Aberdeen Proving Ground - Yearbook (Aberdeen, MD)

 - Class of 1943

Page 61 of 72


Aberdeen Proving Ground - Yearbook (Aberdeen, MD) online yearbook collection, 1943 Edition, Page 61
Page 61

Text from page 61:

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iealously. Gunners were civilian arTisans raTher Than soldiers. ArTilIery was considered by The general public as a mysTerious science, and The gunner was ThoughT of as "a sorcerer in league wiTh The devil." WiTh iTs uITimaTe accepTance as a parT oT The miIiTary, arTiIIery became more closely allied To The oTher arms oT The service, and TacTics were developed To a high degree. Nofable conTribuTors To This developmenT were such leaders as GusTavaus Adolphus oT Sweden: Louis XIV oT France, who developed The use oT morTars and Tounded arfillery schools: Frederick The GreaT oT Prussia, who inTroduced horse arTiIIery: lnspecTor Gen- eral Gribeauval oT France, who developed The science oT ballisfics To such a high degree ThaT iT aTTecTed The developmenf oT arTiI- Iery in many oTher counTriesg and Napoleon BonaparTe, who gained his repuTaTion as The greaTesT miliTary leader oT modern Times largely Through his use oT Tield arTiIIery. During This Tive hundred years oT arfillery developmenT Tollowing The discovery oT gunpowder, comparable sTrides were made in The improvemenT oT hand weapons. While, as sTaTed previously. The bow persisTed as a baTTle weapon inTo The nineTeenTh cenTury. The hand gun wiTh a sTock TirsT came inTo exisTence someTime beTween I35O and I400. IT was a crude aTTair, called a harquebus. The bore was smooTh, and iT used as a propellant a poor grade oT black powder, which was igniTed by a hand Tuze applied To a Touch-hole. ATTer abouT IOO years This weapon had developed inTo The mafchlack, which employed a mechanical device To apply The Tuze To The Touch-hole. In abouT I6O0 The TlinTlock was de- veloped. This Tirearm provided igniTion To The powder by means oT a revolving meral wheel which sTruck a piece oT TlinT aT The momenT The piece was desired To Tire. This was a marked improve- menT over previous arms, which required The soldier To carry a lighTed Tuze when Tiring was imminenT. The TIinTlock Type oT muskeT was universally used un+il I835. ,I fn- s S g 4?" l -1.- Q2. fi? o, -ejife . ,Z Q.. gr ,M TX ffwm. 'vs-.. Mmy MF van, V -,', .wg I' f , T ' .Q I ff a I gl , . F, 7 f . Q ii i, .3 -ii 1 5 Q:ef V . . as 2 if- he-Y -Q Ill : v , ci , i"T" 122, il -R -f f I Ani i fi .. ' aa TTT' Y 5' F I ll ,Me g i V i ' b U Li www ,Sk , 2. Ill i ' si Ei' ilzgfe: r " 724' ll pail. IIQJTFI -g -M, T' 'TTC' ips' if Q . ,,Xx,'f 'Nix' 5 Q U V -K gig xxx. . lg - -... . . f, -my, ww- 1 ., pl ,uw an ":c?",:.w hw, ,K Q . M - " -as . F Mc" W' T f 1' h 1' ' . - Irv Jil . :eco li There- were many reasons why The developmenT oT small arms was slow. In The TirsT place, The raTe oT Tire was slow, much below ThaT oT The crossbow. In The second place, iTs Tire was inaccuraTe. NoT only did The grade of powder inTroduce variables, buT also The Touling caused by The propellenf necessiTaTed barrel clearance, leading To The escape of much gas around The spherical buIIeT. The escaping gas on one side oT a loose ball inTroduced inaccuracies ThaT could noT be predeTermined. Early Tirearms were so inaccuraTe ThaT an experT Iongbowman could ouTshooT The muskeT boTh in disTance and in accuracy. Many TacTicians considered iTs greaTesT value in baTTle To lie in iTs noise-making qualiTies, which creaTed confusion and disorder wiThin The ranks of The enemy. The value oT spin applied To cerTain proiecTiles as a sTabilizer was recognized very early. Many devices were used To imparT spin To arrows, iavelins, and spears. IT is diTTiculT To undersTand why proiecTiles were hurled Trom guns Tor hundreds oT years before The idea oT spinning These proiecTiles was evolved. The daTe oT The invenTion oT riTling is unknown. IT has been asserTed ThaT iT occurred someTime beTween I470 and I500. IT is apparenT ThaT riTling had been developed eTTecTiveIy by IS63, as The Swiss governmenT in ThaT year legislaTed againsT riTled arms in com- peTiTion wiTh unriTled arms Tor TargeT-shooTing purposes, This is diTTiculT To undersTand wiThouT a clearer knowledge oT The disadvanfages inTroduced by riTling. ThaT These disadvanTages were imporTanT is obvious Trom The TacT ThaT smooTh-bore muskeTs were considered superior To The riTled hand weapon Tor miIiTary purposes in England as IaTe as l800. The cause lay in The propel- lenT, black powder. The qualiTy oT This explosive was so poor ThaT aTTer a Tew shoTs The bore became so fouled ThaT ramming was diTTiculT. In The smooTh-bore weapon The Tolerance beTween The ball and The bore was suTTicienT To admiT The ball easily even aTTer Touling became considerable. WiTh The riTled barrel, how- ever, iT required some Torce To ram The ball down The barrel againsT The TricTion oT The riTling even wiTh a clean bore, since The riTling had To be TighT enough To imparT a TwisT To The bulIeT. STarTing wiTh much less Tolerance, The accumulaTion oT Touling wiThin The riTled barrel soon made iT mosT diTTiculT To load. IT has been recorded ThaT one shoT every Two and one-halT minuTes was considered a Tair raTe oT Tire Tor The riTled barrel, while a raTe oT Tive shoTs per minuTe was noT unusual Tor The smooTh-bore muskeT. Thus iT is easy To undersTand why The smooTh bore re- mained a TavoriTe miIiTary weapon even Though many Tine muzzle- loading riTles were made during The sevenTeenTh and eighTeenTh cenTuries Tor hunTing purposes, where speed in loading was noT oT paramounT imporTance. The invenTion oT The percussion primer early in The nineTeenTh cenTury, The evoluTion oT The cylinder-shaped buIleT, and The developmenT oT The meTaI carT- ridge case, which provided eTTecTive obTuraTion, resuITed in The breech-loading weapon. The use oT riTling in all weapons Then became pracficable. One early deficiency, resulTing Trom The slow reloading process required by a muskeT, was The TacT ThaT The gunner was IeTT vul- nerable To aTTack wiThouT means oT deTense. This led To The addiTion of The bayoneT To The weapon, so ThaT iT mighT be used as a pike in emergencies. ln order To speed up The reloading process, many Types oT rapid-Tire weapons were Tried. The provision oT several barrels was one oT The TirsT eTTorTs in This direcTion. In some collecTions oT old arms one can Tind Today mulTibarreled hand guns wiTh The mosT primiTive maTch igniTion sysTems. The repeaTing sysTem mosT successfully developed beTore breech-loading made iTs appearance is Tound in The old hand revolver wiTh eiTher a revolving chamber or revolving barrels. ATTer The developmenT oT breech-loading weapons and Tixed ammuniTion, The magazine riTle became a pracTical weapon and provided a rapid-Tire hand weapon Tor combaT use. AlThough maTeriaIs and workmanship have been improved, inTerchangeabiliTy oT parTs has become a universal pracTice, auTornaTic loading TeaTures have been added and The propellenf and The ballisfics oT The buIIeT have been maTeriaIly improved, The basic design principles involved in The riTIe have noT changed radically since The end oT The nineTeenTh cenTury. In reTurning To a discussion oT arfillery, iT appears prudenT To begin wiTh The Civil War period oT our own hisTory and cover The development oT all ordnance Trom ThaT period To The presenT. Regardless oT The TacT ThaT riTled cannon had been developed and were on The verge oT superseding The smooTh bore, The laTTer Type were used almosT exclusively on boTh sides during The Civil War. Likewise, although saTisTacTory breech-loading small arms had been developed, noT only abroad buT in This counTry, where The Hall riTIe had been manuTacTured in large numbers, The war was ToughT largely wiTh muzzle-loading guns. IT has been sTaTed ThaT The arTilIery used aT GeTTysburg diTTered IiTTle Trom ThaT used by Napoleon more Than half a cenTury beTore, and, allhough General Rodman had developed a Tougher gun meTal in I855 by infernal cooling in a casT iron gun, The principle

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