Cannon

Cannon

Overview
A cannon is any piece of artillery
Artillery
Originally applied to any group of infantry primarily armed with projectile weapons, artillery has over time become limited in meaning to refer only to those engines of war that operate by projection of munitions far beyond the range of effect of personal weapons...

 that uses gunpowder
Gunpowder
Gunpowder, also known since in the late 19th century as black powder, was the first chemical explosive and the only one known until the mid 1800s. It is a mixture of sulfur, charcoal, and potassium nitrate - with the sulfur and charcoal acting as fuels, while the saltpeter works as an oxidizer...

 or other usually explosive-based propellents to launch a projectile. Cannon vary in caliber
Caliber
In guns including firearms, caliber or calibre is the approximate internal diameter of the barrel in relation to the diameter of the projectile used in it....

, range, mobility, rate of fire, angle of fire, and firepower; different forms of cannon combine and balance these attributes in varying degrees, depending on their intended use on the battlefield. The word cannon is derived from several languages, in which the original definition can usually be translated as tube, cane, or reed.
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Encyclopedia
A cannon is any piece of artillery
Artillery
Originally applied to any group of infantry primarily armed with projectile weapons, artillery has over time become limited in meaning to refer only to those engines of war that operate by projection of munitions far beyond the range of effect of personal weapons...

 that uses gunpowder
Gunpowder
Gunpowder, also known since in the late 19th century as black powder, was the first chemical explosive and the only one known until the mid 1800s. It is a mixture of sulfur, charcoal, and potassium nitrate - with the sulfur and charcoal acting as fuels, while the saltpeter works as an oxidizer...

 or other usually explosive-based propellents to launch a projectile. Cannon vary in caliber
Caliber
In guns including firearms, caliber or calibre is the approximate internal diameter of the barrel in relation to the diameter of the projectile used in it....

, range, mobility, rate of fire, angle of fire, and firepower; different forms of cannon combine and balance these attributes in varying degrees, depending on their intended use on the battlefield. The word cannon is derived from several languages, in which the original definition can usually be translated as tube, cane, or reed. The plural of cannon is cannon, the same word, or more commonly in America, cannons. In modern times, cannon has fallen out of common usage, usually replaced by "guns" or "artillery", if not a more specific term, such as "mortar" or "howitzer". In aviation, 'cannon' remains a common term for aircraft guns.

First used in China, cannon were among the earliest forms of gunpowder artillery, and over time replaced siege engine
Siege engine
A siege engine is a device that is designed to break or circumvent city walls and other fortifications in siege warfare. Some have been operated close to the fortifications, while others have been used to attack from a distance. From antiquity, siege engines were constructed largely of wood and...

s—among other forms of aging weaponry—on the battlefield. In the Middle East, the first use of the hand cannon is argued to be during the 1260 Battle of Ain Jalut
Battle of Ain Jalut
The Battle of Ain Jalut took place on 3 September 1260 between Mamluks and the Mongols in eastern Galilee, in the Jezreel Valley, not far from Ein Harod....

 between the Mamluks
Mamluk Sultanate (Cairo)
The Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt was the final independent Egyptian state prior to the establishment of the Muhammad Ali Dynasty in 1805. It lasted from the overthrow of the Ayyubid Dynasty until the Ottoman conquest of Egypt in 1517. The sultanate's ruling caste was composed of Mamluks, Arabised...

 and Mongols
Mongol Empire
The Mongol Empire , initially named as Greater Mongol State was a great empire during the 13th and 14th centuries...

. The first cannon in Europe were probably used in Iberia
Iberian Peninsula
The Iberian Peninsula , sometimes called Iberia, is located in the extreme southwest of Europe and includes the modern-day sovereign states of Spain, Portugal and Andorra, as well as the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar...

, during the Reconquista
Reconquista
The Reconquista was a period of almost 800 years in the Middle Ages during which several Christian kingdoms succeeded in retaking the Muslim-controlled areas of the Iberian Peninsula broadly known as Al-Andalus...

, in the 13th century, and English cannon
English cannon
The first recorded usage of cannon in Great Britain was in 1327, when they were used in battle by the English against the Scots. Under the Tudors, the first forts featuring cannon batteries were built, while cannon were first used by the Tudor navy...

 were first deployed in the Hundred Years' War
Hundred Years' War
The Hundred Years' War was a series of separate wars waged from 1337 to 1453 by the House of Valois and the House of Plantagenet, also known as the House of Anjou, for the French throne, which had become vacant upon the extinction of the senior Capetian line of French kings...

, at the Battle of Crécy
Battle of Crécy
The Battle of Crécy took place on 26 August 1346 near Crécy in northern France, and was one of the most important battles of the Hundred Years' War...

, in 1346. On the African continent
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

, the cannon was first used by the Somali
Somali people
Somalis are an ethnic group located in the Horn of Africa, also known as the Somali Peninsula. The overwhelming majority of Somalis speak the Somali language, which is part of the Cushitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family...

 Imam
Imam
An imam is an Islamic leadership position, often the worship leader of a mosque and the Muslim community. Similar to spiritual leaders, the imam is the one who leads Islamic worship services. More often, the community turns to the mosque imam if they have a religious question...

 Ahmad ibn Ibrihim al-Ghazi
Ahmad ibn Ibrihim al-Ghazi
Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-Ghazi "the Conqueror" was an Imam and General of Adal who invaded Ethiopia and defeated several Ethiopian emperors, wreaking much damage on that kingdom...

 of the Adal Sultanate
Adal Sultanate
The Adal Sultanate or the Kingdom of Adal was a medieval multi-ethnic Muslim state located in the Horn of Africa.-Overview:...

 in his conquest
Ethiopian-Adal War
The Ethiopian–Adal War was a military conflict between the Ethiopian Empire and the Adal Sultanate from 1529 until 1559. The Imam Ahmad ibn Ibrihim al-Ghazi came close to extinguishing the ancient realm of Ethiopia, and converting all of its subjects to Islam; the intervention of the...

 of Ethiopia
Ethiopian Empire
The Ethiopian Empire also known as Abyssinia, covered a geographical area that the present-day northern half of Ethiopia and Eritrea covers, and included in its peripheries Zeila, Djibouti, Yemen and Western Saudi Arabia...

 in 1529. It was during this period, the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

, that cannon became standardized, and more effective in both the anti-infantry and siege roles. After the Middle Ages most large cannon were abandoned in favor of greater numbers of lighter, more maneuverable pieces. In addition, new technologies and tactics were developed, making most defences obsolete; this led to the construction of star fort
Star fort
A star fort, or trace italienne, is a fortification in the style that evolved during the age of gunpowder, when cannon came to dominate the battlefield, and was first seen in the mid-15th century in Italy....

s, specifically designed to withstand artillery bombardment though these too (along with the Martello Tower
Martello tower
Martello towers are small defensive forts built in several countries of the British Empire during the 19th century, from the time of the Napoleonic Wars onwards....

) would find themselves rendered obsolete when explosive and armour
Armour
Armour or armor is protective covering used to prevent damage from being inflicted to an object, individual or a vehicle through use of direct contact weapons or projectiles, usually during combat, or from damage caused by a potentially dangerous environment or action...

 piercing rounds made even these types of fortifications vulnerable.

Cannon also transformed naval warfare
Naval warfare
Naval warfare is combat in and on seas, oceans, or any other major bodies of water such as large lakes and wide rivers.-History:Mankind has fought battles on the sea for more than 3,000 years. Land warfare would seem, initially, to be irrelevant and entirely removed from warfare on the open ocean,...

 in the early modern period
Early modern period
In history, the early modern period of modern history follows the late Middle Ages. Although the chronological limits of the period are open to debate, the timeframe spans the period after the late portion of the Middle Ages through the beginning of the Age of Revolutions...

, as European navies took advantage of their firepower. As rifling
Rifling
Rifling is the process of making helical grooves in the barrel of a gun or firearm, which imparts a spin to a projectile around its long axis...

 became commonplace, the accuracy and destructive power of cannon was significantly increased, and they became deadlier than ever, both to infantry who belatedly had to adopt different tactics, and to ships, which had to be armoured. In World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, the majority of combat fatalities were caused by artillery; they were also used widely in World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. Most modern cannon are similar to those used in the Second World War, although the importance of the larger caliber weapons has declined with the development of missile
Missile
Though a missile may be any thrown or launched object, it colloquially almost always refers to a self-propelled guided weapon system.-Etymology:The word missile comes from the Latin verb mittere, meaning "to send"...

s.

In addition to their widespread use in warfare, cannon have found peaceful applications, notably in avalanche control
Avalanche control
Avalanche control or avalanche defense activities reduce the hazard avalanches pose to human life, activity, and property. Avalanche control begins with a risk assessment conducted by surveying for potential avalanche terrain by identifying geographic features such as vegetation patterns,...

.

Etymology and terminology



Cannon is derived from the Old Italian word cannone, meaning large tube, which came from Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 canna, in turn originating from the kannēGreek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 for cane, or reed, and then generalized to mean any hollow tube-like object; ultimately deriving from the Akkadian
Akkadian language
Akkadian is an extinct Semitic language that was spoken in ancient Mesopotamia. The earliest attested Semitic language, it used the cuneiform writing system derived ultimately from ancient Sumerian, an unrelated language isolate...

 term qanu, meaning tube or reed. The word has been used to refer to a gun since 1326 in Italy, and 1418 in England. Cannon serves both as the singular and plural of the noun, although in American English the plural cannons is more common .

Any large, smoothbore
Smoothbore
A smoothbore weapon is one which has a barrel without rifling. Smoothbores range from handheld firearms to powerful tank guns and large artillery mortars.-History of firearms and rifling:...

, muzzle-loading gun
Gun
A gun is a muzzle or breech-loaded projectile-firing weapon. There are various definitions depending on the nation and branch of service. A "gun" may be distinguished from other firearms in being a crew-served weapon such as a howitzer or mortar, as opposed to a small arm like a rifle or pistol,...

—used before the advent of breech-loading, rifled guns—may be referred to as a cannon, though once standardized names were assigned to different sized cannons, the term specifically referred to a gun designed to fire a 42 pounds (19.1 kg) shot, as opposed to a demi-cannon
Demi-cannon
The demi-cannon was a medium sized cannon, similar to but slightly larger than a culverin and smaller than a regular 42lb cannon developed in the early 17th century. A full cannon fired a 42-pound shot but these were discontinued in the 18th century as they were seen as too unwieldy. The lower...

 (32 pounds (14.5 kg)), culverin
Culverin
A culverin was a relatively simple ancestor of the musket, and later a medieval cannon, adapted for use by the French in the 15th century, and later adapted for naval use by the English in the late 16th century. The culverin was used to bombard targets from a distance. The weapon had a...

 (18 pounds (8.2 kg)). or demi-culverin
Demi-culverin
The demi-culverin was a medium cannon similar to but slightly larger than a saker and smaller than a regular culverin developed in the early 17th century. Barrels of demi-culverins were typically about long, had a calibre of and could weigh up to . It required of black powder to fire an round...

 (9 pounds (4.1 kg)). Gun
Gun
A gun is a muzzle or breech-loaded projectile-firing weapon. There are various definitions depending on the nation and branch of service. A "gun" may be distinguished from other firearms in being a crew-served weapon such as a howitzer or mortar, as opposed to a small arm like a rifle or pistol,...

specifically refers to a type of cannon that fires projectiles at high speeds, and usually at relatively low angles; they have been used in warships, and as field artillery
Field artillery
Field artillery is a category of mobile artillery used to support armies in the field. These weapons are specialized for mobility, tactical proficiency, long range, short range and extremely long range target engagement....

. The term cannon is also used for autocannon
Autocannon
An autocannon or automatic cannon is a rapid-fire projectile weapon firing a shell as opposed to the bullet fired by a machine gun. Autocannons often have a larger caliber than a machine gun . Usually, autocannons are smaller than a field gun or other artillery, and are mechanically loaded for a...

, a modern repeating weapon firing explosive projectiles. Cannon have been used extensively in fighter aircraft since World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, and in place of machine gun
Machine gun
A machine gun is a fully automatic mounted or portable firearm, usually designed to fire rounds in quick succession from an ammunition belt or large-capacity magazine, typically at a rate of several hundred rounds per minute....

s on land vehicles.

History


Development in China



Prior to the invention of the cannon, projectile
Projectile
A projectile is any object projected into space by the exertion of a force. Although a thrown baseball is technically a projectile too, the term more commonly refers to a weapon....

 weapons existed using compressed air and steam. The invention of the cannon, driven by gunpowder, was first developed in China. Like smallarms, cannon are a descendant of the fire lance
Fire lance
The fire lance or fire spear is one of the first gunpowder weapons in the world.- Description :The earliest fire lances were spear-like weapons combining a bamboo tube containing gunpowder and projectiles tied to a Chinese spear. Upon firing, the charge ejected a small projectile or poison dart...

, a gunpowder-filled tube attached to the end of a spear and used as a flamethrower
Flamethrower
A flamethrower is a mechanical device designed to project a long controllable stream of fire.Some flamethrowers project a stream of ignited flammable liquid; some project a long gas flame. Most military flamethrowers use liquids, but commercial flamethrowers tend to use high-pressure propane and...

 in China. Shrapnel
Fragmentation (weaponry)
Fragmentation is the process by which the casing of an artillery shell, bomb, grenade, etc. is shattered by the detonating high explosive filling. The correct technical terminology for these casing pieces is fragments , although shards or splinters can be used for non-preformed fragments...

 was sometimes placed in the barrel, so that it would fly out along with the flames. The first documented battlefield use of fire lances took place in 1132 when Chen Gui used them to defend De'an from attack by the Jurchen Jin. Eventually, the paper and bamboo of which fire lance barrels were originally constructed came to be replaced by metal. It has been disputed at which point flame-projecting cannon were abandoned in favor of missile-projecting ones, as words meaning either incendiary or explosive are commonly translated as gunpowder. The earliest known depiction of a gun is a sculpture from a cave in Sichuan
Sichuan
' , known formerly in the West by its postal map spellings of Szechwan or Szechuan is a province in Southwest China with its capital in Chengdu...

, dating to the 12th century that portrays a figure carrying a vase-shaped bombard
Bombard (weapon)
A bombard is a large-caliber, muzzle-loading medieval cannon or mortar, used chiefly in sieges for throwing heavy stone balls. The name bombarde was first noted and sketched in a French historical text around 1380. The modern term bombardment derives from this.Bombards were usually used during...

, firing flames and a ball. The oldest surviving gun, found in Acheng, Heilongjiang
Heilongjiang
For the river known in Mandarin as Heilong Jiang, see Amur River' is a province of the People's Republic of China located in the northeastern part of the country. "Heilongjiang" literally means Black Dragon River, which is the Chinese name for the Amur. The one-character abbreviation is 黑...

, and dated to no later than 1290, is 34 cm long with a muzzle bore diameter of 2.5 cm (0.984251968503937 in) and weighs 3.5 kg. The second oldest, dated to 1332 is 35.3 cm long, a muzzle bore diameter of 10.5 cm (4 in) and weighs 6.94 kg; both are made of bronze.

The earliest known illustration of a cannon is dated to 1326. In his 1341 poem, The Iron Cannon Affair, one of the first accounts of the use of gunpowder artillery in China, Xian Zhang wrote that a cannonball fired from an eruptor could "pierce the heart or belly when it strikes a man or horse, and can even transfix several persons at once."

Joseph Needham
Joseph Needham
Noel Joseph Terence Montgomery Needham, CH, FRS, FBA , also known as Li Yuese , was a British scientist, historian and sinologist known for his scientific research and writing on the history of Chinese science. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1941, and as a fellow of the British...

 suggests that the proto-shells
Shell (projectile)
A shell is a payload-carrying projectile, which, as opposed to shot, contains an explosive or other filling, though modern usage sometimes includes large solid projectiles properly termed shot . Solid shot may contain a pyrotechnic compound if a tracer or spotting charge is used...

 described in the Huolongjing
Huolongjing
The Huolongjing is a 14th century military treatise that was compiled and edited by Jiao Yu and Liu Ji of the early Ming Dynasty in China...

may be among the first of their kind. The weapon was later taken up by both the Mongol conquerors and the Koreans
Korean cannon
Cannon in Korea were first developed by Choe Mu-seon, for exclusive use by the Goryeo Army. Several types were made and saw successful action during the Mongol invasions of Japan...

. Chinese soldiers fighting under the Mongols appear to have used hand cannon in Manchuria
Manchuria
Manchuria is a historical name given to a large geographic region in northeast Asia. Depending on the definition of its extent, Manchuria usually falls entirely within the People's Republic of China, or is sometimes divided between China and Russia. The region is commonly referred to as Northeast...

n battles during 1288, a date deduced from archaeological findings at battle sites. The Ming Chinese also mounted over 3,000 cast bronze and iron cannon on the Great Wall of China
Great Wall of China
The Great Wall of China is a series of stone and earthen fortifications in northern China, built originally to protect the northern borders of the Chinese Empire against intrusions by various nomadic groups...

, to defend against the Mongols
Mongols
Mongols ) are a Central-East Asian ethnic group that lives mainly in the countries of Mongolia, China, and Russia. In China, ethnic Mongols can be found mainly in the central north region of China such as Inner Mongolia...

.

In the 1593 Siege of Pyongyang, 40,000 Ming
Ming Dynasty
The Ming Dynasty, also Empire of the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644, following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty. The Ming, "one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history", was the last dynasty in China ruled by ethnic...

 troops deployed a variety of cannon to bombard an equally large Japanese army. Despite both forces having similar numbers, the Japanese were easily defeated due to the Ming cannon. Throughout the Seven Year War in Korea, the Chinese-Korean coalition used artillery widely, in both land and naval battles, including on the Turtle Ships
Turtle ship
The Turtle ship, also known as Geobukseon or Kobukson , was a type of large warship belonging to the Panokseon class in Korea that was used intermittently by the Royal Korean Navy during the Joseon Dynasty from the early 15th century up until the 19th century.The first references to older, first...

 of Yi Sun-sin
Yi Sun-sin
Yi Sun-shin was a Korean naval commander, famed for his victories against the Japanese navy during the Imjin war in the Joseon Dynasty, and is well-respected for his exemplary conduct on and off the battlefield not only by Koreans, but by Japanese Admirals as well...

.

Islamic world



Arabic manuscripts dated from the 14th century document the use of the hand cannon, a forerunner of the handgun
Handgun
A handgun is a firearm designed to be held and operated by one hand. This characteristic differentiates handguns as a general class of firearms from long guns such as rifles and shotguns ....

, in the Arabic world.
Ahmad Y. al-Hassan argues that these manuscripts are copies of earlier manuscripts and reported on hand-held cannon being used by the Mamluks at the Battle of Ain Jalut
Battle of Ain Jalut
The Battle of Ain Jalut took place on 3 September 1260 between Mamluks and the Mongols in eastern Galilee, in the Jezreel Valley, not far from Ein Harod....

 in 1260. Al-Hassan also interprets Ibn Khaldun
Ibn Khaldun
Ibn Khaldūn or Ibn Khaldoun was an Arab Tunisian historiographer and historian who is often viewed as one of the forerunners of modern historiography, sociology and economics...

 as reporting cannon being used as siege machines by the Marinid
Marinid
The Marinid dynasty or Benemerine dynasty was a Zenata Berber dynasty of Morocco. The Marinid dynasty overtook the Almohads in controlling Morocco in 1244. They controlled most of the Maghreb from the mid-14th century to the 15th century and supported the Kingdom of Granada in Al-Andalus in the...

 sultan Abu Yaqub Yusuf at the siege of Sijilmasa
Sijilmasa
Sijilmasa was a medieval trade entrepôt at the northern edge of the Sahara Desert in Morocco. The ruins of the town lie along the River Ziz in the Tafilalt oasis near the town of Rissani...

 in 1274. Other historians urge caution regarding claims of Islamic firearms use in the 1204-1324 period as late medieval Arabic texts used the same word for gunpowder, naft, that they used for an earlier incendiary naptha. The Mamluks had certainly acquired siege cannons by the 1360s, and possibly as early as 1320.

Sixty-eight super-sized bombards
Bombard (weapon)
A bombard is a large-caliber, muzzle-loading medieval cannon or mortar, used chiefly in sieges for throwing heavy stone balls. The name bombarde was first noted and sketched in a French historical text around 1380. The modern term bombardment derives from this.Bombards were usually used during...

 referred to as Great Turkish Bombard
Great Turkish Bombard
The Dardanelles Gun or Great Turkish Bombard is a 15th century siege cannon, specifically a super-sized bombard, which saw action in the 1807 Dardanelles Operation.- History :...

s were used by Mehmed II
Mehmed II
Mehmed II , was Sultan of the Ottoman Empire for a short time from 1444 to September 1446, and later from...

 to capture
Fall of Constantinople
The Fall of Constantinople was the capture of the capital of the Byzantine Empire, which occurred after a siege by the Ottoman Empire, under the command of Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, against the defending army commanded by Byzantine Emperor Constantine XI...

 Constantinople
Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

 in 1453. Orban
Orban
Urban, also known as Orban, was a Hungarian gunfounder who cast superguns for the Ottoman siege of Constantinople in 1453.In 1452 he originally offered his services to the Byzantines, but emperor Constantine XI could not afford his high salary nor did he possess the materials necessary for...

, a Hungarian
Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

 cannon engineer, is credited with introducing the cannon from Central Europe to the Ottomans. These cannon could fire heavy stone balls a mile, and the sound of their blast could reportedly be heard from a distance of 10 miles (16 km).

The similar Dardanelles Guns (for the location) were created by Munir Ali in 1464 and were still in use during the Anglo-Turkish War (1807-1809)
Anglo-Turkish War (1807-1809)
The Anglo-Turkish War of 1807–1809 took place as a part of the Napoleonic Wars.In the summer of 1806, during the War of the Third Coalition , Napoleon's ambassador General Count Sebastiani managed to convince the Porte to cancel all special privileges granted to Russia in 1805 and to open the...

. These were cast in bronze into two parts. The chase (the barrel) and the breech
Breech-loading weapon
A breech-loading weapon is a firearm in which the cartridge or shell is inserted or loaded into a chamber integral to the rear portion of a barrel....

, which combined weighed 18.4 tonne
Tonne
The tonne, known as the metric ton in the US , often put pleonastically as "metric tonne" to avoid confusion with ton, is a metric system unit of mass equal to 1000 kilograms. The tonne is not an International System of Units unit, but is accepted for use with the SI...

s. The two parts were screwed together using levers to facilitate moving it.

In medieval Somalia
History of Somalia
Somalia , officially the Republic of Somalia and formerly known as the Somali Democratic Republic, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is bordered by Djibouti to the northwest, Kenya on its southwest, the Gulf of Aden with Yemen on its north, the Indian Ocean at its east, and Ethiopia...

, general Ahmad ibn Ibrihim al-Ghazi
Ahmad ibn Ibrihim al-Ghazi
Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-Ghazi "the Conqueror" was an Imam and General of Adal who invaded Ethiopia and defeated several Ethiopian emperors, wreaking much damage on that kingdom...

 of the Sultanate of Adal was the first African commander presently known to have used cannon in warfare on the continent
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

 during Adal's conquest of the Ethiopian Empire
Ethiopian Empire
The Ethiopian Empire also known as Abyssinia, covered a geographical area that the present-day northern half of Ethiopia and Eritrea covers, and included in its peripheries Zeila, Djibouti, Yemen and Western Saudi Arabia...

, which demoralized the Ethiopians.

Fathullah Shirazi, a Persian
Persian people
The Persian people are part of the Iranian peoples who speak the modern Persian language and closely akin Iranian dialects and languages. The origin of the ethnic Iranian/Persian peoples are traced to the Ancient Iranian peoples, who were part of the ancient Indo-Iranians and themselves part of...

-Indian
History of India
The history of India begins with evidence of human activity of Homo sapiens as long as 75,000 years ago, or with earlier hominids including Homo erectus from about 500,000 years ago. The Indus Valley Civilization, which spread and flourished in the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent from...

 who worked for Akbar the Great
Akbar the Great
Akbar , also known as Shahanshah Akbar-e-Azam or Akbar the Great , was the third Mughal Emperor. He was of Timurid descent; the son of Emperor Humayun, and the grandson of the Mughal Emperor Zaheeruddin Muhammad Babur, the ruler who founded the Mughal dynasty in India...

 in the Mughal Empire
Mughal Empire
The Mughal Empire ,‎ or Mogul Empire in traditional English usage, was an imperial power from the Indian Subcontinent. The Mughal emperors were descendants of the Timurids...

, developed a volley gun
Volley gun
A volley gun is a gun with several barrels for firing a number of shots, either simultaneously or in sequence. They differ from modern machine guns in that they lack automatic loading and automatic fire and are limited by the number of barrels bundled together.In practice the large ones were not...

 in the 16th century.

Medieval Europe



In Europe, one of first mentions of gunpowder use appears in a passage found in Roger Bacon's Opus Maius and Opus Tertium in what has been interpreted as being firecrackers. In early 20th century, a British artillery officer proposed that another work tentatively attributed to Bacon, Epistola de Secretis Operibus Artis et Naturae, et de Nullitate Magiae contained an encrypted formula for gunpowder. This claims has been disputed by historians of science. In any case, the formula claimed to have been decrypted is not useful for firearms use or even firecrackers, burning slowing and producing mostly smoke.

The first confirmed use of gunpowder in Europe was the Moorish
Moors
The description Moors has referred to several historic and modern populations of the Maghreb region who are predominately of Berber and Arab descent. They came to conquer and rule the Iberian Peninsula for nearly 800 years. At that time they were Muslim, although earlier the people had followed...

 cannon, first used by the Andalusians
Al-Andalus
Al-Andalus was the Arabic name given to a nation and territorial region also commonly referred to as Moorish Iberia. The name describes parts of the Iberian Peninsula and Septimania governed by Muslims , at various times in the period between 711 and 1492, although the territorial boundaries...

 in the Iberian Peninsula
Iberian Peninsula
The Iberian Peninsula , sometimes called Iberia, is located in the extreme southwest of Europe and includes the modern-day sovereign states of Spain, Portugal and Andorra, as well as the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar...

, at the Siege of Cordoba
Siege of Cordoba
During the reconquista, the siege of Córdoba was a successful investment by the forces of Ferdinand III, king of Castile and León, marking the end of the Islamic rule over the city that had begun in 711....

 in 1280. By this time, hand guns were probably in use, as scopettieri—"gun bearers"—were mentioned in conjunction with crossbow
Crossbow
A crossbow is a weapon consisting of a bow mounted on a stock that shoots projectiles, often called bolts or quarrels. The medieval crossbow was called by many names, most of which derived from the word ballista, a torsion engine resembling a crossbow in appearance.Historically, crossbows played a...

men, in 1281. In Iberia, the "first artillery-masters on the Peninsula" were enlisted, at around the same time.


The first metal cannon was the pot-de-fer
Pot-de-fer
The pot-de-fer was a primitive cannon made of iron. It is known as the first metal cannon, and was used by the French in the Hundred Years' War. The name means "iron pot" in French...

. Loaded with an arrow-like bolt
Quarrel
A quarrel or bolt is the term for the ammunition used in a crossbow. The name "quarrel" is derived from the French carré, "square", referring to the fact that they typically have square heads. Although their length varies, they are typically shorter than traditional arrows.Bolts and arrows have...

 that was probably wrapped in leather to allow greater thrusting power, it was set off through a touch hole
Touch hole
A touch hole is a small hole, through which the propellant charge of a cannon or muzzleloading gun is ignited. In small arms, the flash from a charge of priming held in the flash pan is enough to ignite the charge within...

 with a heated wire. This weapon, and others similar, were used by both the French
France in the Middle Ages
France in the Middle Ages covers an area roughly corresponding to modern day France, from the death of Louis the Pious in 840 to the middle of the 15th century...

 and English during the Hundred Years' War
Hundred Years' War
The Hundred Years' War was a series of separate wars waged from 1337 to 1453 by the House of Valois and the House of Plantagenet, also known as the House of Anjou, for the French throne, which had become vacant upon the extinction of the senior Capetian line of French kings...

, when cannon saw their first real use on the European battlefield. While still a relatively rarely used weapon, cannon were employed in increasing numbers during the war. "Ribaldis", which shot large arrows and simplistic grapeshot
Grapeshot
In artillery, a grapeshot is a type of shot that is not a one solid element, but a mass of small metal balls or slugs packed tightly into a canvas bag. It was used both in land and naval warfare. When assembled, the balls resembled a cluster of grapes, hence the name...

, were first mentioned in the English Privy Wardrobe accounts during preparations for the Battle of Crécy
Battle of Crécy
The Battle of Crécy took place on 26 August 1346 near Crécy in northern France, and was one of the most important battles of the Hundred Years' War...

, between 1345 and 1346. The Florentine Giovanni Villani
Giovanni Villani
Giovanni Villani was an Italian banker, official, diplomat and chronicler from Florence who wrote the Nuova Cronica on the history of Florence. He was a leading statesman of Florence but later gained an unsavory reputation and served time in prison as a result of the bankruptcy of a trading and...

 recounts their destructiveness, indicating that by the end of the battle, "the whole plain was covered by men struck down by arrows and cannon balls." Similar cannon were also used at the Siege of Calais, in the same year, although it was not until the 1380s that the "ribaudekin" clearly became mounted on wheels.

The first cannon appeared in Russia
Kievan Rus'
Kievan Rus was a medieval polity in Eastern Europe, from the late 9th to the mid 13th century, when it disintegrated under the pressure of the Mongol invasion of 1237–1240....

 around 1380, though they were used only in sieges, often by the defenders. Around the same period, the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 began to accumulate its own cannon to face the Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 threat, starting with medium-sized cannon 3 foot (0.9144 m) long and of 10 in caliber. The first definite use of artillery in the region was against the Ottoman siege of Constantinople
Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

, in 1396, forcing the Ottomans to withdraw. They acquired their own cannon, and laid siege to the Byzantine capital again, in 1422, using "falcons
Falconet (cannon)
The falconet or falcon was a light cannon developed in the late 15th century. During the Middle Ages guns were decorated with engravings of reptiles, birds or beasts depending on their size. For example, a culverin would often feature snakes, as the handles on the early cannons were often decorated...

", which were short but wide cannon. By 1453, the Ottomans used 68 Hungarian-made cannon for the 55-day bombardment of the walls of Constantinople
Walls of Constantinople
The Walls of Constantinople are a series of defensive stone walls that have surrounded and protected the city of Constantinople since its founding as the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire by Constantine the Great...

, "hurling the pieces everywhere and killing those who happened to be nearby." The largest of their cannon was the Great Turkish Bombard
Great Turkish Bombard
The Dardanelles Gun or Great Turkish Bombard is a 15th century siege cannon, specifically a super-sized bombard, which saw action in the 1807 Dardanelles Operation.- History :...

, which required an operating crew of 200 men and 70 oxen, and 10,000 men to transport it. Gunpowder made the formerly devastating Greek fire
Greek fire
Greek fire was an incendiary weapon used by the Byzantine Empire. The Byzantines typically used it in naval battles to great effect as it could continue burning while floating on water....

 obsolete, and with the final fall of Constantinople—which was protected by what were once the strongest walls in Europe—on May 29, 1453, "it was the end of an era
Late Middle Ages
The Late Middle Ages was the period of European history generally comprising the 14th to the 16th century . The Late Middle Ages followed the High Middle Ages and preceded the onset of the early modern era ....

 in more ways than one."

Early modern period


By the 16th century, cannon were made in a great variety of lengths and bore diameters, but the general rule was that the longer the barrel, the longer the range. Some cannon made during this time had barrels exceeding 10 ft (3 m) in length, and could weigh up to 20000 pounds (9,071.8 kg). Consequently, large amounts of gunpowder were needed, to allow them to fire stone balls several hundred yards. By mid-century, European monarchs began to classify cannon to reduce the confusion. Henry II of France
Henry II of France
Henry II was King of France from 31 March 1547 until his death in 1559.-Early years:Henry was born in the royal Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, near Paris, the son of Francis I and Claude, Duchess of Brittany .His father was captured at the Battle of Pavia in 1525 by his sworn enemy,...

 opted for six sizes of cannon, but others settled for more; the Spanish used twelve sizes, and the English sixteen. Better powder had been developed by this time as well. Instead of the finely ground powder used by the first bombards, powder was replaced by a "corned" variety of coarse grains. This coarse powder had pockets of air between grains, allowing fire to travel through and ignite the entire charge quickly and uniformly.

The end of the Middle Ages saw the construction of larger, more powerful cannon, as well their spread throughout the world. As they were not effective at breaching the newer fortifications resulting from the development of cannon, siege engine
Siege engine
A siege engine is a device that is designed to break or circumvent city walls and other fortifications in siege warfare. Some have been operated close to the fortifications, while others have been used to attack from a distance. From antiquity, siege engines were constructed largely of wood and...

s—such as siege tower
Siege tower
A siege tower is a specialized siege engine, constructed to protect assailants and ladders while approaching the defensive walls of a fortification. The tower was often rectangular with four wheels with its height roughly equal to that of the wall or sometimes higher to allow archers to stand on...

s and trebuchet
Trebuchet
A trebuchet is a siege engine that was employed in the Middle Ages. It is sometimes called a "counterweight trebuchet" or "counterpoise trebuchet" in order to distinguish it from an earlier weapon that has come to be called the "traction trebuchet", the original version with pulling men instead of...

s—became less widely used. However, wooden "battery-towers" took on a similar role as siege towers in the gunpowder
Gunpowder
Gunpowder, also known since in the late 19th century as black powder, was the first chemical explosive and the only one known until the mid 1800s. It is a mixture of sulfur, charcoal, and potassium nitrate - with the sulfur and charcoal acting as fuels, while the saltpeter works as an oxidizer...

 age—such as that used at siege of Kazan
Siege of Kazan (1552)
The siege of Kazan in 1552 was the final battle of Russo-Kazan Wars. It led to the fall of Kazan Khanate. However, it was not the last battle on the khanate's territory. After the fall of Kazan, rebel governments formed in Çalım and Mişätamaq, and a new khan was invited from the Nogais...

 in 1552, which could hold ten large-caliber cannon, in addition to 50 lighter pieces. Another notable effect of cannon on warfare during this period was the change in conventional fortifications. Niccolò Machiavelli
Niccolò Machiavelli
Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli was an Italian historian, philosopher, humanist, and writer based in Florence during the Renaissance. He is one of the main founders of modern political science. He was a diplomat, political philosopher, playwright, and a civil servant of the Florentine Republic...

 wrote, "There is no wall, whatever its thickness that artillery will not destroy in only a few days." Although castle
Castle
A castle is a type of fortified structure built in Europe and the Middle East during the Middle Ages by European nobility. Scholars debate the scope of the word castle, but usually consider it to be the private fortified residence of a lord or noble...

s were not immediately made obsolete by cannon, their use and importance on the battlefield rapidly declined. Instead of majestic tower
Tower
A tower is a tall structure, usually taller than it is wide, often by a significant margin. Towers are distinguished from masts by their lack of guy-wires....

s and merlon
Merlon
In architecture, a merlon forms the solid part of an embattled parapet, sometimes pierced by embrasures. The space between two merlons is usually called a crenel, although those later designed and used for cannons were called embrasures.-Etymology:...

s, the walls of new fortresses were thick, angled, and sloped, while towers became low and stout; increasing use was also made of earth and brick in breastworks
Breastwork (fortification)
A breastwork is a fortification. The term is usually applied to temporary fortifications, often an earthwork thrown up to breast height to provide protection to defenders firing over it from a standing position...

 and redoubt
Redoubt
A redoubt is a fort or fort system usually consisting of an enclosed defensive emplacement outside a larger fort, usually relying on earthworks, though others are constructed of stone or brick. It is meant to protect soldiers outside the main defensive line and can be a permanent structure or a...

s. These new defenses became known as "star fort
Star fort
A star fort, or trace italienne, is a fortification in the style that evolved during the age of gunpowder, when cannon came to dominate the battlefield, and was first seen in the mid-15th century in Italy....

s", after their characteristic shape which attempted to force any advance toward it directly into the firing line of the guns. A few of these featured cannon batteries
Artillery battery
In military organizations, an artillery battery is a unit of guns, mortars, rockets or missiles so grouped in order to facilitate better battlefield communication and command and control, as well as to provide dispersion for its constituent gunnery crews and their systems...

, such as the Tudor
Tudor dynasty
The Tudor dynasty or House of Tudor was a European royal house of Welsh origin that ruled the Kingdom of England and its realms, including the Lordship of Ireland, later the Kingdom of Ireland, from 1485 until 1603. Its first monarch was Henry Tudor, a descendant through his mother of a legitimised...

s' Device Forts
Device Forts
The Device Forts, also known as Henrician Castles, are a series of artillery fortifications built to defend the southern coast of England by Henry VIII. After his divorce of Catherine of Aragon England was left politically isolated, and the peace of Nice between France and Spain in 1538 aroused...

, in England. Star forts soon replaced castles in Europe, and, eventually, those in the Americas, as well.

By the end of the 15th century, several technological advancements made cannon more mobile. Wheeled gun carriages and trunnion
Trunnion
A trunnion is a cylindrical protrusion used as a mounting and/or pivoting point. In a cannon, the trunnions are two projections cast just forward of the centre of mass of the cannon and fixed to a two-wheeled movable gun carriage...

s became common, and the invention of the limber further facilitated transportation. As a result, field artillery
Field artillery
Field artillery is a category of mobile artillery used to support armies in the field. These weapons are specialized for mobility, tactical proficiency, long range, short range and extremely long range target engagement....

 became more viable, and began to see more widespread use, often alongside the larger cannon intended for sieges. Better gunpowder, cast-iron projectiles (replacing stone), and the standardization of calibers meant that even relatively light cannon could be deadly. In The Art of War
The Art of War (Machiavelli)
Art of War is a treatise by the Italian Renaissance political philosopher and historian Niccolò Machiavelli.The format of Art of War is a socratic dialogue...

, Niccolò Machiavelli
Niccolò Machiavelli
Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli was an Italian historian, philosopher, humanist, and writer based in Florence during the Renaissance. He is one of the main founders of modern political science. He was a diplomat, political philosopher, playwright, and a civil servant of the Florentine Republic...

 observed that "It is true that the arquebus
Arquebus
The arquebus , or "hook tube", is an early muzzle-loaded firearm used in the 15th to 17th centuries. The word was originally modeled on the German hakenbüchse; this produced haquebute...

es and the small artillery do much more harm than the heavy artillery." This was the case at Flodden
Battle of Flodden Field
The Battle of Flodden or Flodden Field or occasionally Battle of Branxton was fought in the county of Northumberland in northern England on 9 September 1513, between an invading Scots army under King James IV and an English army commanded by the Earl of Surrey...

, in 1513: the English field gun
Field gun
A field gun is an artillery piece. Originally the term referred to smaller guns that could accompany a field army on the march and when in combat could be moved about the battlefield in response to changing circumstances, as to opposed guns installed in a fort, or to siege cannon or mortars which...

s outfired the Scottish siege artillery, firing two or three times as many rounds. Despite the increased maneuverability, however, cannon were still the slowest component of the army: a heavy English cannon
English cannon
The first recorded usage of cannon in Great Britain was in 1327, when they were used in battle by the English against the Scots. Under the Tudors, the first forts featuring cannon batteries were built, while cannon were first used by the Tudor navy...

 required 23 horses to transport, while a culverin
Culverin
A culverin was a relatively simple ancestor of the musket, and later a medieval cannon, adapted for use by the French in the 15th century, and later adapted for naval use by the English in the late 16th century. The culverin was used to bombard targets from a distance. The weapon had a...

 needed nine. Even with this many animals pulling, they still moved at a walking pace. Due to their relatively slow speed, and lack of organization, and undeveloped tactics, the combination of pike and shot
Pike and shot
Pike and shot is a historical method of infantry combat, and also refers to an era of European warfare generally considered to cover the period from the Italian Wars to the evolution of the bayonet in the late seventeenth century...

 still dominated the battlefields of Europe.

Innovations continued, notably the German invention of the mortar
Mortar (weapon)
A mortar is an indirect fire weapon that fires explosive projectiles known as bombs at low velocities, short ranges, and high-arcing ballistic trajectories. It is typically muzzle-loading and has a barrel length less than 15 times its caliber....

, a thick-walled, short-barrelled gun that blasted shot upward at a steep angle. Mortars were useful for sieges, as they could hit targets behind walls or other defenses. This cannon found more use with the Dutch, who learned to shoot bombs filled with powder from them. Setting the bomb fuse was a problem. "Single firing" was first used to ignite the fuse, where the bomb was placed with the fuse down against the cannon's propellant. This often resulted in the fuse being blown into the bomb, causing it to blow up as it left the mortar. Because of this, "double firing" was tried where the gunner lit the fuse and then the touch hole
Touch hole
A touch hole is a small hole, through which the propellant charge of a cannon or muzzleloading gun is ignited. In small arms, the flash from a charge of priming held in the flash pan is enough to ignite the charge within...

. This, however, required considerable skill and timing, and was especially dangerous if the gun misfired, leaving a lighted bomb in the barrel. Not until 1650 was it accidentally discovered that double-lighting was superfluous as the heat of firing would light the fuse.



Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden
Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden
Gustav II Adolf has been widely known in English by his Latinized name Gustavus Adolphus Magnus and variously in historical writings also as Gustavus, or Gustavus the Great, or Gustav Adolph the Great,...

 emphasized the use of light cannon and mobility in his army, and created new formations and tactics that revolutionized artillery. He discontinued using all 12 pounder—or heavier—cannon as field artillery, preferring, instead, to use cannon that could be manned by only a few men. One obsolete type of gun, the "leatheren" was replaced by 4 pounder and 9 pounder demi-culverin
Demi-culverin
The demi-culverin was a medium cannon similar to but slightly larger than a saker and smaller than a regular culverin developed in the early 17th century. Barrels of demi-culverins were typically about long, had a calibre of and could weigh up to . It required of black powder to fire an round...

s. These could be operated by three men, and pulled by only two horses. Adolphus's army was also the first to use a cartridge that contained both powder and shot which sped up reloading, increasing the rate of fire. Finally, against infantry he pioneered the use of canister shot
Canister shot
Canister shot is a kind of anti-personnel ammunition used in cannons. It was similar to the naval grapeshot, but fired smaller and more numerous balls, which did not have to punch through the wooden hull of a ship...

 - essentially a tin can filled with musket balls. Until then there was no more than one cannon for every thousand infantrymen on the battlefield but Gustavus Adolphus increased the number of cannon sixfold. Each regiment was assigned two pieces, though he often arranged then into batteries
Artillery battery
In military organizations, an artillery battery is a unit of guns, mortars, rockets or missiles so grouped in order to facilitate better battlefield communication and command and control, as well as to provide dispersion for its constituent gunnery crews and their systems...

 instead of distributing them piecemeal. He used these batteries to break his opponent's infantry line, while his cavalry would outflank their heavy guns.

At the Battle of Breitenfeld
Battle of Breitenfeld (1631)
The Battle of Breitenfeld or First Battle of Breitenfeld , was fought at the crossroads villages of Breitenfeld , Podelwitz , and Seehausen , approximately five miles northwest of the walled city of Leipzig on September 17 , or September 7 The Battle of Breitenfeld or First Battle of Breitenfeld...

, in 1631, Adolphus proved the effectiveness of the changes made to his army, by defeating Johann Tserclaes, Count of Tilly. Although severely outnumbered, the Swedes were able to fire between three and five times as many volleys of artillery, and their infantry's linear
Line (formation)
The line formation is a standard tactical formation which has been used in Early modern warfare.It continues the phalanx formation or shield wall of infantry armed with polearms in use during antiquity and the Middle Ages....

 formations helped ensure they didn't lose any ground. Battered by cannon fire, and low on morale, Tilly's men broke ranks and fled.

In England cannons were being used to besiege various fortified buildings during the English Civil War
English Civil War
The English Civil War was a series of armed conflicts and political machinations between Parliamentarians and Royalists...

. Nathaniel Nye
Nathaniel Nye
Nathaniel Nye was an English mathematician, astronomer, cartographer and gunner.-Biography:Nye was baptised in St Martin in the Bull Ring, Birmingham on the 18 April 1624, and was probably the son of a governor of the town's King Edward's School.In 1642 he published A New Almanacke and...

 is recorded as testing a Birmingham
Birmingham
Birmingham is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands of England. It is the most populous British city outside the capital London, with a population of 1,036,900 , and lies at the heart of the West Midlands conurbation, the second most populous urban area in the United Kingdom with a...

 cannon in 1643 and experimenting with a saker
Saker (cannon)
The saker was a medium cannon slightly smaller than a culverin developed during the early 16th century and often used by the English. It was named after the Saker Falcon, a large falconry bird native to the Middle East....

 in 1645. From 1645 he was the master gunner to the Parliamentarian
Roundhead
"Roundhead" was the nickname given to the supporters of the Parliament during the English Civil War. Also known as Parliamentarians, they fought against King Charles I and his supporters, the Cavaliers , who claimed absolute power and the divine right of kings...

 garrison at Evesham
Evesham
Evesham is a market town and a civil parish in the Local Authority District of Wychavon in the county of Worcestershire, England with a population of 22,000. It is located roughly equidistant between Worcester, Cheltenham and Stratford-upon-Avon...

 and in 1646 he successfully directed the artillery at the Siege of Worcester, detailing his experiences and in his 1647 book The Art of Gunnery. Believing that war was as much a science as an art, his explanations focused on triangulation
Triangulation
In trigonometry and geometry, triangulation is the process of determining the location of a point by measuring angles to it from known points at either end of a fixed baseline, rather than measuring distances to the point directly...

, arithmetic
Arithmetic
Arithmetic or arithmetics is the oldest and most elementary branch of mathematics, used by almost everyone, for tasks ranging from simple day-to-day counting to advanced science and business calculations. It involves the study of quantity, especially as the result of combining numbers...

, theoretical mathematics, and cartography
Cartography
Cartography is the study and practice of making maps. Combining science, aesthetics, and technique, cartography builds on the premise that reality can be modeled in ways that communicate spatial information effectively.The fundamental problems of traditional cartography are to:*Set the map's...

 as well as practical considerations such as the ideal specification for gunpowder
Gunpowder
Gunpowder, also known since in the late 19th century as black powder, was the first chemical explosive and the only one known until the mid 1800s. It is a mixture of sulfur, charcoal, and potassium nitrate - with the sulfur and charcoal acting as fuels, while the saltpeter works as an oxidizer...

 or slow match
Slow match
Slow match or match cord is the very slow burning cord or twine fuse used by early gunpowder musketeers, artillerymen, and soldiers to ignite matchlock muskets, cannons, and petards...

es. His book acknowledged mathematicians such as Robert Recorde
Robert Recorde
Robert Recorde was a Welsh physician and mathematician. He introduced the "equals" sign in 1557.-Biography:A member of a respectable family of Tenby, Wales, he entered the University of Oxford about 1525, and was elected a fellow of All Souls College in 1531...

 and Marcus Jordanus as well as earlier military writers on artillery such as Niccolò Tartaglia and Thomas Malthus
Thomas Malthus
The Reverend Thomas Robert Malthus FRS was an English scholar, influential in political economy and demography. Malthus popularized the economic theory of rent....

.


Around this time also came the idea of aiming the cannon to hit a target. Gunners controlled the range of their cannon by measuring the angle of elevation, using a "gunner's quadrant
Quadrant (instrument)
A quadrant is an instrument that is used to measure angles up to 90°. It was originally proposed by Ptolemy as a better kind of astrolabe. Several different variations of the instrument were later produced by medieval Muslim astronomers.-Types of quadrants:...

." Cannon did not have sights
Sight (device)
A sight is a device used to assist aligning or aim weapons, surveying instruments, or other items by eye. Sights can be a simple set or system of markers that have to be aligned together as well as aligned with the target...

, therefore, even with measuring tools, aiming was still largely guesswork.

In the latter half of the 17th century, the French engineer Vauban
Vauban
Sébastien Le Prestre, Seigneur de Vauban and later Marquis de Vauban , commonly referred to as Vauban, was a Marshal of France and the foremost military engineer of his age, famed for his skill in both designing fortifications and breaking through them...

 introduced a more systematic and scientific approach to attacking gunpowder fortresses, in a time when many field commanders "were notorious dunces in siegecraft." Careful sapping
Sapping
Mining, landmining or undermining is a siege method which has been used since antiquity against a walled city, fortress, castle or other strongly held and fortified military position.-Antiquity:...

 forward, supported by enfilading ricochet fire, was a key feature of this system, and it even allowed Vauban to calculate the length of time a siege would take. He was also a prolific builder of star forts, and did much to popularize the idea of "depth in defence" in the face of cannon. These principles were followed into the mid-19th century, when changes in armaments necessitated greater depth defense than Vauban had provided for. It was only in the years prior to World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 that new works began to break radically away from his designs.

18th and 19th centuries




The lower tier of 17th-century English ships of the line
Ship of the line
A ship of the line was a type of naval warship constructed from the 17th through the mid-19th century to take part in the naval tactic known as the line of battle, in which two columns of opposing warships would manoeuvre to bring the greatest weight of broadside guns to bear...

 were usually equipped with demi-cannon, gun
Gun
A gun is a muzzle or breech-loaded projectile-firing weapon. There are various definitions depending on the nation and branch of service. A "gun" may be distinguished from other firearms in being a crew-served weapon such as a howitzer or mortar, as opposed to a small arm like a rifle or pistol,...

s that fired a 32 pounds (14.5 kg) solid shot, and could weigh up to 3400 pounds (1,542.2 kg). Demi-cannon were capable of firing these heavy metal balls with such force that they could penetrate more than a metre of solid oak, from a distance of 90 m (295.3 ft), and could dismast even the largest ships at close range. Full cannon fired a 42 lb (19.1 kg) shot, but were discontinued by the 18th century, as they were too unwieldy. By the end of the century, principles long adopted in Europe specified the characteristics of the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

's cannon, as well as the acceptable defects, and their severity. The United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

 tested guns by measuring them, firing them two or three times—termed "proof by powder"—and using pressurized water to detect leaks.

The carronade
Carronade
The carronade was a short smoothbore, cast iron cannon, developed for the Royal Navy by the Carron Company, an ironworks in Falkirk, Scotland, UK. It was used from the 1770s to the 1850s. Its main function was to serve as a powerful, short-range anti-ship and anti-crew weapon...

 was adopted by the Royal Navy in 1779; the lower muzzle velocity of the round shot
Round shot
Round shot is a solid projectile without explosive charge, fired from a cannon. As the name implies, round shot is spherical; its diameter is slightly less than the bore of the gun it is fired from.Round shot was made in early times from dressed stone, but by the 17th century, from iron...

 when fired from this cannon was intended to create more wooden splinters when hitting the structure of an enemy vessel, as they were believed to be more deadly than the ball by itself. The carronade was much shorter, and weighed between a third to a quarter of the equivalent long gun
Long gun
The term long gun is used to describe classes of firearm and cannon with longer barrels than other classes. In small arms, a long gun is designed to be fired braced against the shoulder, in contrast to a handgun, while in artillery a long gun would be contrasted with a howitzer or carronade.-Small...

; for example, a 32 pounder carronade weighed less than a ton
Ton
The ton is a unit of measure. It has a long history and has acquired a number of meanings and uses over the years. It is used principally as a unit of weight, and as a unit of volume. It can also be used as a measure of energy, for truck classification, or as a colloquial term.It is derived from...

, compared with a 32 pounder long gun, which weighed over 3 tons. The guns were, therefore, easier to handle, and also required less than half as much gunpowder, allowing fewer men to crew them. Carronades were manufactured in the usual naval gun caliber
Caliber
In guns including firearms, caliber or calibre is the approximate internal diameter of the barrel in relation to the diameter of the projectile used in it....

s, but were not counted in a ship of the line
Ship of the line
A ship of the line was a type of naval warship constructed from the 17th through the mid-19th century to take part in the naval tactic known as the line of battle, in which two columns of opposing warships would manoeuvre to bring the greatest weight of broadside guns to bear...

's rated number of guns. As a result, the classification of Royal Navy vessels in this period can be misleading, as they often carried more cannon than were listed.

In the 1810s and 1820s, greater emphasis was placed on the accuracy of long-range gunfire, and less on the weight of a broadside. The carronade, although initially very successful and widely adopted, disappeared from the Royal Navy in the 1850s, after the development of steel, jacketed cannon, by William George Armstrong and Joseph Whitworth
Joseph Whitworth
Sir Joseph Whitworth, 1st Baronet was an English engineer, entrepreneur, inventor and philanthropist. In 1841, he devised the British Standard Whitworth system, which created an accepted standard for screw threads...

. Nevertheless, carronades were used in the American Civil War.

Western cannon during the 19th century became larger, more destructive, more accurate, and could fire at longer range. One example is the American 3 in (76.2 mm) wrought-iron, muzzle-loading rifle, or Griffen gun, used during the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

, which had an effective range of over 1.1 mi (1.8 km). Another is the smoothbore
Smoothbore
A smoothbore weapon is one which has a barrel without rifling. Smoothbores range from handheld firearms to powerful tank guns and large artillery mortars.-History of firearms and rifling:...

 12 pounder Napoleon
Canon obusier de 12
The Canon obusier de 12 , also known as the "Canon de l’Empereur" was a type of canon-obusier developed by France in 1853...

, which was renowned for its sturdiness, reliability, firepower, flexibility, relatively light weight, and range of 1700 m (5,577.4 ft).

Cannon were crucial in Napoleon Bonaparte's rise to power, and continued to play an important role in his army in later years. During the French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

, the unpopularity of the Directory
French Directory
The Directory was a body of five Directors that held executive power in France following the Convention and preceding the Consulate...

 led to riots and rebellions. When over 25,000 of these royalists—led by General Danican—assaulted Paris, Paul François Jean Nicolas, vicomte de Barras
Paul François Jean Nicolas, vicomte de Barras
Paul François Jean Nicolas, vicomte de Barras was a French politician of the French Revolution, and the main executive leader of the Directory regime of 1795–1799.-Early life:...

 was appointed to defend the capital; outnumbered five to one and disorganized, the Republicans were desperate. When Napoleon arrived, he reorganized the defenses, while realizing that without cannon, the city could not be held. He ordered Joachim Murat
Joachim Murat
Joachim-Napoléon Murat , Marshal of France and Grand Admiral or Admiral of France, 1st Prince Murat, was Grand Duke of Berg from 1806 to 1808 and then King of Naples from 1808 to 1815...

 to bring the guns from the Sablons artillery park; the Major and his cavalry fought their way to the recently captured cannon, and brought them back to Napoleon. When Danican's poorly trained men attacked, on 13 Vendémiaire
13 Vendémiaire
13 Vendémiaire Year 4 is the name given to a battle between the French Revolutionary troops and Royalist forces in the streets of Paris...

, 1795—October 5, 1795, in the calendar used in France
Vendémiaire
Vendémiaire was the first month in the French Republican Calendar. The month was named after the French word vendange .Vendémiaire was the first month of the autumn quarter . It started on the day of the autumnal equinox, which fell between 22 September and 24 September, inclusive. It thus ended...

, at the time—Napoleon ordered his cannon to fire grapeshot
Grapeshot
In artillery, a grapeshot is a type of shot that is not a one solid element, but a mass of small metal balls or slugs packed tightly into a canvas bag. It was used both in land and naval warfare. When assembled, the balls resembled a cluster of grapes, hence the name...

 into the mob, an act that became known as the "whiff of grapeshot". The slaughter effectively ended the threat to the new government, while, at the same time, made Bonaparte a famous—and popular—public figure. Among the first generals to recognize that artillery was not being used to its full potential, Napoleon often massed his cannon into batteries, and introduced several changes into the French artillery, improving it significantly, and making it among the finest in Europe. Such tactics were successfully used by the French, for example, at the Battle of Friedland
Battle of Friedland
The Battle of Friedland saw Napoleon I's French army decisively defeat Count von Bennigsen's Russian army about twenty-seven miles southeast of Königsberg...

, when sixty-six guns fired a total of 3,000 roundshot and 500 rounds of grapeshot, inflicting severe casualties to the Russian forces, whose losses numbered over 20,000 killed and wounded, in total. At the Battle of Waterloo
Battle of Waterloo
The Battle of Waterloo was fought on Sunday 18 June 1815 near Waterloo in present-day Belgium, then part of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands...

—Napoleon's final battle—the French army had many more artillery pieces than either the British
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

 or Prussia
Prussia
Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

ns. As the battlefield was muddy, recoil
Recoil
Recoil is the backward momentum of a gun when it is discharged. In technical terms, the recoil caused by the gun exactly balances the forward momentum of the projectile and exhaust gasses, according to Newton's third law...

 caused cannon to bury themselves into the ground after firing, resulting in slow rates of fire, as more effort was required to move them back into an adequate firing position; also, roundshot did not ricochet
Ricochet
A ricochet is a rebound, bounce or skip off a surface, particularly in the case of a projectile. The possibility of ricochet is one of the reasons for the common firearms safety rule "Never shoot at a flat, hard surface."-Variables:...

 with as much force from the wet earth. Despite the drawbacks, sustained artillery fire proved deadly during the engagement, especially during the French cavalry attack. The British infantry, having formed infantry square
Infantry square
An infantry square is a combat formation an infantry unit forms in close order when threatened with cavalry attack.-Very early history:The formation was described by Plutarch and used by the Romans, and was developed from an earlier circular formation...

s, took heavy losses from the French guns, while their own cannon fired at the cuirassier
Cuirassier
Cuirassiers were mounted cavalry soldiers equipped with armour and firearms, first appearing in late 15th-century Europe. They were the successors of the medieval armoured knights...

s and lancer
Lancer
A lancer was a type of cavalryman who fought with a lance. Lances were used in mounted warfare by the Assyrians as early as and subsequently by Greek, Persian, Gallic, Han-Chinese, nomadic and Roman horsemen...

s, when they fell back to regroup. Eventually, the French ceased their assault, after taking heavy losses from the British cannon and musket fire.


The practice of rifling
Rifling
Rifling is the process of making helical grooves in the barrel of a gun or firearm, which imparts a spin to a projectile around its long axis...

—casting spiraling lines inside the cannon's barrel—was applied to artillery more frequently by 1855, as it gave cannon projectiles gyroscopic
Gyroscope
A gyroscope is a device for measuring or maintaining orientation, based on the principles of angular momentum. In essence, a mechanical gyroscope is a spinning wheel or disk whose axle is free to take any orientation...

 stability, which improved their accuracy. One of the earliest rifled cannon was the breech-loading Armstrong Gun
Armstrong Gun
The term Armstrong Gun was primarily used to describe the unique design of the rifled breech-loading field and heavy guns designed by Sir William Armstrong and manufactured in England from 1855 by the Elswick Ordnance Company and the Royal Arsenal at Woolwich...

—also invented by William George Armstrong—which boasted significantly improved range, accuracy, and power than earlier weapons. The projectile fired from the Armstrong gun could reportedly pierce through a ship's side, and explode inside the enemy vessel, causing increased damage, and casualties. The British military adopted the Armstrong gun, and was impressed; the Duke of Cambridge
Duke of Cambridge
Duke of Cambridge is a title which has been conferred upon members of the British royal family several times. It was first used as a designation for Charles Stuart , the eldest son of James, Duke of York , though he was never formally created Duke of Cambridge...

 even declared that it "could do everything but speak." Despite being significantly more advanced than its predecessors, the Armstrong gun was rejected soon after its integration, in favor of the muzzle-loading pieces that had been in use before. While both types of gun were effective against wooden ships, neither had the capability to pierce the armour of ironclad
Ironclad warship
An ironclad was a steam-propelled warship in the early part of the second half of the 19th century, protected by iron or steel armor plates. The ironclad was developed as a result of the vulnerability of wooden warships to explosive or incendiary shells. The first ironclad battleship, La Gloire,...

s; due to reports of slight problems with the breeches of the Armstrong gun, and their higher cost, the older muzzle-loaders were selected to remain in service, instead. Realizing that iron was more difficult to pierce with breech-loaded cannon, Armstrong designed rifled muzzle-loading guns, which proved successful; The Times
The Times
The Times is a British daily national newspaper, first published in London in 1785 under the title The Daily Universal Register . The Times and its sister paper The Sunday Times are published by Times Newspapers Limited, a subsidiary since 1981 of News International...

reported: "even the fondest believers in the invulnerability of our present ironclads were obliged to confess that against such artillery, at such ranges, their plates and sides were almost as penetrable as wooden ships."


The superior cannon of the Western world
Western world
The Western world, also known as the West and the Occident , is a term referring to the countries of Western Europe , the countries of the Americas, as well all countries of Northern and Central Europe, Australia and New Zealand...

 brought them tremendous advantages in warfare. For example, in the Opium War in China, during the 19th century, British battleships bombarded the coastal areas and fortifications from afar, safe from the reach of the Chinese cannon. Similarly, the shortest war in recorded history, the Anglo-Zanzibar War
Anglo-Zanzibar War
The Anglo-Zanzibar War was fought between the United Kingdom and Zanzibar on 27 August 1896. The conflict lasted 38 minutes and is the shortest war in history. The immediate cause of the war was the death of the pro-British Sultan Hamad bin Thuwaini on 25 August 1896 and the subsequent succession...

 of 1896, was brought to a swift conclusion by shelling from British battleships. The cynical attitude toward recruited infantry in the face of ever more powerful field artillery is the source of the term cannon fodder
Cannon fodder
Cannon fodder is an informal, derogatory term for military personnel who are regarded or treated as expendable in the face of enemy fire. The term is generally used in situations where soldiers are forced to deliberately fight against hopeless odds in an effort to achieve a strategic goal...

, first used by François-René de Chateaubriand
François-René de Chateaubriand
François-René, vicomte de Chateaubriand was a French writer, politician, diplomat and historian. He is considered the founder of Romanticism in French literature.-Early life and exile:...

, in 1814; however, the concept of regarding soldiers as nothing more than "food for powder" was mentioned by William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon"...

 as early as 1598, in Henry IV, Part 1
Henry IV, Part 1
Henry IV, Part 1 is a history play by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written no later than 1597. It is the second play in Shakespeare's tetralogy dealing with the successive reigns of Richard II, Henry IV , and Henry V...

.

20th and 21st centuries



Cannon in the 20th and 21st centuries are usually divided into sub-categories and given separate names. Some of the most widely used types of modern cannon are howitzer
Howitzer
A howitzer is a type of artillery piece characterized by a relatively short barrel and the use of comparatively small propellant charges to propel projectiles at relatively high trajectories, with a steep angle of descent...

s, mortar
Mortar (weapon)
A mortar is an indirect fire weapon that fires explosive projectiles known as bombs at low velocities, short ranges, and high-arcing ballistic trajectories. It is typically muzzle-loading and has a barrel length less than 15 times its caliber....

s, gun
Gun
A gun is a muzzle or breech-loaded projectile-firing weapon. There are various definitions depending on the nation and branch of service. A "gun" may be distinguished from other firearms in being a crew-served weapon such as a howitzer or mortar, as opposed to a small arm like a rifle or pistol,...

s, and autocannon
Autocannon
An autocannon or automatic cannon is a rapid-fire projectile weapon firing a shell as opposed to the bullet fired by a machine gun. Autocannons often have a larger caliber than a machine gun . Usually, autocannons are smaller than a field gun or other artillery, and are mechanically loaded for a...

, although a few supergun
Supergun
A supergun is an extraordinarily large artillery piece. This size may be due to a large bore, barrel length or a combination of the two. While early examples tended to have a fairly short range more recent examples sometimes had an extremely high muzzle velocity resulting in a very long...

s—extremely large, custom-designed cannon—have also been constructed. Nuclear artillery
Nuclear artillery
Nuclear artillery is a subset of limited-yield tactical nuclear weapons, in particular those weapons that are launched from the ground at battlefield targets...

 was experimented with, but was abandoned as impractical. Modern artillery is used in a variety of roles, depending on its type. According to NATO, the general role of artillery is to provide fire support, which is defined as "the application of fire, coordinated with the maneuver of forces to destroy, neutralize, or suppress the enemy."

When referring to cannon, the term gun is often used incorrectly. In military usage, a gun is a cannon with a high muzzle velocity and a flat trajectory
Indirect fire
Indirect fire means aiming and firing a projectile in a high trajectory without relying on a direct line of sight between the gun and its target, as in the case of direct fire...

, useful for hitting the sides of targets such as walls, as opposed to howitzers or mortars, which have lower muzzle velocities, and fire indirectly
Indirect fire
Indirect fire means aiming and firing a projectile in a high trajectory without relying on a direct line of sight between the gun and its target, as in the case of direct fire...

, lobbing shells up and over obstacles to hit the target from above.

By the early 20th century, infantry weapons had become more powerful, forcing most artillery away from the front lines. Despite the change to indirect fire
Indirect fire
Indirect fire means aiming and firing a projectile in a high trajectory without relying on a direct line of sight between the gun and its target, as in the case of direct fire...

, cannon proved highly effective during World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, directly or indirectly causing over 75% of casualties. The onset of trench warfare
Trench warfare
Trench warfare is a form of occupied fighting lines, consisting largely of trenches, in which troops are largely immune to the enemy's small arms fire and are substantially sheltered from artillery...

 after the first few months of World War I greatly increased the demand for howitzers, as they were more suited at hitting targets in trenches. Furthermore, their shells carried more explosives than those of guns, and caused considerably less barrel wear. The German army had the advantage here as they began the war with many more howitzers than the French. World War I also saw the use of the Paris Gun
Paris Gun
The Paris Gun was a German long-range siege gun used to bombard Paris during World War I. It was in service from March-August 1918. When it was first employed, Parisians believed they'd been bombed by a new type of high-altitude zeppelin, as neither the sound of an airplane nor a gun could be heard...

, the longest-ranged gun ever fired. This 200 mm (8 in) caliber gun was used by the Germans against Paris and could hit targets more than 122 km (75.8 mi) away.


The Second World War
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 sparked new developments in cannon technology. Among them were sabot rounds
Sabot
A sabot is a device used in a firearm or cannon to fire a projectile, such as a bullet, that is smaller than the bore diameter, or which must be held in a precise position. The term is also applied to a battery stub case, a device used similarly to make a small electrical battery usable in a...

, hollow-charge projectiles, and proximity fuses, all of which increased the effectiveness of cannon against specific target. The proximity fuse emerged on the battlefields of Europe in late December 1944. Used to great effect in anti-aircraft projectiles, proximity fuses were fielded in both the European
European Theater of Operations
The European Theater of Operations, United States Army was a United States Army formation which directed U.S. Army operations in parts of Europe from 1942 to 1945. It referred to Army Ground Forces, United States Army Air Forces, and Army Service Forces operations north of Italy and the...

 and Pacific
Pacific Theater of Operations
The Pacific Theater of Operations was the World War II area of military activity in the Pacific Ocean and the countries bordering it, a geographic scope that reflected the operational and administrative command structures of the American forces during that period...

 Theaters of Operations; they were particularly useful against V-1 flying bomb
V-1 flying bomb
The V-1 flying bomb, also known as the Buzz Bomb or Doodlebug, was an early pulse-jet-powered predecessor of the cruise missile....

s and kamikaze
Kamikaze
The were suicide attacks by military aviators from the Empire of Japan against Allied naval vessels in the closing stages of the Pacific campaign of World War II, designed to destroy as many warships as possible....

 planes. Although widely used in naval warfare, and in anti-air guns, both the British and Americans feared unexploded proximity fuses would be reverse engineered leading to them limiting its use in continental battles. During the Battle of the Bulge
Battle of the Bulge
The Battle of the Bulge was a major German offensive , launched toward the end of World War II through the densely forested Ardennes mountain region of Wallonia in Belgium, hence its French name , and France and...

, however, the fuses became known as the American artillery's "Christmas present" for the German army because of their effectiveness against German personnel in the open, when they frequently dispersed attacks. Anti-tank guns were also tremendously improved during the war: in 1939, the British used primarily 2 pounder
Ordnance QF 2 pounder
The Ordnance QF 2-pounder was a British anti-tank and vehicle-mounted gun, employed in the Second World War. It was actively used in the Battle of France, and during the North Africa campaign...

 and 6 pounder
Ordnance QF 6 pounder
The Ordnance Quick-Firing 6-pounder 7 cwt, or just 6 pounder, was a British 57 mm gun, their primary anti-tank gun during the middle of World War II, as well as the main armament for a number of armoured fighting vehicles...

 guns. By the end of the war, 17 pounders
Ordnance QF 17 pounder
The Ordnance Quick-Firing 17 pounder was a 76.2 mm gun developed by the United Kingdom during World War II. It was used as an anti-tank gun on its own carriage, as well as equipping a number of British tanks. It was the most effective Allied anti-tank gun of the war...

 had proven much more effective against German tanks, and 32 pounders had entered development. Meanwhile, German tanks were continuously upgraded with better main guns
Tank gun
A tank gun is the main armament of a tank. Modern tank guns are large-caliber high-velocity guns, capable of firing kinetic energy penetrators, high explosive anti-tank rounds, and in some cases guided missiles. Anti-aircraft guns can also be mounted to tanks.-Overview:Tank guns are a specific...

, in addition to other improvements. For example, the Panzer III
Panzer III
Panzer III was the common name of a medium tank that was developed in the 1930s by Germany and was used extensively in World War II. The official German designation was Panzerkampfwagen III translating as "armoured battle vehicle". It was intended to fight other armoured fighting vehicles and...

 was originally designed with a 37 mm gun, but was mass produced
Mass production
Mass production is the production of large amounts of standardized products, including and especially on assembly lines...

 with a 50 mm cannon. To counter the threat of the Russian T-34
T-34
The T-34 was a Soviet medium tank produced from 1940 to 1958. Although its armour and armament were surpassed by later tanks of the era, it has been often credited as the most effective, efficient and influential design of World War II...

s, another, more powerful 50 mm gun was introduced, only to give way to a larger 75 mm cannon, which was in a fixed mount as the StuG III
Sturmgeschütz III
The Sturmgeschütz III assault gun was Germany's most produced armoured fighting vehicle during World War II. It was built on the chassis of the proven Panzer III tank...

, the most-produced German World War II armored fighting vehicle of any type. Despite the improved guns, production of the Panzer III was ended in 1943, as the tank still could not match the T-34, and was replaced by the Panzer IV
Panzer IV
The Panzerkampfwagen IV , commonly known as the Panzer IV, was a medium tank developed in Nazi Germany in the late 1930s and used extensively during the Second World War. Its ordnance inventory designation was Sd.Kfz...

 and Panther tanks. In 1944, the 8.8 cm KwK 43 and many variations, entered service with the Wehrmacht
Wehrmacht
The Wehrmacht – from , to defend and , the might/power) were the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It consisted of the Heer , the Kriegsmarine and the Luftwaffe .-Origin and use of the term:...

, and was used as both a tank main gun, and as the PaK 43 anti-tank gun. One of the most powerful guns to see service in World War II, it was capable of destroying any Allied
Allies of World War II
The Allies of World War II were the countries that opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War . Former Axis states contributing to the Allied victory are not considered Allied states...

 tank at very long ranges.


Despite being designed to fire at trajectories with a steep angle of descent, howitzers can be fired directly
Direct fire
Direct fire refers to the launching of a projectile directly at a target on a relatively flat trajectory. The firing weapon must have a sighting device and an unobstructed line of sight to the target, which means no objects or friendly units can be between it and the target...

, as was done by the 11th Marine Regiment at the Battle of Chosin Reservoir
Battle of Chosin Reservoir
The Battle of Chosin Reservoir, also known as the Chosin Reservoir Campaign or the Changjin Lake Campaign ,Official Chinese sources refer to this battle as the Second Phase Campaign Eastern Sector . The Western Sector is the Battle of the Ch'ongch'on River. was a decisive battle in the Korean War...

, during the Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

. Two field batteries fired directly upon a battalion
Battalion
A battalion is a military unit of around 300–1,200 soldiers usually consisting of between two and seven companies and typically commanded by either a Lieutenant Colonel or a Colonel...

 of Chinese infantry; the Marines were forced to brace themselves against their howitzers, as they had no time to dig them in. The Chinese infantry took heavy casualties, and were forced to retreat.


The tendency to create larger caliber cannon during the World Wars has reversed since. The United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

, for example, sought a lighter, more versatile howitzer, to replace their aging pieces. As it could be towed, the M198
M198 howitzer
The M198 howitzer is a medium-sized, towed artillery piece, developed for service with the United States Army and Marine Corps. It was commissioned to be a lightweight replacement for the WWII era M114 155mm howitzer. It was designed and prototyped at the Rock Island Arsenal in 1969 with firing...

 was selected to be the successor to the World War II–era cannon used at the time, and entered service in 1979. Still in use today, the M198 is, in turn, being slowly replaced by the M777
M777 howitzer
The M777 howitzer is a towed 155 mm artillery piece, successor to the M198 howitzer in the United States Marine Corps and United States Army. The M777 is also used by the Canadian Army, and has been in action in Afghanistan since February 2006 along with the associated GPS-guided Excalibur...

 Ultralightweight howitzer, which weighs nearly half as much and can be more easily moved. Although land-based artillery such as the M198
M198 howitzer
The M198 howitzer is a medium-sized, towed artillery piece, developed for service with the United States Army and Marine Corps. It was commissioned to be a lightweight replacement for the WWII era M114 155mm howitzer. It was designed and prototyped at the Rock Island Arsenal in 1969 with firing...

 are powerful, long-ranged, and accurate, naval guns have not been neglected, despite being much smaller than in the past, and, in some cases, having been replaced by cruise missile
Cruise missile
A cruise missile is a guided missile that carries an explosive payload and is propelled, usually by a jet engine, towards a land-based or sea-based target. Cruise missiles are designed to deliver a large warhead over long distances with high accuracy...

s. However, the 's planned armament includes the Advanced Gun System (AGS), a pair of 155 mm guns, which fire the Long Range Land-Attack Projectile. The warhead, which weighs 24 pounds (10.9 kg), has a circular error of probability
Circular error probable
In the military science of ballistics, circular error probable is an intuitive measure of a weapon system's precision...

 of 50 m (164 ft), and will be mounted on a rocket, to increase the effective range to 100 nmi (185.2 km), further than that of the Paris Gun. The AGS's barrels will be water cooled, and will fire 10 rounds per minute, per gun. The combined firepower from both turrets will give a Zumwalt-class destroyer the firepower equivalent to 18 conventional M-198 howitzers. The reason for the re-integration of cannon as a main armament in United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

 ships is because satellite-guided munitions fired from a gun are less expensive than a cruise missile but have a similar guidance capability.

Autocannon



Autocannon have an automatic firing mode, similar to that of a machine gun
Machine gun
A machine gun is a fully automatic mounted or portable firearm, usually designed to fire rounds in quick succession from an ammunition belt or large-capacity magazine, typically at a rate of several hundred rounds per minute....

. They have mechanisms to automatically load their ammunition, and therefore have a higher rate of fire than artillery, often approaching or in the case of Gatling gun
Gatling gun
The Gatling gun is one of the best known early rapid-fire weapons and a forerunner of the modern machine gun. It is well known for its use by the Union forces during the American Civil War in the 1860s, which was the first time it was employed in combat...

s, even surpassing the firing rate of a machine gun. While there is no minimum bore for autocannon, they are generally larger than machine guns, typically 20 mm or greater since World War II and are usually capable of using explosive ammunition even if it isn't always used. Machine guns in contrast are usually too small to use explosive ammunition.

Most nations use rapid-fire cannon on light vehicles, replacing a more powerful, but heavier, tank gun
Tank gun
A tank gun is the main armament of a tank. Modern tank guns are large-caliber high-velocity guns, capable of firing kinetic energy penetrators, high explosive anti-tank rounds, and in some cases guided missiles. Anti-aircraft guns can also be mounted to tanks.-Overview:Tank guns are a specific...

. A typical autocannon is the 25 mm
25 mm caliber
The 25x137 mm caliber/.98425 inch is one of the standard sizes of cannon and autocannon ammunition for NATO forces. The round itself has a length of approximately 223 mm .-Usage:...

 "Bushmaster
M242 Bushmaster
The M242 Bushmaster is a 25 mm chain-fed autocannon. It is used extensively by the US armed forces, as well as by NATO's and some other nations' forces in ground combat vehicles and watercraft...

" chain gun
Chain gun
A chain gun is a type of machine gun or autocannon that uses an external source of power, rather than diverting energy from the cartridge, to cycle the weapon, and does so via a continuous loop of chain similar to that used on a motorcycle or bicycle. "Chain gun" is a registered trademark of...

, mounted on the LAV-25 and M2 Bradley
M2 Bradley
The Bradley Fighting Vehicle is an American fighting vehicle platform manufactured by BAE Systems Land and Armaments, formerly United Defense.As with other infantry fighting vehicles, the Bradley is designed to transport infantry with armor protection while providing covering fire to suppress enemy...

 armored vehicles
Infantry fighting vehicle
An infantry fighting vehicle , also known as a mechanized infantry combat vehicle , is a type of armoured fighting vehicle used to carry infantry into battle and provide fire support for them...

. Cannon may be capable of a very high rate of fire, but ammunition is heavy and bulky, limiting the amount carried. For this reason, both the 25 mm Bushmaster and the 30 mm RARDEN
RARDEN
The L21A1 RARDEN is a British 30mm autocannon used as an combat vehicle weapon. The name is a contraction of the Royal Armament, Research and Development Establishment and Enfield...

 are deliberately designed with relatively low rates of fire. The typical rate of fire for modern autocannon ranges from 90 to 1,800 rounds per minute. Systems with multiple barrels such as gatling guns can have rates of fire of more than several thousand rounds per minute. The fastest of these is the GSh-6-23
Gryazev-Shipunov GSh-6-23
The Gryazev-Shipunov GSh-6-23 is a powerful, fast-firing six-barreled 23 mm Gatling gun used by some modern Soviet/Russian military aircraft....

, which has a rate of fire of over 10,000 rounds per minute.

Autocannon are often found in aircraft, where they replaced machine guns, and as shipboard anti-aircraft weapons, as they provide greater destructive power than machine guns.

Aircraft Use



The first documented installation of a cannon on an aircraft was on the Voisin Canon in 1911, displayed at the Paris Exposition that year.
By World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, all of the major powers were experimenting with aircraft mounted cannon however their low rate of fire and great size and weight precluded any of them from being anything other than experimental. The most successful (or least unsuccessful) was the SPAD 12 Ca.1 with a single 37mm Puteaux mounted to fire between the cylinder banks and through the propeller boss of the aircraft's Hispano-Suiza 8C. The pilot (by necessity an ace) had to manually reload each round.

The first autocannons were developed during World War 1 as anti-aircraft guns, and one of these - the Coventry Ordnance Works
Coventry Ordnance Works
Coventry Ordnance Works was a British manufacturer of heavy guns, particularly naval artillery. The firm was based in the English city of Coventry.-History:...

 "COW 37 mm gun
COW 37 mm gun
The COW 37 mm gun was a British automatic cannon that was developed as a heavy-calibre aircraft weapon.It was trialled in several installations and specified for the Westland C.O.W. Gun Fighter...

" was installed in an aircraft but the war ended before it could be given a field trial and never became standard equipment in a production aircraft. Later trials had it fixed at a steep angle upwards in both the Vickers Type 161
Vickers Type 161
|-See also:...

 and the Westland C.O.W. Gun Fighter
Westland C.O.W. Gun Fighter
-See also:-References:* James, Derek N. Westland Aircraft since 1915. London: Putnam, 1991. ISBN 0-85177-847-X.* Mason, Francis K. The British Fighter since 1912. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1992...

, an idea that would return later.
During this period autocannon became available and several fighters with the German Luftwaffe and Japanese Air Forces were fitted with 20mm cannon. They continued to be installed as an adjunct to machine guns rather than as a replacement as the rate of fire was still too low and the complete installation too heavy. There was a some debate in the RAF as to whether the greater number of possible rounds being fired from a machine gun, or a smaller number of explosive rounds from a cannon was preferable. Improvements during the war in regards to rate of fire allowed the cannon to displace the machine gun almost entirely. Cannon was more effective against armor so they were increasingly used during the course of the Second World War, and newer fighters usually carried two or four versus the 6 .50 MG for US aircraft or 12 .303 MG
M1919 Browning machine gun
The M1919 Browning is a .30 caliber medium machine gun that was widely used during the 20th century. It was used as a light infantry, coaxial, mounted, aircraft, and anti-aircraft machine gun by the U.S. and many other countries, especially during World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War...

 on British Aircraft. The Hispano-Suiza HS.404
Hispano-Suiza HS.404
The Hispano-Suiza HS.404 was an autocannon widely used as both an aircraft and land weapon in the 20th century by British, American, French, and numerous other military services. The cannon is also referred to as Birkigt type 404, after its designer. Firing a 20 mm caliber projectile, it delivered...

, Oerlikon 20 mm cannon
Oerlikon 20 mm cannon
The Oerlikon 20 mm cannon is a series of autocannons, based on an original design by Reinhold Becker of Germany, very early in World War I, and widely produced by Oerlikon Contraves and others...

, MG FF
MG FF cannon
The MG FF was a drum-fed, 20 mm aircraft autocannon, developed in 1936 by Ikaria Werke Berlin of Germany. It was a derivative of the Swiss Oerlikon FF F cannon, itself a development of the German World War I Becker 20 mm cannon, and was designed to be used in fixed or flexible mountings, as...

, and their numerous variants became among the most widely used autocannon in the war.

Cannon, as with machine guns, were fixed to fire forwards (mounted in the wings, in the nose or fuselage, or in a pannier
Pannier
A pannier is a basket, bag, box, or similar container, carried in pairs either slung over the back of a beast of burden, or attached to the sides of a bicycle or motorcycle. The term derives from the Old French, from Classical Latin, word for bread basket....

 under either) or mounted in turrets on heavier aircraft. Both the Germans and Japanese mounted cannon to fire upwards and forwards for use against heavy bombers, with the Germans calling it "Schräge Musik
Schräge Musik
Schräge Musik, derived from the German colloquialism for "Jazz Music" was the name given to installations of upward-firing autocannon mounted in night fighters by the Luftwaffe and Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service during World War II, with the first victories for each occurring in May 1943...

".

Preceding the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

 the high speeds aircraft were attaining led to a move to remove the cannon due to the mistaken belief that they would be useless, but combat experience during the Vietnam War showed conclusively that despite advances in missiles, there was still a need for them. Nearly all modern fighter aircraft
Fighter aircraft
A fighter aircraft is a military aircraft designed primarily for air-to-air combat with other aircraft, as opposed to a bomber, which is designed primarily to attack ground targets...

 are armed with an autocannon and they are also commonly found on ground-attack aircraft. One of the most powerful examples is the 30mm GAU-8/A Avenger Gatling-type rotary cannon, mounted exclusively on the A-10 Warthog The Lockheed AC-130
Lockheed AC-130
The Lockheed AC-130 gunship is a heavily-armed ground-attack aircraft variant of the C-130 Hercules transport plane. The basic airframe is manufactured by Lockheed, while Boeing is responsible for the conversion into a gunship and for aircraft support...

 gunship (a converted transport) can carry a 105mm howitzer as well as a variety of autocannon ranging up to 40mm. Both are used in the close air support
Close air support
In military tactics, close air support is defined as air action by fixed or rotary winged aircraft against hostile targets that are close to friendly forces, and which requires detailed integration of each air mission with fire and movement of these forces.The determining factor for CAS is...

 role.

Operation



In the 1770s, cannon operation worked as follows: each cannon would be manned by two gunners, six soldiers, and four officers of artillery. The right gunner was to prime the piece and load it with powder, and the left gunner would fetch the powder from the magazine and be ready to fire the cannon at the officer's command. On each side of the cannon, three soldiers stood, to ram and sponge the cannon, and hold the ladle. The second soldier on the left tasked with providing 50 bullets.

Before loading, the cannon would be cleaned with a wet sponge to extinguish any smoldering material from the last shot. Fresh powder could be set off prematurely by lingering ignition sources. The powder was added, followed by wadding
Wadding
Wadding is a disc of material used in guns to seal gas behind a projectile or to separate powder from shot.Wadding can be crucial to a gun's efficiency, since any gas that leaks past a projectile as it is being fired is wasted. A harder or more carefully designed item which serves this purpose is...

 of paper or hay, and the ball was placed in and rammed down. After ramming the cannon would be aimed with the elevation set using a quadrant and a plummet. At 45 degrees, the ball had the utmost range: about ten times the gun's level range. Any angle above a horizontal line was called random-shot. Wet sponges were used to cool the pieces every ten or twelve rounds.


During the Napoleonic Wars
Napoleonic Wars
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars declared against Napoleon's French Empire by opposing coalitions that ran from 1803 to 1815. As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789, they revolutionised European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly due to...

, a British gun team consisted of five gunners to aim it, clean the bore with a damp sponge to quench any remaining embers before a fresh charge was introduced, and another to load the gun with a bag of powder and then the projectile. The fourth gunner pressed his thumb on the vent hole, to prevent a draught that might fan a flame. The charge loaded, the fourth would prick the bagged charge through the vent hole, and fill the vent with powder. On command, the fifth gunner would fire the piece with a slowmatch.

When a cannon had to be abandoned such as in a retreat or surrender, the touch hole of the cannon would be plugged flush with an iron spike, disabling the cannon (at least until metal boring tools could be used to remove the plug). This was called "spiking the cannon".

Deceptive use



Historically, logs or poles have been used as decoys to mislead the enemy as to the strength of an emplacement. The "Quaker gun trick
Quaker Gun
A Quaker Gun is a deception tactic that was commonly used in warfare during the 18th and 19th centuries. Although resembling an actual cannon, the Quaker Gun was simply a wooden log, usually painted black, used to deceive an enemy. Misleading the enemy as to the strength of an emplacement was an...

" was used by Colonel William Washington
William Washington
William Washington , was an officer of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War, who held a final rank of Brigadier General in the newly created United States after the war...

's Continentals
Continental Army
The Continental Army was formed after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War by the colonies that became the United States of America. Established by a resolution of the Continental Congress on June 14, 1775, it was created to coordinate the military efforts of the Thirteen Colonies in...

, during the American Revolutionary War
American Revolutionary War
The American Revolutionary War , the American War of Independence, or simply the Revolutionary War, began as a war between the Kingdom of Great Britain and thirteen British colonies in North America, and ended in a global war between several European great powers.The war was the result of the...

; in 1780, approximately 100 Loyalists surrendered to them, rather than face bombardment. During the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

, Quaker guns were also used by the Confederates
Confederate States Army
The Confederate States Army was the army of the Confederate States of America while the Confederacy existed during the American Civil War. On February 8, 1861, delegates from the seven Deep South states which had already declared their secession from the United States of America adopted the...

, to compensate for their shortage of artillery. The decoy cannon were painted black at the "muzzle", and positioned behind fortifications to delay Union
Union Army
The Union Army was the land force that fought for the Union during the American Civil War. It was also known as the Federal Army, the U.S. Army, the Northern Army and the National Army...

 attacks on those positions. On occasion, real gun carriages were used to complete the deception.

Music


Cannon have sometimes been used in classical pieces with a military theme. Giuseppe Sarti
Giuseppe Sarti
Giuseppe Sarti was an Italian opera composer.-Biography:He was born at Faenza. His date of birth is not known, but he was baptised on 1 December 1729. Some earlier sources say he was born on 28 December, but his baptism certificate proves the later date impossible...

 is believed to be the first composer to orchestrate real cannon in a musical work. His Te Deum
Te Deum
The Te Deum is an early Christian hymn of praise. The title is taken from its opening Latin words, Te Deum laudamus, rendered literally as "Thee, O God, we praise"....

celebrates the Russian victory at Ochakov
Siege of Ochakov (1789)
The Second Siege of Özü was one of the major events of the Russo-Turkish War . It was known as "Özü Kuşatması" in Turkish....

 (1789) with the firing of a real cannon and the use of fireworks, to heighten the martial effect of the music.

One of the best known examples of such a piece is another Russian work, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (Russian: Пётр Ильи́ч Чайко́вский ; often "Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky" in English. His names are also transliterated "Piotr" or "Petr"; "Ilitsch", "Il'ich" or "Illyich"; and "Tschaikowski", "Tschaikowsky", "Chajkovskij"...

's 1812 Overture
1812 Overture
The Year 1812, Festival Overture in E flat major, Op. 49, popularly known as the 1812 Overture or the Overture of 1812 is an overture written by Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky in 1880 to commemorate Russia's defense of Moscow against Napoleon's advancing Grande Armée at the Battle of...

. The overture is properly performed using an artillery section together with the orchestra, resulting in noise levels requiring musicians to wear ear protection
Earplug
An earplug is a device that is meant to be inserted in the ear canal to protect the wearer's ears from loud noises or the intrusion of water, foreign bodies, dust or excessive wind.-Protection from water:...

. The cannon fire simulates Russian artillery bombardments of the Battle of Borodino
Battle of Borodino
The Battle of Borodino , fought on September 7, 1812, was the largest and bloodiest single-day action of the French invasion of Russia and all Napoleonic Wars, involving more than 250,000 troops and resulting in at least 70,000 casualties...

, a critical battle in Napoleon's invasion of Russia, whose defeat the piece celebrates. When the overture was first performed, the cannon were fired by an electric current triggered by the conductor. However, the overture was not recorded with real cannon fire until Mercury Records
Mercury Records
Mercury Records is a record label operating as a standalone company in the UK and as part of the Island Def Jam Motown Music Group in the US; both are subsidiaries of Universal Music Group. There is also a Mercury Records in Australia, which is a local artist and repertoire division of Universal...

 and conductor Antal Doráti
Antal Doráti
Antal Doráti, KBE was a Hungarian-born conductor and composer who became a naturalized American citizen in 1947.-Biography:...

's 1958 recording of the Minnesota Orchestra
Minnesota Orchestra
The Minnesota Orchestra is an American orchestra based in Minneapolis, Minnesota.Emil Oberhoffer founded the orchestra as the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra in 1903, and it gave its first performance on November 5 of that year. In 1968 the orchestra changed to its name to the Minnesota Orchestra...

. Cannon fire is also frequently used annually in presentations of the 1812 on the American Independence Day
Independence Day (United States)
Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain...

, a tradition started by Arthur Fiedler
Arthur Fiedler
Arthur Fiedler was a long-time conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra, a symphony orchestra that specializes in popular and light classical music. With a combination of musicianship and showmanship, he made the Boston Pops one of the best-known orchestras in the country...

 of the Boston Pops in 1974.

The hard rock
Hard rock
Hard rock is a loosely defined genre of rock music which has its earliest roots in mid-1960s garage rock, blues rock and psychedelic rock...

 band AC/DC
AC/DC
AC/DC are an Australian rock band, formed in 1973 by brothers Malcolm and Angus Young. Commonly classified as hard rock, they are considered pioneers of heavy metal, though they themselves have always classified their music as simply "rock and roll"...

 also used cannon in their song "For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)
For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)
"For Those About to Rock " is a song by the Australian hard rock band AC/DC. The song was first released on AC/DC's eighth studio album For Those About to Rock We Salute You in 1981, and later as a single in 1982. The single's B-side contains an edited live version of "Let There Be Rock", recorded...

". The album of the same name
For Those About to Rock We Salute You
For Those About to Rock We Salute You is the eighth Australian and seventh international studio album by Australian hard rock band AC/DC, released in 1981. The album was a follow-up to their highly successful album Back in Black. For Those About to Rock has sold over four million copies in the US....

 also featured a cannon on its cover; in live shows, replica Napoleonic cannon and pyrotechnics
Pyrotechnics
Pyrotechnics is the science of using materials capable of undergoing self-contained and self-sustained exothermic chemical reactions for the production of heat, light, gas, smoke and/or sound...

 were used to perform the piece.

Restoration


Cannon recovered from the sea are often extensively damaged from exposure to salt water; because of this, electrolytic reduction treatment
Extractive metallurgy
Extractive metallurgy is the study of the processes used in the separation and concentration of raw materials. The field is an applied science, covering all aspects of the physical and chemical processes used to produce mineral-containing and metallic materials, sometimes for direct use as a...

 is required to forestall the process of corrosion. The cannon is then washed in deionized water to remove the electrolyte
Electrolyte
In chemistry, an electrolyte is any substance containing free ions that make the substance electrically conductive. The most typical electrolyte is an ionic solution, but molten electrolytes and solid electrolytes are also possible....

, and is treated in tannic acid
Tannic acid
Tannic acid is a specific commercial form of tannin, a type of polyphenol. Its weak acidity is due to the numerous phenol groups in the structure...

, which prevents further rust
Rust
Rust is a general term for a series of iron oxides. In colloquial usage, the term is applied to red oxides, formed by the reaction of iron and oxygen in the presence of water or air moisture...

 and gives the metal a bluish-black color. After this process, cannon on display may be protected from oxygen and moisture by a wax
Wax
thumb|right|[[Cetyl palmitate]], a typical wax ester.Wax refers to a class of chemical compounds that are plastic near ambient temperatures. Characteristically, they melt above 45 °C to give a low viscosity liquid. Waxes are insoluble in water but soluble in organic, nonpolar solvents...

 sealant. A coat of polyurethane
Polyurethane
A polyurethane is any polymer composed of a chain of organic units joined by carbamate links. Polyurethane polymers are formed through step-growth polymerization, by reacting a monomer with another monomer in the presence of a catalyst.Polyurethanes are...

 may also be painted over the wax sealant, to prevent the wax-coated cannon from attracting dust in outdoor displays.
Recently archaeologists say six cannon recovered from a river in Panama that could have belonged to legendary pirate Henry Morgan
Henry Morgan
Admiral Sir Henry Morgan was an Admiral of the Royal Navy, a privateer, and a pirate who made a name for himself during activities in the Caribbean, primarily raiding Spanish settlements...

are being studied and could eventually be displayed after going through a restoration process.

External links