Aberdeen Proving Ground - Yearbook (Aberdeen, MD)

 - Class of 1943

Page 60 of 72


Aberdeen Proving Ground - Yearbook (Aberdeen, MD) online yearbook collection, 1943 Edition, Page 60
Page 60

Text from page 60:

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Qi!l!l!! !!l0 o l? is reporfed ?o have weighed abou? 25 ?ons and fo have fired a proiec?ile abou? 3l inches in diamefer. As la?e as l807 some of ?he ancien? ordnance of ?his era was used as par? of ?he defense of Cons?an?inople agains? an invading Brifish naval squadron. One s?one proiecfile is said ?o have cu? away ?he mainmas? of ?he Brifish flagship, while anofher, landing on deck, killed or wounded abou? 60 men. Anofher ?ypical bombard was ?he famous Mons Meg, now exhibi?ed a? Edinburg Casfle. i?s powder charge of IO5 pounds could hurl a I9 l-2 inch iron ball ?o a maximum range of l,4O0 yards or a s?one ball 2,870 yards. The larges? weapon of ?his era was ?he grea? mor?ar of Moscow, buil? abou? l525, wi?h a caliber of 36 inches. l? fired a s?one sho? weighing 2,000 pounds. There is ?oday in ?he Tower of London a bronze gun of 25-inch caliber, of ?he same period, which weighs abou? I8 ?ons and fired a proiecfile abou? 24 inches in diame?er, weighing roughly 650 pounds. Because of ?he grea? weigh? of ?hese guns, ?hey were valuable only in siege or defense work. Their immobili?y made ?hem im- pracfical for field use. ln some ins?ances ?hese guns were made from cas?ings, while in o?hers ?hey were made of bars or rods of wrough? iron welded ?oge?her and bound wi?h hoops. ln some of ?hese guns one may defec? principles of design ?ha? closely resemble reasonably modern pracfice in ?he rnanufac?ure of wire- wrapped guns. During ?he six?een?h cen?ury ?he developmen? of muskefry forced ?he cons?ruc?ion of ligh?er and more mobile cannon, bringing ?o an end ?he producfion of such unwieldly ar?illery. While ?he early guns were all of ?he muzzle-loading ?ype, wi?h a small aperfure a? ?he breech for igni?ing ?he charge wi?h coals or red-ho? irons, ?he advan?ages fo be gained by breech-loading weapons were early recognized, and many ?ypes cf breech-loaders appeared in ?he smaller weapons. The greafes? difficul?ies de- veloped in ?hese designs were ?he escaping of gases around ?he breech and ?he failure of ?he crude blocks ?o wi?hs?and ?he shock of firing. Some repeafing guns, known as "ribaulds," were used. These weapons consisfed of a number of small barrels or gun ?ubes clamped ?oge?her and fired in quick succession. The mobile gun carriage made i?s appearance during ?his era, using wheels for ?ranspor?. Cannon were cas? wi?h ?runnions ?o facili?a?e elevafion and ?ranspor?a?ion. During ?he fif?een?h cen- ?ury, mounfain ar?illery, divided in?o loads for pack ?ranspor?a?ion, was manufac?ured in France. En?husias?ic gunners frequen?ly increased powder charges in an effor? ?o obfain longer ranges and blew up ?heir weapons. A dis?inguished vic?im of one such acciden? was King James Il of Sco?land, who was killed while observing ?he ?es? of a field gun in I460. The Vene?ians are credi?ed wi?h ?he firs? use of explosive shell, in I376. The shell was made of ?wo hollow hemispheres of s?one or bronze. filled wi?h an explosive, ?he ?wo halves ioined wi?h hoops and fi??ed wi?h a fuse. Many years passed, however, before explosives in shells became a general pracfice. During ?his same period ?he Vene?ians are credifed wi?h in?roducing ?he me?hod of ignifing ?he propellen? by priming ?he cannon ven? near ?he breech wi?h loose powder, and ?hey were probably ?he firs? ?o moun? guns on wheeled carriages. While cas? iron sho? was developed for use in cannon abou? I4-00, s?one proiecfiles con?inued in ?heir populari?y for many years, because ?hey were cheaper ?o manufacfure, could be made from ma?erials near a? hand, and, being ligh?er ?han iron, required less powdery as a propellen?. By l450 "corned" or granular gun- powder has been in?roduced, and caseshof, consisfing of balls fired in arconfainer, were employed as ar?illery ammuni?ion. ln view of ?he belief of some hisforians ?ha? real field ar?illery began wi?h John Zizka in ?he l-lussi?e Wars of Bohemia from l4l9 ?o I4-24, i? may be of in?eres? fo give, in somewha? grea?er de?ail, an accoun? of one engagemen? wi?h reference ?o ?he use of ar?illery. Car?s had been in?roduced for ?he rapid maneuvering of bronze guns-a me?hod devised a? an earlier da?e for ?he Roman ballisfas. A? ?he siege of Karlsfein, ?he Hussi?es emplaced 46 cannon, five large cannon and five ca+apuI?s for ?he a??ack. Marble pillars from nearby Prague churches were used fo supply cannon balls. The ra?e of fire for ?he heavy pieces was one or ?wo sho?s per day and for ?he ligh?er pieces six fo ?welve. l? is of in?eres? ?o no?e ?ha? ca?apul?s were s?ill in use a? ?his la?e da?e and were again used ?o hurl ro??ing carcasses and o?her fil?h in?o ?he con- fines of ?he for?, in ?he hope of spreading disease and breaking down ?he morale of ?he enemy. l? is reporfed ?ha? ?he defenders neufralized ?hese missiles wi?h lime and arsenic and defended ?heir posifions wi?h such valor ?ha? ?he l-lussi?es abandoned ?he siege af?er firing l0,930 cannonballs, 932 s?one fragmen?s, I3 fire barrels, and l,822 ?ons of fil?h. During ?he six?een?h cen?ury ?he developmen? of ar?illery reached i?s peak under ?he leadership of Maximilian, Emperor of Germany. His ar?illery developed a range of I,500 yards for solid sho? and 400 yards for case. and his gunners were considered ?he bes? in Europe. By I600, ?he caliber and range of cannon had been developed almos? ?o ?he maximum possibili?ies for a muzzle-loading, smoo?h-bore weapon using black powder as a propellenf. Befween ?his period and abou? l860 ?here was no radical im- provemen? in ?he fire-power of ar?illery. Many innova?ions were ?ried and abandoned, only ?o ?urn up la?er in more perfec? form. Spiral rifling was ?ried unsuccessfully. The use of explosive shell increased, bu? ?he breech-loaders proved unsa?isfac?ory. The gunner's quadran? and angle of si?e were developed. ln l573, Sebasfial l-lallwe sugges?ed ?he idea of ?he modern ?ime and percussion fuze, bu? ?he chemisfry of his day was inadequa?e ?o cope wi?h such advanced ?heories. ln l672, a proiecfile called ?he x Fl T 'W ,Wi B! ri HUKQ1 7' u ',il' IQ BTP ,cl Sli Z: Q Q AN ,L 1 E 173 114 i f f ww- 'Uf -8 l 'C VIS? lex gi,-,I'Ii',.,g'fR-sigglvl. T K ff' T' - - ,116-"' lla ,,-- iv i 1 lfgll '.0-A g E --- - f-1.-W ,C E 'X -LJ e , -'-' S X E A ff "- '- i 5- r as sy, .1 ,,,,, . ,, E ,A ' ,ff ,-A N, , - 5 wfb i at 1. gf! - E- .. IL . ... is , T- T Illia, -eg r " Ik' ' -"',,. gl- ... 3,3 'M' rL4'.,l"1u TT IA 'O 'T ' i'laf,iif.f' D 'r "carcass" was inven?ed, comprising a hollow me?al sphere pierced wi?h ven?s and filled wi?h incendiary ma??er. Smoke shell appeared in I68l. ln I74O Swifzerland in?roduced a new mefhod of boring ?ubes from solid mefal ins?ead of hollow casfings. ln l78O ?he Bri?ish Army firs? came in confac? wi?h rocke?s, which had been used by orien?al na?ions for many years. During ?his period ?he mos? impor?an? fac?or in ?he use of ar?illery in warfare was ?he developmenf of i?s ?ac?ical use. When gunpowder was firs? in?roduced as a propellen?, ?here was violen? opposi?ion ?o gunpowder ar?illery. The Pope excommunica?ed all gunners, Capfured ar?illerymen were frequen?ly ?or?ured and mu?ila?ed. Cannon were somefimes privafely owned and ren?ed ou? by ?heir owners. Under ?he pa?ronage of kings, however, special privileges were granfed fo gunners, and medieval ar?illery became a guild wi?h i?s own governmen? and ius?ice. The making of guns and gunpowder, ?he loading of shells, and even ?he service of ?he piece were considered ?rade secre?s, ?o be guarded V!

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