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The Great Guns Of Turkey

The Great Guns Of Turkey image
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Au Eiiglish paper says: " The Castle of Asia, on the Dardanelles, it seems, still boasts the biggest guns ia the universo. Of greater caliber than our vaunted 80-ton cannon or 100-ton weapous of the Italiana, tho old bronze ordnance of the Turks still enjoys the reputatiouof being able to fire the largest cannou balls iu the world. Tliesc guns have now guarded the pórtala to the Turkish empire for two or three centuries, aud have on aeveral occasions proved that they are useful as well as ornamental. Indeed, it wpuld bo diftioult to point out wcapons whieli have done more Serviöe in their time than these colossal inonuments of bygone ages. The okV bronze cannon, we are tokl, date is ftback as the ñfteenth and sixteenth centimes, many of them having bepn eraployed at the siege of Scutnri, in Albania, by Mohammed II. ( in 1478. There was hard flghting in those dtja, if we may trust Von Hammer's history, for during two months that the siege contimied 110 less than 2,531 shots were ftred, someof thern of a diameter of thirty-two Loches. Estimating tlio weiglit of guupowder at a fourtli that of the ball, it must have taken a charge of well-nigh 400 poumls of powder k huil some of these massive thunderbolte against the walls of Scutari. How the Turks in those days eould produce suiiieient. gunpowder to supply their wants, or, what is more wonderhil still, obfcain so many stone cannon balls, which had to be ent from quarries, earefully fashioncd iuto shape and conveyed to tlieir battfries, are matters wliioh must forever remain a mystery; but this mueh is very oertain, that the work could never have been perfornied without unflagging eioergy and perseveranoe on tlie part of the Sultan and his offioex. Von Moltke, the great Prussian strategist, inspeeten these guus on the Dardanclles in 1829, then a youthful artlllery offleer, and hi liis account of liis travels he saysi ' These gigantic guns are somo of them tweuty-eight iiichcs in diameter, and a man may areep into them up to the breech.' But it is abt only in bygone times that these weapons have bron 1111ployed with effect, for in the present century oue of our Admiráis, Sir John Diickwortli, who foröed the passage of the Dardanelles in March, 1807, had six vessek sti'uck, and 100 men killed and wounded by tlic unwicldy giants under whose muzzles he had to pas. In consequence of a 26-inch ball striking the Standard 011 that occasion no less than eight men were killed and forty wounded; while anotlier oannon ball of stone twenty-eight inches in diameter made sucli a hole in the Active that the Ca) - tain, looking over to séè Vh'ai was the matter, saw two of liis mon tlinisting tüiir licads tlirongh it at the samo raotneut Thesa oounon, bojrevefr, caiuipt vie with our modern heavy guus. Being placed in a conniianding position above the straits, they are neeessnrily formidable weápons, lut tbey bowl out, ratlier than iire, the I ig stone cannon ballsfnun their muzzlos, the gunpowder employéd for the puxpose being of a low-burning ohaacacter to avoid all strain upon the guns."


Old News
Michigan Argus