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Re: Union Artillery

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  • Jeff
    ... inch ... As an artillery gunner, would you have referred to or used grape at anytime during the war or was it always referred to as canister and been of
    Message 1 of 66 , May 2, 2005
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      --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, Donald Pontious
      <don.pontious@g...> wrote:
      > 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
      >

      As an artillery gunner, would you have referred to or used grape at
      anytime during the war or was it always referred to as canister and
      been of the smaller caliber?

      Jeff

      >
      > On 5/2/05, Jeff <jblake47@y...> 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)
      > > canister
      > >
      > > Observations
      > >
      > > 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.
      > >
      > > Jeff
      > >
      > > --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "Dick Weeks" <shotgun@c...>
      > > wrote:
      > > > 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: civilwarwest@yahoogroups.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#
      > > howitzer.
      > > >
      > > > And yes, 27 iron balls in canister would be much larger than
      a
      > > Minie ball.
      > > >
      > > >
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    • Donald Pontious
      ... A Napoleon is a 12pdr, period, not a 6pdr or 20 pdr. The term 12pdr refers to the weight of the solid shot that the smooth bore cannon used.
      Message 66 of 66 , May 3, 2005
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        On 5/3/05, hank9174 <clarkc@...> wrote:
        > >
        > > Hmmm, that's strange, I always thought the term Napolean meant the
        > > style of gun, not it's caliber. I could have even bet that the 6#
        > > Napolean was also a common gun on the field.
        > >
        >
        > The Napoleon style (stubby bronze tubes) did not scale well. A 12
        > pounder is an incredibly heavy load.
        >
        > There are 20-lb Parrotts, which are rifled, but no 20-lb Napoleons
        > which are smoothbores...
        >
        > HankC

        A Napoleon is a 12pdr, period, not a 6pdr or 20 pdr. The term "12pdr"
        refers to the weight of the solid shot that the smooth bore cannon
        used.
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