Reply To: Question About Gun on HMS Victory
1. Is this a 12-pounder? Or larger? Perhaps a 24-pounder long gun?
The second deck had 24-pound guns
2. The fire bucket above the gun — would it have been filled with sand? Was it basically a fire extinguisher?
Everything I can find says it would be filled with water used to extinguish small fires started by fragments expelled from the gun during its recoil.
3. The bucket and tray that we see on the deck — what was their function?
The bucket contained water to keep the sponge wet – after the barrel is wormed to remove debris, the sponge is inserted to extinguish any flames in the barrel that could set off the next charge when it is rammed home.
I’m not sure about the tray. My first thought was round shot ready to be loaded but it seems small for that purpose.
4. Is the function of the ropes/lines to keep the gun from kicking back too far when fired, and hurting people?
Yes – they are also used to run the guns back in after reloading. Also, while exercising the guns, they are used to pull the gun back to simulate the recoil.
5. Is it known where this gun might have been manufactured?
Most of the guns are replicas made of wood or fiberglass. Only 8 of the original Blomefield-pattern survived, one of which is displayed on the second deck. Without seeing the maker’s mark the manufacturer can’t be identified. In my second cite, it says “About 80 of the 105 guns aboard HMS Victory at the Battle of Trafalgar were cast by the Walker Company.”
6. Was the word “cannon” ever used at all, circa 1805, or were these weapons always referred to (then) as “guns”?
I believe at the time cannon was used more to refer to land-based artillery, although I’ve seen some authors put the term in the mouths of their naval characters. More commonly I see the term “great guns” used.