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Old 05-06-2020, 05:09 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RayinAK View Post
Lest say that you are shooting a wall with a solid cannon ball to ram or penetrate it, or that you are shooting an explosive cannon ball in the middle of a group of soldiers. Which one do you thing would cause more injury or death to a group of people? The same principle: shooting a bullet into a group of people, or a grenade.
Then again, in the era of muzzle-loading cannon, infantry would march in massed ranks, making solid shot (or, up close, grape shot) quite effective. Timing the fuse for a detonation at the exact desired time was not easy, and muzzle loaders are not fast to load.

Naval and battlefield gunners of the time liked inert projectiles - if for nothing else, then because they already had to handle black powder charges with great care. Having another part of the load that could go off was just adding to that concern. People firing from fortifications could and did get more creative.
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Old 05-07-2020, 02:21 PM
 
Location: Not far from Fairbanks, AK
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dane_in_LA View Post
Then again, in the era of muzzle-loading cannon, infantry would march in massed ranks, making solid shot (or, up close, grape shot) quite effective. Timing the fuse for a detonation at the exact desired time was not easy, and muzzle loaders are not fast to load.

Naval and battlefield gunners of the time liked inert projectiles - if for nothing else, then because they already had to handle black powder charges with great care. Having another part of the load that could go off was just adding to that concern. People firing from fortifications could and did get more creative.
All of that is correct. But the idea of making exploding cannon balls was to take out as many people as possible, or at least to create a larger or wider hole (more damage to the surrounding area) than one from a solid chunk of metal. The solid would penetrate deeper, or course. The same principle applies to a grenade versus a monolithic bullet. But in the early 1800's explosive shells were used in naval warfare, although a fuse was used in the explosive cannon balls, too. In naval warfare the idea of using explosive shells was to allow for penetration and then a delayed explosion.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naval_...plosive_shells

Last edited by RayinAK; 05-07-2020 at 02:36 PM..
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Old 05-07-2020, 02:59 PM
 
35,656 posts, read 18,399,550 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RayinAK View Post
All of that is correct. But the idea of making exploding cannon balls was to take out as many people as possible, or at least to create a larger or wider hole than one form a solid chunk of metal. The solid would penetrate deeper, or course. The same principle applies to a grenade versus a monolithic bullet. But in the early 1800's explosive shells were used in naval warfare, although a fuse was used in the explosive cannon balls. In naval warfare the idea of using explosive shells was to allow for penetration and then a delayed explosion.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naval_...plosive_shells
We should probably set a timeframe - when I hear "cannonball", I think Napoleonic era, fairly or unfairly. The old guys were perfectly aware of the desirability (if that's the word) of having explosive ordnance when needed, just didn't have the metallurgy, explosives and fuzing sorted.

The navies of the time tended towards conservatism and mistrusted innovation - if you go to sea in a wooden ship, you stick with what is proven to work - and as they were the ones who carried the most artillery, by far, their desires tended to dictate the R&D taking place.

(Ships of the line in the early 19th century were the Death Stars of their time. Wellington had about 150 guns, total - mostly 9-pounders - at Waterloo. HMS Victory - one single ship - carried 104 guns, most of them 32- and 24-pounders. )
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Old 05-07-2020, 04:45 PM
 
Location: Not far from Fairbanks, AK
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dane_in_LA View Post
We should probably set a timeframe - when I hear "cannonball", I think Napoleonic era, fairly or unfairly. The old guys were perfectly aware of the desirability (if that's the word) of having explosive ordnance when needed, just didn't have the metallurgy, explosives and fuzing sorted.

The navies of the time tended towards conservatism and mistrusted innovation - if you go to sea in a wooden ship, you stick with what is proven to work - and as they were the ones who carried the most artillery, by far, their desires tended to dictate the R&D taking place.

(Ships of the line in the early 19th century were the Death Stars of their time. Wellington had about 150 guns, total - mostly 9-pounders - at Waterloo. HMS Victory - one single ship - carried 104 guns, most of them 32- and 24-pounders. )
You are correct. Thee are some examples of exploding cannon balls (shells?) that date back over 200 years:
https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zon...olutionary-war
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Old 05-07-2020, 11:43 PM
 
Location: Not far from Fairbanks, AK
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A lot longer than 200 years Wasn't paying attention.
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Old 05-08-2020, 10:10 AM
 
35,656 posts, read 18,399,550 times
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Originally Posted by RayinAK View Post
You are correct. Thee are some examples of exploding cannon balls (shells?) that date back over 200 years:
https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zon...olutionary-war
Indeed. Mortars lobbed bombs way before it became common to use exploding projectiles in cannon.
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