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"Ships guns in the time of Drake and the Armada" Topic


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desert war15 Oct 2012 11:18 a.m. PST

I am working on some rules for a game in the Spanish Main at the time of Drake. I need some names of and approximate sizes of ships guns of the period, I know it can be confusing but I just need 3 or 4 sized guns for ships ranging from pinnacs to large galleons and carracks. such as what size guns on a pinnac, caravel, small galleon, large gallon/carrack, and race built galleon?

oh sorry to the napoleon guys for the cross post but I figured someone with a sailing naval interest might know this period as well.

Thanks

MajorB15 Oct 2012 11:28 a.m. PST

but I just need 3 or 4 sized guns

Why not keep it really simple? Small, medium, large and very large.

On a more serious note, you might find some useful information here:
link
and here:
link
and here:
link

138SquadronRAF Supporting Member of TMP15 Oct 2012 12:20 p.m. PST

This book had some great work on gunner:

link

Personal logo Miniatureships Sponsoring Member of TMP15 Oct 2012 12:48 p.m. PST

One thing that you will find for this period is that the Spanish and the English had two different fighting styles and two different types of ship guns. The Spanish guns were big and hard to load and not really intended for naval warfare as we think of it.

Drake on the other hand had developed the naval carriage as we think of it with the four small wheels. Thus allowing for recoil and reloading.

Another thing to think about is crew quality. The English ships were filled with men who went to sea to make money as privateers. The Spanish used their ships for landing purposes, and were therefore filled with soldiers.

One last thing, the Spanish ships can sustain a lot of damage. Some of the Ships that made it back to Spain counted nearly nearly 200 holes in the hulls made by cannon fire.

GildasFacit Sponsoring Member of TMP15 Oct 2012 1:51 p.m. PST

Archaeology shows that some of the Spanish ships were using truck carriages like the English and certainly their guns were not all as different to the English as some historians lead us to believe.

It is true that the tactical concepts were very different and the need to re-load quickly and under fire was not a part of how the Spanish expected to fight. They seem to have learned quickly though as many English ships came under fire too hot for them.

There are basically 3 'styles' of gun at this time (OK, a simplistic generalisation but reasonable in context).

Cannon are short and fire a heavy shot at short-medium ranges. Demi-cannon are the commonest type (24pr) though Full (48pr), Bastard (30-36pr) & Quarter (12pr) are known . Only large ships had these and generally only a few low down on the 'gun' deck.

Culverins are long and fire light-medium shot at medium-long ranges. Full culverins (18pr) & demi-culverins (9pr) are fairly common as are Sakers (5-6pr) on upper decks and smaller vessels. Smaller guns of similar style go from 4pr down to 0.5pr and go by a variety of names such as Robinette & Salamander.

Perriers are guns that fire stone shot – usually short ranged and with short barrels. (Although a bit outdated by this time they would make a come-back as carronades later.) These were mostly on Spanish ships and seem intended as man-killers rather than ship-killers. Sizes could be anything from a pound or two up to 20lb or so.

MajorB15 Oct 2012 2:19 p.m. PST

Archaeology shows that some of the Spanish ships were using truck carriages like the English and certainly their guns were not all as different to the English as some historians lead us to believe.

Do you have a reference or link for that?

GildasFacit Sponsoring Member of TMP16 Oct 2012 3:35 a.m. PST

I knew someone would ask but I can't find it at the moment. If I remember correctly it first came up at a lecture I went to some years ago by an academic reviewing some of the latest photos coming in from amateur dives on the armada wrecks. I'm sure I've seen it in print later though.

Sliding trucks (without wheels) were used for sure and the issue is whether some had wheels or not. At this distance in time I'm not sure how he came to the conclusion that some did but I suspect it was the presence of axles.

I also seem to recall some evidence in the Spanish armada papers of references to carriages built for Portuguese vessels that could be trucks.

Sorry, I'm always lousy at remembering where I got stuff from.

MajorB16 Oct 2012 8:43 a.m. PST

Sorry, I'm always lousy at remembering where I got stuff from.

OK, no problem. Thanks for the additional info re sliding trucks etc.

TJRAYMOND27 Nov 2012 5:41 p.m. PST

Armada set of rules at runtus.org

cplcampisi30 Nov 2012 7:43 p.m. PST

Drake on the other hand had developed the naval carriage as we think of it with the four small wheels. Thus allowing for recoil and reloading

Guilmartin (in Galleys and Galleons) points out that just because the gun carriage "theoretically" allowed for recoil to aid in reloading, doesn't mean that was the practice at the time. Instead, he states that standard practice among English warships was to fire the guns on one side, turn around, fire the guns on the other side, then pull away to reload (the bowchasers and stern guns were also fired, I just don't remember the particular order). Only on the heaviest guns, there is perhaps some evidence that recoil may have been used to run the guns in for loading. Guilmartin believes that the reason the English favored the four wheel truck carriage was because it was more handy, and allowed more traverse.

The Spanish did seem to favor boarding tactics -- in my opinion boarding was more decisive at the time (the English had some trouble sinking Spanish ships even after they had scattered them). It should also be kept in mind that Spanish ships were mostly civilian ships, with basic defensive armament, some of it quite old. The standard depiction of a current spanish naval carriage, is a two-wheeled affair, looking like a land carriage but shorter, with smaller wheels.

At home I have the Osprey book about the Spanish Galleon, and it lists types of cannons and common sizes used -- I'll try to remember to check it up. If not it's not a bad book to get.

cplcampisi01 Dec 2012 2:40 a.m. PST

From Spanish Galleon 1530-1690

Average Gun Sizes, 1570-1640

Canon 24 lbs
Culebrina 16 lbs
Medio culebrina 11 lbs
Sacre 7 lbs
Medio Sacre 3.5 lbs

Musketier Supporting Member of TMP04 Dec 2012 5:59 a.m. PST

This BBC programme had some interesting insights as to what made British guns special:
link

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