THROAT CUTTER WALL SMASHER
Some pics which we snapped a few years ago of a large bombard, sitting outside the wall of the “Throatcutter” castle (RumeliHisari), a few miles from Istanbul-Constantinople, overlooking the Bosphorus. This castle was built by the Turks in order to control the Bosphorus waterway, just before they besieged Constantinople in 1453.
The cannon was clearly placed in this current position just for display.
Could this have been the one which breached the Theodosian walls in 1453? It seems to be an appropriate size and style.
This could well be the original Orban cannon.
Updated Notes :
The Orban cannon was recorded 8.2 metres (27 feet) long, so the one in the photos cannot be it, unless the recorded figures are exaggerated. Orban did cast additional smaller cannons for Mehmet 2 for the seige.
The biggest Orban cannon at the seige was named “Basilica”. It fired stone balls weighing 272kg (600lbs) over 1.6km (1 mile). Reload took 3 hours. The stone balls were in short supply. Not surprising, considering the labour which must have been involved in making them.
Orban is thought to have been Hungarian or possibly German.
This is very similar to Mons Meg, and about the same date, which is now at Edinburgh Castle.
Thanks for that connection John. I looked up Mons Meg on Wiki, and it seems to be a slightly earlier bombard than the one at the Throatcutter.
I note that the MM barrel was constructed of longitudinal strips of iron, bound together with iron hoops.
I would not have wanted to be close when that was fired! I presume that the explosion chamber was cast.
From the Wiki reference it seems to have had a range of 2 miles, which is amazing.
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If you look up James II you will see that he was killed about the same time by a cannon bursting. It seems to be a cannon similar to mons meg but it was not actually mons meg.
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A few words about the turkish Cannon. 1) That is not Urban’s gun. Urban’s gun burst on the second day of the siege. The second one he cast was not ready until after the siege was over and was never fired. It was melted down and recast in 1456 (bronze was very expensive even then) in a smaller caliber (believed to be 16″). The term “throat cutter” is erroneous for the European Castle – if I am not mistaken, it was originally used for the earlier (smaller) castle accross the Bosphorus at Anadoluhisar. And the word “bogaz” while it also covers “throat” is intende to mean the Bosphorus which in Turkish is Bogaz İci.
The segmented gun was cast in 1464 by the master gunfounder Munir Ali as part of a lot of more than one – one was (as you said) presented to Q. Vic. Pls refer to General LeFroy’s report on the Dardanelles Bronze cannon dated 1870 for details. The other two were probably remelted though we don’t know this for a fact. (If you dont have this report, I can mail you photocopies)
Today there are 16 cannon under the jurisdiction of the Istanbul Military Museum (of which I was a member) : two at the Rumeli castle, three at the military museum, and the rest scatttered around town – all roughly dated to the same period. Hope this was useful.
As a side line (hobby, not commercial), I make scale brass cannon to scale from scratch and am, at present, working on Ser # 156. Greetings from a pseudo Ozzie to y’all!
Hi Salih, and thank you for that information. You have sources that were not available to me.
Do you have photos of your cannon(s)? I would be very interested to see them, if possible.
I will look up the Istanbul Military Museum, and may visit it when I am there later this year.
Thank you again for your input.