Thread: Small handgonne
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Old 30th June 2021, 03:40 AM   #6
Philip's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: California
Posts: 963

Yes! The same gun I was talking about. Good that you found a much better image than the one in Blackmore's book.

These early guns were not very powerful for a number of reasons. Primarily, during that period, gunpowder had the consistency of flour, it wasn't "corned" or milled in grains. Thus, its burning rate was slower so the explosion was weaker. Also, if tamped too tightly, it created variable pressures in the barrel which led to inconsistent velocity. During transport, or handling in the depot, this early "meal" powder also tended to separate into its constituent ingredients, further limiting its efficiency.

But you are correct, the noise, sulphur smell, and all the smoke and flame created a powerful impression in the minds of people at that time, who had seen nothing like it before and lived in a superstitious age in which the imagery of hell was strong thanks to sermons delivered in church.

It also didn't take much training to teach a soldier to handle these weapons, not nearly so much skill and strength as being an archer. So if you had enough men firing these in a volley as the foe got very close, enough of the enemy could be hit, or else frightened enough to disorient and confuse them (not to mention horses getting panicked and further spoiling the fun). So they weren't entirely useless.
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