Trivia #12 Aim (8/12/2014)

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Trivia Master

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Tonight's Civil War Trivia Question Value: 10 points.
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This question will be open until Thursday at about 9:30am EDT
New Questions are Posted Every Night at 9:30pm EDT
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Please do not post your answers anywhere but in this forum! This includes you FACEBOOK users!
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When a gunner of a cannon aimed canister at enemy troops, did he aim above, directly at, or below the troop formation?
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Post your answers BELOW. Good Luck!
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If you have a Civil War book, or perhaps some other interesting Civil War product you'd like to promote by giving it away as a trivia prize, contact the Webmaster, Mike Kendra
 
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Civil War gunners generally aimed canister below the troop formation at the ground directly in front.


"During the Civil War, some artillery commanders used a technique in which cannons were aimed at the ground in front of advancing enemy troops. The exploded canisters struck the ground, and balls ricocheted off the ground, expanding the target area. Union artillery effectively used this technique at the Battle of Gettysburg against the Confederate troops who were attempting to take Seminary Ridge."

http://weaponsandwarfare.com/?p=34946
 

adisciu9

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Directly at. "Canister shot was fired into a group of soldiers." Technology and the Civil War. page 46.
There are reports of also shooting in front of a formation to create a ricochet effect on the oncoming troops.
 
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DickWilliams

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Wikipedia, in its description of canister rounds, says that they were fired slightly below advancing troops to flatten out the spread of the projectiles and cites the effectiveness of this technique at Gettysburg.
 

BrrrBRRRR

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Experienced gunners aimed at the ground to make the canister shot more lethal, according to what I have been reading to answer this question. So, I guess that means they aimed below the troop formation.
 

AUG

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Kind of a vague question, I would think it depends on the range. If at close range (within 150 meters) directly at or sometimes below to scatter the shot. At farther ranges probably above to compensate for trajectory.

Edit - The question asked you to choose between three alternatives. Essentially, you've chosen all three.

The Trivia Master re-enacts artillery, so I have to go with his answer on this one. He says the correct answer is below.

Hoosier
 
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Below, at the ground in front of the advancing attackers.

“By firing at the ground in front of the advancing infantry, the balls would ricochet of the ground and create a wider killing zone, because the conical formation of the canister balls would become flattened. “
From:
https://hmscivilwarproject.wikispaces.com/Canister+shot

“Attackers could increase the range of the canister by firing into hard or rocky ground, from which the slugs would ricochet into the mass of men. Union Gen. Alpheus Williams described the effect: "The Rebels followed with a yell but three or four of our batteries being in position they were received with a tornado of canister. Each canister contains several hundred balls. They fell in the very front of the line... stirring up a dust like a thick cloud. When the dust blew away no regiment and not a living man was to be seen."

From:
http://civilwar.bluegrass.net/ArtilleryAndArms/canister.html
 

godofredus

Sergeant Major
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Cannister was usually used at short range. So, the answer is, directly. The famous cry of the 1st New York at Pickett's Charge "double canister at ten yards."
 
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