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 Bombs in Unusual Places 
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Post Bombs in Unusual Places
In Rayner's The Long Fight, it mentions, in the action between the San Fiorenzo and the French 50-gun Piemontaise, that as part of her armament the Piemontaise had a bomb slung from her yards ready to drop on any enemy vessesl she could close on. In the case of the San F it wasn't successful, but in the Appendix of the book, it states that the Terpsichore was in action against the French Sémillante when the latter was "able to release one of her bombs, and although it killed the crews of four of the miship guns it neither damaged the guns themselves nor stopped their being fired....."

I found this interesting as I'd never read of those before... as I said in another thread, it's one big learning curve. :)

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Thu Mar 16, 2006 6:30 pm
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I just got to the part in Rayner's book where the bomb is mentioned. Interesting, as you said. I wonder if this was purely a French weapon?

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Thu May 18, 2006 6:27 pm
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I'm not quite sure if the following qualifies as a bomb, but it is unusual. I found it in Marshall's Practical Marine Gunnery by George Marshall.

It's called "Artificial Earthquake." It was made from a mixture of sulphur and iron filings, which was kneaded in plain water until the mixture formed a paste. The paste was then buried in the ground and..."in 8 or 10 hours time burst out into flames and cause the earth to tremble all around to a considerable distance."

I can't think of what they would use this for, except for a delayed unpleasant surprise.

(Don't try this at home!)

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Sat May 20, 2006 7:59 pm
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Post Re: Bombs in Unusual Places
Mil Goose wrote:
In Rayner's The Long Fight, it mentions, in the action between the San Fiorenzo and the French 50-gun Piemontaise, that as part of her armament the Piemontaise had a bomb slung from her yards ready to drop on any enemy vessesl she could close on. In the case of the San F it wasn't successful, but in the Appendix of the book, it states that the Terpsichore was in action against the French Sémillante when the latter was "able to release one of her bombs, and although it killed the crews of four of the miship guns it neither damaged the guns themselves nor stopped their being fired....."

The bombs mentioned here (both battles fought in 1808) seem to have been larger than what was used in the battle between the American "Bonhomme Richard" (40) and HMS "Serapis" (44) off Flamborough Head in 1779.

In that earlier encounter, a Scottish sailor, William Hamilton, aboard the American ship, climbed out on the mainyard and dropped several small bombs onto the deck of the British frigate. One of these small bombs (grenades) fell through an open hatch and detonated below, igniting some gunpowder. The resulting explosion (causing the damaged mainmast to topple, a flash fire that set men ablaze, and dismounting a number of guns) was critical in causing the British captain, Pearson, to surrender the "Serapis" to John Paul Jones.

Even though, in Mary's post above, the impression is given that the bombs were larger since they was slung from the yards (tied aloft), I wonder if those bombs were really that much larger since they functioned as similar antipersonnel devices leaving the guns ready to be fired by a new crew. In Jones' battle, he was extremely fortunate that the bomb dropped upon the "Serapis" chanced to explode near some gunpowder.

Click Here for a brief account of the "Bonhomme Richard" - "Serapis" battle.

Don


Fri Jun 01, 2007 9:16 am
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susan wrote:
I'm not quite sure if the following qualifies as a bomb, but it is unusual. I found it in Marshall's Practical Marine Gunnery by George Marshall.

It's called "Artificial Earthquake." It was made from a mixture of sulphur and iron filings, which was kneaded in plain water until the mixture formed a paste. The paste was then buried in the ground and..."in 8 or 10 hours time burst out into flames and cause the earth to tremble all around to a considerable distance."

I can't think of what they would use this for, except for a delayed unpleasant surprise.

(Don't try this at home!)


I hope I understand you in the right way.
This paste was buried in the ground and blows up after 8-10 hours without ignition?
Thats, erm, a bit uncontrollable (I hope this is the right word for that what I want to say :wink: ) and on board a man of war not useful, I think, didn't it.
Imagine, the gunner mixed up this paste and the enemie's ship didn't come.

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Fri Jun 01, 2007 12:47 pm
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I have heard of this technique of placing explosives off yardarms ready to drop into approaching vessels in boarding attempts. Your good old resource of Boarders Away II by Gilkerson should have a good portion of a chapter on it.


Sun Jun 03, 2007 3:23 am
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