Info Favorites Register Log in
myArmoury.com Discussion Forums

Forum index Memberlist Usergroups Spotlight Topics Search
Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > About Handgonnes and Early Arquebuses Reply to topic
Go to page 1, 2  Next 
Author Message
Toni Leivonen




Usergroups: None

Location: Finland
Posts: 2
PostPosted: Sat 11 Apr, 2015 3:50 am    Post subject: About Handgonnes and Early Arquebuses         Reply with quote

Finding information on these to weapons proves to be harder then I though, I hope there are knowledgeable people here.

1)How much effective range did these weapons have?
2) Could they be loaded with both shot (lot's of small things) and with a single ball?
3)How heavy were they?
4) How expensive were they during their era?
5)How rabidly could they fire compared to a windlass crossbow?
6) How likely would a poorly made gonne explode on your face?
View user's profile Send private message
Mark Griffin




Usergroups: 
Donating Members

Location: The Welsh Marches, in the hills above Newtown, Powys.
Posts: 522
PostPosted: Sat 11 Apr, 2015 5:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

1)How much effective range did these weapons have? From point blank upwards. A hundred yards shooting at a body of people will hit someone, but are you talking single aimed, or massed? They will shoot a ball much further at 45 degrees.
2) Could they be loaded with both shot (lot's of small things) and with a single ball? You can put whatever you like into them. Its a tube so the shot just needs to fit the bore. Look at the Mary Rose hailshot gun for example. nails, broken lead cames, bits of glass, stones. Its all ammo.
3)How heavy were they? That's kind of like asking how heavy is anything where there is a large range to choose from. from 3 to 10lbs.
4) How expensive were they during their era? From a few pounds upwards. But depending on when you are talking. Early ones made when the materials and technology or later ones at the start of the 16th cent when there was an industry churning them out. Mons meg cost 178 btw.
5)How rabidly could they fire compared to a windlass crossbow? On something like the Tannenburg gun i can do 2.5 shots per minute, which is an large improvement over a windlass, maybe 100% faster. But depends on the operators training and experience, the environment, the actual weapons themselves.
6) How likely would a poorly made gonne explode on your face? We don't have enough data to say how likely. Some did, many did not.

Currently working on projects ranging from Stonehenge to a WW1 Tank, Magna Carta projects, Waterloo and several ongoing harness projects. Oh and we joust loads! We run over 200 events for English Heritage each year plus many others for Historic Royal Palaces, Historic Scotland, the National Trust and more. If you live in the UK and are interested in working for us just drop us a line with a cv.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Pieter B.




Usergroups: None


Posts: 246
PostPosted: Sat 11 Apr, 2015 5:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

One thing to note is that when the matchlock arquebus was introduced the cranequin (for loading crossbows) was also spreading and going by artwork such as the Swiss chronicles it superseded the windlass in most situations. I believe pay for handgunners and crossbowmen was equal in the Burgundian army. Crossbows are still mentioned as late as 1520 (Blaise de Monluc) but seem to disappear from military usage after that.
View user's profile Send private message
Randall Moffett




Usergroups: None

Location: Sunny Southern California
Reading list: 5 books
Posts: 1,968
PostPosted: Sat 11 Apr, 2015 6:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Toni,

Mark brings up an excellent point with effective ranges. Many handguns could fire a heck of a long way but how were they used. The fact that all the way into the 19th century they were moving in rather close and doing volley fire indicates a number of things, limited accuracy for one and the other thing to consider is the amount of smoke a few hundred if not thousands of these guys generate after just one volley. It would be most effective with reload time and accuracy. Just like with bows and arrows and crossbows I suspect there are variation but also points in which the distance would be of limited use without accuracy.

Modern tests with firearms tend to be lacking on many fronts. One is accuracy. We have machine made barrels with perfect interior bores and assume these would be the same as a handmade barrel which is not correct. As well powder. Powder was the factor that made these work and most people use modern powders that have very different makeups.

As to exploding. There are a fairly large number of ruptured guns and cannons so it seems to have happened. As well something that is interesting in German supply trains from c.1450 on is the number of guns is much higher than gunners in most armies. Could be to have some extras loaded for quick use or to equip non-gunners but it could be to replace fouled or damaged guns. Truth is Mark is likely right we just do not have the solid numbers to say how often. I'd assume it happened enough to be a concern with the material and ways the barrels were made.

I'd look into Bert Hall's Weapons and Warfare in Renaissance Europe. By far the best book out on academia that deals with this subject. Another interesting one is Kelly DeVries and Robert Smith's Artillery of the Dukes of Burgundy.

Pieter,

That might be true but it seems even Charles has a hard time filling his handgunner positions according to Vaughan, which begs the question why? What I mean is he has a nice balance on paper but that does not seem to be the real army he had. I am not sure they were as numerically common as often said. The Swiss are also often said to be another big gun user and I think that is true but I think we tend to get a gun heavy idea to reality as well. A person I know, Dr. Winkler, studied the Swiss and their equipment and crossbows are pretty common into the early 16th century to handguns. I do tend to trust inventories and musters more than art with military makeup and armaments and there is a pretty large amount of Swiss documentation apparently but I do not know first hand as I cannot read them unless translated. I have looked into some Italian inventories and see crossbows well into the 16th as well. I tend to think the crossbow lingers a great deal longer than many writers seem to indicate, at least from what people physically had in their inventories.


Mark,

Until the 16th century I am not sure I am aware of any professionals using grapeshot. If Mark has an example I'd love to see it as I have been looking for something like this for years.

As to firing. I know people who get 2 off a minute with a windlass so sounds about equal to me. So your are right the operator is likely a major factor. Are we comparing a super efficient handgunner to a ok crossbowman? We have to try to level the field but that is hard in our day and age. As well some crossbows have belt hooks or the crannequin or the goatsfoot lever that would be far faster than 2.5 a minute. Another factor is until later, say 1410s or 1420s the powder composition itself is rather slow burning so not even only limited to operator but technology.

RPM
View user's profile Send private message
Pieter B.




Usergroups: None


Posts: 246
PostPosted: Sat 11 Apr, 2015 6:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Oh yes indeed Randall I am aware of that. I was trying to illustrate handguns did not displace crossbows but that they were used in concert and that the rate of fire is not necessarily slower since cranequins came into use around 1450.
View user's profile Send private message
Mark Griffin




Usergroups: 
Donating Members

Location: The Welsh Marches, in the hills above Newtown, Powys.
Posts: 522
PostPosted: Sat 11 Apr, 2015 6:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
Until the 16th century I am not sure I am aware of any professionals using grapeshot. If Mark has an example I'd love to see it as I have been looking for something like this for years.


I didn't say grape specifically, just that if it fits.... there were certainly early canister variants as well as what later gunners might call chain and bar. But in early days (and we seem to be talking a good 150 years here at least) you can put anything down. That doesn't even take into consideration the various arrows and pyrotechnical muck that got discharged. See Dr Alfred Geibigs work on that kind of thing....

When doing some live firing with a late 15th cent arquebus replica we could easily hit a pavise and get a decent few inches grouping over 30 metres, but that's pretty close and well within range of the enemy. Even sprinting distance. Width of the moat we were in stopped anything else. But that's with modern powder of course.....another consideration.

Currently working on projects ranging from Stonehenge to a WW1 Tank, Magna Carta projects, Waterloo and several ongoing harness projects. Oh and we joust loads! We run over 200 events for English Heritage each year plus many others for Historic Royal Palaces, Historic Scotland, the National Trust and more. If you live in the UK and are interested in working for us just drop us a line with a cv.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Jean Henri Chandler




Usergroups: 
Donating Members

Location: New Orleans
Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 991
PostPosted: Sat 11 Apr, 2015 9:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think one of the best and most untapped sources of data on late medieval firearms are the records of the schutzenfest, or shooting contests, which were held routinely in all the towns. Originally these were done with bows and crossbows but they started having shooting societies for gunners (usually devoted to St. Barbara) who ran their own contests as early as the late 14th Century in some places. By the mid 15th they were ubiquitous. You can see shooting ranges in tons of artwork from this era.

They had a lot of rules for these which can tell you quite a bit about the state of firearms technology and the depth and breadth of firearms culture. I learned about this from professor Tlusty's Martial Ethic in Early Modern Germany but there are many sources on this (mostly in German and Flemish, that I know of, some in Polish and some other languages). But there is some stuff in English too if you have (real) JSTOR access.

The towns used to send out all the rules on a big piece of paper which had an 'actual size' target on the back, as well as quite often the 1:1 scale indication of what that town considered a foot (or an ell or whatever unit of measure they used) so that you would know in advance exactly how far the target was from the shooting position - because many towns used their own units of measure. Several of these things still exist. They also wrote poems about the contests and quite often there were lawsuits and even little wars fought over the outcome. There is at least one book of those poems. The prizes were quite large, up into the thousands of guilders, and the towns usually made money on the events and quite often sealed important diplomatic deals.

One case involved the famous Free Imperial Knight Gotz von Berlichingen, who took up the cause of a Stuttgart marksman who got cheated of his shooting prize, apparently due to a clerical error, by the town of Cologne. Gotz declared a feud on Cologne and captured two of their merchants until the city paid the guy off (and Gotz himself of course took the majority of the payment).

One of the things you learn from this is that the technology varied enormously, and some very high technology was around earlier than most people may assume, (like breach loaders) while some very primitive tech, hand culverins which had to be ignited down the barrel, were still being used as late as the 16th Century in some places. But in the towns with the contests, due to the prizes, a lot of the guns seemed to be on the bleeding edge of technology. Rifled barrels for example were being outlawed in shooting contests in Augsburg (because they were considered cheating) as early as 1420. In Nuremberg they apparently developed breach-loading handguns by the late 15th Century, specifically for the shooting contests (it would be centuries of course before these became standardized on the battlefield, at least for handguns, though they were being used for cannon from before that time)

These are some of the festivities taking place during a shutzenfest in Zwickau in 1573


What you can see in that image includes prostitutes racing (a common occurance at these events) and a fechtshucle

I haven't systematically examined the data - I only know about all this because they routinely included fechtschuler, fencing contests / schools, as part of the larger shooting contest events. But the impression I had was that you clearly had some very good shooters. Accidents do also seem to be a thing, I remember there was a rule for one of the crossbow shooting contests that the shooters had to wrap wire around their prod so that if one snapped it wouldn't injure anyone in the audience.

I think if you found a few of the records associated with these things you could get a good idea what the top level marksman was capable of in the 15th-16th Century in terms of accuracy and speed ( the contests typically were timed, and they used a mechanical clock to time each shooter) and also get some kind of idea of how many good marksmen were out there. Only a few made it to the upper echelon of the contests.

The 'typical' handgun of this era, if you could even say there was such a thing, may not have been very accurate and might have only really been effective when shot en-masse. Clearly there were also some, with the right gunner and the right powder, that could perform much better than that. Powder seems to be an important element - a lot of the top marksmen used to make their own. The notorious sniper and sculptor Benvenutto Cellini in Italy made his own gunpowder.

Jean

System D'Armes Historical European fencing in New Orleans

Essays on Hroarr

Introducing the Codex Guide to the Medieval Baltic
View user's profile Send private message
Augusto Boer Bront




Usergroups: None

Location: Cividale del Friuli (UD) Italy
Posts: 238
PostPosted: Sun 12 Apr, 2015 2:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You people might find this useful

http://homepages.ihug.com.au/~dispater/handgo...2b2mpovr7n

Facebook gallery to my works.

Armour
https://www.facebook.com/augusto.boerbront/media_set?set=a.10203471523410647.1073741828.1290176079&type=1&notif_t=like

Weapons
https://www.facebook.com/augusto.boerbront/media_set?set=a.10203471900740080.1073741829.1290176079&type=3

Art/Design
https://www.facebook.com/augusto.boerbront/media_set?set=a.4496216485406.2177627.1290176079&type=3

Pinterest albums to almost all existing XIVth century armour.
http://www.pinterest.com/aboerbront/
View user's profile Send private message
Mark Griffin




Usergroups: 
Donating Members

Location: The Welsh Marches, in the hills above Newtown, Powys.
Posts: 522
PostPosted: Sun 12 Apr, 2015 2:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Its a very good site but many of the links are dead unfortunately.

The best for the kind of questions being asked is http://www.musketeer.ch/blackpowder/handgonne.html Ulrich has made some lovely replicas and has some very good info on there, thanks for reminding me of it Augusto.

Currently working on projects ranging from Stonehenge to a WW1 Tank, Magna Carta projects, Waterloo and several ongoing harness projects. Oh and we joust loads! We run over 200 events for English Heritage each year plus many others for Historic Royal Palaces, Historic Scotland, the National Trust and more. If you live in the UK and are interested in working for us just drop us a line with a cv.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Randall Moffett




Usergroups: None

Location: Sunny Southern California
Reading list: 5 books
Posts: 1,968
PostPosted: Sun 12 Apr, 2015 6:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Some things about the link August put up.

The 1281 document more or less has been shown to be an insertion from the 14th sometime. Last I heard it come up in an article they though late 14th or early 15th. I believe In the Medieval Arms and Armour Companion Edited by D. Nicolle this shows up. It still comes up at times as people think they may have been something else. Very tricky account to use to prove guns were around that early.

Earliest I have ever seen evidence for corned powder is indeed early 15th but it will not be for decades until ot got wider dissemination. As well many older guns could not use it as it was more powerful and could rupture the older guns intended for the powder. You see multiple types of powders at use through most the 15th and into the 16th because of this.

And Hussites and Germany-
Yes there does seem to be a push for handguns but we need to be careful with vague terms. Wanting to arm more men with handguns when you start out with 0 or almost 0 could be 1. For the hussites toward the end the best estimates are around 360 handguns to 6000 men and 36 artillery pieces in the same total. Compared to crossbows which were likely 2-3 times as likely and war clubs (flails) much fewer.

Something to consider is that handguns were mostly used in mass groups of missile men into the 16th century in most European armies. AS I said before the number of guns in storage of the city is different to what the individual had at home. It is far more likely a man will fight with his won gear as he is familiar with it. Town equipment though is important as it is likely going to equip those who are not equipped themselves. Through the 15th into the 16th they are still just one of the 3 big options as missile weapons. That said by mid 16th they more or less win. I think this is largely because something mentioned here on this link. Yes the technology advanced but most people seem to be still armed with earlier handguns, the pipe on a stick type. Just not as good. So as Jean mentions they have super gunners with nice guns that would be state of the art these are not what make up the bulk of troops equipped with firearms but rather the minority.

Mark,

Not per se grape shot but do you have evidence of people shooting anything like that pre16th? I have never seen anything besides single projectiles for the late medieval period. Arrows, dart, balls yes. multiple projectiles at once.... nothing.

Now I wish I could as there are fortifications that have gunports opening into places that single shot would be likely a bigger threat to their own defences but something like grape shot would be idea as it would hit multiple targets and do little damage to other town fortifications but I have looked all over for a decade and come up empty-handed.

ON to the link-

He has some very nice reproductions of handguns. And some rather good points about the idea they were more than just for noise. If handguns did not kill or wound they would have been abandoned over continued improvement over the next hundreds of years.

I am sure his site has useful info but consider his penetrations tests are 2 meters away and only 1-2mm. I suspect arrows would have about the same success rate at that distance. A test at this distance is basically very limited in use. As well a man sized target at 25 strides is also not saying much about accuracy.

'To sum up: The advance of firearms, beginning with the handgonne, changed warfare at the end of the 14th century entirely. Handgonnes were to be taken seriously. From then on, a simple peasant could beat a well-armored knight with the tip of his finger'

And this.... maybe he should spend more time looking at those 'foolish' historians. First off many historians think guns were not just for smoke and fear. AS well he needs to look at more than just what it can do and what it did. Once again sadly need historians. Some have tried to make such statements but apart from artillery handguns just are not seen in the numbers to follow this assertion nor historic accounts. Hand guns could kill and wound no doubt but they had a very long incubation period until one could say they would change warfare entirely.

Kelly DeVries wrote on the battle of Beverhoutsveld in 1382. He very much promotes the place of handguns in it and guns sure played a part but most the chronicles mention a host of other aspects that to me seem just as important if not more so.... like the enemy was basically drunk off their feet. Guns or sticks and stones could have been just as effective if your opponents is so buzzed they do not know where they are or what is going on.... ok maybe not sticks and stones but you get the point.

For the most part handguns are just lumped together with other missile troops throughout the later medieval period. Why because they were largely in smaller numbers until the very end and they shot a projectile.

The big benefit of guns is they were just starting while bows and crossbows well were reaching their peak.

Yikes the 3-20 shot gun in the same barrels sounds like an awful idea. Have to worry about the whole charge going for all the bullets. Scary, scary.


RPM
View user's profile Send private message
Daniel Gorringe




Usergroups: None

Location: United States
Posts: 8
PostPosted: Sun 12 Apr, 2015 9:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There's a not bad OSprey Weapon series book on early handgonnes, if you want a primer.

A couple of pertinent details from that, if memory serves:

Rounds from a gonne have a very high initial velocity, but see it drop off much more quickly than an arrow, crossbow bolt, etc. Thus, you want to use the thing at short (or short-ish?) ranges to punch through harness.

Making gunpowder by early methods is slow, elaborate, and messy. It can certainly be made in quantity, but it needs about a year of drunk guys peeing into a lime pit to get started up.
View user's profile Send private message
Mark Griffin




Usergroups: 
Donating Members

Location: The Welsh Marches, in the hills above Newtown, Powys.
Posts: 522
PostPosted: Mon 13 Apr, 2015 12:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
It can certainly be made in quantity, but it needs about a year of drunk guys peeing into a lime pit to get started up.aside from the


Or if you have a local farmer, go visit and see if any brick or stone build walls that hold animals have the potassium salts growing merrily on its surfaces. Scrape off using the same kind of thing you use for getting show off windcreens. Firm, but not abrasive. Or you get too much rubbish in the salts and the farms gets his outbuilding made thinner...

Currently working on projects ranging from Stonehenge to a WW1 Tank, Magna Carta projects, Waterloo and several ongoing harness projects. Oh and we joust loads! We run over 200 events for English Heritage each year plus many others for Historic Royal Palaces, Historic Scotland, the National Trust and more. If you live in the UK and are interested in working for us just drop us a line with a cv.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
William P




Usergroups: None

Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 1,285
PostPosted: Mon 13 Apr, 2015 3:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

the question i wanna know for comparison is. the effort and complexity, materials and expertise needed to make either a handgonne ammunition and powder

or

a late 14th century-mid 15th century crossbow that your average crossbowman would have... either/ both steel prod and composite prod

and how hard to come by/ easy to do those things are

here is how I understand it but be warned my knowledge is limited in understanding how hard it is to perform certain skills. aquire certain materials

for the handgonne: take iron, hammer into sheet (like you would for the socket of a tool) curl around mandrel to make tube, forge weld the seam, then seal one end and make a touch hole with a spike or something.
difficulty level, moderate, materials and resource complexity, fairly low basic level, the iron just has to be of reasonable quality and the blacksmith decently competant.

alternatively: make mold and cast barrel in bronze (for the early, (gun barrel on the end of a pole types)


ammunition, hammer lead into ball shapes or carve pieces of stone
fairly trivial to do

gunpowder. gather sulphur, make charcoal. and get nitrates from somewhere
difficulty. i dont know, i'd assume alchemist guilds would be in charge of it's production and refinement which would limit it's accesibility and thus perhaps drive up the cost.

match cord: nitrates, and hemp cord. probably not that difficult but may need specialist treatment

crossbow.
steel for prod (take some decnet quality steel, forge it out to a certain shape, then heat treat to a spring temper
which would be doable to anyone who could competantly heat treat a sword blade to be able to bend under stress
wood for tiller
iron wood and horn parts for nut trigger and other firing mechanism pieces.
String: waxed linen/ hemp cord

loading mechanism (cranequin) you'd need iron or steel, someone who can make gears, and a blacksmit to shape the metal parts like the handle
thiswould require more of a specialist level of work from a more skilled craftsman.
goats foot lever and belt and claw are far more simple to make

ammunition, iron, or, (preferably) hardened steel for head, wood for flights and feathers or parchment for flights.

or stones/ lead shot for sone bows


overall, the gunpowder would be the big limiting factor for handgonne usage since the actual ammunition/ gonne tself is fairly straightforward.

crossbows. especially cranequin/ windlass crossbows seem to be something that would be made by a more specialised craftsman (and from what i understand, attiliators were paid 50% more than other professions like bow makers and sword smiths)

however. i get the feeling im quite wrong about a LOT of things. im just offering it up as something to be critiqued because i'd like to get the opinion of someone with more expertise on the matter
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Mark Griffin




Usergroups: 
Donating Members

Location: The Welsh Marches, in the hills above Newtown, Powys.
Posts: 522
PostPosted: Mon 13 Apr, 2015 6:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Generalization.

Its far easier to make a gun, powder and shot than a crossbow, especially a composite prod one. Cant recall which German town but I'm sure i've seen refs to their in house crossbow maker providing then with just 3 or 4 a year. No idea if he's making others at the same time of course. But any smith can make a fiream easily by comparison.

least academic post I've ever made i think.....

Currently working on projects ranging from Stonehenge to a WW1 Tank, Magna Carta projects, Waterloo and several ongoing harness projects. Oh and we joust loads! We run over 200 events for English Heritage each year plus many others for Historic Royal Palaces, Historic Scotland, the National Trust and more. If you live in the UK and are interested in working for us just drop us a line with a cv.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Jean Henri Chandler




Usergroups: 
Donating Members

Location: New Orleans
Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 991
PostPosted: Mon 13 Apr, 2015 7:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Couple of things.

First of all, almost all the things that you mentioned being fabricated require much more expertise than a simple blacksmith. Even something as relatively simple (and cheap, by this period) as a sword was made in a much more complex process with various specialists and subcontractors doing each different task. It was the same for crossbows and firearms. The barrel was particularly tricky and experiments with some excavated gun barrels from the late 14th and early 15th Century have shown that they were made with internal volume ideally suited for the type of gunpowder used at that time. Many were also made of cast bronze, not iron, and those which were made of iron were often made with a complex hoop and stave method.

Even the (seemingly to us, by today's standards) exceedingly crude pipe on a stick type firearms were more sophisticated, and more carefully made by more skilled people, than you might assume.

This is a cast replica of a late 14th or early 15th Century gunbarrel found near Gdansk

http://www.musketeer.ch/Bilder/SP_bild/DanzigerBuchse500.JPG

and a map of the internal volume

http://www.musketeer.ch/Bilder/SP_bild/DanzigerPlan500.jpg

and this is another from the same Baltic region, a hook gun which can be on the borderline between artillery and handgun

http://s600.photobucket.com/user/rocklockI/me...k.jpg.html

Here is an original cast bronze gunbarrel from Nuremberg, made some time before 1399



some early forged iron gunbarrels, I think from Nuremberg



Plan of the interior



There is a detailed article about these particular handguns here, which explains how they performed much better with the earlier types of powder:

http://www.musketeer.ch/blackpowder/handgonne.html

By the second quarter of the 15th Century, firearms tech leaps ahead, and you have some amazing examples of technology, again I believe at least partly inspired from the shooting contests. One amazing example is this breech loading firearm from Nuremberg, I believe mid 15th Century

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/attachment.php?...&stc=1

There are plans for a very similar weapon which were made by an Italian artist and gunsmith named Lorenzo Ghiberti (who died in 1455)



Second, powder was not as simple as you might assume either. It seems straitforward today as after centuries of experimentation we have settled on ideal standard types of powder and production methods. In period it was much more an experimental phase and there were many types of powder ideal for many types of guns.

The hardest thing was the manufacture of the salt of St. Peter which was not as simple as simply scraping some nitre off the walls of a cave. It's hard to make proper potassium nitrate instead of the much less useful but very similar calcium nitrate, which makes gunpowder (and other pryotechnic compounds) which are far more susceptible to moisture.

By the late 14th Century in several regions they were manufacturing salt peter in special industrial complexes designed to make the right chemical compounds. One of the first documented sources for how to do this was the Liber Ignium, an semi- anonymous pyrotechnics manual written by a certain Marcus Graecus, (a pseudonym) which suggests methods for producing 'correct' salt peter and has a variety of different formulae for powder. it shows up in the 3227a manuscript which is also the earliest known fenicng manual in the Liechtenauer tradition. This was only one of many alchemical MSS which had tricks for making better powder or saltpeter in them.

Third, bullets were already being made of lead as early as the 14th Century. This came later for cannon, especially for larger caliber cannon, which were still being used with stone shot as late as the early 16th Century in some cases (though iron and lead shot were being used by at least the mid 15th) but firearms were using lead shot quite early.

There is a little kernel of information about a deployment from the German side during the Hussite wars. This was originally transcribed by Hans Delbruck and appears in English translations of his history of the art of war. it has since been copied widely and reprinted often without attribution, you see it in some of the Osprey books for example. I think it helps illustrate a few points though. It's a small militia force from the town of reagensburg which later merged with a larger force of about 1500 Bavarian troops if I remember correctly. The urban militia force was characteristically small but very well equipped and full of specialists and experts.

"..the muster of a small army from the little town of Regensburg on campaign in 1431. The force consisted of 73 horsemen, 71 crossbowmen, 16 handgunners, and a mixed group of smiths, leatherworkers, a chaplain, pike-makers, tailors, cooks, and butchers, for 248 men in total.

They brought 6 cannon, 300 lbs of cannonballs and 200 lbs of lead shot. Forty one wagons carried powder and lead, 6,000 crossbow bolts, 300 fire-bolts, 19 handguns, "


So 200 lbs of lead shot for the handguns (and maybe to some extent, for the smaller cannon. There is always a great deal of overlap between cannons and hand-guns in this period, because they use a lot of small cannons and a lot of big handguns.

Even this early the German towns had a decent number of gunners, and quite a bit of lead.

I don't have the thing with me but the Osprey book on the Burgundian army quotes exact figures of lead and gunpowder used in several battles IIRC and it's a lot. As in hundreds of pounds of powder per day.

Jean

System D'Armes Historical European fencing in New Orleans

Essays on Hroarr

Introducing the Codex Guide to the Medieval Baltic
View user's profile Send private message
Mark Griffin




Usergroups: 
Donating Members

Location: The Welsh Marches, in the hills above Newtown, Powys.
Posts: 522
PostPosted: Mon 13 Apr, 2015 8:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I gave a ridiculously simplified answer as the question was kind of the same vein albeit with a lot more description.

I'll add that I can make a barrel and have done using period materials and techniques, both cast and wrought (and in hoop and stave and twisted tube) although i was doing it under master craftsman supervision. Any form of hand craft pre the 1850's was a wonderously skilled craft, its why in England they are often known as 'mysteries' with all their arcane knowledge and tricks of the trade although its always worthwhile for a craftsperson to make his job seem harder and more complicated than it was.

I couldn't even dream of starting a composite prod and i know that the steel ones are a swine to get right. When i said smith, i meant gun smith. Although I maintain that if you have basic, good smithing knowledge you can forge a hoop and stave weapon.

Earlier production of all the firearm stuff was undoubtedly a wonderful hit and miss (and duck!) affair but as you say, by the 2nd 1/3rd of the 15th cent its become a far more industrialised process. I've made potasium nitrate here as well, its the cleaning/pureifying that's just as important as the collecting and of course testing its purity too, not much more than making powder and seeing how well it works.

Having fired 17th and 18th cent mortars using 'period' powder and then wandered about places like Rhodes to scale that up and and seen what a massive undertaking late medieval sieges were its an amazing example of what efforts people will go to if they have a beef with someone.

All of these manufacturies need a high degree of skill and cooperation, knowledge of tools and materials, I'm certainly not trying to say any semi skilled enthusiast sitting outside a tent at a reenactment/renfair was doing it.

Currently working on projects ranging from Stonehenge to a WW1 Tank, Magna Carta projects, Waterloo and several ongoing harness projects. Oh and we joust loads! We run over 200 events for English Heritage each year plus many others for Historic Royal Palaces, Historic Scotland, the National Trust and more. If you live in the UK and are interested in working for us just drop us a line with a cv.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Jean Henri Chandler




Usergroups: 
Donating Members

Location: New Orleans
Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 991
PostPosted: Mon 13 Apr, 2015 8:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Also bronze was being used for gun barrels long after the 'early firearm' phase, as a material it had a lot of advantages for firearms (and cannon).

http://p5.storage.canalblog.com/50/84/119589/80901342_o.jpg


Jean

System D'Armes Historical European fencing in New Orleans

Essays on Hroarr

Introducing the Codex Guide to the Medieval Baltic
View user's profile Send private message
Jean Henri Chandler




Usergroups: 
Donating Members

Location: New Orleans
Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 991
PostPosted: Mon 13 Apr, 2015 9:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mark Griffin wrote:
I gave a ridiculously simplified answer as the question was kind of the same vein albeit with a lot more description.

I'll add that I can make a barrel and have done using period materials and techniques, both cast and wrought (and in hoop and stave and twisted tube) although i was doing it under master craftsman supervision. Any form of hand craft pre the 1850's was a wonderously skilled craft, its why in England they are often known as 'mysteries' with all their arcane knowledge and tricks of the trade although its always worthwhile for a craftsperson to make his job seem harder and more complicated than it was.

I couldn't even dream of starting a composite prod and i know that the steel ones are a swine to get right. When i said smith, i meant gun smith. Although I maintain that if you have basic, good smithing knowledge you can forge a hoop and stave weapon.

Earlier production of all the firearm stuff was undoubtedly a wonderful hit and miss (and duck!) affair but as you say, by the 2nd 1/3rd of the 15th cent its become a far more industrialised process. I've made potasium nitrate here as well, its the cleaning/pureifying that's just as important as the collecting and of course testing its purity too, not much more than making powder and seeing how well it works.

Having fired 17th and 18th cent mortars using 'period' powder and then wandered about places like Rhodes to scale that up and and seen what a massive undertaking late medieval sieges were its an amazing example of what efforts people will go to if they have a beef with someone.

All of these manufacturies need a high degree of skill and cooperation, knowledge of tools and materials, I'm certainly not trying to say any semi skilled enthusiast sitting outside a tent at a reenactment/renfair was doing it.


My mistake Mark! Sounds like I could learn a lot from you about all this (and I'm very interested) . I just wanted to emphasize that a lot of this stuff was made in pretty sophisticated complexes, not only by highly skilled artisans, in networks of subcontractors, but also powered by water (or sometimes wind) powered machinery. I think this goes back to the 13th Century, though with guns obviously not really fully organized until the 14th Century.

You obviously understand all this very well but there are persistent legends among people less well acquainted with the reality of this period who always assume that it's the one guy in the village with his shirt off who crudely bangs out every metal weapon or tool in an afternoon.... like in every Hollywood movie made about medieval anything ever. Correcting such misconceptions is like picking nits for me.

I'd love to go to both Rhodes and Malta and see some of the siege battlefields. Both battles in which firearms played really important roles!

Jean

System D'Armes Historical European fencing in New Orleans

Essays on Hroarr

Introducing the Codex Guide to the Medieval Baltic
View user's profile Send private message
Mark Griffin




Usergroups: 
Donating Members

Location: The Welsh Marches, in the hills above Newtown, Powys.
Posts: 522
PostPosted: Mon 13 Apr, 2015 9:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Malta is now a little crowded but Rhodes is still a bit deserted and ...untidy.... To sit in the moat on top of a stone ball that sits where it ended up and not even have your feet touch the ground is amazing.

Yes, the 'village smith' concept is always going to be there. The problem with a lot of artefacts we have left and superb craftsmen that we have today is that they make it look too easy. Then you have a go.....

The work done at places like Guedelon, Coburg, Falster and the many others makes our understanding a bit easier but even so, its an utterly alien world we can only scratch, albeit with some items its a bit deeper than others.

Many thanks for sharing all the links and info, constantly amazed by what people have in their heads and what sources they can bring to bear in such short time.

Griff

Currently working on projects ranging from Stonehenge to a WW1 Tank, Magna Carta projects, Waterloo and several ongoing harness projects. Oh and we joust loads! We run over 200 events for English Heritage each year plus many others for Historic Royal Palaces, Historic Scotland, the National Trust and more. If you live in the UK and are interested in working for us just drop us a line with a cv.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
William P




Usergroups: None

Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 1,285
PostPosted: Tue 14 Apr, 2015 6:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Henri Chandler wrote:
Mark Griffin wrote:
I gave a ridiculously simplified answer as the question was kind of the same vein albeit with a lot more description.

I'll add that I can make a barrel and have done using period materials and techniques, both cast and wrought (and in hoop and stave and twisted tube) although i was doing it under master craftsman supervision. Any form of hand craft pre the 1850's was a wonderously skilled craft, its why in England they are often known as 'mysteries' with all their arcane knowledge and tricks of the trade although its always worthwhile for a craftsperson to make his job seem harder and more complicated than it was.

I couldn't even dream of starting a composite prod and i know that the steel ones are a swine to get right. When i said smith, i meant gun smith. Although I maintain that if you have basic, good smithing knowledge you can forge a hoop and stave weapon.

Earlier production of all the firearm stuff was undoubtedly a wonderful hit and miss (and duck!) affair but as you say, by the 2nd 1/3rd of the 15th cent its become a far more industrialised process. I've made potasium nitrate here as well, its the cleaning/pureifying that's just as important as the collecting and of course testing its purity too, not much more than making powder and seeing how well it works.

Having fired 17th and 18th cent mortars using 'period' powder and then wandered about places like Rhodes to scale that up and and seen what a massive undertaking late medieval sieges were its an amazing example of what efforts people will go to if they have a beef with someone.

All of these manufacturies need a high degree of skill and cooperation, knowledge of tools and materials, I'm certainly not trying to say any semi skilled enthusiast sitting outside a tent at a reenactment/renfair was doing it.


My mistake Mark! Sounds like I could learn a lot from you about all this (and I'm very interested) . I just wanted to emphasize that a lot of this stuff was made in pretty sophisticated complexes, not only by highly skilled artisans, in networks of subcontractors, but also powered by water (or sometimes wind) powered machinery. I think this goes back to the 13th Century, though with guns obviously not really fully organized until the 14th Century.

You obviously understand all this very well but there are persistent legends among people less well acquainted with the reality of this period who always assume that it's the one guy in the village with his shirt off who crudely bangs out every metal weapon or tool in an afternoon.... like in every Hollywood movie made about medieval anything ever. Correcting such misconceptions is like picking nits for me.

I'd love to go to both Rhodes and Malta and see some of the siege battlefields. Both battles in which firearms played really important roles!

Jean


jean, first off. thanks so much to push aside some of the misconceptions I had. i knew there were guild networks. but i wasnt entirely sure how certain groups manufactured certain items (put simply. it's not my normal area of fosuc. since i focus on the 9th-11th centuries in scandinavia and the byzantine empire)

bnow my question is. knowing what youve told me about the variuous networks of manufacture for handgonnes.. hjopw does that compare to crossbows. essentially what im trying to uncover is investigating the idea that the ease of manufacture and overall cheapness per unit of firearms in the late 15th century onwards compared mto crossbows.. is a major fgactor in why they wereable to supplant the crossbow as the primary ranged weapo employed by medieval armies with, of course the exception of england who instead primarily fielded armies of longbowman later supplemented with gunners. rather than crossbowmen

and further, roughly when did crossbows start to be supplanted not completely. i know that crossbows took a while to completely go away
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail


Display posts from previous:   
Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > About Handgonnes and Early Arquebuses
Page 1 of 2 Reply to topic
Go to page 1, 2  Next All times are GMT - 8 Hours

View previous topic :: View next topic
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum






All contents © Copyright 2003-2015 myArmoury.com — All rights reserved
Discussion forums powered by phpBB © The phpBB Group
Switch to the Basic Low-bandwidth Version of the forum