Aberdeen Proving Ground - Yearbook (Aberdeen, MD)

 - Class of 1943

Page 59 of 72


Aberdeen Proving Ground - Yearbook (Aberdeen, MD) online yearbook collection, 1943 Edition, Page 59
Page 59

Text from page 59:

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llllll Ullll principal Types were The ballisTa and caTapulT. These machines were True arTillery oT Their Time and The Torerunners of modern weapons. BoTh uTilized The elasTiciTy OT TwisTed ropes, hair, hide. and animal sinews Tor The energy of propulsion. The ballisTa was shaped somewhaT in The manner of The crossbow and hurled iTs bolTs, TeaThered iavelins, balls, and sTones wiTh a relaTively TlaT TraiecTory, making iT eTTecTive againsT walls and TorTiTicaTions. IT may be considered as The ancienT equivalenT of our modern Tield gun. IT is repuTed To have hurled sTones weighing more Than 50 pounds a disTance of 400 yards, while The range of TeaThered iavelins someTimes reached 500 yards. The caTapulT, on The oTher hand, was a weapon Tor high-angle Tire and was employed in a manner similar To our modern howiTzers. This weapon employed an arm which, swinging in a verTical plane and suspending a sling Tor iTs proiecTile, hurled The missile high overhead somewhaT in The manner oT The scorpion's sTing, aTTer which iT was someTimes named. This machine proiecTed missiles someTimes weighing more Than 500 pounds, ITs range, varying wiTh The weighT' of iTs proiecTile. is repuTed To have been abouT 400 yards Tor a 58-pound sTone. These proved Their eTTecTiveness in sieges againsT ciTies and TorTresses and were someTimes used To hurl many obnoxious iTems inside The TorT besides proiecTiles inTended To desTroy Their TargeTs. These weapons were heavy and cumbersome and were noT pracTical Tor accompanying TasT-moving Troops. They were some- Times developed by improvisaiion on The baTTleTield or TransporTed by waTer on boaTs, where They were oTTen employed as naval weapons. They were oTTen used in a manner c1uiTe similar To modern combaT pracTice Tor arTillery weapons, even To The exTenT of being employed Tor barrage work in proTecTing advancing lllllll By COLONEL GEORGE W. OUTLAND CommandanT, The Ordnance School, January I, I94I-November I, I942. ThaT increased The range Tor a 58-pound sTone To more Than 800 yards. These developmenTs added immeasurably To The weighT of maTeriel To be TransporTed by an army. IT enabled wealThy ciTies To TorTiTy Themselves sTrongly againsT The invader, who was ham- pered by The immobiliTy of his eTTecTive arTillery. In Alexandria during The Third cenTury B.C. and in Rome during The TirsT cenTury A.D., mechanizaTion was in Tull swing. DeTensive TacTics and social decay appear To be The cause of The decadence in miliTary eTTiciency oT The laTer Roman Empire. While in The EasT The proiecTile-Throwing machines were kepT aT a high qualiTy Tor cenTuries. in The WesT The caTapulT and ballisTa were replaced largely by a new machine known as The "TrebucheT." This machine usod The Torce of graviTaTion on a heavy weighT Tor hurling iTs proiecTile insTead oT employing Tension or Torsion members. IT released a proiecTile weighing up To 300 pounds Trom a verTical beam which hurled iT ouT To abouT 300 yards. We Thus Tind ThaT liTTle oT imporTance was added To The design of ordnance equipmenT Tor cenTuries preceding The discovery of gunpowder. The exacT daTe oT iTs TirsT use as a propellenT Tor proic:cTiles in warfare is unknown. Some hisTorians asserT ThaT iT camo ouT oT Asia, oThers ThaT iT was invenTed by a German monk abouT l320. Records, however, indicaTe iTs use in The Moorish Wars in Spain in l247, aT The siege of Seville. The TirsT deTiniTe descripTion oT a gun daTes Trom I3l3, and The earliesT picTure oT one is found in a manuscripT oT abouT I327, by which Time iT appears ThaT The weapon was well esTablished for combaT use. In exTerior appearance The weapon resembled a vase. Iron darTs, wrapped in leaTher To prevenT leakage of powder gases, were used as proiecTiles. In some insTances sTones were used, while in y Troops and Tor hurling incendiary missiles wiThin walled TorTresses. l IT is inTeresTing To noTe ThaT companies of craTTsmen and T arTisans, similar To modern ordnance Troops, accompenied The 1 armed Torces Tor The purpose oT repairing and mainTai..ing ord- l nance equipmenT in The hands oT combaT uniTs. Tley even supplied crude insTrumenTs Tor laying The weapons in elev. lion and direcTion, Thus giving birTh To modern Tire-conTrol equipment T GvreaT sTrides were made in The developmenT oT war machines in The hundred years following The deaTh oT Alexander. STimulaTed ' by The success of such men as DemeTrius PoliorceTes, son of oThers sacks or cans of scrap iron, called "langridge," The Tore- runner oT grapeshoT and caseshoT were Tired, The maximum range of These weapons could noT have been more Than 700 or 800 yards. The size and power of guns rapidly increased, buT iT was cen- Turies beTore a serviceable hand gun was developed. They were TirsT used primarily Tor siege work. Following I339, cannon came inTo general use by all armies in Europe. AT The baTTle of Crecy in T346 The English used cannon Tor The TirsT Time in an open Tield. SomeTimes These guns were laid on The ground and wedged l Alexander's eneral AnTigonus, engineers insTead oi soldiers Took u To ive The proper elevaTion. In oTher insTances a crude car- Q P 9 up The sTudy of war machines. One Alexandrian named Dionysius riage was provided by aTTaching The gun To wooden Timbers. Some invenTed a "polybolos," which mighT be considered as The TirsT of The cannon developed were enormous in size. GuglielmoTTi machine gun, as iT enabled a succession oT arrows To be Tired quoTes Bishop Leonardo 6iusTiniani in his "HisTory of The Papal Trom a magazine. AnoTher engineer Trom The same ciTy, named Navy" as having seen a huge gun, repuTedly used by The Turks CTesibius, uTilized compressed air in "careTully wroughT cylinders" aT The siege oT ConsTanTinople in I453, which needed sevenTy To o eraTe The bow arms ol: caTa ulTs. Wea ons were conTrived s an of oxen To draw iT and whose sTone shoT weighed I350 ounds. P P P P P fl-TR "Zigi K X. i . Qi ,ga i gg- V , , .ilifh-.. I? J ,4,,,A,, J J, I . j , M, R., ' T A Im, 'Ilan 'P 10000 Il 000 Z1 000 23.000 551.000 15 000 26 000 27 OOO 25 009 29 000 30 000 JI OOO 31 U30 JJ 000 JI 000 JS 000 O O O 4 IIMTLIS .4 12 Mirgg ...T 13MiLg5 .4 lAM1LE5 ...T 15.MiLES . I6'M1z.ES ' -I I7gMlLES -T I8 MILES --I I9 Mx1.ES -T 20 MILES O TECES OF ORDNANCE USED IN WORLD WAR I

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