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Author Topic: Effect of Cannon Fire  (Read 2167 times)

Colin Bishop

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Effect of Cannon Fire
« on: February 26, 2020, 12:41:19 PM »

Seen on aother Forum. You can only shudder at the effect those splinters would have had on the ship's crew.

A few RN ships were built of teak in India and the crews apparently hated them because a teak splinter wound almost always turned septic.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xxh6nxM2wkI&feature=youtu.be

Colin
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TheLongBuild

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Re: Effect of Cannon Fire
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2020, 01:13:31 PM »

Watched Hornblower the other day, showed a similar scene after a hit lots of injured or dead gunners.

Geoff

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Re: Effect of Cannon Fire
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2020, 01:27:30 PM »

Interesting but we should also note that a lot of cannon balls would not penetrate. Ships beams and planking were often several feet thick so the lighter balls would not get through. A problem was of course if they went through a gun port and hit a cannon and iron splinters were created and the balls bounced around.


If I recall (from my reading - I'm not that old!) at Trafalgar one of Victory's cannonades went through the stern windows of a French ship and killed and injured 200 individuals when it detonated!!


Nasty stuff !!


Geoff
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Geoff

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Re: Effect of Cannon Fire
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2020, 01:36:13 PM »

As another aside, anybody read about the "black ship"? This was an English frigate that mutinied during the days of Napoleon and sailed into a Spanish port.


Many enterprising sea captains looked to try to cut her out but gave up as she was against a harbor wall and under the guns of a fortress. One English frigate captain had a go at night with 80% of his crew in boats. They were spotted and engaged by grapeshot and musket fire. They boarded at the bow and were beaten off, boarded at the stern and were beaten off but eventually gained a foothold and fought the Spanish below decks in hand to hand fighting and succeeded in taking the ship out of the port under fire from the fort.


The shock was next day as what they didn't know was the day before the ship had embarked 300 Spanish troops. As the fight was protracted over several hours they estimated that no more than 50 English seamen and marines were on board at any one time. There were 200 Spanish dead and only wounded English sailors!!


If I remember rightly the English captain in his report said he had only been lightly knocked about (Hit with a cudgel, a cutlass wound to his leg and arm) and other minor contusions!


This was all actually true as well


Makes Hornblower pain in comparison!


Geoff
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Klunk

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Re: Effect of Cannon Fire
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2020, 03:45:59 PM »

i would have been interested to see a comparison of this against the yorker shot that nelson used.

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Colin Bishop

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Re: Effect of Cannon Fire
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2020, 04:23:24 PM »

Yorker shot? Not heard of that. What was it?

Colin
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terry horton

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Re: Effect of Cannon Fire
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2020, 04:53:15 PM »

There was also a phenomenon known as  "Wind of Ball" ,whereby death and serious injury could be caused by the pressure surrounding the cannon ball as it passed through the air.
This phenomenon often left no external signs of damage to the human body.


Regards


Terry H
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warspite

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Re: Effect of Cannon Fire
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2020, 05:17:16 PM »

No - I'm not going to recreate this on my Victory  <*< .


The 'Wind of Ball effect' was described if I remember correctly on that ship series on channel 4 or 5 with Dan Snow, about famous ships when it was on about Victory, others were Belfast, cutty sark etc.
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JimG

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Re: Effect of Cannon Fire
« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2020, 09:11:18 PM »


If I recall (from my reading - I'm not that old!) at Trafalgar one of Victory's cannonades went through the stern windows of a French ship and killed and injured 200 individuals when it detonated!!


Nasty stuff !!


Geoff
Cannon balls were solid shot and did not explode, the carnage was caused by 32 pounds of iron travellingat speed through the gun deck and probably bouncing off of a few cannon on the way breaking and removing limbs as it passed.
Jim
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Klunk

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Re: Effect of Cannon Fire
« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2020, 04:09:42 AM »

There was also a phenomenon known as  "Wind of Ball" ,whereby death and serious injury could be caused by the pressure surrounding the cannon ball as it passed through the air.
This phenomenon often left no external signs of damage to the human body.


Regards


Terry H
its alleged that Nelson got his captains to aim about 2/3 rds of the way to any enemy ship to back the ball skip on the waves. this was supposed give it extra spin an keep the trajectory flatter making the ball hit on the waterline. there is some evidence to support the theory.
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warspite

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Re: Effect of Cannon Fire
« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2020, 07:52:27 AM »

Barnes Wallace springs to mind {-)
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TheLongBuild

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Re: Effect of Cannon Fire
« Reply #11 on: February 27, 2020, 01:44:18 PM »

its alledged that Nelson hot his captains to aim about 2/3 rds of the way to any enemy ship to back the ball skip on the waves. this was supposed give it extra spin an keep the trajectory flatter making the ball hit on the waterline. there is some evidence to support the theory.


A good one for Myth Busters to test out, shame they are still not on tv.

redpmg

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Re: Effect of Cannon Fire
« Reply #12 on: February 27, 2020, 04:55:07 PM »

"As another aside, anybody read about the "black ship"? This was an English frigate that mutinied during the days of Napoleon and sailed into a Spanish port."
Geoff - that sounds like one of Admiral Lord Cochrane's exploits - seem to remember he took a large 74 or 100 gun Man o War with a 40gun Frigate - much the same problem - how do you keep 300 odd people under control with only 50 odd of your own .
He also took down a cavalry charge by careening his frigate on the beach and using a broadside to cut them down.........
If you read of his exploits one wonders why he was not as famous as Nelson
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RST

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Re: Effect of Cannon Fire
« Reply #13 on: February 27, 2020, 08:29:32 PM »

Isn't a "cannonade" a barrage of multiple fire at same time rather than one gun?
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Colin Bishop

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Re: Effect of Cannon Fire
« Reply #14 on: February 27, 2020, 08:35:31 PM »

I think he meant carronade.A short gun with short range but with a very heavy projectile.

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JimG

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Re: Effect of Cannon Fire
« Reply #15 on: February 27, 2020, 08:50:29 PM »

As another aside, anybody read about the "black ship"? This was an English frigate that mutinied during the days of Napoleon and sailed into a Spanish port.


Many enterprising sea captains looked to try to cut her out but gave up as she was against a harbor wall and under the guns of a fortress. One English frigate captain had a go at night with 80% of his crew in boats. They were spotted and engaged by grapeshot and musket fire. They boarded at the bow and were beaten off, boarded at the stern and were beaten off but eventually gained a foothold and fought the Spanish below decks in hand to hand fighting and succeeded in taking the ship out of the port under fire from the fort.


The shock was next day as what they didn't know was the day before the ship had embarked 300 Spanish troops. As the fight was protracted over several hours they estimated that no more than 50 English seamen and marines were on board at any one time. There were 200 Spanish dead and only wounded English sailors!!


If I remember rightly the English captain in his report said he had only been lightly knocked about (Hit with a cudgel, a cutlass wound to his leg and arm) and other minor contusions!


This was all actually true as well


Makes Hornblower pain in comparison!


Geoff
The actual ship was HMS Hermione  whose crew mutinied in 1797 due to the brutal and arbitrary punishment dealt by the captain Hugh Pigot. Most of the officers were murdered and the few surviving  had to sail it to a Venezuelan port where it was handed over to the Spanish.
It was recovered two years later in a cutting out operation in a second Venezuelan port by the crew of HMS Surprise. Spanish casualties were 119 dead, 231 prisoners. British casualties 11 injured 4 seriously. HMS Surprise's captain Edward Hamilton was seriously injured. The Hermione rejoined the Royal Navy as HMS Retaliation then became HMS Retribution.
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JimG

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Re: Effect of Cannon Fire
« Reply #16 on: February 27, 2020, 09:01:49 PM »

I think he meant carronade.A short gun with short range but with a very heavy projectile.

Colin
may well have been cannonade, if the Victory was crossing  the enemy's stern then it would have received a complete broadside with each cannon firing as it lined up with the stern. This would give a very large weight of shot passing down the length of the hull interior causing carnage on the gun decks.
Jim
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RST

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Re: Effect of Cannon Fire
« Reply #17 on: February 27, 2020, 09:43:34 PM »

That's what I thought before to be honest. I think it was the "detonation" bit which might be semantics.  I heard about certain woods causing infection and bouncing cannon balls also.


I think this thread might have started from a post on modelboats website with a preserved sail after battle, peppered with dmaage? Probably easy to forget now how back in those days just how bloody warfare was back then.
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Colin Bishop

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Re: Effect of Cannon Fire
« Reply #18 on: February 27, 2020, 10:03:39 PM »

Quote
Probably easy to forget now how back in those days just how bloody warfare was back then.

It's not very nice now - think barrel bombs in Iraq!

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warspite

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Re: Effect of Cannon Fire
« Reply #19 on: February 28, 2020, 11:48:31 AM »

Checked the book 'it's Carronade' for the main deck two forward howitzers (at twice the weight of the main cannons), at 68 pounds that's a sizable chunk of metal running up them Mr Mainwaring,  %)
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Niall

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Re: Effect of Cannon Fire
« Reply #20 on: February 28, 2020, 02:58:29 PM »

The shot fired by Victory at Trafalgar from the bow 69pdr carronade was a double load of shot and a cannister of grapeshot. It entered the enemy ship through the stern windows.
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warspite

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Re: Effect of Cannon Fire
« Reply #21 on: February 28, 2020, 05:38:35 PM »

The double shot to create the initial punch through and a wrath of splitters with the grape shot to 'shot gun' spread out as it passed through the remaining spaces created by the shot, very devastating.
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Colin Bishop

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Re: Effect of Cannon Fire
« Reply #22 on: March 04, 2020, 10:50:02 AM »

Move on 130 years and this is what you get.

Strongpoint at St Malo, France.

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warspite

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Re: Effect of Cannon Fire
« Reply #23 on: March 04, 2020, 12:18:40 PM »

Or the plunging fire of both the RN and kreigsmarine at Jutland, when shells hit the cordite etc
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Geoff

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Re: Effect of Cannon Fire
« Reply #24 on: March 04, 2020, 01:26:07 PM »

Plunging fire at Jutland is something of a myth as the ranges were not that long and the angle of decent only in the region of 15 degrees. The problem was improper cordite handling as the  Battlecruisers stockpiled the charges all the way to the turrets and even, in some cases, removed the magazine doors to speed up the rate of fire. British charges also had a black powder igniter at the rear to ensure ready combustion and from what I've read it was a "crime" for a charge to arrive at the gun turret with the black powder paper envelope not torn open - nice train of black powder too.


It was covered up for political reasons and the myth of plunging fire introduced. Interestingly as the German guns tended to fire at a higher velocity their trajectory was flatter than the British which actually exposed German ships to a higher angle of hit.


Still very nasty to be on any such ship as it would typically take about 20 hits to put a ship out of action unless a magazine went up.


Cheers


Geoff
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