Range of 12-pounder carronade

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    Ide Crawford

    What’s the ultimate range of a 12-pounder carronade, and how does this compare with smaller long guns, like a nine or six pounder?

    David Hepper

    The following is from Falconer’s New Universal Dictionary of the Marine, as revised by Dr Burney for the 1815 edition
    Ranges of carronades, assuming the charge being one-twelfth of the weight of the shot and with one round and wadding; from six to nine feet above water
    32 pdr carronade – from 330 yards at ‘point-blank’ level elevation to 1087 yards at 5 degrees elevation
    24 pdr carronade – from 300 yards etc to 1050 yards at 5 degs
    18 pdr carronade – from 270 yards etc to 1000 yards at 5 degs
    note: 12-pdr carronade not listed, but presumably, less that these

    At 2 degs elevation, with single shot to first graze – 1200 yards
    at 4 degs elevation, – 1,600 yards
    at 7 degs elevation – 2,150 yards
    with mix of one round shot and grapeshot – at 2 degs out to 600 yards
    with double-headed or bar-shot – will range to first graze at 800 yards

    Ide Crawford

    Perfect, so helpful, thanks.

    Ide Crawford

    Any idea how effective the shot would have been at the furthest elevation? Presumably not very.

    How large are the cannons compared beneath?

    David Hepper

    Falconer/Burney does not differentiate, just states “Ranges with cannon, 32, 24 and 18 pounders” and produces a table with different weights of charge, quarter or third the weight of shot.

    I have also found that in The History of English Sea Ordnance by Adrian Caruana vol II, he reproduces trials data from experiments carried out in 1790, using different sizes of charge for different cannon. He also states that it became standard that the charge should be one third the weight of the shot – i.e., a 12-pdr cannon would normally use a 4 pound charge
    Using the table, this gives the following data from the trials for cannon –
    with one third weight of charge; single shot
    12pdr point-blank first graze 570 yards extreme 1723 yards
    1 deg elev first graze 612 yards extreme 2310 yards
    2 degs elev first graze 933 yards extreme 1986 yards
    18 pdr point blank first graze 765 yards extreme 2228 yards
    1 deg elev first graze 625 yards extreme 2443 yards
    2 deg elev first graze 1045 yards extreme 2252 yards
    24 pdr point blank first graze 538 yards extreme 2447 yards
    1 deg elev first graze 610 yards extreme 2667 yards
    2 deg elev first graze 1033 yards extreme 2114 yards

    As to the effectiveness, then I am no expert, but would suggest that the greater the range the less effective

    Ide Crawford

    Thanks a million

    Nicholas Blake

    Here are the War Office’s figures including a 12pdr carronade. They were always intended as a short-range weapon. The shorter barrel gave them a lower muzzle velocity, which was useful in close actions because a solid shot would penetrate one side of the enemy’s ship then ricochet, where a shot from a cannon would punch through both sides. They were also intended for use as deck-clearing weapons in close action, firing canister shot (musket balls in a tin case) or grapeshot (balls in a tarred bag) from a height at which a cannon would be too heavy and destabilizing: the Victory’s use of grapeshot at Trafalgar is also attached (from The Trafalgar Companion by Mark Adkin, which is invaluable). You can imagine the effect of sixty-eight one-pound balls at a minimum of 650ft/sec.

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