Battle of Gravelotte
The Battle of Gravelotte on 18 August 1870 was the largest battle of the Franco-Prussian War. Named after Gravelotte, a village in Lorraine between Metz and the former French–German frontier, it was fought about 6 miles west of Metz, where on the previous day, having intercepted the French army's retreat to the west at the Battle of Mars-La-Tour, the Prussians were now closing in to complete the destruction of the French forces; the combined German forces under King Wilhelm I were the Prussian First and Second Armies of the North German Confederation with 210 infantry battalions, 133 cavalry squadrons, 732 heavy cannons totaling 188,332 officers and men. The French Army of the Rhine, commanded by Marshal François Achille Bazaine, dug in along high ground with their southern left flank at the town of Rozerieulles, their northern right flank at St. Privat. On 18 August, the Prussian First Army under General Karl Friedrich von Steinmetz launched its VII and VIII Corps in repeated assaults against the French positions, backed by artillery and cavalry support.
All attacks failed with enormous casualties in the face of French infantry and mitrailleuse firepower. The French did not counter-attack Steinmetz's weakened army. On the Prussian left, the Prussian Guards attacked the French position at St. Privat at 1650 hours. With the support of the Prussian II and Saxon XII Corps of Prince Friedrich Karl's Second Army, the Guards conquered St. Privat by 2000 after heavy losses, pushing back the French right wing. Bazaine's Army of the Rhine withdrew into Metz fortress on the morning of 19 August; the German victory at Gravelotte ended Bazaine's army's last chance of retreating west to Verdun. After a siege lasting over two months, the Army of the Rhine surrendered on 27 October 1870; the German Second Army, commanded by Prince Friedrich Karl of Prussia had met the right wing of the French Army of the Rhine, commanded by Marshal Bazaine, at the Battle of Mars-La-Tour — both sides claimed victory. Marshal Bazaine's four corps of the French Army of the Rhine retreated in vile weather along the road toward Verdun.
The Germans were on their heels, pressing hard to prevent the Army of the Rhine from linking up with French forces at Sedan. The pursuing Prussian First and Second Armies had more artillery and ammunition than Bazaine's four corps, their pressure forced Bazaine to occupy the crests of the rolling hilltops east of the Moselle, with his southern left flank at the town of Rozerieulles, his northern right flank at St. Privat. They lacked efficient digging tools, but Bazaine regarded the position as impregnable, with the defenders sheltered behind hedges and low walls and anchored in villages and farmhouses. The battlefield extended from the woods bordering the Moselle above Metz to Roncourt, near the river Orne. Other villages that played an important part in the battle were Saint Privat, Amanweiler or Amanvillers and Sainte-Marie-aux-Chênes, all lying to the north of Gravelotte; the French cavalry failed to detect the strength of the Prussian pursuit. On 18 August at 08:00 Wilhelm I, whose chief of staff was Moltke, ordered the First and Second Armies to advance against the French positions.
By 12:00, General Manstein with artillery from the Hessian 25th Infantry Division was advancing toward the village of Amanvillers. The mass of advancing Germans was met with murderous fire from the superior French Chassepot rifle and their rapid-firing mitrailleuses, before they were within range to retaliate with their shorter-ranged needle-guns. At 14:30, General Steinmetz, the commander of the First Army, launched his VIII Corps across the Mance Ravine but they were soon pinned down by rifle and mitrailleuse fire. At 15:00, the massed new Krupp all-steel breech-loading guns of the German VII and VIII Corps opened fire to support the attack, but with the attack still failing, at 16:00 Steinmetz ordered the VII Corps forward, followed by the 1st Cavalry Division. At 16:50, with the Prussian southern attacks stalling, the Prussian 3rd Guards Infantry Brigade of the Second Army opened an attack against the French positions at St. Privat, which were commanded by General Canrobert. At 17:15, the Prussian 4th Guards Infantry Brigade joined the advance followed at 17:45 by the Prussian 1st Guards Infantry Brigade.
All of the Prussian Guard attacks were pinned down on the slopes by lethal French gunfire. At 18:00 King William ordered a renewed advance. At 18:15 the Prussian 2nd Guards Infantry Brigade, the last of the 1st Guards Infantry Division, was committed to the attack on St. Privat, while Steinmetz ordered the last unit in the reserves of the First Army across the Mance Ravine. By 18:30, a considerable portion of the VII and VIII Corps disengaged from the fighting after attaining their objective and withdrew towards the Prussian positions at Rezonville. With the partial withdrawal of the First Army, Prince Frederick Charles ordered a mass artillery barrage against Canrobert's position at St. Privat to prevent the Guards attack from failing too. At 19:00 the 3rd Division of Eduard von Fransecky's II Corps of the Second Army advanced across Ravine while the Saxon XII Corps cleared out the nearby town of Roncourt, along with the survivors of the 1st Guards Infantry Division, launched a fresh attack against the ruins of St. Privat.
At 20:00, the arrival of the Prussian 4th Infantry Division of the II Corps and with the Prussian right flank on Mance Ravine, the line stabilized. The Prussians of the 1st Guards Infantry Division and the XII and II Corps captured St. Privat, forcing the decimated French forces to withdraw; some French officers incorrectly thought the Prussians were exhausted, so they urged a counter-attack. General Bourbaki, refused to commit the reserves of the French Old Guard to the battle
A grenade launcher is a weapon that fires a specially-designed large-caliber projectile with an explosive, smoke or gas warhead. Today, the term refers to a class of dedicated firearms firing unitary grenade cartridges; the most common type are man-portable, shoulder-fired weapons issued to individuals, although larger crew-served launchers are issued at higher levels of organisation by military forces. Grenade launchers can either come in the form of standalone weapons or attachments mounted to a parent firearm a rifle. Larger crew-served automatic grenade launchers such as the Mk 19 are mounted on vehicles; some armored fighting vehicles mount fixed arrays of short range, single-shot grenade launchers as a means of defense. The earliest devices which could conceivably be referred to as grenade launchers were slings, which could be used to throw early grenado fuse bombs; the ancestors of modern ballistic grenade launchers, were simplistic muzzle-loading devices using a stake-like body to mount a short, large-bore gun barrel into which an explosive or incendiary device could be inserted.
These weapons were not regarded due to their unreliability, requiring the user to ignite a fuse on the projectile before firing and with a substantial risk of the explosive failing to leave the barrel. During the First World War a number of novel crew-served launchers designed to increase the range of infantry hand grenades were developed, such as the Sauterelle crossbow and West Spring Gun and Leach Trench Catapult devices. None were effective, such devices were replaced by light mortar systems like the Stokes Mortar, while the task of increasing the range of infantry explosive projectiles was taken by rifle grenades. A late example of such a system was the Japanese Type 91 grenade, which could be used as a thrown hand grenade, or fitted with adaptors to either be fired as a rifle grenade or used as a projectile by the Type 89 grenade discharger, a light infantry mortar. A new method of launching grenades was developed during the First World War and used throughout the Second; the principle was to use the soldier's standard rifle as an ersatz mortar, mounting a grenade fitted with a propelling charge, using an adaptor or socket on the weapon's muzzle or inside a mounted launching cup, firing with the weapon's stock resting on the ground.
For older rifle grenades, igniting the charge required loading the parent rifle with a special blank propellant cartridge, though modern rifle grenades can be fired using live rounds using "bullet trap" and "shoot through" systems. The system has some advantages: since it does not have to fit in a weapon's breech, the warhead can be made larger and more powerful compared to that of a unitary grenade round, the rifle's weight and handling characteristics are not affected as with underbarrel systems unless a grenade is mounted. While older systems required the soldier carry a separate adaptor or cup to attach to the rifle to make it ready to launch rifle grenades were designed to attach to the standard factory-mounted flash hider of the parent rifle; the disadvantage of this method is that when a soldier wants to launch a grenade, they must mount the grenade to the muzzle prior to each shot. If they are surprised by a close-range threat while preparing to fire the grenade, they have to reverse the procedure before they can respond with rifle fire.
Due to the lack of a barrel, rifle grenades tend to be more difficult to fire compared to underbarrel or standalone designs. Prior to the development of lightweight disposable anti-tank weapons such as the M72 LAW, large HEAT rifle grenades such as the ENERGA anti-tank rifle grenade were the preferred method for allowing infantry who were not part of dedicated anti-tank teams to engage vehicles. Rifle grenades have fallen out of favor since the 1970s, replaced in most of their traditional roles by dedicated grenade launchers, though there has been a recent resurgence in interest in such devices for special purposes; the earliest examples of standalone grenade launchers in the modern sense were breech-loading riot guns designed to launch tear gas grenades and baton rounds, such as the Federal Riot Gun developed in the 1930s. One of the first examples of a dedicated breech-loading launcher for unitary explosive grenade rounds was the M79 grenade launcher, a result of the American Special Purpose Individual Weapon program.
The goal for the M79 was the production of a device with greater range than a rifle grenade but more portable than a mortar. Such single-shot devices were replaced in military service with underbarrel grenade launchers, removing the need for a dedicated grenadier with a special weapon. Many modern underbarrel grenade launchers can, however be used in standalone configurations with suitable accessories fitted. Single shot launchers are still used in riot control operations. Heavier multi
The Nock gun was a seven-barrelled flintlock smoothbore firearm used by the Royal Navy during the early stages of the Napoleonic Wars. It is a type of volley gun adapted for ship-to-ship fighting, but was limited in its use because of the powerful recoil and discontinued, its bizarre appearance and operation has led to it being portrayed in modern fictional works, notably in The Alamo feature film, the Richard Sharpe series of novels by Bernard Cornwell. The weapon was invented by British engineer James Wilson in 1779, named after Henry Nock, the London-based armaments manufacturer contracted to build the gun, it was intended to be fired from the rigging of Royal Navy warships onto the deck in the event that the ship was boarded by enemy sailors. Theoretically, the simultaneous discharge of seven barrels would have devastating effect on the packed groups of enemy sailors; the volley gun consisted of seven barrels welded together, with small vents drilled through from the central barrel to the other six barrels clustered around it.
The central barrel screwed onto a hollow spigot which formed the chamber and was connected to the vent. The gun operated using a standard flintlock mechanism, with the priming gunpowder igniting the central charge via a small vent; when the flash reached the central chamber, all seven charges ignited at once, firing more or less simultaneously. The first models featured rifled barrels, but this made loading a long and cumbersome process, resulting in all following models being manufactured with smoothbore barrels. During the early stages of the Napoleonic Wars, 500 Nock guns were purchased by the Royal Navy. However, attempts to use the gun during combat revealed design flaws; the recoil caused by all seven barrels firing at once was more powerful than had been thought, injured or broke the shoulder of whoever was firing the gun, in any case made the gun difficult to control. Furthermore, officers were reluctant to issue the guns during battle out of fear that the flying sparks would set fire to the surrounding rigging and sails.
A smaller, lighter version was produced, which shortened the gun's range, but the recoil was still too powerful for sailors to feel comfortable firing it. The few models purchased by the Royal Navy were removed from service in 1804. Examples are available for viewing in the Hollywood Guns exhibit at the National Firearms Museum, the Royal Armouries Museum, the Charleston Museum; the Nock gun was brought to modern attention in the 1960 film The Alamo in which one is used by actor Richard Widmark, playing Jim Bowie. The gun used in the film is now in the National Firearms Museum. Nock guns can be seen in realistic period films including Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World 2003, fantasy films like Jonah Hex 2010, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter 2012. In Bernard Cornwell's series of historical novels featuring fictional British soldier Richard Sharpe and, more in the Sharpe TV series, Nock guns are used by the character Patrick Harper. In the video game Gun, the main antagonist, Thomas Magruder, uses a Nock gun during the final boss battle of the game.
It becomes unlocked for the player's use after finishing the game. A modern version was custom-built in an episode of American Guns
A handgun is a short-barrelled firearm that can be held and used with one hand. The two most common handgun sub-types in use today are semi-automatic pistols. In the days before mass production, handguns were considered a badge of office, much the same as a sword; as they had limited utility and were more expensive than the long-guns of the era, handguns were carried only by the few who could afford to purchase them. However, in 1836, Samuel Colt patented the Colt Paterson, the first practical mass-produced revolver, it was capable of firing 5 shots in rapid succession and quickly became a popular defensive weapon, giving rise to the saying "God created men, but Colt made them equal." Today, in most of the world, handguns are considered self-defence weapons used by police and military officers. However, in the United States and many other countries around the world, handguns are widely available to civilians and carried for self-defence. Firearms first appeared in China; the oldest known bronze barrel handgun is the Heilongjiang hand cannon, dated to 1288.
It weighs 3.55 kg. The diameter of the interior at the end of the barrel is 2.5 cm. The barrel is 6.9 inches long. The hand cannon has a bulbous base at the breech called the yaoshi or gunpowder chamber, where the explosion that propels the projectile occurs; the diameter of the Heilongjiang hand-gun's powder chamber is 6.6 cm. The walls of the powder chamber are noticeably thicker to better withstand the explosive pressure of the gunpowder; the powder chamber has a touch hole, a small hole for the fuse that ignites the gunpowder. Behind the gunpowder chamber is a socket shaped like a trumpet where the handle of the hand cannon is inserted; the bulbous shape of the base gave the earliest Chinese and Western cannons a vase-like or pear-like appearance, which disappeared when advancements in metallurgical technology made the bulbous base obsolete. The matchlock appeared in Europe in the mid-15th century; the matchlock was the first mechanism invented to facilitate the firing of a hand-held firearm.
The classic European matchlock gun held a burning slow match in a clamp at the end of a small curved lever known as the serpentine. Upon the pulling of a lever protruding from the bottom of the gun and connected to the serpentine, the clamp dropped down, lowering the smoldering match into the flash pan and igniting the priming powder; the flash from the primer traveled through the touch hole igniting the main charge of propellant in the gun barrel. On release of the lever or trigger, the spring-loaded serpentine would move in reverse to clear the pan. For obvious safety reasons the match would be removed before reloading of the gun. Both ends of the match were kept alight in case one end should be accidentally extinguished; the wheellock was the next major development in firearms technology after the matchlock and the first self-igniting firearm. Its name is from its rotating steel wheel to provide ignition. Developed in Europe around 1500, it was used alongside the matchlock; the wheellock works by spinning a spring-loaded steel wheel against a piece of pyrite to generate intense sparks, which ignite gunpowder in a pan, which flashes through a small touchhole to ignite the main charge in the firearm's barrel.
The pyrite is clamped in vise jaws on a spring-loaded arm. When the trigger is pulled, the pan cover is opened, the wheel is rotated, with the pyrite pressed into contact. A close modern analogy of the wheellock mechanism is the operation of a cigarette lighter, where a toothed steel wheel is spun in contact with a piece of sparking material to ignite the liquid or gaseous fuel. A wheellock firearm had the advantage that it can be readied and fired with one hand, in contrast to the then-common matchlock firearms, which must have a burning cord of slow match ready if the gun might be needed and demanded the operator's full attention and two hands to operate. On the other hand, wheellock mechanisms were complex to make, making them expensive. A flintlock is a general term for any firearm; the term may apply to a particular form of the mechanism itself, introduced in the early 17th century, replaced earlier firearm-ignition technologies, such as the matchlock and the wheellock. Flintlock pistols were used as a military arm.
Their effective range was short, they were used as an adjunct to a sword or cutlass. Pistols were smoothbore although some rifled pistols were produced. Flintlock pistols came in a variety of sizes and styles which overlap and are not well defined, many of the names we use having been applied by collectors and dealers long after the pistols were obsolete; the smallest were less than 15 cm long and the largest were over 51 cm. From around the beginning of the 1700s the larger pistols got shorter, so that by the late 1700s the largest would be more like 41 cm long; the smallest would fit into a typical pocket or a hand warming muff and could be carried. The largest sizes would be carried in holsters across a horse's back just ahead of the saddle. In-between sizes included the coat pocket pistol, or coat pistol, which would fit into a large pocket, the coach pistol, meant to be carried on or under the seat of a coach in a bag or box, belt pistols, sometimes equipped with a hook designed to slip over a belt or waistband.
Larger pistols were called horse pistols. Arguably the most elegant of the p
A mitrailleuse is a type of volley gun with multiple barrels of rifle calibre that can fire either multiple rounds at once or several rounds in rapid succession. The earliest true mitrailleuse was invented in 1851 by Belgian Army captain Fafschamps, 10 years before the advent of the Gatling gun, it was followed by the Belgian Montigny mitrailleuse in 1863. The French 25 barrel "Canon à Balles", better known as the Reffye mitrailleuse, was adopted in great secrecy in 1866, it became the first rapid-firing weapon deployed as standard equipment by any army in a major conflict when it was used during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–71. A steel block containing twenty-five 13 mm centre-fire cartridges was locked against the breech before firing. With the rotation of a crank, the 25 rounds were discharged in rapid succession; the sustainable firing rate of the Reffye mitrailleuse was 100 rounds per minute. The maximum effective range of the Reffye mitrailleuse was about 2000 yards. Reffye mitrailleuses were manned by artillery personnel.
They were not infantry support weapons, but rather a form of special artillery. Although innovative and capable of good ballistic performance, the Reffye mitrailleuse failed as a tactical weapon because its basic concept and operational usage were flawed. Furthermore, only 210 Reffye mitrailleuses were in existence at the beginning of the Franco-Prussian War in 1870, their field use was discontinued by the French Army after 1871. After the Gatling gun was replaced in service by newer recoil- or gas-operated weapons, the approach of using multiple barrels fell into disuse for many decades. However, some examples were developed during the interwar years, but only existed as prototypes, or were used; the word mitrailleuse nonetheless became the generic term for a machine gun in the French language because of its early appearance in the field of weapons, although the mitrailleuse itself was manually operated. The first "mitrailleuse" was a manually fired 50-barrel volley gun developed in Belgium in 1851 by the Belgian Army Captain Fafschamps, who made a rough prototype and drawings of his invention.
The system was improved during the 1850s by Louis Christophe and the Belgian engineer Joseph Montigny, with the completion of the 37-barrel Montigny mitrailleuse in 1863. From 1859, Joseph Montigny proposed his design to Napoleon III, which led to the development of the French Reffye mitrailleuse, designed by Jean-Baptiste Verchère de Reffye with the collaboration of Montigny, and, adopted by the French Army in 1865. Kept under wraps as a secret weapon, it was used in battle by French artillery during the Franco-Prussian War. Smaller numbers of other designs, including the Gatling gun, were purchased by the French government during the latter part of that conflict; the Reffye model had been built in small numbers and in secrecy: only about 200 were available at the beginning of the conflict. This kept regular French field artillery in a neglected position in the eyes of French emperor Napoleon III, with dire consequences during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–71. Several variants of the mitrailleuse concept were developed, with common elements to all of their designs.
They were characterized by a number of rifled barrels clustered together and mounted on a conventional artillery chassis or a tripod. The ammunition was secured in a single block and placed into the breech, behind the open ends of the barrels. All of the barrels were loaded by a manual closing lever or large horizontal screw. A second lever could be worked to fire each barrel in succession; this earned the weapon its French nickname of moulin à café. The ammunition plate or block had to be removed by hand before another loaded plate could be inserted. Unlike in the Gatling gun and rapid-firing automatic weapons, the entire loading and firing process was manual; the mitrailleuse's major innovation was that it increased the speed of these processes when compared to standard infantry rifles of the era. The different variants of the mitrailleuse concept were distinguished by their number of barrels and their different calibers, as the following table summarizes. Most variants of the mitrailleuse were mounted on an artillery-style carriage.
This made them heavy and cumbersome to handle on the battlefield, with gun and carriage weighing up to 900 kg. The mitrailleuse's dependence on manual loading meant that its firing rate depended on the skill of its operators. A skillfully manned Reffye mitrailleuse could sustain four volleys per minute in ordinary operation and reach five volleys per minute during emergencies; the rapidity of discharge of each individual volley was controlled by the gunner's action on a small manual crank on the right side of the breech. The weapon's 25 barrels were not in rapid succession; because it was so heavy, the Reffye mitrailleuse did not recoil during firing and thus did not need to be re-sighted on its target after each volley. This essential absence of recoil during firings was promoted by Reffye as a considerable advantage over conventional field artillery; each regular battery of Reffye mitrailleuses lined up six guns firing together, more or less side by side. The Reffye mitrailleuse used a 13 mm cen
A cam is a rotating or sliding piece in a mechanical linkage used in transforming rotary motion into linear motion. It is a part of a rotating wheel or shaft that strikes a lever at one or more points on its circular path; the cam can be a simple tooth, as is used to deliver pulses of power to a steam hammer, for example, or an eccentric disc or other shape that produces a smooth reciprocating motion in the follower, a lever making contact with the cam. The cam can be seen as a device. A common example is the camshaft of an automobile, which takes the rotary motion of the engine and translates it into the reciprocating motion necessary to operate the intake and exhaust valves of the cylinders. Certain cams can be characterized by their displacement diagrams, which reflect the changing position a roller follower would make as the cam rotates about an axis; these diagrams relate angular position in degrees, to the radial displacement experienced at that position. Displacement diagrams are traditionally presented as graphs with non-negative values.
A simple displacement diagram illustrates the follower motion at a constant velocity rise followed by a similar return with a dwell in between as depicted in figure 2. The rise is the motion of the follower away from the cam center, dwell is the motion where the follower is at rest, return is the motion of the follower toward the cam center. However, the most common type is in the valve actuators in internal combustion engines. Here, the cam profile is symmetric and at rotational speeds met with high acceleration forces develop. Ideally, a convex curve between the onset and maximum position of lift reduces acceleration, but this requires impractically large shaft diameters relative to lift. Thus, in practice, the points at which lift begins and ends mean that a tangent to the base circle appears on the profile; this is continuous with a tangent to the tip circle. In designing the cam, the lift and the dwell angle θ are given. If the profile is treated as a large base circle and a small tip circle, joined by a common tangent, giving lift L, the relationship can be calculated, given the angle ϕ between one tangent and the axis of symmetry, while C is the distance between the centres of the circles, R is the radius of the base and r that of the tip circle C = L / and r = R − L sin ϕ / The most used cam is the cam plate, cut out of a piece of flat metal or plate.
Here, the follower moves in a plane perpendicular to the axis of rotation of the camshaft. Several key terms are relevant in such a construction of plate cams: base circle, prime circle, pitch curve, the radial curve traced out by applying the radial displacements away from the prime circle across all angles, the lobe separation angle; the base circle is the smallest circle. A once common, but now outdated, application of this type of cam was automatic machine tool programming cams; each tool movement or operation was controlled directly by one or more cams. Instructions for producing programming cams and cam generation data for the most common makes of machine were included in engineering references well into the modern CNC era; this type of cam is used in many simple electromechanical appliance controllers, such as dishwashers and clothes washing machines, to actuate mechanical switches that control the various parts. A cylindrical cam or barrel cam is a cam. In the most common type, the follower rides in a groove cut into the surface of a cylinder.
These cams are principally used to convert rotational motion to linear motion parallel to the rotational axis of the cylinder. A cylinder may drive several followers. Cylindrical cams can provide motions that involve more than a single rotation of the cylinder and provide positive positioning, removing the need for a spring or other provision to keep the follower in contact with the control surface. Applications include machine tool drives, such as reciprocating saws, shift control barrels in sequential transmissions, such as on most modern motorcycles. A special case of this cam is constant lead, where the position of the follower is linear with rotation, as in a lead screw; the purpose and detail of implementation influence whether this application is called a cam or a screw thread, but in some cases, the nomenclature may be ambiguous. Cylindrical cams may be used to reference an output to two inputs, where one input is rotation of the cylinder, the second is position of the follower axially along the cam.
The output is radial to the cylinder. These were once comm