The emergence and spread of artillery, as already mentioned, had enormous consequences for world history. Since the Europeans before others appreciated the advantages of a firearm and began it vigorously to improve, they received military superiority over other nations and gradually established their dominance over the entire globe.
Meanwhile Europeans in no way may not be considered by the inventors gun. The first samples of firearms have been created by the Chinese. The prototype it was the special weapon "hotsyan", invented in 1132 by some of Chen Guem. Hotsyan was a semblance of a flame thrower: a hollow bamboo stem, scored on one side, stuffed with gunpowder, when ignited that fire with force flew from the barrel and hit the enemy. Very important in this invention was the idea of the barrel - hollow chamber having only one exit. In the future, the barrel has become an integral part of any firearms. The next important step was made a few years later - one of the armourers city Chow-chunfu invented "tuhotsyan" - bamboo gun, from which the power of powder gases ejected bullet. From this weapon borrowed Chinese Jurchen, and then - the Mongols. When, after 1260 began a long war between the Mongols and Arabs in Syria, samples of firearms (at this time do not trunks of bamboo and cast copper) fell into the hands of the Arabs, who soon learned to do it themselves. The first Arab firearms (modfa) took the form of a thin-walled tubes of iron with a wooden piece or a rod, for which he held the weapon. The tube was packed with gunpowder, the bullet was inserted, and then set fire to the charge of a hot rod. In the last quarter of the XIII century the Arabs already widely used gunpowder to shoot arrows and bullets. Almost all chronicles describing the Spaniards fighting against the Moors, reported on the use of the latest tools, hammer and tongs Meta projectiles. From the invention of the Arabs it was transferred to the European peoples.
When it first emerged artillery in the true sense of the word? One of the medieval chronicles states that guns were first used in Germany in 1313, and attributes the invention to the monk Berthold Schwarz. It is well known that in 1326, Florence has produced metallic iron bullets and guns. This innovation quickly spread to Western Europe. However, contemporaries referred to the first experience of guns in passing, without details - clear evidence that their influence on the outcome of the battle was then quite negligible. Battle of Crecy in 1346 between the British and French, can be considered the first great battle where artillery was widely used. The first guns were slim. Until the middle of the XIV century projectile weight is rarely reached 2 kg. While the Arabs had more sophisticated guns. It is mentioned that in 1342, they fired at the Spanish camp with walls Aldzhezirasa iron nuclei the size of an apple. The destructive effect of the first shells guns almost exceeded, and sometimes even inferior to the action of fire from catapults.
But gradually the artillery became more and more formidable weapon. In the second half of the XIV century in service in all European armies were already heavy bombards, metal core up to 200 pounds or more (for example, bombard the Duke of Burgundy in 1377 metal projectiles weighing 437 pounds). Such tools could overwhelm its fire wall towns and castles. They fired stone balls, which a rough ball shape has been given. Because of the low lateral load the kernel quickly lose its speed. In order to increase the destructive power of the shells had to increase the size of the nuclei and the caliber of the barrel, which soon began to reach up to an enormous size. They write that in some of the larger trunks bombards could without bending the head, sit adult. At such sizes bombard barrel out excessively heavy and required to carry up to 70 pairs of oxen. Shooting from such huge guns was so difficult and slow, that on the day of them could do no more than four rounds. At the siege of Pisa in 1370, Bombardier had besieged for charging and firing of which required a whole day. In field battles Heavy guns are rarely used, they were transported to the position and with difficulty to leave this position could not. tools often fall into the hands of the enemy, failing to make a single shot. However, with a successful hit, the loss of the enemy is very great, as the infantry advanced in those days, tightly closed ranks. In addition, guns shots, accompanied them smoke and crackle exerted on the enemy vast moral influence.
By the end of the XIV century firearms were not inferior in power propelling other vehicles, but still long to drive them. Catapults and ballista acted rather were less dangerous to use, while the guns were often so fragile that exploded when fired. Before each shot the maid hid behind the parapet, or in holes dug near the battery. However, the powder had to ballistae and catapults important advantage. Throwing machines required for each shot a huge preparatory mechanical work, a lot of the superior shell work. A force methane projectile from the gun, appeared in the course of a chemical reaction. The shot did not require any human physical effort, but the effect of it was the same.
Practical experience to determine the best ratio for bombards sizes. The charge would weigh 1/9 of the weight of the stone core. The length of the chambers was five times greater than its diameter. Gunpowder, laid on the bottom of the chambers, served 3/5 of its length. Above the charge leaves a void in 1/5 the length of the bolt. Then closed the bolt is well prilazhennoy wad of soft wood. He took the last fifth of the length. Stone rounded shell until it is fully closed channel bottom; after charging he was held four small wedges of sturdy wood. Sometimes even zakonopachivali space around the nucleus for the destruction of the gap and to reduce the loss of gas. Flight range of cores reached 2,000 steps. Sometimes the top of a rocky core wad instead put a few small stones. It was the prototype of grapeshot. In order to destroy the tower and break through the wall, followed by special rules. Each core is bonded crosswise two iron rings to increase its strength; firing the same way that kernel punched groove at a height of human growth double wall of the sole. For the cities of ignition used special incendiary projectiles. To this end, each stone ball dipped in a mixture of melted sulfur, tar and lime. The first layer composition of wrapped cloth, soaked again shell fuel composition and again wrapped cloth. So did several layers.
The guns were attached to the machine, or by ropes or iron braces nearly horizontal ground. This was achieved by mitigating the impact, but deteriorated guidance. Sights and aiming initially was not at all, and elevation angles are not changed. Then the barrels were placed in a special trough, which with the help of simple tools could give a number of different positions. To change the elevation on the machines arranged wooden arch with holes in which to insert checks that supported the breech of the gun to a greater or lesser height. But still aimed shot was very small.
The golden age of artillery experienced in the XV and XVI centuries. several fundamental decisions significantly increase the effectiveness of gunfire were found in these two centuries. The major steps in this direction were: 1) the distribution of iron production; 2) improvement of techniques of casting guns; 3) graining powder; 4) production of wheeled carriages; 5) the distribution of guns by caliber and establishing a connection between the barrel and the caliber of the kernel weight. Let us consider each of these innovations.
Metal core (bronze and lead) in the XIV century are rarely used due to their high cost. But soon metallurgy advances presented in the gunners the order in plenty of cheap iron. When the end of the XIV century began to receive and prepare iron, the first cast iron castings massive steel core. In the middle of the XV century iron core began to pour in Flanders, then the art is widespread in France. Gradually, the iron core is completely pushed out of the use of stone. This led to a big change in the whole gunnery. Due to the high density of the iron core weight increased, and the volume of their decreased (pig 2, 5 times denser than stone). There is no longer a need to fabricate huge trunks. Caliber guns decreased, and the thickness of the barrel wall increased. There was also an opportunity to increase the length of the barrel (previously trunks had to be done in short, to further increase the weight of no more guns). With the achievement of greater strength we were able to significantly increase the strength of the charge. Cast iron core received such an initial speed of flight, which never had a stone. They flew on and hit with more force. Huge bombard gradually disappear. The main type of weapon itself becomes a "gun." (In the Middle Ages there were three main types of artillery pieces, which differed according to the type of fire. The mortars were plunging fire, in which projectiles describe a steep arc of the enemy from above striking. Gun Actually shot so that the core flew on a shallow trajectory, almost parallel to the ground. Howitzers occupy an intermediate position.) The guns were the most simple device bombards were significantly lighter, easy to use and has a significant rate of fire. There was widespread small-caliber gun, firing lead cores weighing between 1/4 to 2 pounds. Due to the ease of such guns can be easily transported and transferred from one place to another, they were directed to quickly and easily pierce through even the strongest knight's armor. In the XIV century, in addition to the cast bronze were also forged iron tools. The latest preferred, because bronze was not sufficiently strong and fairly expensive material. Iron cannon forged from longitudinal welded together bands made up the trunk, which was catching up to the strength of a continuous series of iron rings, so that the gun had a ribbed surface. Then, after the steel casting cores made of cast iron guns themselves. Cast iron was a very convenient material, since he was stronger than bronze and processed more easily than ductile iron. Please cast only bolt. Barrel for some time remained of welded iron bars and rings. At the beginning of the XV century there were small cannon, the whole cast iron, but in the second half of this century cannon foundry has flourished. The first cast-iron cannons were still of poor quality, and they are often torn to pieces after the first shot, but gradually learned how to make high-quality cast iron. Trunks molded from clay, made on special templates, and the bore drilled on special machines.
Parallel going improvement gun machine-gun carriages. By flitches brought against several requirements. He was supposed to contribute to a change of direction and elevation tools, rugged enough to withstand the impact, and, finally, to facilitate the transport of weapons during the campaign. Medieval masters undergone many failures before finding the mast design, satisfies all these conditions. Giving especially plagued the first gunners. The strongest carriages fell apart after a few shots since taking the brunt of the force of impact. To preserve their power shots had to sacrifice and eat small charges. In addition, it was impossible to make tolerable devices for pickup - they weaken the strength of guns. The Swiss in the second half of the XV century invented the first set the gun on the wheel and immediately decided a few problems. Cannon became more mobile and agile, and then shot it rolls back without any harm to the mast. Then, aiming to improve the mechanism. The gun was planted on the axis of the mast, and allowed her to move freely in all directions. To change the angle of elevation wedges instead began to use the lifting screw.
Cast iron core wheel carriages and artillery immediately turned into a dangerous weapon. She quickly moved around the battlefield, easily and quickly aim and threw the kernel destroys the strongest walls. At a time when the fortified castles and towns everywhere guns were their walls and towers, cannon became a true "god of war". Guns have been used everywhere - on land and at sea, during the siege of cities and on the battlefield. The batteries of heavy guns from a distance supported the offensive of its troops, and small artillery was in the thick of the battle. The importance of improved artillery showed the famous march of the French king Charles VIII in Italy in 1494. In this war, the French were in possession of a wide variety of tools and therefore conquered one city after the other without difficulty. They write that at Naples after they took a four-hour bombardment of the fortress on Mount St. John, who in the old days was considered impregnable (during the previous wars waged by the Spaniards, this fortress surrendered only after seven years of siege).
In the XVI century noticeably stepped forward artillery science. Wizards have been paying great attention to the caliber of the barrel and the unification of ammunition. Kernels began to cast in such a way that they exactly match the width of the trunk. Very important in this respect was the work of the Italian mathematician Nicholas Tartaglia, who first established a method of determining the caliber shells at weight proportion of iron projectile to the cube of its diameter. In the modern view is nothing special in this calculation, but at that time they were of great importance, as finally established connection between the instrument and the nucleus. In addition, Tartaglia invented the first quadrant, and tried to calculate the trajectory of the projectile. His justifiably called the creator of artillery science.
Shooting in the XVI century was made so. Before each shot, cleaned the canal swab implements block which was lined with sheepskin, the tray to the gun barrel of gunpowder, was taken from his part of the charge, and shall be sent to its shufloy to the bottom, then shuflu overturned, put into ramrod channel and nailed charge ramrod up until gunpowder did not get into the ignition channel at the breech. Then the rest of the charge was taken and again acted similarly. Runaway full charge shall be sent wad, collects all the powder to the channel walls, again clean channel and put Bannik core wrapped with several layers of hemp. Sight did not exist, but the trunk has already staged several flies that had kind of elevated platforms. Ignition of the charge made by a wick.
Hand guns - arquebuses - until the end of the XV century did not matter so much, as the artillery. It was hard, capricious, and inferior to the rate of lethal force crossbow (as of Harquebus made one shot arbalester had time to put three arrows, and an archer - six). Gunpowder in Harquebus before each shot ignited, like guns, wick, which was very uncomfortable. However, after the end of the XV century invented the first wick, and then a flint lock musket appeared, infantry armed with firearms, began to exert more and more influence on the outcome of the battle.