Itsukushima Shrine is a Shinto shrine on the island of Itsukushima, best known for its "floating" torii gate. It is in the city of Hatsukaichi in Hiroshima Prefecture in Japan; the shrine complex is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Japanese government has designated several buildings and possessions as National Treasures. The Itsukushima shrine is one of Japan's most popular tourist attractions, it is most famous for its dramatic gate, or torii on the outskirts of the shrine, the sacred peaks of Mount Misen, extensive forests, its aesthetic ocean view. The shrine complex itself consists of two main buildings: the Honsha shrine and the Sessha Marodo-jinja, as well as17 other different buildings and structures that help to distinguish it; the complex is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, six of its buildings and possessions have been designated by the Japanese government as National Treasures. Itsukushima jinja h was the chief Shinto shrine of Aki Province, it is said to have been erected in 593 by Saeki Kuramoto during the Suiko period.
However, the present shrine has been popularly attributed to Taira no Kiyomori, a prominent warlord who contributed to the building of the shrine during his time as governor of Aki Province in 1168. Another renowned patron of the shrine was the warlord Mori Motonari, was lord of Choshu, responsible for rebuilding the honden in 1571, it is important to note, that as a result of waging war against Sue Takafusa there in 1555, Motonari is said to have tainted the island's grounds by battling on the island This relates to the strict notions of sacred purity that Shinto shrines stand for. The only surviving structure in Itsukushima shrine from the Kamakura period is the Kyakuden or "Guest-God's Shrine", it was not uncommon during the 16th century for daimyo to build shrines or take on other architectural projects in order to "reflect their power and splendor." The Taira are known for their involvement in maritime trade with the Sung dynasty, attempting to monopolize overseas trade along the Inland Sea.
Kiyomori was at the height of his power. He "ordered construction of the main hall of Itsukushima Shrine as a display of reverence for the tutelary god of navigation and to serve as a base for maritime activities..." Miyajima soon became the Taira family shrine. Kiyomori chose the location for the reason to further establish himself in the Heian aristocracy as one who deviated from the social norms of Shinto pilgrimage, he lavished great wealth upon Itsukushima, he enjoyed showing the place to his friends and colleagues, or to royal personages..." It is said that Kiyomori rebuilt the shrine on account of a dream he had of an old monk who promised him dominion over Japan if he constructed a shrine on the island of Miyajima, pay homage to its kami who are enshrined there for his success in life. The renovations funded by the Taira allowed for Itsukushima to "grow into an important religious complex." The Itsukushima shrine is dedicated to the three daughters of Susano-o no Mikoto: Ichikishimahime no mikoto, Tagorihime no mikoto, Tagitsuhime no mikoto.
Otherwise known as the sanjoshin or "three female deities", these Shinto deities are the goddesses of seas and storms. Kiyomori believed the goddesses to be "manifestations of Kannon," therefore the island was understood as the home of the bodhisattva. In Japanese, Itsukushima translates to mean " island dedicated to the gods" In fact,the island itself is considered to be a god, why the shrine was built on the outskirts of the island. Adding to its sanctity, Mount Misen is "its tallest peak" ranging about "1,755 feet high." Tourists can either take a ropeway to the top. Its treasures include the celebrated Heike Nōkyō, or'Sutras dedicated by the Taira House of Taira'; these consist of thirty-two scrolls, on which the Lotus and Heart sutras have been copied by Kiyomori, his sons, other members of the family, each completing the writing of one scroll, " decorated with silver and mother-of-pearl by himself and other members of his clan." Itsukushima was a pure Shinto shrine "where no births or deaths were allowed to cause pollution.
Because the island itself has been considered sacred, commoners were not allowed to set foot on it throughout much of its history to maintain its purity. Retaining the purity of the shrine is so important that since 1878, no deaths or births have been permitted near it. To this day, pregnant women are supposed to retreat to the mainland as the day of delivery approaches, as are the terminally ill or the elderly whose passing has become imminent. Burials on the island are forbidden. To allow pilgrims to approach, the shrine was built like a pier over the water, so that it appeared to float, separate from the land; the red entrance gate, or torii, was built over the water for much the same reason. Commoners had to steer their boats through the torii before approaching the shrine. Japan has gone to great lengths to preserve the twelfth-century-style architecture of the Shrine throughout history; the shrine was designed and built according to the Shinden zukuri style, equipped with pier-like structures over the Matsushima bay in order to create the illusion of floating on the water, separate from island, which could be approached by the devout "like a palace on the sea."
This idea of intertwining architecture and nature is reflective of a popular trend during the 16th century as well as the Heian period in which Japanese structures tended to "follow after their environment," allowing trees and other forms of natural beauty
The Canet guns were a series of weapon systems developed by the French engineer Gustave Canet, design engineer for Schneider et Cie of Le Creusot. Canet developed a 12.6 in 38 cal naval gun, an powerful weapon for its time for the export market. The gun was first selected by the Spanish Navy in 1884 as part of a large naval expansion program which called for six new battleships; the Spanish armaments firm Hontoria obtained a manufacturing license to produce the weapon, but due to budgetary reasons, only one vessel, the Pelayo, was completed. Canet was more successful in sales to the Empire of Japan, when the gun was selected by the French military advisor and naval architect Louis-Émile Bertin as the main battery of the Matsushima-class cruiser, new type of cruiser he had designed in 1887; the usage was consistent with the Jeune École philosophy, which advocated placing overwhelming firepower on small ships. This philosophy was of great interest to the Imperial Japanese Navy, which lacked the resources at the time to purchase modern pre-dreadnought battleships.
The guns supplied to Japan equipped the cruisers Matsushima and Hashidate. Each gun weighed 67 tons, had a barrel 12 metres long, firing a 112 cm long projectile with weight of 350 kg for an effective range of 8,000 metres; the guns proved only marginally successful during the First Sino-Japanese War, due to a slow rate of fire, numerous mechanical problems. The guns could not be aimed abeam. In combat, gunners were able to fire only around one shot per hour due to the time it took to reload. M. Canet is known for the development of the Schneider-Canet gun system for 75 mm iron BL mountain guns, rapid-fire 120 mm and 152 mm guns. Brooke, Peter. Warships for Export: Armstrong Warships 1867–1927. Gravesend: World Ship Society. ISBN 0-905617-89-4. Roksund, Arne; the Jeune École: The Strategy of the Weak. Leiden: Brill. ISBN 9789004157231; the Canet gun
Fantails are small insectivorous birds of Australasia, Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent belonging to the genus Rhipidura in the family Rhipiduridae. Most of the species are about 15 to 18 cm long, specialist aerial feeders, named as "fantails", but the Australian willie wagtail is a little larger, though still an expert hunter of insects on the wing, concentrates on terrestrial prey; the true wagtails are part of the genus Motacilla in the family Motacillidae and are not close relatives of the fantails. The fantails are small bodied birds with long tails; when the tail is folded it is rounded at the end, but when spread in display or aerial foraging it has a characteristic fan shape that gives the family its name. Fantails adopt a hunched horizontal posture most of the time, with the wings drooped and held away from the body and the tail half cocked. There are some exceptions to this the northern fantail of New Guinea and the Cockerell's fantail of the Solomon Islands, which have a more upright posture reminiscent of the monarch flycatchers.
The wings of fantails are tapered and have sacrificed speed for agility, making fantails efficient at catching insect prey. Overall the fantails are strong fliers, some species can undertake long migrations, but the thicket fantails are weak fliers, need to alight regularly; the bills of fantails are typical for aerial insect eating birds, being triangular. The gape is surrounded by two rows of rictal bristles which are long as long as the bill; the bills of most species are weak, limiting fantails to softer insects, although the more terrestrial willie wagtail has a stronger bill. The plumage of most fantails shows some variation, most species are uniform with some markings. A few species, such as the Rennell fantail, have uniform plumage, while others have striking if sombre patterns; the colours of most species are greys, blacks and browns, although a few species have yellow or striking blue feathers. In most species there is no sexual dimorphism in plumage. In a few species, such as the New Zealand fantail, there exist two colour morphs, the common pied morph and the rarer black morph.
Fantails are an Australasian family. In the south the grey fantail ranges as far as The Snares off New Zealand, in the eastern extent of the family has several endemic forms in western Polynesia. There are numerous species in Indonesia, the Philippines and in South East Asia, the family ranges into southern China and the Himalayas; some species have a widespread distribution the willie wagtail, grey fantail, white-throated fantail and northern fantail. The Mussau fantail is restricted to a single island in the Bismarck Archipelago, the Kadavu fantail has a restricted distribution in the Kadavu Group of Fiji. Most fantails the tropical or insular forms, are sedentary and undertake no migration; some northern and southern species undertake a variety of movements. Some Australian fantails undertake seasonal migrations, although these show considerable variation within individual species. Most populations of the rufous fantail exhibit little migratory behaviour, but the south-eastern population moves en masse to northern Queensland and New Guinea.
Fantails exhibit wide tastes in habitat. Most species are able to survive in a variety of habitats. Of all the species the mangrove fantail has the most restricted habitat requirements, being restricted to mangrove forests over some of its range, although it can exist 3 km away in the absence of other fantails; some of the more primitive species are more restricted to primary rainforest, but most other species can survive in more disturbed forest. The most adaptable species is the willie wagtail, abundant in every habitat type in Australia except for dense rainforest; the behaviour of many species of fantail has not been studied, but overall the family is uniform in its habits. Anecdotal observations of less studied species suggest a high degree of similarity with the better studied species. Fantails are active birds, with several of the smaller species continuously on the move. In flight they are agile and undertake aerobatic and intricate looping flights while using their fanned tail to catch insects in flight.
The majority of the diet of fantails composes of small invertebrates. The larger willie wagtail is capable of tackling small skinks. Insect prey is small and handled, but larger items sometimes need to be subdued by being banged on branches, an action that removes the wings of larger prey items like moths. There are two general techniques used by the family in order to obtain prey; the first is known as "static searching"
First Sino-Japanese War
The First Sino-Japanese War was fought between China and Japan over influence in Korea. After more than six months of unbroken successes by Japanese land and naval forces and the loss of the port of Weihaiwei, the Qing government sued for peace in February 1895; the war demonstrated the failure of the Qing dynasty's attempts to modernize its military and fend off threats to its sovereignty when compared with Japan's successful Meiji Restoration. For the first time, regional dominance in East Asia shifted from China to Japan; the humiliating loss of Korea as a tributary state sparked an unprecedented public outcry. Within China, the defeat was a catalyst for a series of political upheavals led by Sun Yat-sen and Kang Youwei, culminating in the 1911 Xinhai Revolution; the war is known in China as the War of Jiawu, referring to the year as named under the traditional sexagenary system of years. In Japan, it is called the Japan–Qing War. In Korea, where much of the war took place, it is called the Qing–Japan War.
After two centuries, the Japanese policy of seclusion under the shōguns of the Edo period came to an end when the country was opened to trade by the Convention of Kanagawa in 1854. In the years following the Meiji Restoration of 1868 and the fall of the shogunate, the newly formed Meiji government embarked on reforms to centralize and modernize Japan; the Japanese had sent delegations and students around the world to learn and assimilate Western arts and sciences, with the intention of making Japan an equal to the Western powers. These reforms transformed Japan from a feudal society into a modern industrial state; the Qing Dynasty had started to undergo reform in both military and political doctrine, but was far from successful. In January 1864, Cheoljong of Joseon died without a male heir, through Korean succession protocols Gojong of Korea ascended the throne at the age of 12. However, as King Gojong was too young to rule, the new king's father, Yi Ha-ŭng, became the Heungseon Daewongun, or lord of the great court, ruled Korea in his son's name as regent.
The term Daewongun referred to any person, not the king but whose son took the throne. With his ascendancy to power the Daewongun initiated a set of reforms designed to strengthen the monarchy at the expense of the Yangban class, he pursued an isolationist policy and was determined to purge the kingdom of any foreign ideas that had infiltrated into the nation. In Korean history, the king's in-laws enjoyed great power the Daewongun acknowledged that any future daughters-in-law might threaten his authority. Therefore, he attempted to prevent any possible threat to his rule by selecting as a new queen for his son an orphaned girl from among the Yŏhŭng Min clan, which lacked powerful political connections. With Empress Myeongseong as his daughter-in-law and the royal consort, the Daewongun felt secure in his power. However, after she had become queen, Min recruited all her relatives and had them appointed to influential positions in the name of the king; the Queen allied herself with political enemies of the Daewongun, so that by late 1873 she had mobilized enough influence to oust him from power.
In October 1873, when the Confucian scholar Choe Ik-hyeon submitted a memorial to King Gojong urging him to rule in his own right, Queen Min seized the opportunity to force her father-in-law's retirement as regent. The departure of the Daewongun led to Korea's abandonment of its isolationist policy. On February 26, 1876, after confrontations between the Japanese and Koreans, the Ganghwa Treaty was signed, opening Korea to Japanese trade. In 1880, the King sent a mission to Japan, headed by Kim Hong-jip, an enthusiastic observer of the reforms taking place there. While in Japan, the Chinese diplomat Huang Zunxian presented him with a study called "Chaoxian Celue", it warned of the threat to Korea posed by the Russians and recommended that Korea maintain friendly relations with Japan, at the time too economically weak to be an immediate threat, to work with China, seek an alliance with the United States as a counterweight to Russia. After returning to Korea, Kim presented the document to King Gojong, so impressed with the document that he had copies made and distributed to his officials.
In 1880, following Chinese advice and breaking with tradition, King Gojong decided to establish diplomatic ties with the United States. After negotiations through Chinese mediation in Tianjin, the Treaty of Peace, Amity and Navigation was formally signed between the United States and Korea in Incheon on May 22, 1882. However, there were two significant issues raised by the treaty, the first concerned Korea's status as an independent nation. During the talks with the Americans, the Chinese insisted that the treaty contain an article declaring that Korea was a dependency of China and argued that the country had long been a tributary state of China, but the Americans opposed such an article, arguing that a treaty with Korea should be based on the Treaty of Ganghwa, which stipulated that Korea was an independent state. A compromise was reached, with Shufeldt and Li agreeing that the King of Korea would notify the U. S president in a letter that Korea had special status as a tributary state of China.
The treaty between the Korean government and the United States became the model for all treaties between it and other Western countries. Korea signed similar trade and commerce treaties with Great Britain and Germany in 1883, with Italy and
Battle of the Yalu River (1894)
The Battle of the Yalu River was the largest naval engagement of the First Sino-Japanese War, took place on 17 September 1894, the day after the Japanese victory at the land Battle of Pyongyang. It involved ships from the Chinese Beiyang Fleet; the battle is known by a variety of names: Battle of Haiyang Island, Battle of Dadonggou, Battle of the Yellow Sea and Battle of Yalu, after the geographic location of the battle, in the Yellow Sea off the mouth of the Yalu River and not in the river itself. There is no agreement among contemporary sources on the exact numbers and composition of each fleet. Japan's initial strategy was to gain command of the sea, critical to its operations in Korea. Command of the sea would allow Japan to transport troops to the mainland; the Imperial Japanese Army's Fifth Division would land at Chemulpo on the western coast of Korea, both to engage and push Chinese forces northwest up the peninsula and to draw the Beiyang Fleet into the Yellow Sea, where it would be engaged in decisive battle.
Depending on the outcome of this engagement, Japan would make one of three choices. If the engagement were to be a draw and neither side gained control of the sea, the army would concentrate on the occupation of Korea. Lastly, if the Combined Fleet was defeated and lost command of the sea, the bulk of the army would remain in Japan and prepare to repel a Chinese invasion, while the Fifth Division in Korea would be ordered to hang on and fight a rearguard action. With tensions with Japan increasing over the situation on the Peninsula, the Chinese government chartered three British steamers to carry reinforcements to Korea in late July to bolster their position in Korea; the three troopships were escorted by three naval vessels, the cruiser Jiyuan and the gunboats Kwang-yi and Tsao-kiang. A Japanese force consisting of the cruisers Akitsushima and Naniwa intercepted the three Chinese warships off Pungo Island. Within one hour, the engagement which ended in a Japanese victory, Jiyuan was forced to flee, Kwang-yi became stranded on a shoal and Tsao-kiang had been captured.
Although the first two of the three troopships arrived safely in Korea, on 25 July 1894, Naniwa intercepted the third, carrying 1,200 Chinese troops. The Chinese troops on board refused to surrender or to be interned and Naniwa was forced to sink the vessel. Admiral Ding Ruchang had learned about the engagement at Pungdo on the morning of 26 July, when at 6.00am, the damaged cruiser Jiyuan arrived at Weihaiwei. Although the Chinese admiral had not been aware of the sinking of Kowshing, he considered the destruction of Kwang-yi and shelling of Jiyuan as an act of war. On the same day, without notifying Li Hongzhang, he left Weihaiwei with eleven warships and seven torpedo boats and headed for the Korean coast, while the damaged Jiyuan sailed to Port Arthur for repairs. After arriving in Korean waters on the morning of the following day, the Chinese ships cruised the area looking to engage the enemy. However, the abrupt change in the weather made the patrolling of the Korean waters more arduous for the small torpedo boats and the Chinese fleet returned to Weihaiwei on 28 July.
The Chinese warships resupplied themselves with coal while the weather improved, the main force of the Beiyang Fleet was put to sea again on the following day but without the torpedo boats, heading for the Korean coast. This second cruise lasted longer, until 3 August. At the beginning of September, Li Hongzhang decided to reinforce the Chinese forces at Pyongyang, by employing the Beiyang Fleet to escort transports to the mouth of the Taedong River. About 4,500 additional troops were to be redeployed, these had been stationed in the Zhili. On 12 September, half of the troops embarked at Dagu on five specially chartered transports and headed to Dalian where two days on 14 September, they were joined by another 2,000 soldiers. Admiral Ding wanted to send the transports under a light escort with only a few ships, while the main force of the Beiyang Fleet would locate and operate directly against Combined Fleet, in order to prevent the Japanese from intercepting the convoy. However, the appearance of the Japanese cruisers Yoshino and Naniwa near Weihaiwei, which were on reconnaissance sortie, thwarted these plans.
The Chinese mistook them for the main Japanese fleet. On 12 September, the entire Beiyang Fleet departed Dalian, heading for Weihaiwei and arriving in near the Shandong Peninsula the following day; the Chinese warships spent the entire day cruising the area. However, since no sighting of the Japanese, Admiral Ding decided to return to Dalian, arriving there in the morning of 15 September; the Japanese victory at Pyongyang had succeeded in pushing Chinese troops north to the Yalu River, in the process removing all effective Chinese military presence on the Korean peninsula. Shortly before the convoy's departure, Admiral Ding received a message concerning the battle at Pyongyang. Although it was rather inaccurate, it informed him about the defeat and subsequently made the redeployment of the troops to near the mouth of the Taedong River unnecessary. Admiral Ding, who correctly assumed that the next Chinese line of defence would be established on
A torpedo tube is a cylinder shaped device for launching torpedoes. There are two main types of torpedo tube: underwater tubes fitted to submarines and some surface ships, deck-mounted units installed aboard surface vessels. Deck-mounted torpedo launchers are designed for a specific type of torpedo, while submarine torpedo tubes are general-purpose launchers, are also capable of deploying mines and cruise missiles. Most modern launchers are standardised on a 12.75-inch diameter for light torpedoes or a 21-inch diameter for heavy torpedoes, although other sizes of torpedo tube have been used: see Torpedo classes and diameters. A submarine torpedo tube is a more complex mechanism than a torpedo tube on a surface ship, because the tube has to accomplish the function of moving the torpedo from the normal atmospheric pressure within the submarine into the sea at the ambient pressure of the water around the submarine, thus a submarine torpedo tube operates on the principle of an airlock. The diagram on the right illustrates the operation of a submarine torpedo tube.
The diagram does show the working of a submarine torpedo launch. A torpedo tube has a considerable number of interlocks for safety reasons. For example, an interlock prevents the breech muzzle door from opening at the same time; the submarine torpedo launch sequence is, in simplified form: Open the breech door in the torpedo room. Load the torpedo into the tube. Hook up the wire-guide connection and the torpedo power cable. Shut and lock the breech door. Turn on power to the torpedo. A minimum amount of time is required for torpedo warmup. Fire control programs are uploaded to the torpedo. Flood the torpedo tube; this may be done manually or automatically, from sea or from tanks, depending on the class of submarine. The tube must be vented during this process to allow for complete filling and eliminate air pockets which could escape to the surface or cause damage when firing. Open the equalizing valve to equalize pressure in the tube with ambient sea pressure. Open the muzzle door. If the tube is set up for Impulse Mode the slide valve will open with the muzzle door.
If Swim Out Mode is selected, the slide valve remains closed. The slide valve allows water from the ejection pump to enter the tube; when the launch command is given and all interlocks are satisfied, the water ram operates, thrusting a large volume of water into the tube at high pressure, which ejects the torpedo from the tube with considerable force. Modern torpedoes have a safety mechanism that prevents activation of the torpedo unless the torpedo senses the required amount of G-force; the power cable is severed at launch. However, if a guidance wire is used, it remains connected through a drum of wire in the tube. Torpedo propulsion systems vary but electric torpedoes swim out of the tube on their own and are of a smaller diameter. 21" weapons with fuel-burning engines start outside the tube. Once outside the tube the torpedo begins its run toward the target as programmed by the fire control system. Attack functions are programmed but with wire guided weapons, certain functions can be controlled from the ship.
For wire-guided torpedoes, the muzzle door must remain open because the guidance wire is still connected to the inside of the breech door to receive commands from the submarine's fire-control system. A wire cutter on the inside of the breech door is activated to release the wire and its protective cable; these are drawn clear of the ship prior to shutting the muzzle door. The drain cycle is a reverse of the flood cycle. Water can be moved as necessary; the tube must be vented to drain the tube since it is by gravity. Open the breech door and remove the remnants of the torpedo power cable and the guidance wire basket; the tube must be wiped dry to prevent a buildup of slime. This process is called "diving the tube" and tradition dictates that "ye who shoots, dives". Shut and lock the breech door. Spare torpedoes are stored behind the tube in racks. Speed is a desirable feature of a torpedo loading system. There are various manual and hydraulic handling systems for loading torpedoes into the tubes. Prior to the Ohio class, US SSBNs utilized manual block and tackle which took about 15 minutes to load a tube.
SSNs prior to the Seawolf class used a hydraulic system, much faster and safer in conditions where the ship needed to maneuver. The German Type 212 submarine uses a new development of the water ram expulsion system, which ejects the torpedo with water pressure to avoid acoustic detection. List of torpedoes by diameter The Fleet Type Submarine Online 21-Inch Submerged Torpedo Tubes United States Navy Restricted Ordnance Pamphlet 1085, June 1944 Torpedo tubes of German U-Boats
An Armstrong Gun was a uniquely designed type of rifled breech-loading field and heavy gun designed by Sir William Armstrong and manufactured in England beginning in 1855 by the Elswick Ordnance Company and the Royal Arsenal at Woolwich. Such guns involved a built-up gun construction system of a wrought-iron tube surrounded by multiple wrought-iron strengthening coils shrunk over the inner tube to keep it under compression. In 1854, Armstrong approached the Secretary of State for War, proposing that he construct a rifled breech-loading 3-pounder gun for trial. Increased in bore to 5-pounder, the design performed with respect to both range and accuracy. Over the next three years he developed his system of construction and adapted it to guns of heavier calibre. Armstrong's system was adopted in 1858 for "special service in the field" and he only produced smaller artillery pieces, 6-pounder mountain or light field guns, 9-pounder guns for horse artillery, 12-pounder field guns. Armstrong did not consider his system suited to heavier guns but higher authorities had him develop a 20-pounder field & naval gun, a 40-pounder siege gun, a 110-pounder heavy gun.
The Royal Navy used all except the 20-pounder saw service in New Zealand. Armstrong's guns used a "built-up" construction, comprising a central "A" tube holding the bore over which were shrunk several wrought iron coils which kept the central tube under compression, a breech-piece, a trunnion ring; the guns' rifling was on the "polygroove" system. The cast iron shell, similar in shape to a Minié ball, had a thin lead coating which made it fractionally larger than the gun's bore and which engaged with the gun's rifling grooves to impart spin to the shell; this system had just been developed by Martin von Giovanni Cavalli in Sweden. This spin, together with the elimination of windage as a result of the tight fit, enabled the gun to achieve greater range and accuracy than existing smoothbore muzzle-loaders with a smaller powder charge. On top of each gunpowder cartridge was a "lubricator" consisting of tallow and linseed oil between two tin plates, backed by a felt wad coated with beeswax and by millboard.
The lubricator followed the shell down the bore, the lubricant was squeezed out between the tin plates and the wad behind it cleaned out any lead deposits left from the shell coating leaving the bore clean for the next round. An innovative feature, more associated with 20th-century guns was what Armstrong called its "grip", a squeeze bore; the Armstrong breech loaders used a vertical sliding block, called a vent-piece, which had a conical copper-ringed plug on its front surface which sealed the firing chamber, to close the breech. To hold both block and plug in place the guns used a hollow breech screw behind the block, which the gunner rotated to tighten and seal the breech before firing. To load and fire the gun: The breech screw was turned to loosen it The vent-piece was raised The shell was inserted through the hollow breech-screw and rammed home into the bore The powder cartridge was inserted through the breech-screw into the chamber A primer tube was inserted into the vent piece The vent-piece was lowered The breech-screw was tightened A friction tube with lanyard attached was inserted in the hole at the top of the vent-piece The gunner pulled the lanyard which ignited a gunpowder charge in the vent tube, the flash passed through the vent in the vent-piece, assisted by the primer if present, into the powder chamber and ignited the gunpowder charge The British used Armstrong guns extensively to great effect in the Second Opium War.
As reported by the translator Robert Swinhoe, after the British attack on the Chinese fort at Pehtang: Numbers of dead Chinese lay about the guns, some most fearfully lacerated. The wall afforded little protection to the Tartar gunners, it was astonishing how they managed to stand so long against the destructive fire that our Armstrongs poured on them; the Armstrong gun—mainly the 12 pounder—was used extensively in the 1863 conflict in New Zealand between British troops and Maori in the Waikato. A well preserved 12-pounder, used in the battle of Rangiriri is at the Te Awamutu museum; the barrel can traverse 6 degrees right without moving the gun carriage. The wheels are wooden with a 75 mm wide steel band; the wheel diameter is 1.7 m. The track width is 1.8 m. Barrel width at the muzzle is 140 mm; such was the confidence of the army in the accuracy of the gun that at the battle of Hairini Ridge the artillery was fired over the heads of the advancing infantry as they stormed the ridge. The infantry took cover in a slight depression in the ground in front of the Maori trenches and stormed the trenches when the shelling stopped.
On July 4, 1868 Armstrong guns were used at the Battle of Ueno by forces supporting the Imperial government of Japan. Armstrong guns were used against British and Indian troops during the Second Anglo-Afghan War in the Battle of Charasiab, in which Howard Hensm