CLICK ON IMAGE FOR A LARGER VIEW IN A SEPARATE WINDOW


1. Above: cannon firing a sprite or springel (cannon arrow) , from "De Nobilitatibus, Sapientii et Prudentiis Regum", manuscript, by Walter de Milemete, 1326 Below:uncompleted drawing from Aristotle's "De Secretis Secretorum", manuscript, attributed to Milemete, 1326

Of the mystery of where and when gunpowder was invented, I shall speak but a little. The most up to date study so far is by Claude Blair (1983). Gunpowder consists of a mixture of sulphur, carbon charcoal) and potassium nitrate (or saltpetre). The first two ingredients were well know in antiquity, but the third was not written about in Europe until mentioned by Albertus Magnus and Roger Bacon circa 1250. In his book "De Secretis Operibus Artis et Naturae" of 1248, Bacon gives the formula for gunpowder disguised as an anagram. In "Opus Majus" of 1268, he describes the use of gunpowder to make crackers - "that children's toy which is made in many parts of the world". In a book composed before he died in 1280, Albertus Magnus describes a recipe for a powder used to make "flying fire"(rockets or, perhaps, roman candles) and crackers.


2. Hand cannon, early 1300's, found near Loshult, Sweden (National Historical Museum, Stockholm)

Saltpetre is defined in an entry in the same book, indicating it was a novelty at the time. In Arab references to saltpetre of the same period, it is called "Chinese Snow", but true gunpowder is not discussed until much later.


3. Handgonne, mid 1300s, found in the sea near Morko, Sweden (National Historical Museum, Stockholm)

Incendiary mixtures containing saltpetre are mentioned in a Chinese work of 1044,the "Wu Ching Tsung Yao", but this is not true gunpowder. No copy of this work edited earlier than the 1550s has been found so we cannot tell which are later additions and which are not. In 1132, fire lances are mentioned in historical records, in 1221, cast iron bombs, and in 1259, bamboo tubes containing powder and clay pellets. True gunpowder seems only to have appeared in China in the Mongol period (1260-1368) - this was confirmed by Blackmore's (1995) identification of a cannon dated 1332 - so we are left at an impasse.


4. Hand Culverin, mid 1300's, found in Majorca (Armeria Real, Madrid)


5. Two Swiss hand cannons and the "Tiber" gun, late 1300's (Historisches Museum, Bern)

The general consensus is that saltpetre and its derivative pyrotechnic mixtures were discovered in China during the 11th century, the knowledge passed to the Arabs and thence to Europe, where saltpetre explosives were discovered between 1225 and 1250. We must not forget the Spanish link, as it is possibly the most important one in the chain. At the time half of Spain was occupied by Arab principalities, noted for their intellectual brilliance, innovation and tolerance. Bacon had links with Spanish scholars, and in Andalusia sulphur and natural saltpetre are found in abundance. The truth will perhaps never be known until all of Bacon's codes are deciphered, or new evidence comes to light in the form of datable guns and documents.


6. Gun from Vedelspang Castle, which was destroyed in 1426 (Tojhusmuseet, Copenhagen)


7. Handgonne being fired from a stand, "Belli Fortis", manuscript, by Konrad Kyeser, a remarkable manual of strategy and military engineering, 1400

Certainly, the first uses of gunpowder are psychological - loud bangs and sausage-shaped rockets snaking across the battlefield to terrify men and horses. This is the role we can see for the fire lances of 1132. It is a short step from here to the early handgonne. I believe that while the bamboo pellet throwers of 1259 did not use true gunpowder, they certainly were a first application of the principle of using burning gases to throw a projectile (even though in this case it was probably a handful of pebbles or a baked clay bullet to scare the enemy's horses, or launch a shower of sparks towards enemy fortifications).These weapons owe more to pyrotechnics than to gunnery.


8. Handgonne, early 1400's (Museum of Art and History, Geneva)


9. Handgonne, early 1400's, cal. 25mm, length 1200mm, weight 5.4 kg (approx.)


10. Figures grinding powder, priming and firing handgonnes, from a manuscript of 1410 (Codex 34, Imperial Library, Vienna)


11. First illustration of a serpentine lock. The other figure is casting bullets. From a manuscript of 1411 (Codex Vindobana 3069, Austrian National Library, Vienna)

Early Recipes of Gunpowder compared to
Modern and Chinese Recipes

SOURCE: Saltpetre% Sulphur% Charcoal% Other%
Roger Bacon,
1248
41.2 29.4 29.4 -
Albertus Magnus, c1275 66.6 11.2
22.2
-
Marcus Graecus, c1350 66.6 11.2 22.2 -
John Arderne, c1350
66.6
11.2 22.2 -
Rothenberg,
c1377
66.6 16.7 16.7 -
Nrnberg,
c1382
66.6 16.7 16.7 -
Montauban,
c1400
71.0 12.9 16.1 -
Tyskland,
c1400
71.0 12.9 16.1 -
Kyeser,
c1400
75.0 12.5 12.5 -
Burgund,
c1423
71.5 21.4 7.1 -
British Army,
c1781
75.0 10.0 15.0 -
Ideal Formula 74.64 11.85 13.51 -
Wu Ching Sung Yao (1550s edition,c1044) 42.3 29.6 2.8 25.3


12. Handgonne being fired from over the shoulder, early 1400's. Note the shape of the butt and method of attachment


13. Two shooters with a handgonne, one aims and the other fires, 1437 (Codex Manuscript 3062, Austrian National Library, Vienna)

The earliest authenticated document for the use of cannons in Europe is an order by the council of Florence to employ masters for the making of iron arrows and balls and "cannones de metallo" on February 11th, 1326. In two manuscripts of 1326, by Walter de Milemete, cannons are illustrated although not mentioned in the text. They are shown firing large metal bolts (musket arrows were stocked by European armies until the 1600s). Other early accounts mention cannon being shipped from Ghent (1313), and used against the Scots (1327). A manuscript from Rouen mentions "Pots de fer a traire garros a feu" in 1338 ("pots of iron to throw arrows with/of fire"). A reference to cannons at the battle of Metz in 1324 has been revealed as a forgery.


14. Hussite Wagon-fort, showing gunner and crossbowman, 1437. Note only one person is aiming and firing

15. From top to bottom:
i) hackbut with iron tiller, early 1400s
ii) bronze hackbut with socket for stock, early 1400s
iii) Regensburg hackbut, about 1400
iv) bronze handgonne from Tannenburg, pre 1399
v) hackbut of forged iron with beam-shaped stock, with fitted ramrod about 1400. Barrel length 297 mm, cal. 32mm.

However, Angelucci (writing in 1869) cites a document of 1281 mentioning: "a big squad of crossbowman and scopettieri lead by Count Guido of Montefeltro". The scopettieri are gun-bearers, and, if correct, this gives us a date for the introduction of firearms earlier than any other. This reference to portable guns so early makes sense if we consider that gunmakers would have started making smaller examples first, until they had perfected the techniques for making larger cannon and gained a certain amount of confidence in their abilities.


16. Serpentine lock, about 1430


17. Another form of serpentine lock, passing through the stock, about 1430

It may be worthwhile here to mention the persistent and erroneous fairy-tale of Black Berthold (Bertholdus Niger, or Berthold Schwarz) who was reputed to have invented the gun, or gunpowder, in either 1332 or 1432 in Germany. He never existed, except in the imaginations of Renaissance artists, who delighted in portraying him inventing gunpowder with the assistance of Satan.


18. Soldiers preparing to shoot incendiary arrows into a castle. From a south German book on the use of gunpowder(Ms. I 34), about 1440

References and illustrations up to the year 1400 are scarce, and the surviving examples undateable with few exceptions. We have the curious Loshult gun, excavated last century in circumstances which prevent modern means of dating. It is vase-shaped, like the cannon of de Milemete, which leads us to date it to the same period. How can we explain the curious form, though - the swelled breech and the flared lip? This is obviously not the first of the line, but a developed model, based on previous experience, which, rightly or wrongly, concluded these features made for a safer and more efficient gun. Was this a true handgonne, or perhaps perhaps a model cannon, made by some master founder so as to be able to hawk his larger wares from castle to castle?


19. Another illustration from the same manuscript showing bombs, cannon, and a handgonne


20. Close-up showing barrel bands, stock, and method of aiming

Certainly, there is a great difference between this example and the succeeding ones - the Morko gun, the Tannenberg gun, and other early examples found in the Historical Museum, Bern and the Real Armeria, Madrid. All of these are simple tubes of metal, short, of large calibre, and either socketed to accept a pole-stock, or attached to a stock like that of a contemporary crossbow. A third type had a simple metal stock - a rod extending from the breech, sometimes forged into a loop. One noteworthy feature sometimes found is a slightly conical bore, allowing the use of projectiles of slightly varied dimensions. Stepped bores with a reduced calibre "powder chamber" are also found. While this may have originated as a constructional feature on wrought iron guns, new reaseach by Ulrich Bretscher has found this was an important performance feature.

21. From top to bottom:
i) gun from Lausanne, late 1400's, cal. 25 mm, weight 10.9kg, stock is reconstructed
ii) Gun with iron tiller from Lake Constance, Switzerland, late 1400's. Cal.17.8mm, weight 13.6 kg
iii) handgonne from Majorca, cal. 12.5mm, early 1400's. Real Armeria, Madrid

Professor Tout (1911) published early English documents about handgonnes. A royal account of 1338 (Edward III) mentions a ship equipped with "iii canons der fer ove v chambre" and "un handgone" (3 cannons of iron with 5 chambers and one handgun). In 1373-5, there is an account for payment for the stocking of guns "ad modum pycos" (in the manner of a pike, ie. with a long stave). From the same time, there are accounts detailing the number of bullet moulds and lead balls kept at the Tower of London.


22. Bronze handgonne barrel, late 1400's, royal armouries (XII, 959)


23. Three guns from the Historisches Museum, Bern
i) 1300's, barrel secured by bands
ii) early 1400's, bronze barrel with pan, pinned to stock
iii) arquebus with snapping matchlock, late 1400's. The button on the rear of the lockpate releases a pin which engages the tail of the serpentine, thus allowing it to fall forward with gravity or (mild) spring pressure

As an aside, I recently examined what was purported to be a Mongol handgonne of the 1280s, abandoned during Kublai Khan's aborted second invasion of Japan. Apart from the fact that it was unethically obtained without proper excavation, I had my doubts because of the cylindrical bore - since this implies the use of corned (grained) powder, which was invented in Europe in about 1400. I am certain investigation will reveal it as a small cannon of the 1500's, inspired by Portuguese or Chinese weapons (unless, of course, it is a forgery or a primitive, modern era artifact from south Asia).


24. From top to bottom:
i) hackbut of forged iron, early 1400s, Bohemian, bearing the mark of the Rosenberg family. Length, 997 mm, cal. 33mm
ii) arquebus with snapping matchlock, about 1500, with the town mark of Basle. Note the serpentine falls towards the shooter and the release button is on the forward section of the lockplate, opposite to fig 23 (iii)

Gun barrels grew longer as the 14th century rolled on, acquiring a hook, or warring spike, to act as a recoil absorber when rested on a wall or stand, and also as a secondary weapon between loadings, or in case of failure to ignite. To those used to a crossbow, the recoil of a gun, with calibres over 25 mm, even with the weak powder available, must have been fearful.


25. From top to bottom:
i) hackbut of forged iron with socket for stock, about 1450, length 890 mm, cal 24mm.
ii) breech loading handgonne, chamber missing, late 1400's. length 1,460 mm, cal 18 mm


26. Handgonners assaulting a castle, from a manuscript of 1468 (Burney MS 169, British Museum)

These hooked guns were called Hagbuts or Hackbuts in England, Hakenbusch in Germany, or Harquebus in France. It may be of interest to note that the derivation of the word "gun" is from gyn, an abbreviation of engyn, the old English word for a piece of military material, or machine. Buss is German for an church almsbox, which had a similar shape . Cannon comes from the Latin canna, meaning a tube. Bombard comes from the Greek, bombos, meaning a buzz. And artillery comes from the old French atillement, meaning apparatus, or equipment.


27. Handgonnes with serpentines, from a manuscript of Froissart, 1468, formerly in the state library of Bresslau. Note the careful aim being taken, the serpentine and the tip of the barrel used as makeshift sights


28. Large hackbut without a priming pan, about 1450 (Museum of Art and History, Geneva)

29. Horseman with handgonne-mace, 1460-70 (Codex Germ. 734, Staatsbibliothek, Munich)

The other means of absorbing recoil was to lengthen the stock and brace the gun against the ground, over the shoulder (like a modern rocket launcher), or under the arm. In the case of socketed handgonnes, they were attached to poles "in the manner of pikes". The wooden stocks ranged between 0.75 and 1.5 metres long and 25-50 mm in diameter. Handguns, which were stocked like contemporary crossbows, were shorter and handier, but much the same weight. Some of the socketed guns were later fitted with short curved handles, obviously handier for firing in the confined spaces of a castle. And, as the custom of firing from the shoulder began to catch on, broad heavy butts still attached by socket made their appearance. By about 1430, all the means of holding and aiming the gun were in use:

i) over shoulder,
ii) under arm,
iii) propped against shoulder,
iv) propped against cheek,
v) propped against chest,
vi) held in the hands.

30. Horseman with handgonne and glowing match (Codex Lat. 7329, Bibliotheque National, Paris)


31. Copy of a drawing in a manuscript of the early 1400's, showing a "schiopetto" or handgonne

The only data for performance comes from the Danish researcher, Tage Lasson, who experimented in the 1930s with a replica of the Vedelspang gun. The 23mm round lead ball weighed 52 grammes, the charge of ungrained flour powder, from a recipe of 1380 (8:1:1 saltpeter:sulphur:charcoal), weighed 39 grammes (600 grains). Around 1400, a weight equal to the ball in powder would have been used, but Lasson reduced the charge to compensate for the purity of modern chemicals. At a range of 28m, the ball penetrated 50mm of pine, or a piece of light armour. At 46 metres, the ball penetrated 25mm of pine. This data shows the poor power of these guns compared with crossbows. Evidence from the battle of Wisby (1361) shows crossbow bolts shot from laminated bows had penetrated steel helmets and skulls completely at 80m.


32. Drawing of gun with matchlock by Martin Merz, about 1475. Presumably an externally mounted sear-lock, shown on a gun with an attached pricker for clearing the touch-hole (Codex Germ 599, Staatsbibliothek, Munich)


33. Manuscript of 1473, showing a man firing an arquebus from the shoulder. The colouring indicates a bronze barrel and a serpentine is just visible

Technical improvements and new strategies meant that, by 1400, infantry armed with crossbow and handgonne could begin to challenge the supremacy of the mounted knight. Four main improvements turned the gun into a mobile and effective weapon:

i) the slow match, a cord dipped in saltpeter and dried which burned at a steady rate and which freed gunners from having to be close to a fire in order to operate,
ii) corned, or grained powder, which meant that powder did not have to be prepared immediately before use, thus speeding the rate of fire and preventing misfires, as well as making the powder more powerful and less hygroscopic,
iii) the serpentine, the most basic of firing mechanisms, which freed the gunner to take a proper aim instead of firing by volley (or guestimate),
iv) a pan on top of, or increasingly to the side of, the barrel, to take a larger quantity of priming without weakening the barrel wall.

34. Handgonners attacking a castle, woodcut of 1499, which may depict earlier events

The marvellous Konrad Kyeser, writing in 1400, illustrates the traditional style of gun and gives several formulas without mentioning corning. However, by 1411, Johann Hartlieb in his "Kriegbuch" shows pole mounted handgonnes with z-shaped serpentines passing through the stock, ignited by a piece of match or tinder.


35. From Diebold Schilling's "Berner Chronik" of 1483. Swiss infantry await an onslaught of Burgundian heavy cavalry from behind a wagon fort. The artillery are prepared for rapid fire, with cartridges of powder at the ready (Burger-bibliothek, Bern)


36. Closeup of two arquebusiers, using guns with "over the shoulder" stocks

Handgonnes were extensively used in the Hussite wars of 1426-32. An illustration from this period shows a short handgonne, stocked like a contemporary crossbow and aimed from the cheek. Bohemia and the Czech lands were to figure importantly in firearms history as a result. Platow mentions target shooting, either as military training or for pleasure, in Eger in 1420. and Nuremberg in 1430 and 1433. In 1430 the town of Nuremburg possessed 501 handgonnes and 607 crossbows for the defence of the walls, and sought to equip its militia with more handgonnes for use in the field in conjunction with cannon and wagon-forts. After 1440, aiming from the cheek, or with a shortened stock propped against the shoulder, or over the shoulder, became popular. Gun makers realised that a heavier shorter stock was as effective at absorbing recoil - but arms for use in fortifications still retained their characteristic hook on the barrel.


37. Close-up of a gunner using a shorter "cheek" or shoulder stocked arquebus

By the 1440s, two other types of lock had been developed, but hand ignition, and the simple serpentine pinned to the stock, persisted until the 1520s.


38. From the same manuscript, a river assault using armoured gunboats. The three armoured infantry hold shoulder-stock arquebuses. The hole in the butt is to secure the match through, or perhaps a sling. The barrels are shown with a step, but no firing mechanism

The snapping matchlock used a smaller serpentine, which was spring loaded (albeit weakly) and released by a button located on the lockplate on the side of the gun. The serpentine fell either forward, or backward towards the shooter. Later examples were fired by a more familiar trigger, but except for target shooting, this type fell out of favour by 1550, as an overly strong spring easily extinguished the match. For target shooters, this was not a problem, and the clean "break" of the lock made for a precise aim. This was the type of lock introduced to Japan in the 1520's and which persisted there for the next 350 years.


39. A French woodcut from "Le Champion Des Dames", around 1485

The sear type of matchlock was activated by a lever, like a crossbow, and later a conventional trigger. A sprung sear inside the lock allowed the serpentine to be progressively lowered as the hand squeezed, and instantly retracted when pressure was released. This type of arm was common from 1475 until 1700, when all European armies had abandoned the matchlock. The simplicity and low cost of matchlock arms ensured their long popularity, despite the elaborate drill needed to keep the constantly burning match away from gunpowder during loading.


40. Close-up of a soldier firing a "over shoulder" handgonne


41. Close-up of soldier loading a handgonne.

The invention of various locks to apply match to priming in the later half the the fifteenth century, led, of course, to the development of locks which did away with the need for a burning match altogether, and it is important to look at the development of matchlocks when evaluating the mechanical evolution of the wheellock and snaplock. As far as the military use of matchlocks goes, we see a gradual evolution in the mobility of firepower. The early large caliber guns were used in siege warfare, the later ones in the field behind wagon forts and pavises (large shields), and finally in rapid moving infantry formations. In the 1440s, barrels lengthened to between 500 and 1000mm (20-40 inches) and the caliber dropped to between 12.5 and 16 mm (0.50 and 0.65 caliber). This is the harquebus of the early Renaissance. In infantry formations of the 1480s, we begin to see one harquebusier for every two pikemen, billmen or halberdmen. Later, the proportions became equal. Larger pieces - columbines or wall guns - were used in the field, either from tripods or light carriages. These had calibers of around 25-32mm (1-1.5 inch) and barrels 1.5-2 metres long (5-7 feet). At this period, arquebuses were used mainly for harrassing fire, skirmishing and ambushes.


42. One of the defenders taking an aimed shot with what could be a snapping matchlock, fitted with a shoulder stock

The last innovation in matchlocks was the adoption of the musket around 1520 by the Spanish. This was the most powerful matchlock that it was felt could be carried and fired by one man, being between 18-22 mm (0.72-0.90 calibre) with barrels of at least 1 metre. It was also powerful enough to smash through the heaviest armour at ranges under 50 metres. A forked stand, or monopod, was carried by the musketeer to support the weight of the gun when firing. By this period, pikemen had been relegated to a supporting role, and infantry and musketry became synonymous.


43. A knight using an arquebus, about 1500. Note the forward falling serpentine, presumably a snapping matchlock.

Why the handgonne came to replace other projectile weapons in the late medieval period is not immediately clear and a bit beyond the scope of this short paper. The introduction of the English longbow to European warfare in the early 1300s coincides closely with the invention of the gun. The rapid improvements in armour that this innovation caused eventually dulled its effectiveness. Longbows were cheap and powerful, but required large expenditures in training and feeding troops so that they could be skilled enough and strong enough to use the bow. Thanks to the finds on the Mary Rose, it has been proven that the medieval longbow had a draw weight of up to 68kg (150 lbs). With a hardened steel arrowhead, contemporary observers speak of the ability to penetrate 4 inches of oak at short range.


44. What is claimed to be the earliest known rifle, around 1495, cal. 14.6mm. Lock is missing (W.G. Renwick collection)


45. Two arquebuses with snapping matchlocks, around 1500. Note the hexagonal barrel on the lower one. (Basle Historical Museum)

Let me suggest that the lessening of effectiveness due to better armour, together with the cocky independence that good nutrition and elite status produced was enough to convince feudal leaders that the new technology showed more promise. Firearms became cheaper and cheaper, and any starving wretch who could lift one could use one (as is proved in the Napoleonic War memoirs of Rifleman Harris). Even as late as the 1840s, the Duke of Wellington was fearful of the corrosive effects on discipline of the new rifle-muskets (which were the first firearms to match the accuracy and rate of fire of the longbow).


46. Landesknecht loading an arquebus, about 1500

Guns also required specialists to make ammunition. Any country village could have a fletcher to make arrows, and a blacksmith to forge the heads, but it was not until the 1700s that village dwellers and backwoodsmen gained the knowledge to make their own gunpowder. While the advanced crossbow had better penetration, it was more expensive and just as slow to load as a handgonne. The only advantage of the simpler types of crossbow were silence and a steel projectile. And, contrary to popular belief, all of these weapons were equally ineffectual in heavy rain - until the invention of the steel bow for the crossbow. The psychological effect of arrows, from Elizabethan texts is often described as much worse than gunfire, but let me suggest that in the 1400s, the reverse was true


47. Earliest depiction of a shooting match, Switzerland, 1504

So this complex interplay of social and technological forces finally led to the gun being adopted as the standard infantry projectile weapon 300 years before it could match the accuracy and rapidity of fire of it's "obsolete" predecessor. Hopefully more research, especially of an experimental nature will help untangle the tangled skein.

COMPARISON OF SOME EARLY HANDGONNES
name: barrel length: calibre: weight: material: other:
LOSHULT(f.2) 300mm 36-31mm 9.07kg bronze tapered bore
MORKO(f.3) 190mm 16.5m ? bronze socket mount, hook, pan on top
BERN GUNS(f.5i) 170-200mm 30-35mm 2-2.5kg iron tiller stock, barrel bands
TANNENBERG(15iv) 320mm 17.9-17.2mm 1.23kg bronze socket mount,stepped bore
LINZ 270mm 30mm 2.40kg iron tang for pole mounting
VEDELSPANG(f.6) 200mm 23mm ? iron metal stock
Figure 9 500mm 25mm 5.4kg iron metal stock
TABOR 423mm 18mm ? iron socket mount, Czech
ARMERIA 2(f21iii) ? 12.5mm ? iron beam stock, barrel wired on
HUSSITE(f.15v) 297mm 32mm ? iron beam stock, barrel band and pin
LAUSANNE(f.21i) ? 25mm 10.9kg ? beam stock, pinned barrel, hook
CONSTANCE(f.21ii) ? 17.8mm 13.6kg iron iron stock, hook, proto-pan
arranged in approximate chronological order

 

48. Top: Italian musket with lever operated sear lock, 1580. Bottom: German musket with trigger operated sear lock, 1590


49. Ornately decorated civilian muskets, English and Dutch, around 1600

50. Ornate German target matchlock, around 1600. Note the peep sight and the "cheek" stock


51. Some of the many steps of the musket drill of the 1600's, designed as much for safety as for show.

SOURCES

Howard Blackmore, Firearms, Dutton Vista, 1964

Richard Humble, Warfare in the Middle Ages,
Bison Books, 1989

Guillermo Qintana Lacaci, Armeria del Palacio Real de Madrid, Patrimonio Nacional, 1987

David Lazenby, Cannons - that diabolic instrument of war, http://www.middelaldercentret.dk, 1999

Jaroslav Lugs, A History of Shooting,
Spring Books, 1968

Paul Martin, Armour and Weapons,
Herbert Jenkins, 1968

Heinrich Muller, Guns, Pistols and Revolvers: Hand- firearms from the 14th to the 19th century Orbis, 1981

Norman and Wilson, Treasures from the Tower of London,
Lund Humphries, 1982

North and Hogg, The Book of Guns and Gunsmiths,
Collins, 1978

Harold L Peterson, ed, Encyclopedia of Firearms,
George Rainbird Ltd, 1964

Harold L Peterson, The Treasury of the Gun,
Golden Press, 1962

Peterson and Elman, The Great Guns,
Hamlyn ,1971

Dudley Pope, Guns,
Hamlyn, 1969

Howard Ricketts, Firearms,
Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 1967

Graeme Rimer, "Early Handguns" in
Royal Armouries Yearbook Vol 1, Royal Armouries, 1996

GWP Swenson, Pictorial History of the Rifle,
Bonanza, 1972


52. German matchlock target rifle of 1598. The trigger is missing, but there was no trigger guard


53. Dutch explorer shooting a bear. Even at this late stage, the "over shoulder" technique was still used by the small in stature. By 1700, most armies had withdrawn matchlocks from active service.

LINKS

***NEW LINKS AT THE TOP***

The late 17th century French matchlock musket (mousquet mche) 1660-1700 in New-France -Kevin Gladysz's excellent site

Ulrich Bretscher's Handgonne Page - experiments with replica handgonnes and medieval gunpowder dispel old myths!

Gunpowder Weapons of the15th century

Maitre Jehan de Montesiler - the first recorded marksman

The Pre-Flintlock forum

Teleoceras's Blackpowder page

Handgonnes and early cannons at sea

Slowmatch website

Albion Smallarms-Hand Gonne,and Matchlock makers

Armoury of the Doges of Venice

Armoury of the Dukes of Burgundy

Arquebus and Matchlock Musket Page

Build Your Own Matchlock-the Tattershall way

Calderon's Company Matchlock Page

Decline of the Longbow

Dexter Guptil's Handgonne and Matchlock Page

Dixie Gun Works - for all your blackpowder shooting needs

English Armourie - Muskets For Sale

G Gedney Godwin-Sutler

Handgonnes.com- Handgonne and Arquebus makers

Historic Enterprises - Excellent Arquebuses for Sale

The Japanese Matchlock- History and Glossary

Japanese Matchlock History And Shooting Tips

Loyalist Arms - Muskets for Sale

Medieval Technology Pages - Cannon

Musket Drill

Order A Matchlock Shooting Guide

Polish Matchlock Drill and Glossary

Reme Museum Of Technology - Matchlocks

Robin's Matchlock Page-I want to steal his Toys!

Royal Armouries

Sykes Sutler- Matchlocks for Sale

Suhl Musket for Sale

Tattershall Arms-Matchlocks for Sale

Track of the Wolf- Excellent Blackpowder Supplies

Ahem...have I seen this before?


Copyright: Dis Pater Design, 2000

Contributions to the cost of this website whilst not sought, are always gratefully recieved
PO Box 178 Newtown, NSW 2042 Australia


Back to Contents Page