Shrapnel from mortars: “far more effective than shell in… silencing batteries”

During the Civil War, as can be said for most of the “black powder” age, mortars usually fired one type of projectile – the shell.  There were a few variations, which were mostly incendiary shells.  The main disadvantage to the shell when fired vertically was the need to time the burst in order to achieveContinue reading “Shrapnel from mortars: “far more effective than shell in… silencing batteries””

June 25, 1864: Sandbag day at Petersburg

Building field fortifications requires a lot of “consumable” materials.  Even in modern times, when the soldiers fortify a position, they tend to displace a lot of earth and use stockpiles of building materials.  One material that comes in high demand is the lowly sandbag.  In 1863, engineers on Morris Island recorded using over 46,000 sandbagsContinue reading “June 25, 1864: Sandbag day at Petersburg”

Napoleons (and siege howitzers) as mortars: More data and range tables!

Back in May I wrote about a “suggestion” from Brigadier-General Henry Hunt in regard to firing 12-pdr Light Field Guns – Napoleons – as mortars.  Hunt inquired with Colonel Henry L. Abbot, 1st Connecticut Heavy Artillery and the presumptive commander of the siege artillery to support the Army of the Potomac, about testing Napoleons dugContinue reading “Napoleons (and siege howitzers) as mortars: More data and range tables!”