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Carriage Gun

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Carriage guns were cannon mounted on a moveable heavy wooden frame.

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By the early 1600s, most navies used guns mounted on heavy wooden carriages.

The carriages were made of two large pieces of wood called sides or cheeks bolted together. Axle shafts were fixed on the front and rear underside of the carriage, on which were mounted solid wooden wheels called trucks.

Large ring bolts were fixed to the side of the carriage allowing the gun to be rigged with a series of ropes and tackle-blocks. This allowed the muzzle of the gun to be run quickly out and back through a port in the side of the ship. The rigging also limited the recoil of the gun, as well as securing the weapon when it was not in use. A gun that was not properly secured in rough weather on a lower gun deck could easily sink a vessel.

Ship’s guns were made of iron cast in one piece. They were cast so that the breech of the gun was at least as thick as the diameter of the shot it fired. This intensified the force of the exploding powder.

At the gun’s centre of balance two cylinders called trunnions projected out at right angles to allow the gun to be elevated or depressed in its wooden carriage.

HMS Endeavour carried ten four-pounder carriage guns. As the name implies, these guns fired an iron ball weighing four pounds, although they could also be loaded with musket balls.

 
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Cultural Artefacts: Swivel Gun
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Prepared by: Turnbull, P
Created: 4 October 2001
Modified: 5 May 2004

Published by South Seas, 1 February 2004
Comments, questions, corrections and additions: Paul.Turnbull@jcu.edu.au
Prepared by: Paul Turnbull
Updated: 28 June 2004
To cite this page use: http://nla.gov.au/nla.cs-ss-biogs-P000037

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