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JohnPJones

Puckle Gun

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Just was thinking how this gun could have changed the world and warfare.

in the rain it managed 9rds per minute as a light artillery piece for boarding operations.

could it have led to something like a Puckle 8pounder? How would a 4cyclinder 8pounder changed naval combat? 


an entire battery could be carried in a single wagon. The battery could be 3-5 guns and ammunition train.

3 men per gun-gunner, cylinderman, and runner, and loaders with the ammunition train.

gunner aims and operates the crank and installed cylinder.

cylinderman pulls old cylinder off and replaces it.

runner carries empty cylinders to the ammunition train where loaders will have preloaded cylinders, and carry fresh cylinders back to the gun.

loaders will load empty cylinders with powder and shot to be picked up by runners.

its hard to say how fast set up/take down would take a well trained crew but 3-4 minutes seems reasonable. 

Could such a heavy weight of shot with sustained RoF have ended the traditional fighting formations of the time and led to more mobile maneuver based black powder warfare?

Edited by JohnPJones

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yes, not a very good answer over all.

after all i only advocated a few minutes of fire, and also advocated some more work be put into it, and it could always be swabbed out every 2 cylinders...as for jamming since it was all completely hand operated, unscrew crank, turn the cylinder, rescrew crank, fire, repeat.

 

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16 minutes ago, JohnPJones said:

yes, not a very good answer over all.

after all i only advocated a few minutes of fire, and also advocated some more work be put into it, and it could always be swabbed out every 2 cylinders...as for jamming since it was all completely hand operated, unscrew crank, turn the cylinder, rescrew crank, fire, repeat.

 

If you ever used the puckle gun in Empire Total War, you'd realize how ineffective they were.  They had the accuracy of a musket, and only a modest rate of fire of 9 rounds per minute (if it operated properly).  Against line infantryman, the puckle crew would be bayoneted within the minute, or struck down by counter fire fairly quickly.  And a puckle gun/crew would maneuver slower then line infantry, so this was not a weapon that would change warfare.  Not to mention that the puckle gun would have to be crewed by educated men to repair and maintain it, as the standard soldier exposed to 1720's education standards would not understand the weapon.  A cannon firing grapeshot is capable of far more devastation within musket range anyway.  And what made the musket the primary weapon of the age was that any idiot could be taught how to use it in as little as 2 weeks.

Edited by Sventex

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2 minutes ago, Sventex said:

If you ever used the puckle gun in Empire Total War, you'd realize how ineffective they were.  They had the accuracy of a musket, and only a modest rate of fire of 9 rounds per minute (if it operated properly).  Against line infantryman, the puckle crew would be bayoneted within the minute, or struck down by counter fire fairly quickly.  And a puckle gun/crew would maneuver slower then line infantry, so this was not a weapon that would change warfare.  Not to mention that the puckle gun would have to be crewed by educated men to repair and maintain it, as the standard soldier exposed to 1720's education standards would not understand the weapon.  A cannon firing grapeshot is capable of far more devastation within musket range anyway.

wow, a video game is your reference...
you'd have to be educated pretty well to accurately fire a cannon, howitzer, or mortar accurately...

again, it could be kept back with the larger guns, or it could be used as i said, or even mounted in the rear of a wagon as 18th century tachanka, with several cylinders onboard. roll into position, fire a bunch of rounds, roll out.

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11 minutes ago, JohnPJones said:

wow, a video game is your reference...
you'd have to be educated pretty well to accurately fire a cannon, howitzer, or mortar accurately...

again, it could be kept back with the larger guns, or it could be used as i said, or even mounted in the rear of a wagon as 18th century tachanka, with several cylinders onboard. roll into position, fire a bunch of rounds, roll out.

Unless you have real references to back up your scenarios, video games are the best way to simulate their effectiveness.

 

If it is kept back with the larger guns, it's only going to be able to open up at musket range.  By then, it'll be the cannons firing grapeshot into the formations that will keep the artillery crews alive.  Maybe the puckle gun would be more effective a shooting at cavalry that's having a go at the guns, but that's it.  Unless it's on the front line, the puckle gun wont be firing much,  and if it is on the front line, the operation of the gun is going to be compromised by musket volley fire killing the crew.

Edited by Sventex

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1 minute ago, Sventex said:

Unless you have real references to back up your scenarios, video games are the best way to simulate their effectiveness.

If it is kept back with the larger guns, it's only going to be able to open up at musket range.  By then, it'll be the cannons firing grapeshot into the formations that will keep the artillery crews alive.  Maybe the puckle gun would be more effective a shooting at cavalry that's having a go at the guns, but that's it.  Unless it's on the front line, the puckle gun wont be firing much,  and if it is on the front line, the operation of the gun is going to be compromised by musket volley fire killing the crew.

if you read my original post you'd see i advocated a form of mobile warfare, i don't think your game allows you to play in any way other than standard traditional manners...which you're correct lining up in tight formations of infantry and blasting back and forth at each other the gun wouldn't have changed much.

at the same time the rifled flintlock when used by colonial sharpshooters managed great things by taking out officers, however if you put them in the line with infantry they'd have had little real effect. so yes i am presuming someone would have the imagination and mindset to try something new and different during that time. (not likely in the british army i know.)

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10 minutes ago, JohnPJones said:

if you read my original post you'd see i advocated a form of mobile warfare, i don't think your game allows you to play in any way other than standard traditional manners...which you're correct lining up in tight formations of infantry and blasting back and forth at each other the gun wouldn't have changed much.

at the same time the rifled flintlock when used by colonial sharpshooters managed great things by taking out officers, however if you put them in the line with infantry they'd have had little real effect. so yes i am presuming someone would have the imagination and mindset to try something new and different during that time. (not likely in the british army i know.)

The Grasshopper cannon didn't change warfare as we knew it, and it would have done something similar as your suggesting, but without the hassle of an expensive, complex machine.  And hooking up a cannon to the wagon train and getting the crew back on their horses is not a quick maneuver.  Line infantry in a bayonet charge moves quite fast.

Edited by Sventex

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As I posted elsewhere there are too many technical problems with trying to make a multi-shot gun in the 1700's.  (Reply attached to the thread in my first reply for those wanting to see it.)

The grasshoppers and butterflies of the 1700's (aka Patterson and Townsend 3 pdrs) are better light guns than the Puckel would ever be.  They could throw a reliably accurate for the period shot to about 500 to 800 yards and were big enough to be effective canister / grape weapons to 150 yards.  A musket was good to 30 and might hit something at 50 yards.  That means these light cannon could fire canister to about 3 to 5 times the range muskets could respond with reasonable accuracy.

The Puckel was simply a multishot musket.  Better to just hand 5 men muskets with bayonets than have several men manning a Puckel that could fire no further and had no melee value.

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On ‎12‎/‎21‎/‎2017 at 8:59 PM, JohnPJones said:

wow, a video game is your reference...
you'd have to be educated pretty well to accurately fire a cannon, howitzer, or mortar accurately...

again, it could be kept back with the larger guns, or it could be used as i said, or even mounted in the rear of a wagon as 18th century tachanka, with several cylinders onboard. roll into position, fire a bunch of rounds, roll out.

correct, accurately firing a cannon, howitzer, or mortar accurately requires an education at least in the principals of gunnery.  This is why these weapons were never used accurately.  Even up to Waterloo and the end of the Napoleonic era the usual way to fire a cannon would be grazing fire over basically level ground to make the cannonball bounce along until it ran into a formation of men.  fired this way they could actually be effective to much farther ranges than if they were actually trying to aim the damn things.  The second most common way to fire a cannon was to drag it into canister range and use it like a shotgun.  This was much more effective than any puckle gun could hope to be and likely why puckle guns never replaced ordinary cannons.

As to the idea of sticking them on wagons, the Ottomans actually did this with swivel guns.  They had a gun wagon corps but it was actually meant for fighting steppe nomads where they wanted the strategic mobility of horses and wagons rather than heavier towed artillery.  In the battlefields of Europe there was little reason to make this trade since the majority of armies were composed of slow marching infantry anyway.  There is actually a really good book on the subject "Firearms a history to 1700" that talks about precisely this, though it is more about the Chinese vs the Mongols.  The Chinese actually had multi-shot guns and breach loaders as far back as the twelfth century.

On ‎12‎/‎21‎/‎2017 at 9:28 PM, Murotsu said:

As I posted elsewhere there are too many technical problems with trying to make a multi-shot gun in the 1700's.  (Reply attached to the thread in my first reply for those wanting to see it.)

The grasshoppers and butterflies of the 1700's (aka Patterson and Townsend 3 pdrs) are better light guns than the Puckel would ever be.  They could throw a reliably accurate for the period shot to about 500 to 800 yards and were big enough to be effective canister / grape weapons to 150 yards.  A musket was good to 30 and might hit something at 50 yards.  That means these light cannon could fire canister to about 3 to 5 times the range muskets could respond with reasonable accuracy.

The Puckel was simply a multishot musket.  Better to just hand 5 men muskets with bayonets than have several men manning a Puckel that could fire no further and had no melee value.

Muskets were actually plenty effective to 100m,  it was the soldiers firing them that were ineffective.  Ardant du Picq talks about this in his book "battle studies" where parade ground testing found that ninety something percent of a volley would hit an area target representing a massed body of soldiers at 100m yet in actual combat the hit ratio was something like 2% and that was rounded up.  It is a problem that has vexed generals ever since firearms came onto the battle field to this present day, soldiers just don't shoot as accurately in the field as they do on the range.

Edited by Danyir_Amore

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5 hours ago, Danyir_Amore said:

Muskets were actually plenty effective to 100m,  it was the soldiers firing them that were ineffective.  Ardant du Picq talks about this in his book "battle studies" where parade ground testing found that ninety something percent of a volley would hit an area target representing a massed body of soldiers at 100m yet in actual combat the hit ratio was something like 2% and that was rounded up.  It is a problem that has vexed generals ever since firearms came onto the battle field to this present day, soldiers just don't shoot as accurately in the field as they do on the range.

A musket of this period was essentially an un-choked 10 gage shotgun firing a slug.  The ball will carry to 100 meters + but it doesn't have the accuracy to hit a man sized target at that range with anything approaching consistency.  Firing at a piece of cloth approximating the frontage of a unit doesn't show the number of actual hits on men that would occur.

The other problem is that at 100 meters, given that powder loads were often done with a measure or horn rather than pre-loaded paper cartridges, not to mention the potential sloppy pour,  in combat you are going to get more inconsistent loads resulting in variable velocity of the round.  If the rounds are fired unpatched and the troops are simply thumping their musket on the ground to tamp the load, you again get a drop in accuracy and velocity.

So, there are any number of variables here that will result in a much lower accuracy rate and why it is generally considered that the smoothbore musket was good to about 30 meters in accurate, effective, fire.

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On 12/21/2017 at 9:28 AM, JohnPJones said:

Just was thinking how this gun could have changed the world and warfare.

in the rain it managed 9rds per minute as a light artillery piece for boarding operations.

could it have led to something like a Puckle 8pounder? How would a 4cyclinder 8pounder changed naval combat? 


an entire battery could be carried in a single wagon. The battery could be 3-5 guns and ammunition train.

3 men per gun-gunner, cylinderman, and runner, and loaders with the ammunition train.

gunner aims and operates the crank and installed cylinder.

cylinderman pulls old cylinder off and replaces it.

runner carries empty cylinders to the ammunition train where loaders will have preloaded cylinders, and carry fresh cylinders back to the gun.

loaders will load empty cylinders with powder and shot to be picked up by runners.

its hard to say how fast set up/take down would take a well trained crew but 3-4 minutes seems reasonable. 

Could such a heavy weight of shot with sustained RoF have ended the traditional fighting formations of the time and led to more mobile maneuver based black powder warfare?

For a swivel gun in ship boarding actions it did have a niche. That is what it was designed and sold as too.  While it may have fired faster , if it functioned right, having a cylinder it would have lost power and there fore range because of the gap between cylinder and barrel (head-space)causing a serious pressure leakage and a flash issue for the operator . This was a general problem with all breech loader cannons, till the advent of the screw lock for bag charges/sliding breech for metal cartridges.. This "head-space"would have restricted the cannon being enlarged to a heavier size and also made it and would have continued to restrict it to shorter range with smaller weight of shot than a comparable smooth bore.  Also because of the added complexity/moving parts , it surely was less reliable than a solid bore muzzle loader.

Edited by Strachwitz666

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4 hours ago, JohnPJones said:

Interesting I never heard of the ottoman gun wagons 

The Ottomans also experimented with Volley Cannons, but as a dedicated piece of artillery.  But to be honest, multiple barrels weapons only really starting success with the Gatling Gun.  That at least had a high rate of fire, small pause for reloading, and had superior range of a rifle via it's rate of fire.  Although I suppose the Grenzers of Austria had heavy double barreled muskets, but they eventually dumped them for rifles.

800px-Early_16th_century_Ottoman_volley_

Edited by Sventex

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It really wasn’t that complex.

yes more complex than the typical swivel gun, but the process was no more complex than firing and reloading one of the main guns, and had fewer moving parts when you account for tackle necessary to handle those guns.

it was all manually done by hand still and nothing moved on it’s own

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2 minutes ago, Sventex said:

The Ottomans also experimented with Volley Cannons, but as a dedicated piece of artillery.  But to be honest, multiple barrels weapons only really starting success with the Gatling Gun.  That at least had a high rate of fire, small pause for reloading, and had superior range of a rifle via it's rate of fire.

800px-Early_16th_century_Ottoman_volley_

Well I guess a new question is was there ever a time the Puckle gun could have been viable without being outdated?

for example approximately 100yrs later with percussion cap technology

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10 minutes ago, JohnPJones said:

It really wasn’t that complex.

yes more complex than the typical swivel gun, but the process was no more complex than firing and reloading one of the main guns, and had fewer moving parts when you account for tackle necessary to handle those guns.

it was all manually done by hand still and nothing moved on it’s own

Well if you get to block and tackle , you are no longer talking 'swivel guns of that era.  And at those sizes a breech loader such as the puckle gun would have lost too much power through pressure leakage and danger to the operators to be viable. that is why Muzzle loading cannons stuck around so long.

Edited by Strachwitz666

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10 minutes ago, JohnPJones said:

Well I guess a new question is was there ever a time the Puckle gun could have been viable without being outdated?

for example approximately 100yrs later with percussion cap technology

The biggest problem with the Puckle Gun is that it's ultimately a super-heavy musket, and a musket on it's own is not terribly effective.  Any cannon firing canister shot is tough to beat in firepower because it's effective throwing dozens of musket balls all at once.

MHS_canister_shot.jpg

 

  The Gatling Gun with it's rifled barrels wouldn't have been viable if not for it's tremendous rate of fire as that gun was competing with the long range Shrapnel shot from the Civil War.  Maybe if the Puckle Gun was rifled, maybe it could find some use.  The problem of rifles of the Napoleonic War and the Revolutionary War was that they were very slow to reload.

Edited by Sventex

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19 minutes ago, Sventex said:

The biggest problem with the Puckle Gun is that it's ultimately a super-heavy musket, and a musket on it's own is not terribly effective.  Any cannon firing canister shot is tough to beat in firepower because it's effective throwing dozens of musket balls all at once.

MHS_canister_shot.jpg

 

  The Gatling Gun with it's rifled barrels wouldn't have been viable if not for it's tremendous rate of fire as that gun was competing with the long range Shrapnel shot from the Civil War.  Maybe if the Puckle Gun was rifled, maybe it could find some use.

Rifling technology was well established by then seems like it would have made sense

 

not to mention a better mechanism for advancing the cyclinder after each shot probably could have been feasible, though even as such it would have been obsolete within 50yrs by the Gatling gun.

Edited by JohnPJones

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On ‎22‎/‎12‎/‎2017 at 2:54 AM, Sventex said:

If you ever used the puckle gun in Empire Total War, you'd realize how ineffective they were.

Damn hilarious though if you stacked up a bunch.

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6 minutes ago, Strachwitz666 said:

Well if you get to block and tackle , you are no longer talking 'swivel guns of that era.  And at those sizes a breech loader such as the puckle gun would have lost too much power through pressure leakage and danger to the operators to be viable. that is why Muzzle loading cannons stuck around so long.

I literally stated the transition between the two...

the point being that the complexity of the process to fire and load the larger guns was not a hindrance, so the minimal complexity of the Puckle gun shouldn’t have been much of an issue especially considering the rate of fire.

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5 hours ago, Murotsu said:

A musket of this period was essentially an un-choked 10 gage shotgun firing a slug.  The ball will carry to 100 meters + but it doesn't have the accuracy to hit a man sized target at that range with anything approaching consistency.  Firing at a piece of cloth approximating the frontage of a unit doesn't show the number of actual hits on men that would occur.

The other problem is that at 100 meters, given that powder loads were often done with a measure or horn rather than pre-loaded paper cartridges, not to mention the potential sloppy pour,  in combat you are going to get more inconsistent loads resulting in variable velocity of the round.  If the rounds are fired unpatched and the troops are simply thumping their musket on the ground to tamp the load, you again get a drop in accuracy and velocity.

So, there are any number of variables here that will result in a much lower accuracy rate and why it is generally considered that the smoothbore musket was good to about 30 meters in accurate, effective, fire.

5 hours ago, JohnPJones said:

Rifling technology was well established by then seems like it would have made sense

 

not to mention a better mechanism for advancing the cyclinder after each shot probably could have been feasible, though even as such it would have been obsolete within 50yrs by the Gatling gun.

This is just some dude plinking at the range hitting a silhouette at 80yds from a standing position.  The muskets were plenty capable of the accuracy and deadly effect required of them for shooting at an area target at 100m.  Re-enactors have also found that using the tap method yields a perfectly adequate result on the range.  Yes there are inconsistencies that reduce the effectiveness in combat but this should not be mistaken as a problem with the weapon it is a problem with the user.  This is why soldiers in combat to this day are still very inaccurate with their 1/4" MOA rifles.  

 

As to the rifling, rifling on its own really isn't that big of a deal.  Rifling has been around since the 17th century, muzzle-loaders really don't benefit that much from it because of windage.  Even the minie ball did not make muzzle-loaders anywhere near what we would call accurate today.  It was not until breach loaders were produced and bullets could be made larger than the bores that firearms could make full use of rifling.  This technology also required the metallurgical and machining advances of the industrial revolution in order to make a weapon capable of withstanding the much higher pressures of such a weapon.  That is why it took so long for the modern breach loading rifle to develop even though breach loaders existed in the twelfth century and rifling in the 17th.

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19 hours ago, JohnPJones said:

Well I guess a new question is was there ever a time the Puckle gun could have been viable without being outdated?

for example approximately 100yrs later with percussion cap technology

Another "130" years after that 100 years(1945-1955) The German MG213 , the US M39, and the Aden,  strangely enough all about the same bore caliber 30 mm as opposed to about 32mm.  But I'd say the concept was exceeded with the Gatlin gun particular when Gatlin made that electrically powered about 1900 IIRC. Though I suppose a single barrel revolving cannon is usually lighter than multi-barreled rotary cannon but i don't know how the breeches are designed or weigh out for either,The Gatlins don't have breech block per se' IIRC, not sure about the MG213/Aden types. 

Edited by Strachwitz666

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Two later multi-barrel weapons that were effective  were the Nordenfelt volley gun and the Gardner machinegun.  Both used complex mechanical systems and were hand cranked but could fire a considerable volume of rounds a minute.  The Nordenfelt was used primarily as an anti-boat gun with a bore of from 1" to 1.5".  Smaller .45 to .75 caliber Nordenfelts were used as volley guns in the field rather than on ships.  The larger guns typically had 4 barrels while the smaller anything up to 10.

The Gardner machinegun was hand cranked and usually had two barrels that alternated fire.  Hand cranked, it could put out as much as 600 rounds a minute if the crew could keep it loaded and wasn't worn out cranking it.

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