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Weapons of the Industrial Revolution

Insight into the warfare of the Industrial Age
by

McKenna Dickenson

on 15 April 2013

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Transcript of Weapons of the Industrial Revolution

At the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, armies fought on foot or on horse, with swords, lances or muzzle-loading muskets. The musket was a long gun, firing round balls of lead. It had a killing distance of about 150 meters and a very slow rate of fire. Steps to loading a musket: Powder was poured from the powder horn into a measure that held a pre-determined amount of powder. The powder charge was then poured down the barrel of the gun. A patched lead ball was the placed on the muzzle of the gun and then shoved down the barrel until it rested on top of the powder charge. A finer grade of powder was poured from a different powder horn into the pan of the rifle or musket, the hammer pulled back and the frizzen was closed. The weapon was then ready to be fired. Because of this, foot soldiers fought in three rows, or ranks. The front row was kneeling and shooting, the second row was ready to fire and the third row was re-loading. The three rows changed places as they fired, with the first row moving to the back. In 1914, the musket was replaced by the repeating rifle. This gun was made of steel and had a round barrel. It had a faster rate of fire than the musket and a more accurate range of up to 500 meters. Also, the guns were rifled. This is the process of adding spiral rings to the inside of the barrel.The old, bronze cannon had been replaced by cast steel guns. A man named Henry Bessemer was looking for a way to make a more accurate cannon, when he stumbled across a new process for making steel. Bessemer's initial research indicated that a grooved, or rifled, barrel would give much more accurate shots. Since it was impossible to produce such accuracy with a bronze cannon. Bessemer tried using steel but found it too costly. This brought him to develop a process for making cheap steel, the Bessemer process. The cast steel guns that were being produced were used by the navies and the armies of Europe. As weapons caused more damage, the need for heftier, tougher ships increased. The ships that were made from oak wouldn't work anymore. Iron and steel ships were made to hold the cannon and withstand more damage. The Navy was never happy with paddle propulsion because it was also too vulnerable from attack. When the screw propeller was demonstrated by Isambard Kingdom Brunel in 1843, the Navy accepted it and incorporated it into all of the future ship designs. By the end of the war in 1918, the aeroplane had developed from a flimsy, single-engined machine made of wood and canvas, into a large and sophisticated four engined plane, capable of dropping large quantities of bombs. Ships became armored and steam driven. Carrying huge steal cannons, they were practically unstoppable. Weapons of the Industrial Age By McKenna Dickenson At the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, armies fought on foot or on horse, with swords, lances or muzzle-loading muskets. The musket was a long gun, firing round balls of lead. It had a firing distance of about 150 meters and a very slow rate of fire.
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