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From: bbxrbk! (Russ Kepler)
Subject: Re: not so stupid question (explosive cannon balls?)
Organization: /usr/lib/news/organi[sz]ation

In article <38gkmt$>, Rod Regier <> wrote:
#In article <>, Ease <> writes:
## this has been bugging me for a long time. everytime I watch a movie about
## the civil war or a movie about buccaneers and pirates I see them load up
## their cannon with a round shot, fire it and when it hits the ground or
## another ship, it explodes.
## here's my question: do they really explode? I thought they were a solid
## ball of iron. how do they explode?
#As usual, it's partly based on reality, and partly Hollyweird.
#If I understand correctly, there were no impact fused cannon
#balls in that era.  However, they did use hollowed out iron balls
#with wick-type fusing and black-powder explosive filling.
#Presumably, the wicks were lighted just before firing,
#and timed to explode shortly after the projectile completed
#its flight.  The result would be a nifty kaboom with
#attendant iron shards at the feet of your enemy.

Actually, the fuse was a spiral groove on one face of the round,
covered with a lead sheet.  A hole was cut in the sheet at the
appropriate spot in the spiral so that the fuse would be ignited at
the time the cannon was fired, and if everything went right the ball
would explove over the heads of those on the receiving end of the shot.

Russ Kepler posting from home

                      Please don't feed the Engineers

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