Demi-cannon

Demi-cannon

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The demi-cannon was a medium sized cannon
Cannon
A cannon is any piece of artillery that uses gunpowder or other usually explosive-based propellents to launch a projectile. Cannon vary in caliber, range, mobility, rate of fire, angle of fire, and firepower; different forms of cannon combine and balance these attributes in varying degrees,...

, similar to but slightly larger than 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...

 and smaller than a regular 42lb (19kg) cannon
Cannon
A cannon is any piece of artillery that uses gunpowder or other usually explosive-based propellents to launch a projectile. Cannon vary in caliber, range, mobility, rate of fire, angle of fire, and firepower; different forms of cannon combine and balance these attributes in varying degrees,...

 developed in the early 17th century. A full cannon
Cannon
A cannon is any piece of artillery that uses gunpowder or other usually explosive-based propellents to launch a projectile. Cannon vary in caliber, range, mobility, rate of fire, angle of fire, and firepower; different forms of cannon combine and balance these attributes in varying degrees,...

fired a 42-pound shot but these were discontinued in the 18th century as they were seen as too unwieldy. The lower tier of 17th Century English
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 warships were usually equipped with demi-cannons. Ships featuring demi-cannons included HMS Sovereign of the Seas
HMS Sovereign of the Seas
Sovereign of the Seas was a 17th century warship of the English Navy. She was ordered as a 90-gun first-rate ship of the line of the English Royal Navy, but at launch was armed with 102 bronze guns, at the insistence of the king...

, HMS Resolution
HMS Resolution
Several ships of the Royal Navy have borne the name HMS Resolution. However, the first English warship to bear the name Resolution was actually the first rate Prince Royal , which was renamed Resolution in 1650 following the inauguration of the Commonwealth, and continued to bear that name until...

and HMS James
HMS James
Four ships of the Royal Navy have borne the name HMS James: was a balinger acquired in 1417 and given away in 1422. was a 48-gun ship launched in 1634. She was renamed HMS Old James in 1660 and was sold in 1682. was a 30-gun ship, previously the Royalist Exchange. She was captured by the...

, which fought in the Anglo-Dutch naval wars
Anglo-Dutch Wars
The Anglo–Dutch Wars were a series of wars fought between the English and the Dutch in the 17th and 18th centuries for control over the seas and trade routes. The first war took place during the English Interregnum, and was fought between the Commonwealth of England and the Dutch Republic...

.

The barrels of demi-cannon were typically 11ft (3.4m) long, had a calibre of 6 inches (15.4cm) and could weigh up to 5600lb (2540kg). It required 18lb (8kg) of black powder to fire a 32lb (14.5kg) round shot. The demi-cannon had an effective range of 1600ft (490m).

These 32-pounders were used during the 18th century on first-rate
First-rate
First rate was the designation used by the Royal Navy for its largest ships of the line. While the size and establishment of guns and men changed over the 250 years that the rating system held sway, from the early years of the eighteenth century the first rates comprised those ships mounting 100...

 three-decker
Three-decker
A three-decker is a sail warship which carried her guns on three fully armed decks. Usually additional guns were carried on the upper works , but this was not a continuous battery and so did not count. Three-deckers were usually "ships of the line", i.e...

 ships of the line which carried up to 100 guns. Though powerful, the naval demi-cannons were inaccurate except at close range so opposing warships would try to get as close as possible before firing their broadside
Broadside
A broadside is the side of a ship; the battery of cannon on one side of a warship; or their simultaneous fire in naval warfare.-Age of Sail:...

in order to cause as much damage as possible; sometimes a single broadside was enough to cripple the enemy vessel.

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