Talk:Cannon/Archive 2

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Use Beyond the Middle Ages

I made several changes in this paragraph on statements which were either inaccurate, misleading or wrong.

1. "There is a common perception that Western gunpowder technology was superior to others'. Yet, a Korean cannon from the late 16th century had a range of 960m and an English cannon from the same time period had a range of 760m."

This is misleading, because one arbitrary sample is compared with another arbitrary one. The link below (ARTILLERY THROUGH THE AGES) shows that Spanish artillery of the age had effective ranges of up to 1,742 yards and maximum range of 6,666. I have therefore deleted the statement.

2. "The Siege of Constantinople in 1453 was the first battle in history in which cannons were used."

This is inaccurate, because it was actually not a battle, but a siege. This difference is important because, due to their differing function, cannon types for sieges (large, bulky) followed from early on an increasingly different development path than for field battles (smaller, lighter). Besides, the siege of Constantinople was neither the first siege nor the first battle where cannons were used, which already took place the century before (Hindred Years War, see: Clifford Rogers: The Military Revolution of the Hundred Years' War)). Nor did the cannon play a crucual part in the siege, as it blew up rather soon. I have therefore deleted the statement.

" it blew up rather soon..." If you're referring to the Basilic (cannon), six weeks at three shots a day was still plenty to have a meaningful impact on the siege of Constantinople. 01:12, 14 November 2006 (UTC)

I am refering to that cannon. According to my source, it fired once a day - so slow that the Byzantine were always able to refortify the breach in the meantime. After four weeks it broke down completely, having achieved nothing. In stark contrast to modern cannon technology, Constantinople was then taken by the oldest, and most unimaginative siege tactic: The Sultan ordered in truly Eastern despotic fashion a frontal assault, wave after wave, against the heavily outnumbered defenders, exhausting the Byzantines so much in the process, that finally a small sally door was left by them unguarded, allowing the Janissaries to slip in. So, the fall of Constantinople was not exactly the stuff which could help underline the importance of cannon as a new and revolutionary technology. Rather the exact opposite was the case, the Ottomans decided the day by tactics which would have been already familiar to the ancient Sumerians. Gun Powder Ma 01:29, 14 November 2006 (UTC)
No sources supplied. (SEWilco 05:34, 19 November 2006 (UTC))
Well yes those sources would be nice, although that's not going to be one of the points I argue with GPM on. My first most important was that the Basilic had made a bombardment for a duration, as opposed to what GPM wrote that made it sound like it blew up after a few shots, or one. But I think that's been prettty well settled.
Otherwise I have to say whether the Basilic fired around 126 shots at three shots a day over the course of six weeks, or fired about 28 shots at one a day over the course of four weeks does not especially support either of our positions. Both of which numbers are within the same order of magnitude, or you could say, the same ballpark.
Personally I suspect the Turks in their eagerness may have fired three shots a day during the first days, or during critical assaults; but in order to grant the gun longevity the Ottomans under Urban's advice otherwise held to a strict one a day firing regimen allowing the cool of night to do its job. Also it may be that with repositioning, the search for worthy targets, and counsels of war on the gun's best possible use, the gun's first to its last shot may have been over the course of six weeks; but it did not fire for more than four weeks worth of those weeks days. That would put the total shots fired somewhere around 60-75 I figure. That or someone's numbers are a complete fabrication.
Beyond that sourcing one's thoughts here is not absolutely essential. It reads "Encyclopedic content must be verifiable" on the edit page. But this isn't encyclopedic content. This is a Talk page. 17:45, 19 November 2006 (UTC)

First use of Cannons in Battle was in China

Quote: "siege of Constantinople was neither the first siege nor the first battle where cannons were used, which already took place the century before (Hindred Years War"

Incorrect, the first use of cannons was actually during the Mongol invasions of China, around 11th-12th century, which is around 200 years before the Hundred Years War.] -intranetusa

How could be used something non existent? The first known cannon is from 1326. 14:01, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
That was probably the first known cannon in Scotland. The article cites earlier cannon from Spain, and China's development was independent from Europe. --Grimhelm 14:28, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

It may or may not have been independent - papermaking and printing technologies were both transmited by the Arabs to Europe. Nonetheless, the first metal cannon was invented in China more than 100 years before it appeared in Europe. So you can say that the cannon was invented in Asia, regardless of whether it was invented independently or not. Given enough time, any culture can invent anything independently. What counts is who invented it first.


I already know that (considering what my most recent GA was), but when I say that the Chinese invented it independently, I mean that the Chinese were not dependent on Europe (although Europe was dependent on China, at the least with regard to Gunpowder). --Grimhelm 17:50, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

3. "Not until the late 18th century to early 19th century did the Western gunpowder technology supersede those of other ethnic groups or nationalities."

Not true. It is well know that as early as the early 17th century Jesuit missionaries were put in charge of Ming Chinese cannon factories due to their superior know-how. In SE Asia larger cannons were not of indigenous production but imported either from the Portuguese or the Turks (see: Pierre-Yves Manguin: Of Fortresses and Galleys. The 1568 Acehnese Siege of Melaka). And the Turks, in turn, had their artillery knowledge mostly acquired from Europeans, even that cannon of Constantiople was constructed by an Hungarian engineer (for technology transfer see: Jonathan Grant" Rethinking the Ottoman 'Decline': Military Technology Diffusion in the Ottoman Empire, Fifteenth to Eighteenth Centuries). I have therefore deleted the statement.

Problem is that now the paragraph looks pretty much amputated, but better no statement like wrong statements.

Nice job. You could have signed your name by using(~~~~) (Wikimachine 00:40, 4 September 2006 (UTC))

The section of the article titled "First use of cannon in battle" seems rather inconsistent with the previous section, or other articles in wikipedia for that matter. According to the previous section of the article the first examples of bronze-cast cannon did not appear until the 1300s with evolutionary precedants appearing either too early or too late, when the war between Genghis Khan's mongols and the Chinese Jin Dynasty occured during the 1210s, and, for that matter, may not have involved the Great Wall at all.

(Most people are unaware that the Great Wall and similar such walls in the region were constructed largely to isolate conquered subject nations from potential allies. Those that were built before Ghengis Khan's era were largely in disrepair by then, while the Ming Dynasty's Great Wall -the one that is classically identified as the THE Great Wall- itself was not built until long after.)

Also I'm dubious of the notion that the very first battle using bronze-cast or other cannons would involve "more than 3,000" of such. One would think that experimental weapons would not be seized upon so earnestly even in the face of Genghis Khan. 00:35, 14 November 2006 (UTC)

Thank you Grimhelm. Not mind you that I'd dispute that the first use of cannon was in China. It's just that everything about that statement was fantastic and unsupportable. 22:59, 21 November 2006 (UTC)

Direct and indirect fire?

I'd like to see these terms explained in detail, please. I have now a vision of a thing that hits you on the head being indirect and from the front being direct even if each was aimed at you. Fiddle Faddle 20:54, 5 June 2006 (UTC)

The difference between the two is merely whether or not the attacking unit can see it's target. Usually meaning it is a direct fire attack if it there is an unobstructed line-of-sight between them. Direct fire can be as much as a laser attacking ballistic missiles at strategic ranges, and indirect fire can be as little as a grenadier lobbing grenades at unseen enemies over a high wall.

I once suggested, not seriously, that indirect attacks should perhaps be outlawed under the conventions of war. But, given the utility of such attacks in modern warfare I doubt warfighters could be convinced to give them up. On the other hand, I remember a television documentary were a German general who had been on the receiving end of such demanded that direct fire of artillery into urban strongpoints to dislodge defenders should be outlawed. (Somewhat understandably as multiple building walls are not sufficient to slow, let alone stop, the level fire of modern artillery pieces.) 00:37, 14 November 2006 (UTC)

There may be a basis for such claims. Check the laws of war. There's an agreement that weapons fired at a person should be survivable. I think anything of .50 caliber or larger is forbidden as an antipersonnel weapon. Perhaps under that clause, firing a cannon directly at a person is not acceptable. Probably when you're on the receiving end, it is even more unacceptable. There are a number of large weapons which are in the field because they're intended for use against vehicles, not against foot soldiers. (SEWilco 05:54, 19 November 2006 (UTC))
Ah but you gave the reason such attacks are an exception to those rules of war in your own writing. The cannon (manned, by the way, by Americans who did not feel like obliging the German's wish that they make a frontal assault on a fortified town) were not attacking infantry, but just as with the vehicles you mentioned that happened to contain men, were attacking buildings that happened to contain infantry.
It may also be pointed out that indirect fires of artillery on infantry out in the open are at least tolerated internationally. (For that matter under the U.N. charter it is unlawful for nations to make military aggression on one another. But, noone has taken that one seriously since the Korean War.) The argument there I suppose is that bombardment is survivable, if you're lucky enough that no shells explode too close and you don't catch any shrapnel. 16:59, 19 November 2006 (UTC)
As an artillery officer for the last 28 years let me say that there is lots of mythology here ;). There is no rule prohibiting the use of weapons larger than a .50 cal against people -- although it is a widespread myth. There also seems to be some confusion about indirect fire (in which the firing unit cannot see it's target) and unobserved fire (where no one on the firing unit's side can see the impacts). We typically do not fire unobserved fire, but indirect fire is the norm these days, particulary given the extended ranges our guns systems fire these days. CsikosLo (talk) 12:54, 19 May 2008 (UTC)

It's the geometry, not the visual contact

I read some histories of artillery a few years ago. The distinction that they made between direct fire and indirect fire was not how close the combatants are, or whether they can see each other, but whether the gunners are elevating the gun to greater than 45° from the horizontal so that the shell's trajectory has a large vertical component and a small horizontal component, in order to deliver the shell from above at an angle greater than 45° and at relatively close range. In other words, you throw the shell mostly vertically so that it lands mostly vertically not very far away. Thus mortar fire is indirect even if you are staring right at your target and it is fairly close to you. Additionally, indirect fire is often how you use big guns at middling ranges: if you used direct fire, the shell would go sailing miles beyond the target.

In other words Fiddle Faddle's suggested distinction was the correct one ("I have now a vision of a thing that hits you on the head being indirect and from the front being direct even if each was aimed at you."). It's not about whether you have visual contact.

In the days of fighting sail, indirect fire was more useful than direct fire when employing exploding ammunition ("bombs", that is, shells, rather than solid balls) because you'd much rather have a shell fall straight down through the enemy's deck and explode belowdecks. That had higher chance of inflicting serious damage than direct fire against the ship's side.

BTW, speaking of elevation, the histories also said that the origin of the term "point blank range" is the elevation measurement on a gun: "point blank" literally means 0° elevation, marked on the 18th-century elevation scale with a dash or no mark at all (blank).

— Lumbercutter 02:31, 11 June 2007 (UTC)

Some possible additions

  • Breach Loading
  • Rifling that came about as an accidental observation due to the original purpose of rifling being to help clean out the bore. Ste4k 17:58, 20 June 2006 (UTC)

Da Vinci

Why there is no reference to Leonardo DaVinci? He invented the modern cannon. It was utilized in Europe from the Renaissance up to the 1900s. Do a search on google: Leonardo Da Vinci + cannon. BillyJo 21:40, Oct 16 2006 (UTC)

Um, as far as I know, there's no evidence that Leonardo da Vinci made any more than evolutionary improvements to cannon design, if that. It should not surprise people that da Vinci worked with modern cannon as, since he was a military engineer, casting many cannons was something that he did as part of his job. And, of course, applying his casting skills to sculpture was one of his great accomplishments in art. To say that Leonardo worked with modern cannon is far from saying he invented them. 00:37, 14 November 2006 (UTC)
Since you like Leonardo da Vinci you might be interested in the Galata Bridge. I found it while researching the Fall of Constantinople for an ongoing dialogue further up this discussion page. It seems kind of fantastic, almost to the point where one might suspect an archeological hoax. But, I think a correspondence between da Vinci, the Sultan Bayezid II, and then Michelango would be awfully hard to fake. As the article reads the bridge would have involved known geometric concepts. But, the modernly natural form and the ambition of the design make it compelling nonetheless. 22:13, 16 November 2006 (UTC)
The Cannon was not an invention of Leonardo da Vinci. He invented the Cattapult. The first Cannon was built by a Hungarian named Urban for Mehemet II and used in battle first in the Fall of Constantinople. Is it worth mentioning that that was the first time it was applied in war and that Urban had presented it to Constantinople XI who had rejected it. One of thos cannons was later presented to Queen Victoria by Abdülâziz. It's either in some British Museum or in the Palace Kendirangu 07:20, 16 December 2006 (UTC)
No offence, but this is absurd. Both the catapult and the cannon date back long before da Vinci and Mehemet II. Just look up Battle of Crécy, Trebuchet and Catapult, for examples. Even this article says the cannon predates 1453! --Grimhelm 13:22, 16 December 2006 (UTC)

Editing invited

I added a bunch of material from the 18th century. Some editing and clarifications will be needed. Dive right in. Did I properly translate "spunge" as "sponge"? I'm also not certain that I properly identified the cannon instruments. They were not all labeled in the original plate. (SEWilco 04:59, 21 November 2006 (UTC))

Spider shot

Overall, the spread of the military use of gunpowder technology seems to have been extremely rapid in the middle eastern and European region. there is no such thing as spider shot

What does "spider shot"mean? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 07:51, 8 December 2006

An earlier edit claimed spider shot was similar to chain shot but with many branches of chain. I am aware of the term "spider shot" but don't have a good description of it. (SEWilco 17:28, 10 December 2006 (UTC))

Seasonal Cannon

"A 24 pounder may well fire 90 or 100 shots every day in summer; at 60 or 75 in winter."

Why should a cannon be able to fire fewer rounds per day in cold weather? Wouldn't the lower temprature only improve the cannon's rate of cooling? 05:59, 11 December 2006 (UTC)Fronzel

The source did not give a reason for the difference in speed. I suspect what changes is the speed of the gun crew, not the physics of cannons. (SEWilco 07:46, 11 December 2006 (UTC))
I doubt it. More likely the rapid changes in temperature led to stress on the tube and increased the probability of failure. CsikosLo (talk) 12:56, 19 May 2008 (UTC)


Removed for lack of sources:

…in 1298 the use of psychological-warfare gunpowder is described being demonstrated to an interested Christmas feast in the same kingdom. The earliest depiction of smoothbore bronze-cast cannon, firing a large arrow, first appears in a manuscript from 1326. That same year the council of Florence employed masters for the making of "large iron arrows and balls and cannon of metal". An earlier Ghentian document mentions cannon in 1313, but this reference is disputed by some scholars.

If someone can find sources for these it would be appreciated. And could someone familiar with the topic write an article on scopettieri? --Grimhelm 13:26, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

Just to keep these links at hand: [1] [2] --Grimhelm 18:49, 4 March 2007 (UTC)
I also have userfied the material on 18th century British cannon. Feel free to edit here: User:Grimhelm/English cannon It could make a nice DYK when it is up to standard. --Grimhelm 14:32, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

New article series

English cannon has been passed as both a GA and a DYK article, and we could start a series on different types of cannon by period and nation. Two drafts that I am working on (where contributions would be welcome) are:

The first one seems almost ready to be used as an article, but I am less familiar with Spanish cannon so I would like some expansion from other editors. --Grimhelm 22:48, 17 March 2007 (UTC)

Cannon in the Middle Ages has passed as a GA, and I have written two other new articles, making this into an article series (see template to right):

I hope that eventually all the articles of the series will be GA, but I will need some help with the failed one on Cannon operation. --Grimhelm 12:15, 23 May 2007 (UTC)

GA comment

The lead should be expanded to better summarize the article. See WP:LEAD. --Nehrams2020 06:38, 23 May 2007 (UTC)

I plan to expand it later today. :-) --Grimhelm 06:55, 23 May 2007 (UTC)
How is it now? --Grimhelm 12:09, 23 May 2007 (UTC)
Much better. That will make the article begin with a good start when a reviewer looks the article over. --Nehrams2020 18:48, 23 May 2007 (UTC)

GA comment

Ths material on music should be removed from this article and placed in an article of its own, named 'Cannon (music)'. A good article should not cover two completely different objects. Hmains 23:14, 26 May 2007 (UTC)

Are they completely different objects? It seems they are essentially the same, but their uses differ. Or if we are dealing purely with the military theme, would an article named "Cannon in music" would be more appropriate? --Grimhelm 12:33, 27 May 2007 (UTC)

GAC on hold

The majority of the article is ok, but I have put the article on hold on the understanding that the references sction will be properly formatted within the near future. Once this section is dealt with, I believe it is good enough to pass GA criteria - • The Giant Puffin • 11:07, 30 May 2007 (UTC)

Fixed. --Grimhelm 15:47, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
Good work, its passed - • The Giant Puffin • 18:36, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
Thank you for reviewing. :-) --Grimhelm 18:38, 30 May 2007 (UTC)