A cannon (plural: cannon or cannons) is a type of gun classified as
artillery that launches a projectile using propellant. In the past,
gunpowder was the primary propellant before the invention of smokeless
powder in the 19th century.
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, 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. In the modern era, the term cannon
has fallen into decline, replaced by "guns" or "artillery" if not a
more specific term such as "mortar" or "howitzer", except in the field
of aerial warfare, where it is often used as shorthand for
The earliest known depiction of cannon appeared in Song dynasty China
as early as the 12th century, however solid archaeological and
documentary evidence of cannon do not appear until the 13th
century. In 1288
Yuan dynasty troops are recorded to have used hand
cannons in combat, and the earliest extant cannon bearing a date of
production comes from the same period. Evidence of cannon
next appeared in Europe. By 1326 depictions of cannon had also
appeared in Europe and almost immediately recorded usage of cannon
began appearing. By the end of the 14th century cannon were
widespread throughout Eurasia.
Cannon were used
primarily as anti-infantry weapons until around 1374 when cannon were
recorded to have breached walls for the first time in Europe.
Cannon featured prominently as siege weapons and ever larger pieces
appeared. In 1464 a 16,000 kg cannon known as the Great Turkish
Bombard was created in the Ottoman Empire.
Cannon as field
artillery became more important after 1453 with the introduction of
limber, which greatly improved cannon maneuverability and
mobility. European cannon reached their longer, lighter, more
accurate, and more efficient "classic form" around 1480. This classic
European cannon design stayed relatively consistent in form with minor
changes until the 1750s.
1 Etymology and terminology
2.2 Spread of cannon
2.2.1 Western Europe
2.2.2 Islamic world
2.2.3 Korea, Japan, and Southeast Asia
2.2.4 Eastern Europe
2.3 Early modern period
2.4 18th and 19th centuries
2.5 20th and 21st centuries
2.5.2 Aircraft use
Cannon materials, parts, and terms
3.1 Negative spaces
3.2 Solid spaces
5 Deceptive use
6 In popular culture
8 See also
11 External links
Etymology and terminology
Cannon is derived from the Old Italian word cannone, meaning "large
tube", which came from
Latin canna, in turn originating from the Greek
κάννα (kanna), "reed", and then generalised to mean any
hollow tube-like object; cognate with
Akkadian qanu(m) and Hebrew
qāneh, "tube, reed". The word has been used to refer to a
gun since 1326 in Italy, and 1418 in England. Both Cannons and Cannon
are correct and in common usage, with one or the other having
preference in different parts of the English-speaking world. Cannons
is more common in North America and Australia, while cannon as plural
is more common in the United Kingdom.
Main article: History of cannon
Further information on the historical use of gunpowder in general:
History of gunpowder
History of gunpowder and Timeline of the
Gunpowder artillery in the Song dynasty
Further information on development of gunpowder warfare in China:
Science and technology of the Song dynasty
Discovered in the ruins of Xanadu (Shangdu 上都), the Mongol Summer
Palace, Inner Mongolia. The
Xanadu Gun is 34.7cm in length and weighs
6.2kg. Dated to 1298 CE.
A hand cannon figure from the Dazu Rock Carvings. The figure carres a
hand cannon with its flames and ball issuing forth.
An illustration of a bronze "thousand ball thunder cannon" from the
14th century Ming Dynasty book Huolongjing.
The cannon may have appeared as early as the 12th century in China,
and was probably a parallel development or evolution of the
fire-lance, a short ranged anti-personnel weapon combining a
gunpowder-filled tube and a polearm of some sort. Co-viative
projectiles such as iron scraps or porcelain shards were placed in
fire lance barrels at some point, and eventually, the paper and
bamboo materials of fire lance barrels were replaced by metal.
The earliest known depiction of a cannon is a sculpture from the Dazu
Rock Carvings in
Sichuan dated to 1128, however the earliest
archaeological samples and textual accounts do not appear until the
13th century. The primary extant specimens of cannon from the 13th
century are the
Wuwei Bronze Cannon
Wuwei Bronze Cannon dated to 1227, the Heilongjiang
hand cannon dated to 1288, and the
Xanadu Gun dated to 1298. However,
only the Xanadu gun contains an inscription bearing a date of
production, so it is considered the earliest confirmed extant cannon.
Xanadu Gun is 34.7 cm in length and weighs 6.2 kg. The
other cannon are dated using contextual evidence.
Heilongjiang hand cannon
Heilongjiang hand cannon is also often considered by some to be
the oldest firearm since it was unearthed near the area where the
History of Yuan reports a battle took place involving hand cannon.
According to the History of Yuan, in 1288, a Jurchen commander by the
name of Li Ting led troops armed with hand cannon into battle against
the rebel prince Nayan.
Chen Bingying argues there were no guns before 1259 while Dang
Shoushan believes the Wuwei gun and other
Western Xia era samples
point to the appearance of guns by 1220, and Stephen Haw goes even
further by stating that guns were developed as early as 1200.
Joseph Needham and renaissance siege expert Thomas Arnold
provide a more conservative estimate of around 1280 for the appearance
of the "true" cannon. Whether or not any of these are correct,
it seems likely that the gun was born sometime during the 13th
References to cannon proliferated throughout China in the following
Cannon featured in literary pieces. In 1341 Xian Zhang
wrote a poem called The Iron
Cannon Affair describing a cannonball
fired from an eruptor which could "pierce the heart or belly when
striking a man or horse, and even transfix several persons at
By the 1350s the cannon was used extensively in Chinese warfare. In
1358 the Ming army failed to take a city due to its garrisons' usage
of cannon, however they themselves would use cannon, in the thousands,
later on during the siege of
Suzhou in 1366.
Ming dynasty cannon were used in riverine warfare at the
Battle of Lake Poyang. One shipwreck in Shandong had a cannon
dated to 1377 and an anchor dated to 1372. From the 13th to 15th
centuries cannon armed Chinese ships also travelled throughout
During the 1593 Siege of Pyongyang, 40,000 Ming troops deployed a
variety of cannon against Japanese troops. Despite their defensive
advantage and the use of arquebus by Japanese soldiers, the Japanese
were at a severe disadvantage due to their lack of cannon. Throughout
the Japanese invasions of Korea (1592–98), the Ming-
used artillery widely in land and naval battles, including on the
turtle ships of Yi Sun-sin.
According to Ivan Petlin, the first Russian envoy to Beijing, in
September 1619, the city was armed with large cannon with cannonballs
weighing more than 30 kg. His general observation was that the
Chinese were militarily capable and had firearms:
There are many merchants and military persons in the Chinese Empire.
They have firearms, and the Chinese are very skillful in military
affairs. They go into battle against the Yellow
Mongols who fight with
bows and arrows.
— Ivan Petlin
Spread of cannon
Gunpowder artillery in the Middle Ages
Earliest picture of a European cannon, "De Nobilitatibus Sapientii Et
Prudentiis Regum", Walter de Milemete, 1326
Western European handgun, 1380
The first Western image of a battle with cannon: the Siege of Orléans
Cannons from the 15th century at
Šibenik city walls
Outside of China, the earliest texts to mention gunpowder are Roger
Opus Majus (1267) and Opus Tertium in what has been
interpreted as references to firecrackers. In the 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, also known as Opus Minor, dated to 1247,
contained an encrypted formula for gunpowder hidden in the text. These
claims have been disputed by science historians. In any case, the
formula itself is not useful for firearms or even firecrackers,
burning slowly and producing mostly smoke.
There is a record of a gun in Europe dating to 1322 being discovered
in the nineteenth century but the artifact has since been lost.
The earliest known European depiction of a gun appeared in 1326 in a
manuscript by Walter de Milemete, although not necessarily drawn by
him, known as De Nobilitatibus, sapientii et prudentiis regum
(Concerning the Majesty, Wisdom, and Prudence of Kings), which
displays a gun with a large arrow emerging from it and its user
lowering a long stick to ignite the gun through the touchole In
the same year, another similar illustration showed a darker gun being
set off by a group of knights, which also featured in another work of
de Milemete's, De secretis secretorum Aristotelis. On 11 February
of that same year, the
Florence appointed two officers to
obtain canones de mettallo and ammunition for the town's defense.
In the following year a document from the Turin area recorded a
certain amount was paid "for the making of a certain instrument or
device made by Friar Marcello for the projection of pellets of
lead." A reference from 1331 describes an attack mounted by two
Germanic knights on Cividale del Friuli, using gunpowder weapons of
some sort. The 1320s seem to have been the takeoff point for
guns in Europe according to most modern military historians. Scholars
suggest that the lack of gunpowder weapons in a well-traveled
Venetian's catalogue for a new crusade in 1321 implies that guns were
unknown in Europe up until this point, further solidifying the 1320
mark, however more evidence in this area may be forthcoming in the
The oldest extant cannon in Europe is a small bronze cannon unearthed
Scania in southern Sweden. It dates from the early-mid
14th century, and is currently in the
Swedish History Museum
Swedish History Museum in
Early cannon in Europe often shot arrows and were known by an
assortment of names such as pot-de-fer, tonnoire, ribaldis, and
büszenpyle. The ribaldis, which shot large arrows and simplistic
grapeshot, were first mentioned in the English Privy Wardrobe accounts
during preparations for the Battle of Crécy, between 1345 and
1346. The Florentine
Giovanni Villani 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 (1346–47),
although it was not until the 1380s that the ribaudekin clearly became
mounted on wheels.
See also: List of inventions in the medieval Islamic world, Alchemy
and chemistry in medieval Islam, and Islamic Golden Age
The Dardanelles Gun, a 1464 Ottoman bombard
Malik E Maidan, a 16th-century cannon, was effectively utilised by the
Deccan sultanates, and was the largest cannon operated during the
Battle of Talikota.
Solid documentary evidence of cannon appeared in the middle east
around the 1360s, however some historians consider the arrival of the
cannon there to be far earlier.
According to historian Ahmad Y. al-Hassan, during the Battle of Ain
Jalut in 1260, the Mamluks used cannon against the Mongols. He claims
that this was "the first cannon in history" and used a gunpowder
formula almost identical to the ideal composition for explosive
gunpowder. He also argues that this was not known in China or Europe
until much later. Hassan further claims that the earliest
textual evidence of cannon is from the middle east, based on earlier
originals which report hand-held cannon being used by the Mamluks at
Battle of Ain Jalut
Battle of Ain Jalut in 1260. However Hassan's claims have been
refuted by other historians such as David Ayalon, Iqtidar Alam Khan,
Joseph Needham, Tonio Andrade, and Gabor Ágoston. Khan argues that it
Mongols who introduced gunpowder to the Islamic world, and
believes cannons only reached
Mamluk Egypt in the 1370s. According
to Needham, the term midfa, dated to textual sources from 1342 to
1352, did not refer to true hand-guns or bombards, and contemporary
accounts of a metal-barrel cannon in the Islamic world do not occur
until 1365 Similarly, Andrade dates the textual appearance of
cannon in middle eastern sources to the 1360s. Gabor Ágoston and
David Ayalon believe the Mamluks had certainly used siege cannon by
the 1360s, but earlier uses of cannon in the
Islamic World are vague
with a possible appearance in the
Emirate of Granada
Emirate of Granada by the 1320s and
1330s, however evidence is inconclusive.
Ibn Khaldun reported the use of cannon as siege machines by the
Marinid sultan Abu Yaqub Yusuf at the siege of
1274. The passage by
Ibn Khaldun on the
Marinid Siege of
Sijilmassa in 1274 occurs as follows: "[ The Sultan] installed siege
engines … and gunpowder engines …, which project small balls of
iron. These balls are ejected from a chamber … placed in front of a
kindling fire of gunpowder; this happens by a strange property which
attributes all actions to the power of the Creator." However the
source is not contemporary and was written a century later around
1382. Its interpretation has been rejected as anachronistic by most
historians, who 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, as they did for an earlier incendiary,
naphtha. Ágoston and Peter Purton note that in the
1204–1324 period, late medieval Arabic texts used the same word for
gunpowder, naft, that they used for an earlier incendiary naphtha.
Ibn Khaldun was speaking of fire lances rather than
References to early use of firearms in Islamdom (1204, 1248, 1274,
1258–60, 1303 and 1324) must be taken with caution since terminology
used for gunpowder and firearms in late medieval Arabic sources is
confused. Furthermore, most of these testimonies are given by later
chroniclers of the fifteenth century whose use of terminology may have
reflected their own time rather than that of the events they were
— Gabor Ágoston
Ottoman Empire in particular made good use of cannon as siege
artillery. Sixty-eight super-sized bombards were used by Mehmed the
Conqueror to capture Constantinople in 1453. Jim Bradbury argues that
Urban, a Hungarian cannon engineer, introduced this cannon from
Central Europe to the Ottoman realm; according to Paul Hammer,
however, it could have been introduced from other Islamic countries
which had earlier used cannon. 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). Shkodëran historian
Marin Barleti discusses Turkish bombards at length in his book De
obsidione Scodrensi (1504), describing the 1478–79 siege of Shkodra
in which eleven bombards and two mortars were employed.
The similar Dardanelles Guns (for the location) were created by Munir
Ali in 1464 and were still in use during the Anglo-Turkish War
(1807–09). These were cast in bronze into two parts, the chase
(the barrel) and the breech, which combined weighed
18.4 tonnes. The two parts were screwed together using levers
to facilitate moving it.
Fathullah Shirazi, a Persian inhabitant of India who worked for Akbar
in the Mughal Empire, developed a volley gun in the 16th century.
Cannon used by Tipu Sultan's forces at the battle of Srirangapatna.
Large cannon in Bidar Fort.
Korea, Japan, and Southeast Asia
The Korean kingdom of
Joseon started producing gunpowder in 1374 and
cannon by 1377.
In Southeast Asia, invasion of Mongol to Java in 1293 may have brought
firearms technology to Nusantara archipelago. By 1300s, Majapahit
fleet has already using breech loading cannon called
Cetbang as naval
Cannon appeared in
Đại Việt by 1390 at the latest. Japan did
not acquire a cannon until 1510 when a monk brought one back from
China, and did not produce any in appreciable numbers.
Documentary evidence of cannon in
Russia does not appear until 1382
and they were used only in sieges, often by the defenders. It was
not until 1475 when Ivan III established the first Russian cannon
foundry in Moscow that they began to produce cannon natively.
Later on large cannon were known as bombards, ranging from three to
five feet in length and were used by
Kotor in defence
during the later 14th century. The first bombards were made of iron,
but bronze became more prevalent as it was recognized as more stable
and capable of propelling stones weighing as much as 45 kilograms
(99 lb). Around the same period, the
Byzantine Empire began to
accumulate its own cannon to face the Ottoman Empire, starting with
medium-sized cannon 3 feet (0.91 m) long and of 10 in
calibre. The earliest reliable recorded use of artillery in the
region was against the Ottoman siege of Constantinople in 1396,
forcing the Ottomans to withdraw. The Ottomans acquired their own
cannon and laid siege to the Byzantine capital again in 1422. By 1453,
the Ottomans used 68 Hungarian-made cannon for the 55-day bombardment
of the walls of Constantinople, "hurling the pieces everywhere and
killing those who happened to be nearby." The largest of their
cannon was the Great Turkish Bombard, 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 obsolete, and with
the final fall of Constantinople—which was protected by what were
once the strongest walls in Europe—on 29 May 1453, "it was the end
of an era in more ways than one."
Early modern period
Various 16th-century artillery pieces, including culverin, falconet
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 (3.0 m) in length, and could weigh
up to 20,000 pounds (9,100 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 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 Tsar Cannon, the largest howitzer ever made, cast by Andrey
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 engines—such as siege towers
and trebuchets—became less widely used. However, wooden
"battery-towers" took on a similar role as siege towers in the
gunpowder age—such as that used at
Siege of Kazan
Siege of Kazan in 1552, which
could hold ten large-calibre 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 wrote, "There is no wall, whatever its thickness that
artillery will not destroy in only a few days." Although castles
were not immediately made obsolete by cannon, their use and importance
on the battlefield rapidly declined. Instead of majestic towers
and merlons, 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 and redoubts. These new
defences became known as bastion forts, after their characteristic
shape which attempted to force any advance towards it directly into
the firing line of the guns. A few of these featured cannon
batteries, such as the House of Tudor's Device Forts, in England.
Bastion forts soon replaced castles in Europe, and, eventually, those
in the Americas, as well.
Remains of a post-medieval cannon battery, mounted on a medieval town
wall, although without carriages
By the end of the 15th century, several technological advancements
made cannon more mobile. Wheeled gun carriages and trunnions became
common, and the invention of the limber further facilitated
transportation. As a result, field artillery 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 standardisation of calibres
meant that even relatively light cannon could be deadly. In The
Art of War,
Niccolò Machiavelli observed that "It is true that the
arquebuses and the small artillery do much more harm than the heavy
artillery." This was the case at the Battle of Flodden, in 1513:
the English field guns 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 required 23 horses to transport,
while a culverin needed nine. Even with this many animals pulling,
they still moved at a walking pace. Due to their relatively slow
speed, and lack of organisation, and undeveloped tactics, the
combination of pike and shot still dominated the battlefields of
Innovations continued, notably the German invention of the mortar, 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 defences. This cannon found more use with
the Dutch, who learnt 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. 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
Contemporary illustration on how a cannon could be used with the aid
of quadrants for improved precision.
The use of gabions with cannons was an important part in the attack
and defence of fortifications.
Gustavus Adolphus of
Sweden emphasised the use of light cannon and
mobility in his army, and created new formations and tactics that
revolutionised 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-culverins. 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 – 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
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, 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 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 cannon were being used to besiege various fortified
buildings during the English Civil War.
Nathaniel Nye is recorded as
Birmingham cannon in 1643 and experimenting with a saker in
1645. From 1645 he was the master gunner to the Parliamentarian
Evesham 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, arithmetic,
theoretical mathematics, and cartography as well as practical
considerations such as the ideal specification for gunpowder or slow
matches. His book acknowledged mathematicians such as Robert
Marcus Jordanus as well as earlier military writers on
artillery such as
Niccolò Fontana Tartaglia
Niccolò Fontana Tartaglia and Thomas (or
Francis) Malthus (author of A Treatise on Artificial
Fort Bourtange, a bastion fort, was built with angles and sloped walls
specifically to defend against cannon.
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."
Cannon did not have
sights, therefore, even with measuring tools, aiming was still largely
In the latter half of the 17th century, the French engineer Sébastien
Le Prestre de Vauban 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
forward, supported by enfilading ricochets, 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 bastion 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 defence
than Vauban had provided for. It was only in the years prior to World
War I that new works began to break radically away from his
18th and 19th centuries
Naval artillery in the Age of Sail,
Field artillery in the
American Civil War, and Siege artillery in the American Civil War
Cannon used by Tipu Sultan's forces at the battle of Srirangapatna
36-pounder long gun
36-pounder long gun at the ready
The lower tier of 17th-century English ships of the line were usually
equipped with demi-cannon, guns that fired a 32-pound (15 kg)
solid shot, and could weigh up to 3,400 pounds (1,500 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 (300 ft), and could dismast even the
largest ships at close range. Full cannon fired a 42-pound
(19 kg) shot, but were discontinued by the 18th century, as they
were too unwieldy. By the end of the 18th century, principles long
adopted in Europe specified the characteristics of the Royal Navy's
cannon, as well as the acceptable defects, and their severity. The
United States Navy
United States Navy tested guns by measuring them, firing them two or
three times—termed "proof by powder"—and using pressurized water
to detect leaks.
The carronade was adopted by the
Royal Navy in 1779; the lower muzzle
velocity of the round shot 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; for example, a
32-pounder carronade weighed less than a ton, 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 calibres, but were not
counted in a ship of the line's rated number of guns. As a result, the
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
wrought-iron-jacketed steel cannon by William Armstrong and Joseph
Whitworth. Nevertheless, carronades were used in the American Civil
Parrott rifle from the Battle of Chancellorsville
Western cannon during the 19th century became larger, more
destructive, more accurate, and could fire at longer range. One
example is the American 3-inch (76 mm) wrought-iron,
muzzle-loading rifle, or
Griffen gun (usually called the 3-inch
Ordnance Rifle), used during the American Civil War, which had an
effective range of over 1.1 mi (1.8 km). Another is the
smoothbore 12-pounder Napoleon, which originated in France in 1853 and
was widely used by both sides in the American Civil War. This cannon
was renowned for its sturdiness, reliability, firepower, flexibility,
relatively lightweight, and range of 1,700 m
French soldiers in the Franco-Prussian War 1870–71
Cannon were crucial in Napoleon's rise to power, and continued to play
an important role in his army in later years. During the French
Revolution, the unpopularity of the Directory led to riots and
rebellions. When over 25,000 royalists led by General Danican
Paul Barras was appointed to defend the capital;
outnumbered five to one and disorganised, the Republicans were
Napoleon arrived, he reorganised the defences but
realised that without cannon the city could not be held. He ordered
Joachim Murat 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, 1795 – 5 October 1795, in
the calendar used in France at the time —
Napoleon ordered his
cannon to fire grapeshot 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 recognise that artillery was not being used to its full
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, 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—Napoleon's final battle—the French army had many more
artillery pieces than either the British or Prussians. As the
battlefield was muddy, recoil caused cannons 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 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
squares, took heavy losses from the French guns, while their own
cannon fired at the cuirassiers and lancers, when they fell back to
regroup. Eventually, the French ceased their assault, after taking
heavy losses from the British cannon and musket fire.
Illustration by William Simpson shows action in a British artillery
battery during the
Crimean War with cannon firing and being loaded,
and men bringing in supplies.
The practice of rifling—casting spiralling lines inside the cannon's
barrel—was applied to artillery more frequently by 1855, as it gave
cannon projectiles gyroscopic stability, which improved their
accuracy. One of the earliest rifled cannon was the breech-loading
Armstrong Gun—also invented by William 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
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 favour 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 ironclads; 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. Realising that iron was more difficult to pierce with
breech-loaded cannon, Armstrong designed rifled muzzle-loading
guns, which proved successful;
The Times 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."
Cannon fire from 12 pound 1760s cannon
The superior cannon of the
Western world brought them tremendous
advantages in warfare. For example, in the
First Opium War
First 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 of 1896, was brought to a swift conclusion by
shelling from British cruisers. The cynical attitude towards
recruited infantry in the face of ever more powerful field artillery
is the source of the term cannon fodder, first used by François-René
de Chateaubriand, in 1814; however, the concept of regarding
soldiers as nothing more than "food for powder" was mentioned by
William Shakespeare as early as 1598, in Henry IV, Part 1.
20th and 21st centuries
Comparison of 1888 and 1913 German cannon
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 howitzers, mortars, guns, and autocannon,
although a few superguns—extremely large, custom-designed
cannon—have also been constructed.
Nuclear artillery 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 manoeuvre of forces to destroy, neutralize, or suppress the
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, useful for hitting the sides of targets such as
walls, as opposed to howitzers or mortars, which have lower
muzzle velocities, and fire indirectly, lobbing shells up and over
obstacles to hit the target from above.
Main article: Artillery
Nine-person crew firing a US M198 howitzer
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, cannon proved highly effective during World War I,
directly or indirectly causing over 75% of casualties. The onset
of trench warfare after the first few months of
World War I
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
World War I also saw
the use of the Paris Gun, the longest-ranged gun ever fired. This
200 mm (8 in) calibre gun was used by the Germans against
Paris and could hit targets more than 122 km (76 mi)
Artillery howitzers at the Battle of the Somme
The Second World War sparked new developments in cannon technology.
Among them were sabot rounds, 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 and Pacific Theatres of Operations; they were particularly
useful against V-1 flying bombs and kamikaze 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, 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 and 6 pounder guns. By the end of the war, 17
pounders had proven much more effective against German tanks, and 32
pounders had entered development. Meanwhile, German tanks
were continuously upgraded with better main guns, in addition to other
improvements. For example, the
Panzer III was originally designed with
a 37 mm gun, but was mass-produced with a 50 mm cannon.
To counter the threat of the Russian T-34s, 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, the
World War II
World War II armoured 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 and Panther tanks. In 1944, the
8.8 cm KwK 43 and many variations, entered service with the
Wehrmacht, 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 tank at very
USS Iowa firing her 16 in (41 cm) guns
Despite being designed to fire at trajectories with a steep angle of
descent, howitzers can be fired directly, as was done by the 11th
Marine Regiment at the Battle of Chosin Reservoir, during the Korean
War. Two field batteries fired directly upon a battalion 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.
A 5-inch (127 mm)/54 calibre
Mark 45 gun being fired from Arleigh
Burke-class destroyer USS Benfold
The tendency to create larger calibre cannon during the World Wars has
reversed since. The United States Army, for example, sought a lighter,
more versatile howitzer, to replace their ageing pieces. As it could
be towed, the M198 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 Ultralightweight howitzer, which weighs nearly half as much and
can be more easily moved. Although land-based artillery such as the
M198 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 missiles. However, the
Zumwalt-class destroyer'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
(11 kg), has a circular error of probability of 50 m
(160 ft), and will be mounted on a rocket, to increase the
effective range to 100 nmi (190 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 M198 howitzers. The reason for the
re-integration of cannon as a main armament in United States Navy
ships is because satellite-guided munitions fired from a gun are less
expensive than a cruise missile but have a similar guidance
Main article: Autocannon
A large bore Maxim on USS Vixen c. 1898
Autocannons have an automatic firing mode, similar to that of a
machine gun. 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 rotary autocannons, even
surpassing the firing rate of a machine gun. While there is no
minimum bore for autocannons, they are generally larger than machine
guns, typically 20 mm or greater since
World War II
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
Most nations use rapid-fire cannon on light vehicles, replacing a more
powerful, but heavier, tank gun. A typical autocannon is the
25 mm "Bushmaster" chain gun, mounted on the
LAV-25 and M2
Bradley armoured vehicles. Autocannons 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 are deliberately designed with relatively low
rates of fire. The typical rate of fire for a modern autocannon ranges
from 90 to 1,800 rounds per minute. Systems with multiple barrels,
such as a rotary autocannon, can have rates of fire of more than
several thousand rounds per minute. The fastest of these is the
GSh-6-23, which has a rate of fire of over 10,000 rounds per
Autocannons 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.
Westland C.O.W. Gun Fighter
Westland C.O.W. Gun Fighter with 37mm C.O.W. gun mounted to fire
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, 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.
Supermarine Spitfire with 20 mm cannon protruding from the leading
edge of the wing
The first autocannon were developed during
World War I
World War I as
anti-aircraft guns, and one of these – the Coventry Ordnance Works
"COW 37 mm gun" 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 and the Westland C.O.W. Gun
Fighter, an idea that would return later.
GAU-8/A Avenger rotary cannon, mounted in a Fairchild A-10
GSh-23 autocannon mounted on the underside of a Mikoyan-Gurevich
During this period autocannons became available and several fighters
of the German
Luftwaffe and the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service
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. The cannon was more effective
against armour so they were increasingly used during the course of
World War II, and newer fighters such as the
Hawker Tempest usually
carried two or four versus the six .50 Browning machine guns for US
aircraft or eight to twelve M1919 Browning machine guns on earlier
British aircraft. The Hispano-Suiza HS.404, Oerlikon 20 mm
cannon, MG FF, and their numerous variants became among the most
widely used autocannon in the war. Cannon, as with machine guns, were
generally fixed to fire forwards (mounted in the wings, in the nose or
fuselage, or in a pannier under either); or were mounted in gun
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 guns so-installed Schräge Musik. Schräge
Musik derives from the German colloquialism for Jazz Music (the German
word schräg means slanted or oblique)
Vietnam War the high speeds aircraft were attaining led
to a move to remove the cannon due to the mistaken belief that they
would be useless in a dogfight, 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
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
Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II. The Lockheed AC-130
gunship (a converted transport) can carry a 105mm howitzer as well as
a variety of autocannons ranging up to 40mm. Both are used in the
close air support role.
Cannon materials, parts, and terms
Side elevation of a typical 19th-century cannon
Cannon in general have the form of a truncated cone with an internal
cylindrical bore for holding an explosive charge and a projectile. The
thickest, strongest, and closed part of the cone is located near the
explosive charge. As any explosive charge will dissipate in all
directions equally, the thickest portion of the cannon is useful for
containing and directing this force. The backward motion of the cannon
as its projectile leaves the bore is termed its recoil and the
effectiveness of the cannon can be measured in terms of how much this
response can be diminished, though obviously diminishing recoil
through increasing the overall mass of the cannon means decreased
Field artillery cannon in Europe and the Americas were initially made
most often of bronze, though later forms were constructed of cast iron
and eventually steel.:61
Bronze has several characteristics that
made it preferable as a construction material: although it is
relatively expensive, does not always alloy well, and can result in a
final product that is "spongy about the bore",:61 bronze is more
flexible than iron and therefore less prone to bursting when exposed
to high pressure; cast iron cannon are less expensive and more durable
generally than bronze and withstand being fired more times without
deteriorating. However, cast iron cannon have a tendency to burst
without having shown any previous weakness or wear, and this makes
them more dangerous to operate.
The older and more-stable forms of cannon were muzzle-loading as
opposed to breech-loading— in order to be used they had to have
their ordnance packed down the bore through the muzzle rather than
inserted through the breech.
The following terms refer to the components or aspects of a classical
western cannon (c. 1850) as illustrated here.:66 In what follows,
the words near, close, and behind will refer to those parts towards
the thick, closed end of the piece, and far, front, in front of, and
before to the thinner, open end.
Bore: The hollow cylinder bored down the centre of the cannon,
including the base of the bore or bottom of the bore, the nearest end
of the bore into which the ordnance (wadding, shot, etc.) gets packed.
The diameter of the bore represents the cannon's calibre.
Chamber: The cylindrical, conical, or spherical recess at the nearest
end of the bottom of the bore into which the gunpowder is packed.
Vent: A thin tube on the near end of the cannon connecting the
explosive charge inside with an ignition source outside and often
filled with a length of fuse; always located near the breech.
Sometimes called the fuse hole or the touch hole. On the top of the
vent on the outside of the cannon is a flat circular space called the
vent field where the charge is lit. If the cannon is bronze, it will
often have a vent piece made of copper screwed into the length of the
The main body of a cannon consists of three basic extensions: the
foremost and the longest is called the chase, the middle portion is
the reinforce, and the closest and briefest portion is the cascabel or
The chase: Simply the entire conical part of the cannon in front of
the reinforce. It is the longest portion of the cannon, and includes
the following elements:
The neck: the narrowest part of the chase, always located near the
foremost end of the piece.
The muzzle: the portion of the chase forward of the neck. It includes
The swell of the muzzle refers to the slight swell in the diameter of
the piece at the very end of the chase. It is often chamfered on the
inside to make loading the cannon easier. In some guns, this element
is replaced with a wide ring and is called a muzzle band.
The face is the flat vertical plane at the foremost edge of the muzzle
(and of the entire piece).
The muzzle mouldings are the tiered rings which connect the face with
the rest of the muzzle, the first of which is called the lip and the
second the fillet
The muzzle astragal and fillets are a series of three narrow rings
running around the outside of the chase just behind the neck.
Sometimes also collectively called the chase ring.
The chase astragal and fillets: these are a second series of such
rings located at the near end of the chase.
The chase girdle: this is the brief length of the chase between the
chase astragal and fillets and the reinforce.
The reinforce: This portion of the piece is frequently divided into a
first reinforce and a second reinforce, but in any case is marked as
separate from the chase by the presence of a narrow circular reinforce
ring or band at its foremost end. The span of the reinforce also
includes the following:
The trunnions are located at the foremost end of the reinforce just
behind the reinforce ring. They consist of two cylinders perpendicular
to the bore and below it which are used to mount the cannon on its
The rimbases are short broad rings located at the union of the
trunnions and the cannon which provide support to the carriage
The reinforce band is only present if the cannon has two reinforces,
and it divides the first reinforce from the second.
The breech refers to the mass of solid metal behind the bottom of the
bore extending to the base of the breech and including the base ring;
it also generally refers to the end of the cannon opposite the muzzle,
i.e., the location where the explosion of the gunpowder begins as
opposed to the opening through which the pressurized gas escapes.
The base ring forms a ring at the widest part of the entire cannon at
the nearest end of the reinforce just before the cascabel.
The cascabel: This is that portion of the cannon behind the
reinforce(s) and behind the base ring. It includes the following:
The knob which is the small spherical terminus of the piece;
The neck, a short, narrow piece of metal holding out the knob; and
The fillet, the tiered disk connecting the neck of the cascabel to the
base of the breech.
The base of the breech is the metal disk that forms the most forward
part of the cascabel and rests against the breech itself, right next
to the base ring.
To pack a muzzle-loading cannon, first gunpowder is poured down the
bore. This is followed by a layer of wadding (often nothing more than
paper), and then the cannonball itself. A certain amount of windage
allows the ball to fit down the bore, though the greater the windage
the less efficient the propulsion of the ball when the gunpowder is
ignited. To fire the cannon, the fuse located in the vent is lit,
quickly burning down to the gunpowder, which then explodes violently,
propelling wadding and ball down the bore and out of the muzzle. A
small portion of exploding gas also escapes through the vent, but this
does not dramatically affect the total force exerted on the ball.
Any large, smoothbore, muzzle-loading gun—used before the advent of
breech-loading, rifled guns—may be referred to as a cannon, though
once standardised names were assigned to different-sized cannon, the
term specifically referred to a gun designed to fire a 42-pound
(19 kg) shot, as distinct from a demi-cannon – 32 pounds
(15 kg), culverin – 18 pounds (8.2 kg), or demi-culverin
– 9 pounds (4.1 kg).
Gun 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. The term cannon is also used for autocannon,
a modern repeating weapon firing explosive projectiles.
been used extensively in fighter aircraft since World War II, and
in place of machine guns on land vehicles.
The parts of a cannon described in John Roberts' The Compleat
Cannoniere, London, 1652
Firing of a field gun of the early 17th century with a linstock
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
Before loading, the cannon would be cleaned with a wet sponge to
extinguish any smouldering material from the last shot. Fresh powder
could be set off prematurely by lingering ignition sources. The powder
was added, followed by wadding 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.
Firing of a 6-pound cannon
Cannon operation as described in the 1771 edition of the Encyclopædia
During the Napoleonic Wars, 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".
A gun was said to be honeycombed when the surface of the bore had
cavities, or holes in it, caused either by corrosion or casting
Quaker gun and Military deception
Historically, logs or poles have been used as decoys to mislead the
enemy as to the strength of an emplacement. The "Quaker
Gun trick" was
used by Colonel William Washington's
Continental Army during the
American Revolutionary War; in 1780, approximately 100 Loyalists
surrendered to them, rather than face bombardment. During the
American Civil War, Quaker guns were also used by the Confederates, to
compensate for their shortage of artillery. The decoy cannon were
painted black at the "muzzle", and positioned behind fortifications to
delay Union attacks on those positions. On occasion, real gun
carriages were used to complete the deception.
In popular culture
Cannon sounds have sometimes been used in classical pieces with a
military theme. One of the best known examples of such a piece is
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture. The overture is to be
performed using an artillery section together with the orchestra,
resulting in noise levels high enough that musicians are required to
wear ear protection. The cannon fire simulates Russian artillery
bombardments of the Battle of Borodino, 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
and conductor Antal Doráti's 1958 recording of the Minnesota
Cannon fire is also frequently used annually in
presentations of the 1812 on the American Independence Day, a
tradition started by
Arthur Fiedler of the
Boston Pops in
The hard rock band
AC/DC also used cannon in their song "For Those
About to Rock (We Salute You)", and in live shows replica
Napoleonic cannon and pyrotechnics were used to perform the
Cannon recovered from the sea are often extensively damaged from
exposure to salt water; because of this, electrolytic reduction
treatment is required to forestall the process of corrosion. The
cannon is then washed in deionized water to remove the electrolyte,
and is treated in tannic acid, which prevents further rust and gives
the metal a bluish-black colour. After this process, cannons
on display may be protected from oxygen and moisture by a wax sealant.
A coat of polyurethane may also be painted over the wax sealant, to
prevent the wax-coated cannon from attracting dust in outdoor
displays. In 2011, archaeologists say six cannons recovered from
a river in Panama that could have belonged to legendary pirate Henry
Morgan are being studied and could eventually be displayed after going
through a restoration process.
List of cannon projectiles
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^ Andrade 2016, p. 330.
^ Chase 2003, p. 32.
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^ a b c d e Andrade 2016, p. 76.
^ Khan 2004, p. 9-10.
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^ a b c d Andrade 2016, p. 75.
^ Chase 2003, p. 59.
^ a b Schmidtchen, Volker (1977b), "Riesengeschütze des 15.
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^ Needham 1986, p. 51.
^ Kelly 2004, p. 66.
^ Andrade 2016, p. 103-104.
^ κάννα, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, An Intermediate
Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus
^ Black, Jeremy A.; George, Andrew; Postgate, J. N. (2000). A Concise
Dictionary of Akkadian. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag.
^ a b "Definition and etymology of "cannon"". Webster's Dictionary.
Retrieved 26 May 2008.
^ "Etymology of "Cane"". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved 26 May
^ "Definition and etymology of "cane"". Webster's Dictionary.
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^ "Definition of cannon". Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary.
Retrieved 30 October 2014.
^ Needham 1986, p. 263–275.
^ Needham 1986, p. 263-275.
^ Crosby 2002, p. 99.
^ Chase 2003, p. 31-32.
^ Andrade 2016, p. 52-53.
^ Needham 1986, p. 293-4.
^ Andrade 2016, p. 329.
^ Needham 1986, p. 10.
^ Arnold 2001, p. 18.
^ Andrade 2016, p. 54.
^ Norris, John (2003). Early
Gunpowder Artillery: 1300–1600.
Marlborough: The Crowood Press. p. 11.
^ Andrade 2016, p. 66.
^ R. G. Grant (2005). Battle: a visual journey through 5,000 years of
combat (illustrated ed.). DK Pub. p. 99.
^ Chase, Kenneth Warren (2003). Firearms: A Global History to 1700.
Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-82274-9. Little is
known about their armament, but Chinese ships did carry bronze cannon
at this time, as evidenced by the wreck of a small two-masted patrol
vessel discovered in Shandong together with its anchor (inscribed
1372) and cannons (inscribed 1377).
^ Chase, Kenneth Warren (2003). Firearms: A Global History to 1700.
Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-82274-9. Considering
that Chinese ships armed with gunpowder weapons, including cannon,
visited the region regularly from the 1200s to the 1400s.
^ Archer, Christon I. (2002). World History of Warfare. University of
Nebraska Press. p. 211. ISBN 0-8032-4423-1. Retrieved 26 May
^ Derrick Grose. "Admiral Yi Sun-shin and Turtle Ships". "Virtual
stamp Collection". Grose Educational Media, 2011. Archived from the
original on 21 January 2012. Retrieved 22 September 2011.
^ Dmytryshyn 1985, p. 90.
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