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J. Lee





Joined: 07 Aug 2007

Posts: 18

PostPosted: Thu 15 Sep, 2011 11:26 am    Post subject: Some questions on illuminations depicting medieval artillery         Reply with quote

One recent topic that came up into my mind was whether wheeled carriage was essential for employing artillery on field. The topic drew my attention after watching debate, during which one student of military history claimed that employing guns at field warfare(fifteenth to seventeenth century) was absolutely impossible without field carriages.

Of course, unlike sixteenth century, fifteenth century showed huge variety of gun carriages including wheeled ones or just those with trestles or even simple plank or carriages even unto second half of the century.

Alas, I can only recall that I saw such variety of carriages at medieval manuscripts(many of them from the famous froissart's chronicles in biblotheque natoinale), but not the exact source or websites containing the illuminations.
I wonder if I can hope for some enlightenment regarding where(be it website, books, or thesis) to find out fifteenth medieval manuscripts depicting either artillery or other gunpowder weaponry.
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David Hohl




Location: Oregon
Joined: 07 Feb 2011

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PostPosted: Thu 15 Sep, 2011 12:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, I started on Wikipedia, and it looks like it answers your question, though one can debate its accuracy; I didn't find primary material aside from a pair of images. They have two reproduced images from manuscripts which clearly show the carriage; the first is simply a trestle, but the second appears to show cannon on wheels in the siege of Orleans, 1429. The date mentioned in the text for wheeled carriage is the 1380s.
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Timo Nieminen




Location: Brisbane, Australia
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PostPosted: Thu 15 Sep, 2011 1:47 pm    Post subject: Re: Some questions on illuminations depicting medieval artil         Reply with quote

J. Lee wrote:
One recent topic that came up into my mind was whether wheeled carriage was essential for employing artillery on field. The topic drew my attention after watching debate, during which one student of military history claimed that employing guns at field warfare(fifteenth to seventeenth century) was absolutely impossible without field carriages.


It certainly wasn't absolutely impossible. Non-wheeled-carriage artillery has been used in battle in the field in Europe (Bert Hall, Weapons and Warfare in Renaissance Europe, mentions some cases), by the Ottomans, by the Chinese, and others.

Wheeled carriages add flexibility, so that you can move your artillery during the battle, either because the enemy moved to where the artillery is useless, or to avoid capture.

The Qing (and some of their Mongol enemies, e.g., Galdan Khan's Junghars) would use camels to carry cannon. THese would be put on the ground on a non-wheeled mount to be fired. No wheels meant that they could be faster and keep up with the army better, between battles.

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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Doug Lester




Location: Decatur, IL
Joined: 12 Dec 2007

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PostPosted: Thu 15 Sep, 2011 6:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I would agree that in Europe the carrage made the use of cannons possible. Just don't assume that that means a cannon mounted on a wheeled carriage. The early cannons were often, if not usually, transported on wagons with their supplies and then set up on a stationary bed to be used.
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David Hohl




Location: Oregon
Joined: 07 Feb 2011

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PostPosted: Thu 15 Sep, 2011 7:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As a side note, heavy loads were commonly carried on sleds up through the 18th century and beyond. On soft or uneven ground a sled can be considerably better than wheeled conveyance, and some of the beams which some early artillery were strapped to could have been dragged quite well. Just a possible interpretation.
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Sean Poynter




Location: Chicago (NW suburbs), IL, USA
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PostPosted: Thu 15 Sep, 2011 8:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I reckon wheeled carriages were pretty essential to the transportation and placement of artillery. Here are a couple examples of them in use:

Ribaudequins were placed on and operated from two wheeled "carts" as early as 1339 with the largest one being made in Verona in 1387 (Konstantin Nossov, Ancient and Medieval Siege Weapons/C.W.C Oman, Art of War in the middle Ages A. D. 378-1515).

Regarding bombards, Nossov mentions "These enormous bombards were only used at sieges, and, of course, never from wheeled carriages. They were driven into the ground or mounted on timbered platforms assembled on the spot." I interpret this to mean bombards were carried on wheeled carriages to their destination and then either the wheels from the carriage were removed and the carriage secured to the ground or the cannon was removed from the carriage and placed on a platform.
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William P




Location: Sydney, Australia
Joined: 11 Jul 2010

Posts: 1,409

PostPosted: Thu 15 Sep, 2011 10:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

when i get a chance in the next week or so, ill get my hands on the book 'wars in the renaissance' which has roughly 6-8 chapters, one is dedicated entirely to gunpowder, and subsequent development of fortress defences
http://unsymbolization.blogspot.com/2009/11/r...t-war.html
Quote:
If you like military history or are interested in the wave of change that swept through Europe as a result of the Renaissance, then this book by Yale historian Thomas Arnold is a real treat.

In less than 250 pages, Arnold deals with a large amount of material in a very accessible fashion.

Chapter One, "The New Fury," describes the impact of the gunpowder revolution, specifically the introduction of artillery, on European sieges and fortifications. Arnold includes multiple sidebars that help the reader decipher the bewildering array of Renaissance military pieces and the key differences between them (culverins have longer barrels than cannons, with a thicker base that allowed them to use heavier powder charges and fire at longer ranges). You get a sense of the range of artillery, how much gunpowder and shot it used, and how difficult and costly it was to transport over distances. Then there is a good discussion of how fortifications had to change to withstand assaults by the new cannons.


he also says
Quote:
This is also the first text I've read with a decent discussion of the design and uses of war wagons, which were a common feature of warfare in Eastern Europe (particularly among the Hussites). Not a lengthy discussion, but much more informative and easier to find than the coverage in every other general source that I've read. Since this was an interest of mine, I was quite happy.


actually , the war wagons were another aspect of battlefield artillery,
i also remember a illustration, cant remember where from but it was a book in my high school library which showed a man wearing a sallet on horse dragging a sled packed with small cannons alternating between right and left, and it shows him, with a match on a pole lighting the fuses, or maybe someone on foot was helping him but i honestly forget.
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Len Parker





Joined: 15 Apr 2011

Posts: 253

PostPosted: Fri 16 Sep, 2011 7:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here's a thread with some cannons http://www.tforum.info/forum/index.php?showtopic=29221 and a few paintings.
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