Dual-Mounted 6-pdr, 10-cwt Mk1 Twin

Adopted in 1937 and designed for defense against smaller and faster vessels, the dual-mounted 6-pdr, 10-cwt Mk1 Twin had caliber 57mm barrels with semiautomatic vertical sliding breech mechanisms. The Mk1 fired a 6-pound shell up to 5,151 yards.

Twin 6-pdr coastal guns. The short range of these guns was more than compensated for by their high rate of fire which made them very effective against MTB attacks. ‘Twin Sixes’ totally disrupted such an attack by the Italians on Malta in July 1941, sinking five boats in two minutes.

By the middle 1920s, however, some rationalization became necessary and the three roles previously referred to were firmly laid down. While numbers of the 4.7-in (‘120-mm) guns remained in use, it was considered that the 6-in (152-mm) guns could take care of most armoured vessels, but what was needed was a fast-firing weapon to deal with motorboats. After experimenting with 2- pdr pom-poms, a design of two-barrelled 6-pdr was developed, with the two guns carried side-by-side in an armoured turret.

Gun control was entirely by data transmitted from an observing station, with gun sights provided for emergency use only. The guns were capable of being moved in relation to the sights, so that the gun captain could adjust them to cater for aim-off while the gunlayers attended strictly to their dials. Two teams of gunners hand-loaded the guns and a firing rate of 120 rds/min was possible. These ‘twin sixes’ totally disrupted an Italian torpedo-boat raid on Malta in July 1941, sinking five boats in two minutes. In the years after the Second World War the coast defences were maintained for some time, but eventually it was appreciated that a 9.2-in (234-mm) gun in a concrete pit was of little use against an ICBM and in 1956 the coast branch of the Royal Artillery was disbanded and the guns scrapped.

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On July 24, the merchant ships entered Grand Harbour accompanied by a number of destroyers and unloaded 65,000 tons of stores. The cargoes included 2,000 tons of frozen meat, 2,000 tons of edible oil and large quantities of sugar, coffee, tea and fats to last till October.

The Xa Flottiglia MAS, the elite unit of the Italian navy, the Regia Marina, planned a surprise attack on the ships in harbour, which fortunately failed.

On July 25, 1941, at about 10.30 p.m. the RAF radar station AMES 502 atop Madliena detected a large vessel about 45 nautical miles to the north-north-east of Malta. It was the Diana, which half-an-hour later unloaded ten MT barchini. She then retired northwards while the Xa Flottiglia MAS boats began their trip towards Malta. The route was directly southward and at about 2.10 a.m. the next day they stopped five miles north-east of Valletta.

The various craft approached Grand Harbour slowly so as not to alert the defences with their engine noises. The attack started at 4.45 a.m., but the first explosion occurred three minutes later, when a barchino hit another one; the two of them exploded and destroyed half the break-water bridge (which has just been reconstructed).

This is how Charles Grech describes the attack in his book Raiders Passed:

“It was now about 4.45 a.m. We had almost arrived near the Chalet pier, when there was what felt like a minor earthquake, followed by an explosion which seemed to come from the direction of the entrance to Grand Harbour. The searchlights of the coastal forts were lit. One of them shone from the old Sliema Point Battery close by and this was immediately followed by gunfire in a seaward direction.

“We glimpsed a small object racing on the surface of the water, illuminated by searchlights. At first, we thought this was some practice shoot because before the war, there had often been such shoots on small targets, towed by motor launches. However, that explosion soon caused us to think otherwise…”

After the first explosion, the guns of Fort St Elmo, Fort Ricasoli aided by those of Fort St Rocco destroyed or immobilised most of the craft.

At 5.40 a.m. about 30 Hurricanes took off to attack the survivors. In the attack 16 Italians were killed, 18 were taken prisoner and 11 returned to Sicily.

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10.5cm Leicht Geschütz 40

San Felice (Monte Circeo).- Besichtigung des Abschnitt Süd durch KG [kommandierenden General]

10.5cm LG 40 (Olpe)

This was a Krupp design originally known as the LG 2/Kp to distinguish it from the contemporary development-the LG 2/Rh-being done by Rheinmetall-Borsig.

A defect in the original 75mm LG design that became apparent after some use, as outlined above, was that the rapid erosion by the gas blast through the venturi of the firing mechanism housing; the mechanism itself became clogged with fouling. To cure this, a new type of cartridge case was developed in which the primer was inserted at the side of the case and where a `bandolier’ igniter surrounded the bottom of the propellant charge to ensure even ignition. This, of course, demanded precise breech location of the cartridge so that the primer cap lay under the firing pin, and this was done by making a wedge-shaped surround for the primer housing which engaged in a matching recess in the chamber wall. The firing mechanism was mounted on top of the breech-ring.

A second defect revealed itself in action: after about 300 rounds had been fired, the mountings began to disintegrate. This was partly due to erosion of the jets, leading to out-of-balance forces, but principally owing to the torque imparted to the gun structure as the projectile engaged in the rifling. So the recoilless principle was extended in a radial direction by welding curved vanes inside the jet nozzle that were curved in the opposite direction to the rifling; these then instigated an opposite torque in the jet and thus balanced the turning moment acting on the carriage.

The LG 40 was more or less an enlarged version of the Krupp 7.5cm model, with the same side-swinging breech and large pneumatic-tyred wheels. A short box trail was fitted, simply as a support, and a shield also appeared. The whole equipment could be dismantled into five parachute loads, each in a container: barrel, breech, carriage body, axle and trail, and wheels. Each container held, in addition to the gun parts, four rounds of ammunition plus a rifle and small-arms ammunition for the detachment. The LG 40 could also be dropped in the assembled condition, packed in a special shock-absorbing crate.

The original version had the mounting made of aluminium/magnesium alloy, but when this material became scarce a new pattern in welded steel was issued. Guns with the light alloy mountings were then known as L G 40-1 and those with the steel mounting as LG 40-2.

Data

Calibre: 105mm/4.13in.

Length of gun: 1902mm/74.88in.

Length of bore: 1380mm/54.33in.

Rifling: 32 grooves, right-hand increasing twist, 1/17.25 to 1/11.75.

Breech mechanism: side opening, percussion fired.

Traverse: 80°.

Elevation: −15° to +40° 30′.

Weight in action: 388kg/856lb.

Performance

Firing standard high explosive shell weighing 14.80kg(32.63lb).

Standard charge: velocity 335mps/1099fps, maximum range

7950m/8695yd.

Ammunition

Separate-loading, cased charge.

Projectiles

10.5cm F H Gr 41: fuzed AZ 23v(0.15) or Dopp Z S/60, weight

14.80kg(32.63lb).

In spite of the changed number, examinations of specimens and drawings reveal this shell to be the same as the 10.5cm F H Gr 38 used with the le FH 18 howitzer. A bimetallic (KPS) driving band was fitted and the filling was 1.38kg (3.04lb) of poured TNT.

10.5cm Gr 39 H1/B: fuzed AZ 38, weight 12.25kg (27.01lb).

This was also the shell used with the le F H 18. When fired from the LG 40, owing to its lesser weight, it developed a muzzle velocity of 373mps (1224fps) and a maximum engagement range of 1500m(1640yd) was stipulated.

Propelling Charges

This was a single charge consisting of 3.09kg (6.81lb) of Gudol R P with a bandolier igniter of NZ Man P wrapped around the lower end of the sticks.

Primer

The percussion primer C/13nA St was standard.

7.5cm Infanteriegeschütz 42

7.5cm IG 42 (Grauwolf)

The Krupp prototype of the IG 42, later distinguished as the IG 42 aA.

After the 1940 campaigns the infantry felt that the IG 38 was outdated, and so they requested a weapon with greater range and a much better anti-tank capability; the hollow charge shell had not then been introduced and they were using the normal high explosive shell as an anti-tank projectile.

In response to this demand, Krupp designed the 7.5cm IG 42, an efficient-looking weapon with tubular split trail, pneumatic tyres, a shield and a cage-type muzzle brake. Although the result was a serviceable weapon, production capacity was not readily available-and since the introduction of the hollow charge shell had by then given the IG 18 a reasonable anti-tank performance, the IG 42 project was dropped.

Later experience in the Russian campaigns, however, convinced the infantry that a new weapon was definitely needed and in 1944 the project was revived. The original design was thereafter called IG 42 aA (alterer Art, or `old pattern’) in order to avoid confusion, and the slightly modified gun was mounted on a lightweight split-trail carriage that had been designed a short time previously by Rheinmetall-Borsig for the 8cm PAW 600 antitank gun; the carriage, being a simple design, could be put into production quickly and easily.

The gun was exactly the same as that described for the IG 37, and the carriage was the only difference between the equipments. A severely angled shield was fitted and the wheels were of disc pattern, with either solid or pneumatic tyres. The spring suspension was achieved by stubaxles and torsion bars were incorporated.

Data

Calibre: 75mm/2.95in.

Length of gun: 1798mm/70.77in.

Length of bore: 1424mm/56.04in.

Rifling: 24 grooves, right-hand uniform twist, 1/25.59.

Traverse: 60°. Elevation: -6° to +32°.

Breech mechanism: vertical sliding block, semiautomatic, percussion firing.

Weight in action: 590kg/1301lb.

Performance

As the IG 37, except that owing to the lower maximum elevation the maximum range was lower- 4600m(5030yd)-though, with the trail spades buried, it was possible to reach 5150m(5632yd).

Ammunition

As the IG 37.

Towards the end of the war much development work was done on fin-stabilised hollow charge and high-capacity high explosive (Minen) shells, outlined in the sections on development. The 7.5cm IG 42 was selected as a potential vehicle for this type of ammunition, and a smoothbore version with an improved muzzle brake was built at the Hillersleben test range in order to undertake trials with various projectile designs. Had the war continued, the gun might have been farther developed into a service weapon.

8.1cm Panzerabwehrwerfer L/105

8.1cm PAW L/105

This weapon never saw service.

The weapon was photographed in a German test ground after the war and identified as the 8.1cm PAW L/105; nothing more is known about it. No postwar reports or interrogations have thrown any light on the weapon, and the only related piece of information was discovered during examination of microfilm of Krupp’s ammunition design department drawings. This revealed a single drawing of a hemispherical-based hollow charge shell weighing 3.00kg(6.62lb) and classified as 8.1cm HoL Gr L/3.1 fur PAW. The 8cm PAW 600 was ruled out because the shell was fitted with a driving band-but by the same token could it have been for the PAW L/105 which, although of the correct calibre, was called a werfer, which implied a smoothbore? The PAW L/105 ordnance bore no resemblance to any service weapon. It was obviously built in two pieces, a common German practice that enabled long guns to be made on short lathes, and it appears to have been jacketed. The carriage was an amalgam of service components and specially-made parts; the wheels were those of the 10cm K 18 and the cradle and limber appear to have been taken from the 10cm s FH 18. The whole weapon had a purposeful air, but it would probably have been a cumbersome beast to handle. The gun was disconnected from the recoil system for travelling, doubtless to prevent whip in the barrel, but such a time-consuming manoeuver has no place on an anti-tank gun. On the. available evidence, it seems likely that the 8.1cm PAW was a prototype that was abandoned as too unwieldy; it must, however, have had a formidable performance.

8.8cm Flugabwehrkanone 41

8.8cm Flak 41 (Eisenerz)

Even while the FLAK 36 was entering service the Luftwaffe began to look ahead. From what they knew of their own aircraft it was obvious that the speed and height of bombers was bound to increase, eventually reaching a point where the Flak 36 would no longer be able to deal with them. The muzzle velocity and the rate of fire would have to be increased, and, as it seemed that an anti-tank capability might also be needed, the weapon wanted to be of low silhouette. Under the title of Gerät 37 a specification was issued in the autumn of 1939 calling for a gun weighing not more than 8000kg, firing 25 rounds per minute at 1000mps. Rheinmetall-Borsig was given the contract and their first prototype was ready for trial in early 1941. The title `Gerät 37′ was causing some confusion with the existing Flak 37 gun, and so the new project was officially called the 8.8cm Flak 41. Shortly before the appearance of the prototype the Luftwaffe, hearing that all was not well with Rheinmetall’s development, issued another contract to Krupp in the hope that they might develop a competitive gun. The Krupp project became Gerät 42, but (although it showed some promise) it was dropped early in 1943 when the Luftwaffe asked for even more performance.

The Rheinmetall-Borsig design was a very good one indeed. Instead of the Flak 18’s pedestal the gun was mounted on a turntable and trunnioned well back, to be as low-set as possible. The ballistics were greatly improved, and a powered-roller loading mechanism-drawing its power from a hydropneumatic piston operated on recoil -speeded up the rate of fire. The most adventurous part of the design was the barrel, but here (in the opinion of many authorities) Rheinmetall’s designers overreached themselves. The barrel was divided into three bore sections with a sleeve, a jacket and a locking collar to hold everything together, plus a complicated arrangement of a retaining collar and a ring holding the breech-ring in place. This was all very well on paper, but in practice it gave a good deal of trouble owing to the cartridge case failing to extract. Part of the trouble was due to the fact that the joint between the first and second sections of barrel fell exactly at the cartridge case bottleneck: steel cases expanded into this joint and became stuck. Special brass cases were developed, which overcame the trouble to a large degree, but it periodically recurred; this was probably due to the high chamber pressures involved. The design was eventually changed to a two-section liner with a jacket and a sleeve. The 152 guns issued with the original three-piece liner were marked with a yellow band around the barrel and a yellow m painted on the breech-ring, indicating that they were only to be used with ammunition having brass (Messing) cartridge cases. A further 133 guns were then issued with two-piece barrels, but the trouble persisted-though to a smaller degree-and was largely due to the different expansion factors of the chamber and cartridge case when under severe pressure. The design was again changed to a heavier two-piece barrel with a jacket and no sleeve, and the remainder of production (some 271 guns) used the third type of barrel. In spite of all this trouble the Flak 41 was a good weapon, and specimens were still used by the Czechoslovakian army until the early 1960s.

American Civil War Artillery – Rifled and Imported Cannon

Ultimate General: Civil War

The Parrott Field Rifle

Between 1856 and 1859, Robert Parker Parrott and Dr. John Braham Read collaborated in developing what was to become the most used rifled field gun by either side during the Civil War. In 1849, Parrott, the superintendent of the West Point Iron and Cannon Foundry of Cold Spring, New York, became interested in rifled guns after the successes of Krupp in Germany. In the following years he applied his own skills to designing an American rifled gun and eventually joined with the Alabamian Read, who had an interest in designing the appropriate projectiles. Their joint venture proved successful, with both men receiving various federal patents; yet, with secession, Read sided with his native state and returned home. Parrott continued to manufacture his rifles and their ammunition in various calibers throughout the war, whereas Read aided the Southern cause by designing projectiles.

Parrott’s design incorporated a cast iron gun tube strengthened at the breech by a broad wrought iron reinforcing band. During the manufacturing process the tube was cooled with water as the band was heated and then heat shrunk to the barrel as it expanded. The final result produced a relatively lightweight, economical gun and gave the Parrott rifle its distinctive profile. The Parrott rifle was not, however, without its defects. Although immensely strong at its breech, the brittle cast iron forward of its reinforcing band was prone to burst, especially in larger caliber pieces. Nevertheless, its low cost and ease of manufacture dictated its land and naval use throughout the war, with almost 2,000 guns accepted by the federal government, as well as numerous pieces manufactured by Confederate foundries.

The first of the Parrott field rifles, the 2.9-inch Army Pattern of 1861 10-pounder, was eventually superseded by the 3-inch Pattern of 1863, which appeared in the latter part of that year and was cast without the earlier pattern’s muzzle swell. The primary impetus for the change in caliber was to allow more interchangeability in ammunition between Parrotts and other rifled guns then in service. Although the Pattern of 1863 was capable of firing Pattern of 1861 ammunition, the reverse was not possible-a drawback apparently considered acceptable under the circumstances. The highly accurate 3-inch Parrott achieved a range of about 1,900 yards. The federal government purchased more than 500 Parrott 10-pounders during the war, with others going to various state units.

Confederate foundries including Tredegar also manufactured both 2.9-inch and 3-inch Parrott rifles. Southern Parrotts were somewhat longer and heavier than Northern guns and were also distinguished by a longer reinforcing band, often beveled on its leading edge.

As with the 10-pounder guns, early 3.67-inch, 20-pounder Parrotts were cast with a muzzle swell, that feature being omitted on later pieces. With a range of 1,900 yards, they were mounted on the #3 stock trail carriage. Federal purchases for both the army and navy totaled 507 pieces. Confederate 20-pounders were essentially identical to the Northern models, other than their longer and heavier band giving a somewhat greater total weight.

FOREIGN ARTILLERY USED IN THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR

At the beginning of the Civil War, neither the Northern nor Southern logistics and ordnance organizations were prepared to supply and arm the vast influx of volunteers swelling their armies’ ranks. To gain time, both sides dispatched agents to Europe to buy foreign military goods, including uniforms, accoutrements, small arms, and artillery. For their part, European arsenal commanders were more than happy to clear out stocks of obsolete and often defective equipment in exchange for U. S. gold, bonds, or cotton. Of all the foreign weapons used by either side, those obtained from Britain proved the most effective.

During the early months of the war the most famous of the Confederate agents, Major Caleb Huse, scoured Europe signing contracts for weapons ranging from pistols to cannons. Such weapons were usually sufficient until more modern weapons could be procured but often required some improvisation to use U. S. ammunition. One such example-the approximately 17 Austrian bronze 6- pounders obtained by Huse-were bored to 3.74 inches rather than the American 3.67 caliber. Although a seemingly minor detail, such disparities required extra effort on the part of ordnance crews, who had to wrap ammunition for the Austrian pieces in an extra layer of canvas for a proper bore fit.

The son of a Congregational minister, Sir Joseph Whitworth (1803-1887) was one of Britain’s leading engineers and helped to revolutionize the country’s precision tool making industry. He designed machine equipment and a highly accurate rifle, as well as advanced cannons. Whitworth designed various calibers of both muzzle- and breech loading artillery pieces, with both types sharing his unique rifling system. The bores of Whitworth cannons and small arms were precisely cut with distinctive spiraling hexagonal rifling that required a matching six-sided projectile. The odd shape of the projectile produced a weird, unnerving shriek as it traveled through the air.

Although rejected by the British army in favor of Armstrong weapons, Whitworth rifles were made of high-grade steel and iron and were capable of extremely accurate long-range fire of nearly six miles. Still, such accuracy was often negated by the period’s lack of sophisticated sights, fouling problems, and the complicated loading procedure that often baffled poorly trained crews: in many cases Confederate gunners locked the breechloaders’ mechanisms and simply used them as muzzleloaders. Moreover, the slender Whitworth projectile was too small to carry a significant bursting charge. Solid bolts did, however, prove highly effective against armored targets, owing to their high velocity at flat trajectories.

The breechloading 2.75-inch 12-pounder was the most commonly used Whitworth by both sides during the American Civil War. Other lesser used models included the 2.15-inch and 3.75-inch breechloaders, as well as the muzzleloading 5-inch 80-pounder seacoast rifle. With a 10-pound charge and an 80-pound projectile filled with a 3.17-pound bursting charge, the seacoast Whitworth had an astounding 13,665-yard range at 10-degree elevation. Although an impressive weapon, such large rifles were prone to fouling, and inexperienced crews often found loading difficult and at times dangerous: improperly handled shells were prone to detonate prematurely.

The Confederacy imported a small number of both muzzle- and breechloading British Armstrong rifles of various sizes during the Civil War. The most popular Armstrong for field use, the 3-inch model, fired a 12-pound projectile 2,200 yards. The 70-pounder 6.4- inch breechloading Armstrong fired a 79.8-pound projectile loaded with a 5.4-pound bursting charge 2,183 yards. Two large 8.5-inch (150-pounder) 120-inch-long muzzleloading Armstrongs were included in the defenses of Wilmington, North Carolina: a 15,737- pound cannon at Fort Fisher and a 15,786-pound gun at Fort Caswell. The 150-pounder required a 20-pound charge.

Although rejected by his own government, British captain Theophilus Alexander Blakely found the Confederacy a ready buyer of his muzzleloaded rifled cannons during the Civil War. Blakely contracted with various private firms to cast his heavy and field pieces under license. Most Blakely bores were cut with right-hand twist-the so-called saw tooth or hook-slant rifling-and were manufactured using a cast iron core reinforced at the breech with wrought iron bands. Sizes ranged from small 2.5-inch 6-pounders to 12.75-inch seacoast rifles. Several types of 3.5-inch 12-pounder Blakely field rifles saw Confederate service during the Civil War. Other less used types included the 3.75-inch 16-pounder and the 4.5-inch 20-pounder, classed as naval and siege weapons.

Larger Blakelys included 7-inch (120-pounder) navy rifles. The Confederate raiders CSS Alabama and CSS Florida each mounted a 7-inch Blakely on pivots. A number of Blakely 7.5-inch pieces were also made up from British 42-pounder smoothbores that were banded and rifled according to Blakely’s patent. The barrels of the converted pieces utilized twelve-groove “hook-slant” rifling. On 22 May 1863 one such rifle-known as the Widow Blakely, as it was the only Blakely in the Vicksburg defenses-lost two feet of its muzzle when a shell exploded prematurely. Workmen repaired the remainder of the tube, and the Widow continued to defend the city until its fall on 4 July.

Other heavy pieces included 8.12-inch rifles made up from converted British 68-pounder smoothbores, 9-inch rifles, and 12.75- inch seacoast rifles. The 12.75-inch Blakely fired very heavy flanged projectiles, including 450-pound shells, to about 2,000 yards, and reportedly bolts as heavy as 700 pounds. Two 12.75-inch Blakelys were delivered through the blockade for the defense of Wilmington, North Carolina, in August 1863 but were rerouted to Charleston, South Carolina, by order of Secretary of War James Alexander Seddon and General Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard. Local gunners, however, were unfamiliar with the Blakelys’ innovative air chamber. Some 7 inches in diameter and 30 inches long, the bronze air chamber was located at the breech below the guns’ powder chamber and was intended to reduce the shock of the recoil. Baffled by the unexplained extra space, General Roswell Sabine Ripley ordered one of the guns’ crews to load the air chamber with powder during its first firing, thus bursting the piece. When loaded correctly, however, the second gun functioned satisfactorily; after repairs, the damaged gun was returned to service.

Freak Guns and Infernal Devices – American Civil War

This four-wheeled weapon is called Winan’s Steam Gun. According to the history of this weapon, The Winan’s Steam Gun can shoot 300 bullets in one minute. The half-coned metal acts as the armor for its machinery. It is very accurate and its bullet can go as far as a mile if not more. This weapon however, was not widely used around the world. It is believed to be because not many civilization were introduced to this invention. Winan’s Steam Gun was never introduced to anyone except its maker until it was seized by a Massachusetts’ volunteer on his way to a rebel camp. Though it looks funny and not well organized, this weapon firing shots using steam-powered technology is the main reason of its uniqueness.

Henry Clay Pate was a former attorney who, during the U.S. Civil War, organized a mounted company that was called Pate’s Rangers or the Petersburg Rangers. The innovative Pate designed the revolving cannon, which he had cast at the Petersburg foundry in Petersburg, Va. This cannon was then made available to Pate’s unit.
The cannon saw use in the siege of Petersburg, Va. It was captured by Union troops at Danville, Va, on April 27, 1865. While innovative, the weapon did not play a significant role on the battlefield. After its capture, the cannon was sent to the Ordnance Laboratory, United States Military Academy, West Point, New York.

Double-Barreled Cannon, Athens, Clarke County, Georgia

Among the numerous weird and wonderful inventions with which the Union, or the Confederacy, were to be saved, were several attempts to make repeating cannon on the revolver principle. Most of these never got beyond the testing stage and none ever saw action. The Scientific American illustrated many such during the first few months of the war. (Later the magazine, like many of its readers, became disenchanted with the seemingly endless struggle, and pictures of warlike gear gave way to woodcuts of cultivators and thrashing machines.) The majority of the rapid-fire cannon appear as unwieldly monstrosities, overdecorated with wheels and gears.

One relied on steam as a propellant; the “Justly celebrated Winans steam-gun which … was expected to revolutionize the then existing system of warfare,” was captured by Union General Ben Butler’s men in May of ’61. The wood engraving shows it as a fascinating-look contraption, part fire engine, part snowplow. It was obviously not up to revolutionizing warfare, or anything else, or the astute and unconventional Ben Butler, who would try anything if he thought it would work, would have made some use of it.

One of a pair of revolving cannons cast by Tappey & Lumdsen of Petersburg, Virginia for H. C. Pate (the other burst during its test firing and killed three of the crew) still can be seen outside a Petersburg museum. It is really not much more than a large revolver on wheels, with a crank at the back to force the cylinder forward against the barrel, to cut down leakage of gas.

Another “freak” gun still to be seen (this one at Athens, Georgia) is the famous double-barrel cannon. The device, which consists of two 6-pounder cannon cast in one piece so that they diverge slightly, is only the last of a long line of such pieces, designed to mow down the enemy like ripe grain, by two cannon balls connected by a chain. There is only one thing wrong with this delightful conception, as other enterprising artillerists have found out through the ages—it won’t work. No matter that the vents are drilled so as to give fire simultaneously to both barrels. No matter that the powder charges and balls are carefully weighed and that the chain is cunningly arranged. It is physically impossible to give both projectiles exactly the same momentum at exactly the same time. The results, as might have been foreseen, were spectacular, to say the least. A contemporary account says:

“It had a kind of circular motion, plowed up an acre of ground, tore up a cornfield, mowed down saplings, and the chain broke, the two balls going in opposite directions. One of the balls killed a cow in a distant field, while the other knocked down the chimney from a log cabin.”