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Re: 'Superguns' of Elizabeth I's navy

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  • Michael Robinson
    Well, neither am I an expert, but they do seem to be overstating a little. I think the question is the discovery of an actual armament in place that is of
    Message 1 of 3 , Feb 20, 2009
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      Well, neither am I an expert, but they do seem to be overstating a
      little. I think the question is the discovery of an actual armament
      'in place' that is "of uniform size, firing standard ammunition" --
      they don't seem to be discussing the question of standard powder
      charge and standard fuse, introduced much later, that would be
      necessary to get such weapons to produce anything approaching
      consistently ranged temporally simultaneous 'broadside.'

      NAM Rodger, 'Safeguard of the Sea,' 1997/8, certainly credits Hawkyns
      with the crucial introduction of the dry-dock (p. 336) but says
      nothing of Hawkyns having any role in his detailed discussion of
      developments, under the supervision of the Ordinance, in gun casting
      and changes in canon, powder, and shot c. 1543-1602. (pp. 213 - 219.)
      He would attribute the changes in use at sea, from a few principal
      heavy weapons being carried in the bow, to broadside gun-decks, i.e.
      solving the problem of a draft and hull form sufficiently strong and
      with sufficient draft to carry the greater weight of a heavy broadside
      armament accurate at greater than pistol range while also possessing
      maneuverability, not to the introduction of the galleon hull
      (traditionally attributed to Hawkyns, though as Roger points out, @ p.
      329, he had reservations about the ships built in the 1570'a and
      '80's) but to Phineas Pett, starting with the hull design of the
      Prince Royal of 1610; but Rodger explains also that with a full weight
      of provisions the lower deck of guns was insufficiently high out of
      the water to be usable in a seaway. (p. 386-7)


      --- In pepysdiary@yahoogroups.com, Hugh Yeman <hughyeman@...> wrote:
      >
      > I find myself particularly inclined to shout "The Emperor has no
      clothes!" That the English, by 1588, had developed uniform gunnery
      that was decades ahead of other navies, is hardly new knowledge. After
      Drake and Hawkyns made their way back from San Juan de Ulua in 1563,
      their hatred of the Spanish helped drive two revolutions in the
      English navy: Drake's imperiousness helped change the command
      structure, and Hawkyns's innovations helped change not only the guns,
      but the whole concept of how a gun was to be used at sea. I'm no
      authority, but anyone who's read Mattingly, Martin and Parker, and
      Howarth would be unsurprised to "discover" that English gunnery in
      1588 was radically different than it was in old Henry's day.
      >
      > -Hugh Yeman
      >
      > On Feb 20, 2009, at 9:12 AM, "Michael Robinson"
      <robinsonrepepys@...> wrote:
      >
      > The English navy at around the time of the Armada was evolving
      > revolutionary new tactics, according to new research.
      >
      > Tests on cannon recovered from an Elizabethan warship suggest she
      > carried powerful cast iron guns, of uniform size, firing standard
      > ammunition.
      >
      > "This marked the beginning of a kind of mechanisation of war," says
      > naval historian Professor Eric Grove of Salford University.
      >
      > "The ship is now a gun platform in a way that it wasn't before."
      >
      > Marine archaeologist Mensun Bound from Oxford University adds:
      > "Elizabeth's navy created the first ever set of uniform cannons,
      > capable of firing the same size shot in a deadly barrage.
      >
      > "[Her] navy made a giant leap forward in the way men fought at sea,
      > years ahead of England's enemies, and which was still being used to
      > devastating effect by Nelson 200 years later."
      >
      > Deadly artillery
      >
      > Until now, it was thought Queen Elizabeth was using the same cannon
      > technology as her father, Henry VIII. His flagship, the Mary Rose, was
      > ultra-modern for its day.
      >
      > However, it carried a bewildering variety of cannons - many designed
      > for land warfare. They were all of different shapes and sizes, fired
      > different shot at different rates with different killing power.
      >
      > It is known that during Elizabeth's reign, English sailors and gunners
      > became greatly feared. For example, at the beginning of Henry VIII's
      > reign, the English fleet was forced to run away from heavily armed
      > French galleys.
      >
      > By the time of Elizabeth, even Phillip of Spain was warning of the
      > deadly English artillery. But no-one has ever been able to clearly
      > show why this was.
      >
      > The new research follows the discovery of the first wreck of an
      > Elizabethan fighting ship off Alderney in the Channel Islands, thought
      > to date from around 1592, just four years after the Spanish Armada. ...
      >
      > ... "What we have shown is that the English navy and its gun founders
      > were almost 50 years ahead of their time technologically," concludes
      > Mensun Bound. This made Elizabeth I the mother of British naval
      > dominance lasting three centuries.
      >
      > Continued -- with BBC i player links etc.:-
      > http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7899831.stm
      >
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