Jacket lifting trunnion
King Charles VIII and the French army used this new gun in the 1494 invasion of Italy.These behemoths could only be used effectively in sieges, and more often than not provided just a psychological effect on the battlefield; owning these giant mortars did not guarantee any army a victory.Trunnions were mounted near the center of mass to allow the barrel to be elevated to any desired angle, without having to dismount it from the carriage upon which it rested.Defensive tactics and fortifications had to be altered since these new weapons could be transported so speedily and aimed with much more accuracy at strategic locations.Although deemed masters of war and artillery at that time, Italians had not anticipated the innovations in French siege weaponry.Guns would be up to eight feet in length and shoot iron projectiles weighing from twenty-five to fifty pounds.Equipping them with trunnions was key for two reasons: teams of horses could now move these cannons fast enough to keep up with their armies, without having to stop and dismount them from their carriages to achieve the proper range before firing.Cities that had proudly withstood sieges for up to seven years fell swiftly with the advent of these new weapons.For the first time in history, as seen in the 1512 battle of Ravenna and the 1515 Battle of Marignano, artillery weaponry played a very decisive part in the victory of the invading army over the city under siege.Two such changes were the additions of a ditch and low, sloping ramparts of packed earth that would surround the city and absorb the impact of the cannonballs (glacis), and the replacement of round watchtowers with angular bastions. Whoever could afford these new weapons had the tactical advantage over their neighbors and smaller sovereignties, which could not incorporate them into their army.With the creation of larger and more powerful siege guns in the early 15th century, a new way of mounting them had to be specially designed.
Some guns had a second set of trunnions placed several feet back from the first pair, which could be used to allow for easier transportation.These wrought iron balls when discharged were comparable in range and accuracy with stone-firing bombards.Smaller states, such as the principalities of Italy, began to conglomerate.Francesco Guicciardini, an Italian historian and statesman, sometimes referred to as the “Father of History,” wrote that the cannons were placed against town walls so quickly, spaced together so closely and shot so rapidly and with such force that the time for a significant amount of damage to be inflicted went from a matter of days (as with bombards) to a matter of hours.Prior to this, field artillery guns were huge, large-caliber bombards: superguns that, along with enormous stones or other projectiles, were dragged from destination to destination.
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