Artillery - Brief history

The very first artillery ever recorded started around 399 BC with the Romans. This type of artillery was made up from mechanical devices which could throw large objects such as spears, flaming oil, rocks, logs, stone balls, or just about any type of object which can load into the release mechanism.

It was not until around 1100 AD in China where the first recorded application of artillery was made, however these devices were not very powerful as the gunpowder and metals used were inadequate to cause large amounts of damage. It was not until around 1420-1430, where military advancements devised better powder, and metalurgy creating weapons which could destroy stone walls and eliminate the concept of castles as defense.

By the colonial era, artillery was used by nearly every major world power to great effect, as artillery was considered the king of battle. Many battles, before, during and after the American Revolution hinged greatly on which side had larger cannons and more of them. There were reports during the Revolutionary War of commanders not attacking, or decided to wait for reforcements based on gathered information of enemy artillery strenght

By the colonial era, artillery generally fell into three different groups.

Cannons - could be mounted on a field carriage or a garrision carriage

Mortars - were usually fixed to a base at a 45 degree angle and fired exploding shells

Howitzers - were also mounted on a larger field carriage, but could elevate to about 20 degrees to fire exploding shells.

Please explore the interactive media below for additional information on colonial artillery

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