Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Broomfield, Colorado
Fredstaple, thank you; glad you like it. The tube was solid on ours with segment lines scored onto the exterior surface to simulate the original, closely fitting, tube segments. Machining the forged shape of the baseplate, to which were applied the trunnions, took as much time as the entire remainder of the mortar. The exterior clamps which ran parallel to the bore axis, where made out of walnut wood for ease of manufacture and they were painted gloss black. None of these have been blown off despite having the upper clamping surface right at the muzzle! Back in the day, they termed those clamps, "cotters", as in, "cotter keys", which are what we call them these days. All in all this was a really fun project.
Little Seacoast, If you mean two original mortars, yes there were two, but this one came after the Paixhans Monster Mortar which was built for the French in Leige, Belgium in 1832 and used the same year by the French when they came back to help the Belgians again in their fight with the Dutch in Antwerp. It seems a Dutch commander of the Citadel in Antwerp was shelling the city to start large fires and he was killing many civilians in the process. This was too much for the Belgians and their French allies, so 10,000 French troops and the Paixhans Monster Mortar were brought to within 1,000 yards of the Citadel. The French had many famous Artillerymen throughout their history, not the least of which was Napoleon Bonapart, himself. However, the Artillery Officer they had calculating the trajectory of those large 22" French/ 24" English, shells, each of which held 100 pounds of black powder, really knew what he was doing. The very first shell thrown, landed just a few yards from the door to the Citadel's main Powder Magazine!! The large crater it caused impressed the Dutch so much that they waved the white flag within several days! This was in December of 1832.
Mallet's mortar was completed in 1857, almost 2 years late for the Crimean War. It was never fired in battle, but managed to fire a 2,478 Lb. shell 2,782 yards distant at Shrewburyness Artillery Testing Range in England, sending cartloads of black mud and dirt skyward hundreds of yards! The powder charge was 80 pounds.
Smokin my pipe on the mountings, sniffin the mornin cool,
I walks in my old brown gaiters along o my old brown mule,
With seventy gunners beind me, an never a beggar forgets
Its only the pick of the Army that handles the dear little pets - Tss! Tss!
From the poem Screw-Guns by Rudyard Kipling