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Midshipman
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Tell you what, I will do you all one better, I will get you a picture from the tape and put it online (my computer has a whole DVD writer system, and I can get pictures from VHS with it). Hopefully I will have it up tommorow.


Tue Jul 18, 2006 2:49 pm
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Well, here it is, hopefully this helps:

Image

Image


Tue Jul 18, 2006 3:29 pm
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Brit.Privateer wrote:
Well, here it is, hopefully this helps

Thanks very much. The chains are a little longer than I remember but the impression that the sphere (carcass) is outside a small diameter cannon (swival gun perhaps) seems to me to be indicated by the photos. I see no vents or openings in the carcass unless they are all on the hidden side (unlikely) so I still feel that the carcass has to be manually ignited just prior to firing the cannon.

Nice work!

Don


Tue Jul 18, 2006 5:10 pm
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susan wrote:
Here are the fire ball things

I just got a copy of the book that Susan mentioned: "Man-of-War" by Macintyre & Bathe.

On page 42 is this: "The carcass was an iron framework, something like the ribs of a human
carcass, filled with combustible materials and of a shape and size suitable for firing from a
mortar, gun, or carronade."

That certainly explains the strange name for such a projectile!

I found an image of a carcass (Click Here) that corresponds with Susan's battle scene
just above.
I’m making a guess that the item that each carcass is resting on is a brazier of some
type used to ignite the combustible materials inside the carcass. Any other ideas?

Note: Both the carcass & ship images are originally from a manuscript: Rudolf van Deventer:
"Bericht von Pulver und Feuerwerken" c. 1585

Don


Fri Jul 28, 2006 11:00 pm
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I finally found some information about carcasses at the Battle of Copenhagen (1801) in
"The Great Gamble: Nelson at Copenhagen" by Dudley Pope.

On page 392 of the 1972 US edition, it states:

"… the Glatton soon began firing carcasses at the Dannebroge. These were hollow
iron shells fill with turpentine, saltpetre, sulphur, and antimony, producing a fire which, in a
wooden ship, was difficult if not impossible to put out. (They were rarely employed because,
without extreme care, they were more dangerous to the user than the intended victim.)
The few carcasses the Glatton fired were well aimed: the range was two hundred yards, and
soon the
Dannebroge caught fire."

These "few carcasses" were certainly fired from a carronade rather than regular cannon
since the Glatton (56) was one of the all-carronade experiments by the Admiralty. She
mounted twenty-eight 68-pounders and twenty-eight 48-pounders.

Don


Thu Aug 03, 2006 12:27 am
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I found some info on "Fire Darts" in "Boarders Away II" by William Gilkerson. Surprisingly, It looks amazingly like the pictures above! It wasn't made up afterall. Just go to pages 27-30 and they talk about it!
Luckily I am doing research on weaponry for my Age of Sail and Piracy '101' project or I would have never stumbled on this!


Thu Aug 10, 2006 8:25 pm
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timoneer wrote:
These "few carcasses" were certainly fired from a carronade rather than regular cannon
since the Glatton (56) was one of the all-carronade experiments by the Admiralty.

After reviewing the info in "Boarders Away II" (Gilkerson) posted by Brit.Privateer, I feel
it necessary to make a cautionary note to my conclusion of carcasses being fired by
carronades. It is entirely possible that a swivel gun fired the carcasses. (Assuming that a
swivel gun could fire 200 yards.) I guess that more information about the exact ammunition
used by the RN of the era is needed to make a correct determination. Was the "carcass"
used by the Glatton sized for a large bore carronade or a smaller bore swivel gun?

Don


Last edited by timoneer on Fri Aug 11, 2006 12:29 am, edited 4 times in total.



Thu Aug 10, 2006 11:25 pm
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susan wrote:
In Marshall's Practical Marine Gunnery by George Marshall (published in 1822), there is a
recipe for the "Composition for Fire Hoops, Fire Arrows and Lances...

After Brit.Privateer's post about fire darts in "Boarders Away II" (Gilkerson), I chanced to
look at pages 24-25 and noticed something called "fire wreaths" which might well be similar
to "fire hoops" posted by Susan above. Imagine a Christmas door wreath made of
combustible materials and tossed like a Frisbee onto an enemy ship.

In addition there is referenced (from Falconer's 1769 Dictionary) something called a
"powder-chest" which appears to be similar to a "satchel charge" of today. Filled with
gunpowder and nails (or other small metallic bits), it was tossed into an enemy ship as an
antipersonnel device. I did not see any reference to a "fire lance," but if someone would
toss an explosive "powder chest" or a "fire wreath," could a flaming lance or pike be far
behind?

Don


Thu Aug 10, 2006 11:50 pm
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From the Sea-Man's Grammar and Dictionary (1691) by John Smith, instructions how to make fire arrows or darts:

"Provide a long Staff, and joyn unto it an Iron head, and about the middle of that head of Iron, having first made a Bag of strong Canvas, in form of an Egg, leaving open at the end a hole to fill the Bag with the Composition following,

"Take one Pound of Salt-peter have a Pound of Gun-powder, and as much Brimstone in Powder, mix all these together with Oyl of Petriol; with this Composition fill the Bag, round about the Arrow-head, and bind all about with nealed Wyre.

"For the Priming of these Darts or Arrows, Dip Cotton Week into Gun powder wet with water, and let the Cotton be well dried before you use it.

"For the joyning of the Staff to the Arrow-head, let it be done very slightly, that the Arrow-head being fastened into any thing, those may be deceived that intend to pull out the Head, for they will pull out the Staff only."

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Tue Oct 30, 2007 4:29 pm
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