Canister on a 6pdr was 27 -1" diameter steel balls. Canister on a
12pdr was 27- 1&1/2 inch diameter steel balls. Grape shot was 2 inch
diameter steel balls. The 12pdr was the prefered gun for canister.
Don, who reenacts with a artillery unit
On 5/2/05, Jeff <jblake47@...> wrote:
> I've been following along with this discussion and wanted to get all
> the info absorbed before jumping in.
> All field artillery batteries had a limber equipped with:
> solid shot
> shell (hollow ball filled with powder)
> case shot (hollow ball filled with powder and small balls)
> All types of shot and shell were used by the artillery for the
> various purposes for which they were designed, and some for purposes
> not designed, i.e. firing case shot with no fuse so it would explode
> in the barrel and be ejected in a canister like manner against close
> infantry when the canister rounds were not available.
> Solid shot - good to take out wheels on opposing artillery pieces to
> make them immoble and easier to capture. Same for the wheels on the
> supply wagons. Also good for enflade fire on a line of infantry.
> With the ball's inertia going down the line, a large number of troops
> could be killed or injured with just one round.
> Shell - Good for concussion, into woods to shrapnel wood splinters,
> into the ground in front of charging cavalry, etc. More of a nusance
> round, but extremely unnerving.
> Case shot - same as above but with a mean bite instead of just being
> a loud nusance. Exploding 10' over the heads of an infantry line
> will definitely give notice.
> Both shell and case shot were dependent upon fuses. The
> effectiveness of the fuses depended on the knowledge of the
> cannoneer, his ability to judge distance, calculation on length of
> fuse, accuracy of fuse cut and whether or not the fuse ignited. The
> ingnition rate was about 97%.
> Obviously the case shot balls were of a small size.
> Canister shot was 1.0 caliber or 1" in diameter, which was 3-4X's the
> size of an infantryman's minnie ball, which varied from .54 - .69
> generally for the common majority of weapons.
> "Canister" shot larger than 1.0 caliber were really grape shot used
> in naval guns to strip ships of their rigging. The balls needed to
> be bigger to affect a more damaging effect on a more solid target
> than flesh and bone.
> Canister could be double charged with or without second powder bag
> with no ill-effect. When underfire, stripping the second bag off
> wasn't really of major concern as was getting the gun loaded.
> Triple canister will flip the gun over as was the case when it was
> tried at Gettysburg, Day three against Pickett's men.
> The firing effect of a battery of 6 guns using canister is the
> equivelent of a regiment of infantry (1,000 men) If you wish to do
> the math on that, please figure in that with the size and velocity of
> the canister ball, it did in fact hit more than one man.
> One must also consider the fact that firing canister in a rifled gun
> will put out a donut shaped pattern so as to have men directly in
> front of the gun getting missed by the projectiles but those to their
> right and left were hit. Smoothbores maintained the normal "shotgun"
> type of pattern and were far more effective.
> --- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "Dick Weeks" <shotgun@c...>
> > You are probably right about case shot not being used that much.
> Since it was a fused shot, and fuses were not that reliable to begin
> with, it was of little benefit against a foe who was moving (opening
> or closing the distance). However, if you caught them trying to hold
> a position, it was extremely effective up to about 1500 yards. Of
> course I am sure there are many that there are many in this group
> that know more about it than I do. I am somewhat out of my element
> trying to intelligently discuss Civil War weapons.
> > I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
> > Dick (a.k.a. Shotgun)
> > http://www.civilwarhome.com
> > ----- Original Message -----
> > From: keeno2@a...
> > To: email@example.com
> > Sent: Monday, May 02, 2005 9:53 AM
> > Subject: Re: [civilwarwest] Re: Union Artillery
> > Read somewhere that cased shot was rarely used by land forces. It
> was either shot, shell, or canister. Might have to take that back.
> The 1863 CS Ordnance Manual specifies 20 spherical case rounds (out
> of 50) for a 6-pounder, but only 8 (out of 32) for a 12#.
> Understandably, the number goes back up to 20 (out of 39) for a 12#
> > And yes, 27 iron balls in canister would be much larger than a
> Minie ball.
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