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Carronade (carronade)

A type of naval gun used in the 18th and 19th centuries. Its name is derived from the name of the company that produced them - the Carron Iron Company manufactory in Falkirk, Scotland. The gun is said to have been designed by General Robert Melville in 1759 according to some sources, and by others in the 1870s (which is more likely). Its design was later brought to life by Charles Gascoigne, director of the Carron Company from 1769 to 1779.

A pair of men who were instrumental in the creation of the Caronades. Therefore, these works were also initially called "melvilades" and "gasconades"("gasconade" and "melvillade").
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A new type of gun was introduced by the Carron Company in 1778, and a year later the gun was adopted into the armament of the English Royal Navy.

It was a cast iron gun with a short barrel. It was the short barrel that was the most significant change from the conventional naval gun. The short barrel was much lighter, which also allowed the use of a much lighter shell. The total weight of the carronade was therefore approximately half that of a conventional gun of the same calibre. The powder charge was also up to four times smaller. Caronades were produced in the common calibers of 12, 18, 24 and 32 pounds at the time, but also existed in less common calibers such as 6 pounds or 68 pounds.

Comparison of the barrel size of two ground-laying carronades with a long-barreled cannon
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The different method of aiming allowed for a large side sight, and a vertical bolt was used for more accurate aiming instead of the then-common primitive wedge that supported the end of the barrel. The barrel of the gun was mounted on a bed which rested on a frame lafette, attached by its front part to a pin. Around this pivot, the barrel could be rotated, the lateral movement being made possible by wheels at the rear of the barrel, which were placed transversely to the barrel, not longitudinally as was usual at the time. This gave a range of up to 180°. The cannon, positioned on the upper deck to fire over the gunwale, could therefore fire at a wide angle around the ship.

Description of the carronade: 1. the rear of the barrel, 2. the sight, 3. the breech, 4. the sight, 5. the first reinforcing ring, 6. the barrel, 7. the muzzle, 8. the second reinforcing ring, 9. barrel pivot pin, 10. barrel pad (block), 11. barrel pivot pin, 12. rear wheels, 13. barrel bed (base plate), 14. barrel frame slide plate, 15. threaded pear,
15. square (elevation) bolt

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Caronades had a number of advantages over conventional cannons. The lighter weight allowed the ship to be armed with a larger number of carronades instead of conventional guns, or a smaller number of large calibre carronades. It was also possible to place large calibre carronades on the upper decks, making it easier to hit sensitive parts of the enemy ship with devastating force. Such placement was not possible with conventional guns because the great weight of the guns concentrated too high above sea level would cause instability about the longitudinal axis, the ship would rock, be too unstable and in danger of capsizing. Also, the crew was smaller and the different hull design meant that the hatch was shorter, saving space on the decks.

Because of the shorter barrel, the ball fired from the carronade had less initial velocity. Paradoxically, this caused a greater effect when fired at the ship, because a ball from a conventional gun, flying at a higher velocity, "punched" a relatively clean hole in the wooden hull, while a slower ball from a carronade "punched" a much larger hole. In addition, cracking and further damage to the wooden ship's structure occurred in the wide area of the hit. At the same time, the impact of the ball into the wooden structure of the ship produced a large amount of wood splinters, acting as deadly shrapnel. Because of this tremendous force, the carronades were nicknamed "smasher" (smasher). Also, when fired brush at close range, the large calibre carronades mounted on the upper decks had a tremendous effect.

One of the two 68lb carronades on the Victory (although apparently a replica). In the Battle of Trafalgar, the French flagship was hit by one of these carronades in the glass stern with a ball and a 500-round musket case, knocking virtually half the French ship's crew out of the fight
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On the other hand, the shorter barrel also resulted in less accuracy and the maximum range was within 300 meters, less than half the range of the long-barreled guns. Practice quickly proved that a ship armed only with carronades could be shot down by vessels with long-barreled guns at a range where she herself was virtually defenseless. The initial euphoria at the overwhelming firepower of the carronades was therefore quickly replaced by careful consideration of how many carronades to place on the ships. Carronades often became the armament of merchant ships, which faced more of a threat of capture and usually had to defend themselves at the shortest range. Even warships in battles often fought "at gunpoint", so although carronades never became the main artillery weapon, nor were they initially counted among them (they were not included in the total number of guns given for a given ship), they were an integral part of naval armament and a force to be reckoned with.

Carron therefore produced many thousands of these guns for customers around the world. Carronades were also used as the fortress guns of coastal batteries. Production ceased in 1850, but carronades were still in use during the American Civil War from 1861-1865.

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