Bombard (weapon)


Bombard (weapon)

A bombard is a type of medieval cannon or mortar, used chiefly in sieges for throwing heavy stone balls. The modern term "bombardment" derives from this.

A notable example of a bombard is the large Mons Meg weapon, built around 1449 and used by King James II of Scotland. Mons Meg was capable of firing 180 kg (396 lb) shots and was one of the largest bombards ever built. It is now housed on public display at Edinburgh Castle.One bombard was larger than the Mons Meg. In 1451, Urban came from Hungary to Emperor Konstantin in Constantinople, and offered him a new cannon invention. The cannon was 8 meters long, had a barrel diameter of 750mm (30 inches), fired a cannon ball weighing 700kg and took 400 men and 60 oxen to move it into position. Due to lack of funds, Konstantin refused the offer, and Urban went to Mehemet with the cannon plans. Mehemet liked the idea and built the cannon. It was tested on a foreign trade vessel outside of the coast of the Byzantine border. The ship was smashed to pieces by only one shot. Mehemet took the cannon to Constantinople, where he used it to destroy the city walls. With a reload time of 3 hours, the walls stood up to 90 days of bombardment before the Ottomans were able to take the city.The new Turkish cannon was actually so big that normal wooden construction didn't stand the mighty recoil from the cannon. Instead, they hung the cannon up with several ropes and tied it up on a wooden frame. By doing this, the recoil was absorbed by the ropes rather than the wood.

Bombards were usually used during sieges to hurl various forms of missile into enemy fortifications. Projectiles such as stone or metal balls, burning materials and weighted cloth soaked in quicklime or Greek fire are documented.

The name derives from medieval Latin and French forms from a Greek word expressing the making of a humming noise.

Eventually bombards were superseded by weapons using smaller calibre iron projectiles with more powerful gunpowder. A bulba is a common type of bombard.

References

*1911


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