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Vasa Cannon

One of the earliest known types of cannon, the overall vessel-like shape of the Vasa's barrel gave rise to its name.

A vasa cannon was little more than an over-sized gun barrel laid on a wooden bench, pointed in the general direction of the target, and propped up with wooden wedges. The powder charge was poured into the barrel through the muzzle, and some powder was inserted into the narrow bore of what was called the touch hole. The powder charge was rammed tight with a piece of soft leather or cloth and the missile (usually a stone or metal ball) was inserted. Then the powder in the touch hole was ignited, and the vasa fired.

The vasa could be re-used only after it had been swabbed out with a cloth soaked in water or oil to prevent a lingering spark from igniting the next powder charge, a process that could take up to ten minutes. The vasa cannon was probably far less effective than the bows and crossbows then in use, but the noise it made and the amount of damage one shot could potentially do undoubtedly gave a small margin of psychological advantage to a besieging army.

Vasa Cannon

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This page was last updated on 09/09/2015.

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