Ammo Slow Motion Video Of Canister In Flight

drezac

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There is a lot of good stuff in this video. Not only the canister, but some good shots of primers, linstock/quill firing, and how the carriages absorb the recoil of the guns.
 

Waterloo50

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One round of canister shot can take out 40 guys, that‘s some scary stuff. I’m going to assume that he was talking about targets at less than 200 yards.

Does anyone know how quickly canister shot could be loaded and fired, it must have been touch and go especially if you have fast moving cavalry, how long does it take fast moving cavalry to cover 500 yards, I’m only asking because according to some sources this canister shot was only really effective at about 200 yards but it wasn’t unusual for shot to be fired up to 500 yards. I’m going to hazard a guess and say that well disciplined gunners would probably wait until the enemy had reached to 200 yard mark but that would more than likely only leave the guns one opportunity to be effective.

. The average percentage of hits falls off as the ranges increase, from 49% firing at point blank at 200 yards to 13.5% firing at one degree of elevation at 500 yards. One interesting fact emerges; the shot had different velocities, At 300 yards, while 265 shot struck the target, only 157 passed through it; at 400 yards, 93 out of 201 passed through, and at 500 yards, only 22 out of 98. On the other hand, at 200 yards, only one shot of 354 failed to penetrate. Unfortunately, the construction of the target was not specified but the records do imply that while the chance of surviving case shot at 100 yards was zero it was theoretical at 200 yards and increasingly possible as ranges extended beyond 300 yards.

Source ‘http://www.militaryheritage.com/caseshot.htm’.
 
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rpkennedy

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As an example of what a canister ball can do:

During the attack of Wright's Brigade on July 2 at Gettysburg, the 3rd Georgia passed through the Codori Farm. Right at the farmhouse, Alexander Langston, the color-bearer of the regiment, was struck by a canister ball, probably fired from Brown's Rhode Island battery about 100 yards to the 3rd Georgia's left front. The ball struck Langston's belt buckle and drove it completely through his body, killing him instantly. In fact, he was killed so quickly that the staff had to be pried from his frozen hands by Captain Charles Andrews and Adjutant Samuel Alexander.

Ryan
 

drezac

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@Waterloo50 , regarding canister, you could speed up the load rate by bringing more than one up front. However, typically you only had 4 or 5 canister (depending on the size of the gun) in the limber chest. Once your target was in canister range, you would not have time for more than a couple of shots. after that you had either stopped the advance or you were limbering up to fall back. There were situations like Gettysburg where massed artillery was holding the line and not retreating, but that is not a typical situation.
 

Alaskazimm

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@Waterloo50 , regarding canister, you could speed up the load rate by bringing more than one up front. However, typically you only had 4 or 5 canister (depending on the size of the gun) in the limber chest. Once your target was in canister range, you would not have time for more than a couple of shots. after that you had either stopped the advance or you were limbering up to fall back. There were situations like Gettysburg where massed artillery was holding the line and not retreating, but that is not a typical situation.

And there were recorded instances of crews loading double canister. To do so they would have to knock off the second powder bag, though sometimes the action would be so frenzied that occasionally they would neglect to knock off the second bag and double charge the gun.
 

drezac

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--Edited-- I just realized the link to the research paper I posted is no longer valid. It was publicly available in the past. I'll see if I still have a copy of the paper that I can make available.
 

Waterloo50

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@Waterloo50 , regarding canister, you could speed up the load rate by bringing more than one up front. However, typically you only had 4 or 5 canister (depending on the size of the gun) in the limber chest. Once your target was in canister range, you would not have time for more than a couple of shots. after that you had either stopped the advance or you were limbering up to fall back. There were situations like Gettysburg where massed artillery was holding the line and not retreating, but that is not a typical situation.
With regards to the gun crews, I imagine timing was everything, the closer the enemy the more effective the canister shot would be, the only problem being that at close range the enemy would almost be on top of the guns leaving very little time for limbering up and falling back. I’d always viewed the men in the artillery as having an easier time of it than the infantry but it must have taken some serious courage to face down a large frontal assault. Ive just finished reading a book called ‘Somme Mud’ okay, its a different war but the gunners were constantly being targeted by enemy guns so I guess it must have been the same for the gunners during the CW. Not an easy job by any stretch of the imagination, if nothing else, this thread is helping me to understand that my previous misconceptions about the role of the gun crews was very wrong.

Just out of curiosity , how long would the average gun crew take to limber up and fall back?
 
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Watching the spread it occurred to me that canister would be more effective against infantry at 200 yards than at very close range.
That is proof that playing Trivia really can improve your knowledge!
We had this interesting question years ago, that asked where you would aim canister best to inflict the most damage on the enemies infantry:
"When a gunner of a cannon aimed canister at enemy troops, did he aim above, directly at, or below the troop formation?"

Read what our knowledgeable co-members answered here:
https://civilwartalk.com/threads/12-aim-8-12-2014.103063/post-931208
 

Belfoured

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That is proof that playing Trivia really can improve your knowledge!
We had this interesting question years ago, that asked where you would aim canister best to inflict the most damage on the enemies infantry:
"When a gunner of a cannon aimed canister at enemy troops, did he aim above, directly at, or below the troop formation?"

Read what our knowledgeable co-members answered here:
https://civilwartalk.com/threads/12-aim-8-12-2014.103063/post-931208
I concur with the consensus in that thread. And, if you watch canister fired at that elevation, you will see "hits" at three or four different ranges ("ricochet" in a sense), starting at well under 200 yards.
 

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