Naval history of Great Britain by William James - Calibers of English and foreign guns"


 
Contents

Next Page

Previous Page

10 Pages >>

10 Pages <<

Naval History of Great Britain - Vol I

1783

Calibers of English and Foreign Guns

41

M. de Vigney, who was slightly wounded; her second captain and four men were killed, and several wounded, The Rainbow had one man killed. * Not another word is there on the subject. Who, then, with this account before him, but must censure Monsieur de Vigney for having submitted so tamely, as well as praise Captain Trollope for having conquered an enemy's ship so nearly his equal? Exhibit the nature, as well as number- of the guns on each side, and an end is put to the delusion.

The several denominations, by which English guns in either service are identified with their respective calibers, are not applicable to foreign guns, every nation possessing besides a scale of calibers, or natures, a standard of weights and measures, peculiar to itself. Until, therefore, the calibers, or pounders; of the several sea-service guns, in use by the different powers at war, can be reduced into English weight, it will be in vain to attempt any comparison between them. For instance, the gun with which the French arm the lower decks of their line-of-battle ships, above a 64 (a class that, with them, has long since been extinct), they denominate a 36-pounder; for the plain reason, that the shot suitable to its cylinder, and which shot measures in diameter 6.239 French inches and decimal parts, is assumed to weigh 36 French pounds. But the same shot measures 6.648 English inches and decimal parts, and weighs very little less than 39 English pounds. The following table, which has been drawn up with great care, is submitted as the only statement of the kind in print.

DANISH.

DUTCH.

FRENCH.

SPANISH.

SWEDISH

RUSSIAN

Pdr.

  English   weight.

Pdr.

  English   weight.

Pdr.

  English   weight.

Pdr.

  English   weight.

Pdr.

  English   weight.

Pdr.

  English   weight.

 

lbs. oz.

 

lbs. oz.

 

lbs. oz.

 

lbs. oz.

 

lbs. oz.

 

lbs. oz.

...

......

...

......

...

......

...

......

48

44--15

...

......

...

......

...

......

...

......

...

......

42

39-- 5

42

37--14

36.

39--11

...

.....

36

38--14

36

36--8

36

33--11

36

32--7

...

......

32

34--12

...

......

...

......

30

28--1

30

27--9

24

26--74

24

26--2

24

25--14

24

24--5

24

22--7

24

21--10

18

19--13

18

19--9

18

19--7

18

18--4

18

16--13

18

16--3

12

13--3

12

13--1

12

12--15

12

12--24

12

11--3

12

10--13

8

8--13

8

8--10

8

8--10

8

8--1

8

7--7

8

7--3

6

6--9

6

6--8

6

6--7

6

6--1

6

5--9

6

5 -6

* Schomberg's Nav. Chron. vol. ii., p. 75.

This as well as the rest, is founded on a calculation ; but practical experience has shown, that French shots usually weigh an ounce or two more than is here assigned to them. It appears, indeed, that the French 36-pound shot weigh nearly 37 pounds French. See "Voyages dans la Grand Bretagne par Charles Dupin, Force Navale," tome ii., p. 119. Admitting that the shots of the lesser French calibers are also exceeded in their real weights in the same proportion, the usual English weight assigned to the French shots, namely, 40 lb. for the 36, 28 lb. for the 24, 20 lb. for the 18, 14 for the 12, and 91b for the 11 pounder, are perhaps more correct than the weight specified in the above table. According to M. Dupin (Force Navale, tome ii., p. 97) the following are the weights of English shot in French pounds and decimals

POUNDER.

42

32

24

18

12

9

38,92

29,682

22,24

16,68

11,12

8,34

Another French writer says, "le boulet de 6 Anglaise pèse un peu plus de cinq livres et demie, poids de marc."

That highly useful little work, " The Bombardier, and Pocket Gunner," gives the Spaniards, instead of this gun, a 9-pounder, but in their own nomenclature, it is invariably, as far as our discoveries have reached, an 8-pounder.

^ back to top ^