bit more into the subject, one realises plenty of more details, one does not see the first times, when the noise and smoke and the effects are still taking to much attention off ... 
The classic: Live Cannonade Fire
Carronade at point blanc range against a ship mock-up. The side tackles are loosened before the shot. The blast out of the touchhole does not appear that bad. The outside of the hull only shows little impact, the inner side tells a different story.
Canon LIVE FIRE test - 18th century canister shot
Great to see the loading. At 0:37 one can see the leather protection for the thump to seal the vent hole, seealso the picking of the cartridge with the vent pick, the slow ignition and the long time until the cartridge ignites and the relatively little recoil. Also nicely to be seen in the final slow motion how cartridge and wad pads are flying off, always a risk for the wooden ships.
Civil War Artillery Drill, 12 lb. Napoleon
Wonderful gun drill with plenty of details
Civil War Cannons
Shooting barrels with little recoil
Hornblower cannon firing
Nice to see the loading. Seeing the use of the wooden handspike to adjust the coins clearly shows the reason d´être of the steps of the carriages sides. Small recoil, as just imaginary bullets were used.
Cannons of the Civil War (1861 - 1865)
Nice pictures of rolling fire during reenactment at the start, then slowly gets repetitive ...
Shooting the Bronze Swivel Gun with Canister Rounds
6 Pounder Cannon Shoot-Field Artillery-Civil War Uniforms
Blowing up cars with a Civil War Whitworth cannon.wmv
Great to see the time the bullet take for the flight. Interesting is the start and the grand finale - I guess they helped a bit with pyro tech here ...
32 pdr Field Howitzer
bigger caliber, much more booooom and violent recoil ...
Civil War 12 pound cannon into 50 gallon drums (Antietam)
At 0:16 and 1:50 one can again see the leather protection of the finger, and how the vent was closed/protected with it.
For once I am not saying "enjoy" ...
PS: Please also see the topic "why do hot guns jump violently": 
Edited by dafi
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Falconer: Excercising the great Guns

EXERCISE of the great guns.

1st. Silence.
2d. Cast loose your guns.
3d. Level your guns.
4th.Take out your tompions.
5th. Run out your guns.
6th. Prime.
7th. Point your guns.
8th. Fire.

" The man who takes care of the powder is to place himself on the opposite side of the deck from that where we engage, except when fighting both sides at once, when he is to be amid-ships. He is not to suffer any other man to take a cartridge from him, but he who is appointed to serve the gun with that article, either in time of a real engagement, or at exercise.
" Lanthorns are not to be brought to quarters in the night, until the midshipman gives his orders for so doing to the person he charges with that article. Every thing being in it's place, and not the least lumber in the way of the guns, the exercise hegins with,

1st. Silence.
At this word every one is to observe a silent attention to the officers.

2d. Cast loose your guns.
" The muzzle lashing is to be taken off from the guns, and (being coiled up in a small compass) is to be made fast to the eye-bolt above the port. The lashing-tackles at the same time to be cast loose, and the middle of the breeching seized to the thimble of the pomillion. The spunge to be taken down, and, with the crow, handspec, &c. laid upon the deck by the gun.
"N.B. When prepared for engaging an enemy, the seizing within the clinch of the breeching is to be cut, that the gun may come sufficiently within-board for loading, and that the force of the recoil may be more spent before it acts upon the breeching.

3d. Level your guns.
" The breech of your metal is to be raised so as to admit the foot of the bed's being placed upon the axle-tree of the carriage, with the quoin upon the bed, both their ends being even one with the other.
" N. B. When levelled for firing, the bed is to be lashed to the bolt which supports the inner end of it, that it may not be thrown out of it's place by the violence of the gun's motion, when hot with frequent discharges. See fig. 17, plate VII.

4th. Take out your tompions.
"The tompion is to be taken out of the gun's mouth, and left hanging by it's laniard.

5th. Run out your guns.
" With the tackles hooked to the upper-bolts of the carriage, the gun is to be bowsed out as close as possible, without the assistance of crows or handspecs; taking care at the same time to keep the breeching clear of the trucks, by hawling it through the rings; it is then to be bent so as to run clear when the gun is fired. When the gun is out, the tackle-falls are to be laid along-side the carriages in neat fakes, that when the gun, by recoiling, overhauls them, they may not be subject to get foul, as they would if in a common coil.

6th. Prime.
"If the cartridge is to be pierced with the priming wire, and the vent filled with powder, the pan also is to be filled; and the flat space, having a score through it at the end of the pan, is to be covered, and this part of the priming is to be bruised with the round part of the horn. The apron is to be laid over, and the horn hung up out of danger from the flash of the priming.

7th. Point your guns.
At this command the gun is, in the first place, to be elevated to the heighth of the object, by means of the side-sights; and then the person pointing is to direct his fire by the upper-sight, having a crow on one side and a handspec on the other, to heave the gun by his direction till he catches the object.
" N. B. The men who heave the gun for pointing are to stand between the ship's side and their crows or handspecs, to escape the injury they might otherwise receive from their being struck against them, or splintered by a shot; and the man who attends the captain with a match is to bring it at the word, " Point your guns," and kneeling upon one knee opposite the train-truck of the carriage, and at such a distance as to be able to touch the priming, is to turn his head from the gun, and keep blowing gently upon the lighted match to keep it clear from ashes. And as the missing of an enemy in action, by neglect or want of coolness, is most inexcusable, it is particularly recommended to have the people thoroughly instructed in pointing well, and taught to know the ill consequences of not taking proper means to hit their mark; wherefore they should be made to elevate
their guns to the utmost nicety, and then to point with the same exactness and having caught the object through the upper-sight, at the word,

8th. Fire.
" The match is instantly to be put to the bruised part of the priming; and when the gun is discharged the vent is to be closed, in order to smother any spark of fire that may remain in the chamber of the gun; and the man who spunges is immediately to place himself by the muzzle of the gun in readiness, when, at the next word,

9th. Spunge your gun.
"The spunge is to be rammed down to the bottom of the chamber, and then twisted round, to extinguish effectually any remains of fire; and when drawn out, to be struck against the out-side of the muzzle, to shake off any sparks or scraps of the cartridge that may have come out with it; and next it's end is to be shifted ready for loading; and while this is doing, the man appointed to provide a cartridge is to go to the box, and by the time the spunge is out of the gun, he is to have it ready; and at the word,

10th. Load with cartridge.
The cartridge (with the bottom end first, seam-downwards, and a wad after it) is to be put into the gun, and thrust a little way within the mouth, when the rammer is to be entered; the cartridge is then to be forcibly rammed down, and the captain at the same time is to keep his priming-wire in the vent, and, feeling the cartridge, is to give the word home, when the rammer is to be drawn, and not before. While this is doing, the man appointed to provide a shot is to provide one (or two, according to the order at that time) ready at the muzzle, with a wad like-wise, and when the rammer is drawn, at the word,

11th. Shot your guns.
"The shot and wad upon it are to be put into the gun, and thrust a little way down, when the rammer is to be entered as before. The shot and wad are to be rammed down to the cartridge, and there have a couple of forcible strokes, when the rammer is to be drawn, and laid out of the way of the guns and tackles, if the exercise or action is continued; but if it is over, the spunge is to be secured in the place it is at all times kept in.

13th. Put in your tompions.
"The tompions to be put into the muzzle of the cannon.

14th. House your guns.
"The seizing is to be put on again upon the clinched end of the breeching, leaving it no slacker than to admit of the guns being housed with ease. The quoin is to be taken from under the breech of the gun, and the bed, still resting upon the bolt, within the carriage, thrust under, till the foot of it falls off the axle-tree, leaving it to rest upon the end which projects out from the foot. The metal is to be set down upon this. The gun is to be placed exactly square, and the muzzle is to be close to the wood, in it's proper place for passing the muzzle lashings. See CANNON, and fig. 19, plate VII.

14th. Secure your guns.
"The muzzle lashings must first be made secure, and then with one tackle (having all it's parts equally taught with the breeching) the gun is to be lashed. The other tackle is to be bowsed taught, and by itself made fast, that it may be ready to cast off for lashing a second breeching.
"N.B. Care must be taken to hook the first tackle to the upper bolt of the carriage, that it may not otherwise obstruct the reeving of the second breeching, and to give the greater length to the end part of the fall.
No pains must be spared in bowsing the lashing very taught, that the gun may have the least play that is possible, as their being loose may be productive of very dangerous consequences.

EXERCISE to EYES of a ship

"The quoin, crow, and handspec, are to be put under the gun, the powder-horn hung up in it's place, &c.
"Being engaged at any time when there is a large swell, a rough sea, or in squally weather, &c. as the ship may be liable to be suddenly much heeled, the port-tackle fall is ro be kept clear, and (whenever the working of the gun will admit of it) the man charged with that office is to keep it in his hand; at the same time the muzzle lashing is to be kept fast to the ring of the port, and being hauled taught, is to be fastened to the eye-bolt over the port-hole, so as to be out of the gun's way in firing, in order to haul it in at any time of danger.
"This precaution is not to be omitted, when engaging to the windward, any more than when to the leeward, those situations being very subject to alter at too short a warning.
"A train-tackle is always to be made use of with the lee-guns, and the man stationed to attend it is to be very careful in preventing the gun's running out at an improper time."
EXERCISE may also be applied with propriety to the forming our fleets into orders of sailing, lines of battle, &c. an art which the French have termed evolutions, or tactiques. In this sense exercise may be defined, the execution of the movements which the different orders and dispositions of fleets occasionally require, and which the several ships are directed to perform by means of signals.





Edited by dafi
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