Aberdeen Proving Ground - Yearbook (Aberdeen, MD)

 - Class of 1943

Page 58 of 72


Aberdeen Proving Ground - Yearbook (Aberdeen, MD) online yearbook collection, 1943 Edition, Page 58
Page 58

Text from page 58:

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'Ir 'A' ir Ages before The dawn of hisTory, when primifive man firsT began To leave imprinfs of his exisTence upon The earTh's crusT for fuTure generaTions To uncover and record, some forebear of modern man reached To The earTh and, adapTing The Thumb and fingers of his hand To a new purpose, picked up a rock for use as a weapon To supplemenT his claws, TeeTh, and fisTs. Such was The probable beginning of man's developmenT of maTerial for which lexicographers have selecTed The word "Ordnance" - :Sri fc Q 5553 3 ooo be ' 0 One may surmise ThaT when This primiTive creaTure discovered The added advanTage supplied by a sTone or club wielded by hand he evenTually learned To increase The effecTiveness of his range of power by hurling his weapon aT his prey or enemy. He found ThaT sharp missiles would wound more effecTively. He fashioned a poinfed sTone for his club and Transformed iT inTo an axe, which evenTually was converTed inTo a spear or lance. To increase The range of This weapon, he fashioned a bow which would give greaTer speed To his arrow. He improved The accuracy of This weapon by giving beTTer balance To his arrow in flighT. As The ceniuries passed and man acquired greaTer skill and broader knowledge, These weapons losT Their crude shape and approached perTecTicin in design. Mechanical conTrivances were devised To give greaT disTance To The arrows, and similar weapons were developed for hurling sTones and missiles. While These weapons for aTTack or offense were being developed, did man remain conTenT wiTh The proTecTion provided by naTure alone? A search Through museums Today will disclose many ex- amples of his ingenuiTy in devising shields and armor for personal proTecTion. The habiTaTs of The cave men show The inaccessibiliTy of The "forTress" wiThin which he esTablished his home. When The horse became domesTicaTed for his use, did he use him only as a beasT of burden? Again our museums provide numerous examples cf The "armor" provided for The proTecTion of his mounT in combaT. Even The design of his charioT emphasizes iTs value as a combaT vehicle raTher Than as a cargo carrier. WhaT Tlen has primiTive man, in his crude implemenTs of war- fare, handed down To his descendenTs ThaT may sTill be of value THE Hllllilll lllllllllll in The design of modern ordnance? He recognized The value of increasing The range and accuracy of his weapons, The advanTages of fire power, mobiliTy, camouflage, and arTificial proTecTion, Has modern man added To These basic principles? The firsT imporTanT sTep made in The design of implemenTs of war was The resulT of man's discovery of The use of meTals. These, however, were used To enhance The effecTiveness of The weapons raTher Than To change Their basic principles of design. LeT us review briefly some of The weapons ThaT were used during The cenTuries preceding The discovery of powder as a propellanf. Among The early hand proiecTile Throwers, in The probable sequence of Their developmenT, we can lisT The bow, sling, and blowpipe. The bow, originaTing in The STone Age, derived The power To drive iTs arrow from The sTrengTh of The archer's arms, Nof unTil abouT l,OOO A.D. was This principle maTerially changed wiTh The developmenT of The crossbow, This weapon, wiTh iTs sTock, sear, and Trigger, uTilized The sTrengTh of The muscles in The archer's back or of mechanical winches and Thus greafly increased The power of iTs blow. lTs cumbersomeness, however, reduced The raTe of Tire maTerially, and iT never replaced The quick-firing long- bow even when, five cenTuries laTer, iT was made from heavy spring. sTeel. YeT iT did lead To The developmenT of chain mail and plaTe armor for personal proTecTion. The race beTween sTriking force and armor, even in Those early days, was confinued unTil The knighT could scarcely move when dismounTed. lT is inTeresTing To noTe ThaT, in spiTe of The facT ThaT gunpowder was discovered someTime during The early parT of The ThirTeenTh cenTury and records indicaTe iTs use during The Moorish Wars in Spain in l247, The bow-operaTing hand weapon remained as The principal weapon of The individual soldier for many cenTuries, AT The greaT baTTle of l.epanTo in l57l The 25,000 soldiers in The Turkish fleeT were nearly all archers. Even in our own Revolufion some able leaders believed ThaT archers wiTh rapid-firing bows could compeTe efTecTively againsT The English flinTlocks, As laTe as i8l3, liTTle more Than a cenTury ago, French cavalry aT The baTTle of Leipzig were charged by Thousands of Russian bowmen who had no oTher arms. A modern auThoriTy on archery considers The BriTish longbow of The sixTeenTh cenTury a more effecTive weapon aT ranges under T50 yards Than The sfandard BriTish muskeT prior To l840. Paralleling The developmenT of These hand weapons were me- chanical devices requiring The services of more Than one man for Their operaTion and which hurled heavy missiles. The idea of a more powerful weapon To ouTrange The handbow and keep besieging forces aT a disTance probably arose in The EasT during The eighTh cr ninTh cenTury B.C. There are numerous references in The Bible To leaders who employed engines of war in combaT. The Two Q eijeefffcf-lx. :cle X gy if Z'2jf--5- ff- X X A ...... s N' " 0 vimnm me """ """ """ "" ' "" ' - 000 "" ' .1000 me -I IMILE -1 2Mu.:s -I amirzs -.I 4MrL:s -4 5Mn.ss -.1 6Mu.:s -I 7Mn.zs -.4 BQMLES -1 9Mu.Es ..l IOM DIAGRAM ILLUSTRATING RANGES OF BRITI

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