Many reenactors and ceremonial artillerists won’t ever expertise firing stay ammunition, however organizations, such because the North-South Skirmish Affiliation and the Loyal Prepare of Artillery Chapter of the US Area Artillery Affiliation (LTAC-USFAA), do maintain common competitions the place stay ammunition is fired. The article discusses a number of the variations to the Muzzle-Loading Artillery Drill and to the security procedures when firing stay ammunition.
For subject weapons (clean bore, rifled, and howitzers), there are three variations of the drill that happen when firing stay ammunition. These variations are:
1. IN BATTERY. When a cannon fires stay ammunition, there’s a recoil that hardly ever happens when the cannon is just firing clean powder expenses. The cannon have to be repositioned on the gun line after it’s fired. After the command FIRE is given, and after the cannon has efficiently fired, the command IN BATTERY is given. The cannon crew will instantly transfer onto the carriage to roll the cannon again into its authentic place. No 1 & 2 will grasp the wheel above the hub, Quantity 3 & 4 will grasp the wheel from the rear, and both the Gunner or Quantity 5 will come ahead and elevate the path spike in order that the cannon could be moved ahead. As soon as the Gunner is glad that the cannon is again in its authentic place, the cannoneers will start the Service the Piece (which, when firing clean expenses, is mechanically accomplished instantly after the cannon is profitable fired). The Gunner might or might not give the command to SERVICE THE PIECE.
Notice: Many artillery crews at stay fireplace occasions will arrange markers to assist return the cannon to the identical place every time after firing. This may be achieved by staking small wooden planks throughout the entrance and sides of the wheels to behave as guides for transferring the cannon again into place.
2. Sighting the Gun. The sighting of the gun in order that the projectile hits the supposed goal is of crucial significance. As a result of three (3) minutes should elapse between when the cannon is fired and when the subsequent spherical is launched into the muzzle of the cannon, that is the most effective time to do the first sighting and aiming of the cannon. That is the most secure time to do the sighting since there’s a hazard to the Quantity 3 cannoneer who nonetheless has their thumb protecting the vent after the stay spherical has been rammed. The Gunner might make one remaining sighting earlier than the READY command is given to prick and prime the powder cost, however a lot of the aiming must be accomplished between the IN BATTERY command and the LOAD command.
3. Loading Dwell Ammunition. Some cannoneers have their stay rounds constructed as they had been in the course of the Struggle Between the States, which means that the powder cost the sabot and the projectile are all connected collectively right into a single package deal. If that is accomplished, there isn’t any variation to the drill for loading and ramming the ammunition. Nonetheless, many cannoneers have the powder change separate from the sabot and projectile. Which means the ammunition Powders have to be loaded and rammed in a two step course of.
Step one is as acknowledged within the drill. Quantity 2 will relaxation the worm on the axle (or hook it onto the aspect of the carriage cheek), and switch towards the wheel the obtain the powder cost. Quantity 5 will deliver the powder cost to Quantity 2, who will then introduce the powder cost to the tip of the muzzle after which step out of the within of the wheel and return to POST place, leaving the worm behind. Quantity 5 will then return to the Limber to acquire the projectile. The projectile is introduced up identical to the powder cost to the Gunner, who will then instruct Quantity 5 when to deliver up the projectile to Quantity 2. As soon as the powder cost has been rammed by No 1, Quantity 2 will step again into the wheel nicely, hugging the sting of the wheel rigorously (much like the Misfire Drill) and, dealing with the wheel, put together to obtain the projectile. Quantity 2 will take the projectile from Quantity 5 identical to the powder cost and place it simply into the muzzle. Quantity 2 will then take the worm, step out of the wheel nicely, and return to POST place. No 1 will ram the projectile identical to the powder cost. The remainder of the drill proceeds as regular.
Notice: Some cannon crews who stay fireplace have standing hooks that the worm and different implements could also be hooked to exterior the wheel nicely. If one in every of these is current, Quantity 2 will take the worm when stepping out of the wheel nicely after introducing the powder cost to the muzzle and relaxation/hook it to the stand in order that it’s exterior of the wheel nicely when the stay ammunition is launched to the muzzle.
A lot care have to be taken when firing residing ammunition. The rounds have to be intently inspected previous to the occasion to make sure that they’re protected. For rounds the place the powder, sabot, and projectile are in a single package deal, the package deal must be opened up so every element could be checked. Duct tape shouldn’t be used when securing the projectile to the sabot as a result of the adhesive can soften and create a multitude. The slim packing tape with the nylon fibers operating by way of it’s the finest tape to make use of and is extremely really useful. Keep in mind, it’s extra necessary to be protected than to hit the goal!
Care must be taken when choosing the contents of a Canister Spherical. 50 Caliber lead shot is essentially the most really useful as a result of it causes the least injury to the within of the cannon barrel. Metal shouldn’t be used, and nuts & bolts also needs to not be used due to the potential for damaging the barrel lining. The lead shot must be packed in sawdust to carry the shot in place and stop motion whereas in flight. Aluminum beverage cans work nicely for creating Canister Shot. The underside is minimize off and the picket sabot inserted and tacked & taped into place. The highest is then minimize off and the sawdust and shot poured in till about ½ of an inch from the highest of the can. Then, the highest edge is minimize with quick vertical snips all the best way round. The underside of the can, which was minimize off first, is then inverted (in order that the dome is dealing with out) and positioned into the highest of the can. The snipped ends of the can are then folded in to safe the highest of the Canister Spherical.
Strong shot could be solid from moulds and is usually made from Zink due to its similarity in mass to iron and since it’s simpler to work with. Some individuals use lead, however this has far more mass and weight that iron and may have severe impacts on the accuracy of the spherical.
As a result of the liner if a cannon barrel will get worn over time from firing stay ammunition, it’s regular for projectiles to be smaller than the within of the barrel. The sabot connected to the projectile, although, must be customized match to the barrel in order that the projectile package deal (projectile and sabot connected collectively) is an effective match. You don’t want the projectile package deal to be too lose as a result of that may permit a number of the power from the powder cost to slide previous the projectile, inflicting the projectile to fall wanting its supposed goal.
Exploding ordinance (Shell and Case) and their fuses must be manufactured by professionals due to the acute hazard to cannoneers serving on and close to the gun. Exploding ordinance ought to by no means be allowed to be fired from mortars at occasions due to the potential for extreme harm and injury if the cost explodes too quickly.
The vary used for firing stay ordnance have to be chosen rigorously. What most individuals overlook is that strong shot doesn’t simply journey a number of hundred yards within the air, hit the bottom, after which cease transferring (except the shot imbeds itself in delicate floor). The power produced by the exploding powder cost will proceed propelling the shot ahead for a number of miles because the shot hops and bounces down vary on agency floor till inertia and gravity ultimately sluggish it down. Strong shot from a 12-Pounder gun has been discovered ten miles down vary earlier than.
Large care have to be taken when firing stay ordnance to make sure the security of the gun, the gun crew, and the spectators. No gun crew ought to ever fireplace stay ordnance with out correct coaching and the supervision of an knowledgeable who has been certified in live-fire by a nationally acknowledged group that promotes protected live-fire of muzzle-loading artillery.