machines which I have made, am making, or intend to make, and some other stuff. If you find this site interesting, please leave a comment. I read every comment and respond to most. n.b. There is a list of my first 800 posts in my post of 17 June 2021, titled "800 Posts"

Tag: recoil control

Cannon Recoil Control 1866

The 80 pr muzzle loading cannon was supplied to the colonial government of Victoria on a wooden traversing platform with a 5º slope.

I assumed that the slope was the means of absorbing the recoil.

The later iron platforms (from about 1875) had a 4º slope and hydraulic recoil control.

But, I was recently informed that there was a wooden “compressor”, which acted as a primitive brake, to reduce the distance of the barrel and carriage recoil. And that there was a compressor at the Flagstaff Hill Museum, Warrnambool, Victoria.

In fact I had previously seen the compressor, but neither I, nor I suspect the museum staff, really understood then how the compressor functioned.

Using Victorian Collections photographs published on the web, my own photographs, information from “The Artillerest” Peter Webster, some old drawings of wooden carriages and platforms, and a Google book “British Smooth Bore Artillery” by David McConnell, and a fair bit of deduction, I think that I have finally worked it out.

Firstly, the Victorian Collections photographs…

The compressor sits between the slides, with the rectangular iron tabs resting on top of the slides.
The elliptical central hole is filled with an iron elliptical post with a long handle attached to the top. When the handle is pulled backwards the cheeks are pushed outwards by 1/8″ 3.2mm, acting as a brake. The tapered iron bits had me stumped.
My drawing of the compressor with the brake applied. From above. When the handle is pushed forward, the gap between the cheeks closes and the brake is released. The pins push on the tapered outer iron cams to ensure closure of the cheeks. Ahhhh!
From below the compressor, with brake applied. The handle has a square drive in the square hole. A rope is tied in the distal handle hole.

Now to make one at 1:10 scale.

P.s. reader Jeff sent me some photos of a recoil control system used in 19th century USA, where a large metal screw clamp was utilised in these rifled muzzle loaders

Recoil Control

I had a phone conversation with Peter Webster, “The Artillerist”, yesterday, after I emailed him about the recoil control compressor which I had photographed at Flagstaff Hill, Warrnambool.

the very rare compressor. The loose metal bits on top are not part of the compressor.

I could not see how it could fit into the carriage or slide of the LowMoor cannon, or how it functioned.

Peter, who has a passion for Australian garrison artillery, 1788-1950, and has encyclopaedic knowledge on the subject, had seen this object at Warrnambool almost 20 years ago, realised what it was, and subsequently wrote a report for the museum. The compressor is classified as being extremely rare, most having been removed from the guns, probably to remove the gun metal components for scrap.

Peter explained to me that the flat, rectangular compressor sat between the platform slides with the metal corner tabs resting on top of the slides and the centre join of the compressor located along the centre line between the slides. The front and rear surfaces fitted between the cross members of the carriage.

The central hole was almost vertical. The hole is elliptical, not round. Sitting in the hole was a neat fitting elliptical post, which had a handle which protruded out to the right hand side between the carriage and the slide. When the handle was pulled, the post rotated and increased the separation of the 2 halves of the compressor, pushing them against the sides of the slides, as a brake.

Peter was sure that all carriage/platforms of this type would have been fitted with these compressors, until the wooden structures were replaced with the iron types a decade or so later.

So clearly I will have to make a scale model of the compressor for my current model.

This is a modified version of the carriage and traversing platform. It is the best drawing I could locate which shows the compressor insitu. Note also the central pivot and its large cross beam, which is bolted to the slides with the vertical bolts I had wondered about at Elsternwick. Peter told me that the Elsternwick guns would originally have been fitted with pivots, but removed due to being damaged during firing.

A Hot, Humid Day

Feeling a bit inactive on a hot humid day.

Thought that you might be interested in some more photos relating to RML’s.

That barrel could be an 80pr Armstrong, 3 meters long, which would make the lathe about 8 meters long. Note the date, the taper cutting mechanism, and the fact that they did some external turning with the trunnion ring insitu.
This is said to be the recoil controller from the wooden carriage/platform which is outside the Maritime Museum, Warrnambool. It is apparently an exceptionally rare item. Not on display. Shown to me because I asked questions about the cannon. I could not see how the recoil mechanism would have been fitted or functioned on the particular cannon. Picture of the Warrnambool cannon on its wooden carriage and platform follows. The loose metal objects on top are not related to the recoil mechanism.
The preserved, protected, and unrestored condition is very useful for modelling. LowMoor 68pr SML. 1861.
I have possibly shown this photo in a previous post. It is the 1866 80pr Armstrong RML on wooden carriage and platform at Fort Queenscliff, 30″ drive from my home. Missing the Smith Screw, sights and gunners side platforms, but otherwise in reasonably complete condition. No evidence of a rear gunners platform. Front left wheel bracket needs some attention.
and just to complete the photo collection of 80pr’s on wooden carriages and platforms, I revisited the Elsternwick cannons recently to get some more measurements. Early evening photo. Note the bolts hanging under the slides. They do not exist in any of the old drawings or photos. Maybe this one had a pivot support originally. Some of the very early platforms did have pivots, but they were removed as being unnecessary, and liable to damage when the gun was fired. Also note that none of these guns had trunnion caps, which were considered unnecessary in garrison guns. The trunnions do however sit slightly deeper than half way in the carriage cut outs.
For a bit of perspective I add this photo of manufacturing a 16″ barrel in WW2. USA factory.