A 15th century Korean handgonne volley fire technique

Haakbus

Ad Honorem
Aug 2013
3,630
United States
#11
Yeah that seems the most likely explanation so far, but the text indicates it would be a single man filling the roles of the ko gashira and bullet carrier, unless there was a separate commander for the unit (or for multiple units) not mentioned in the text.
 
Apr 2018
274
USA
#12
There probably was some sense to having a separate ammo carrier per every few gunners. In Europe at the time skirmishing with firearms could definitely go on for a pretty long time and soldiers would run out of ammo at times. In his 1594 treatise, Bernardino de Mendoza advocated dividing arquebusiers into much smaller groups than the usual 300 man "mangas" with one of his reasons being that these smaller groups would cause much less confusion if they ran low on ammo and needed to replace one another in the firing line as they needed to withdraw to the rear:


"
These wings of harquebuserie or musketerie, although it is the custome to compoūd them of three hundred soldiers, I hold better to diuide into smaller bodies, for that they may be able if occasiō require the vniting of thēselues in one, to doe it alwayes with facilitie, & when they are small by stan∣ding diuided, they be much better able to fight with them, Captains of experience guyding them: especially if the sol∣diers be exercised in such maner, as if occasion require the first rankes may kneele vpon the ground to shoot off, disco∣uering thereby a blanke to those which stand behinde to make a good marke discharging their voley at one instant.


In making the wings litle, another effect is gotten, which is whē they entertayne a skirmish with them, mainteyning it with the end to see the enimies disposition, that then the harquebuses waxe whot, & many times the soldiors powder is done, & not being able to choose with their swords they are enforced to begge more with great gabling, and not fit that the enimie should vnderstand it, and by being few they retyre easilie to fetch it, refreshing them with other, without any confusion at all in diuiding it out of the barrells, which many times through the haste which is made, are set on fire and so the soldiors left cleane without powder, which the enimie perceyuing is the more animated to the cloze, and I haue bene my self in a skirmish vpō a day of battayle, when it hath bene verie avaylable to knowe this, by the fire and crake which the barrel gaue.
"

By having a completely seperate ammunition carrier you only have to send one person to the rear when the squad needs more ammo, and you eliminate the concern entirely about having a bunch of exausted, anxious troops gather around barrels of gunpowder with lit matches. You also presumably wouldn't have to worry as much about individual soldiers' flasks coming loose and spilling loose powder all over themselves in the middle of combat, which was a common complaint about pike and shot era bandoliers.


Anyways, yeah it seems to make the most sense that the soldiers would be doing the actual loading themselves and the bullet carrier was just handing them the ammunition, possibly in pre-prepared bamboo cartridges. It seems a bit odd that 4 soldiers would just stand around while only one did all the loading, but then again don't assume that overall rate of fire was always considered everything.


One other possible issue would be how they dealt with their weapons overheating if they were expected to be firing constantly. Maybe they switched to using less gunpowder as their weapons got hot or maybe they just got to take a breather while their bullet carrier was running off to fetch more ammo.
 

Haakbus

Ad Honorem
Aug 2013
3,630
United States
#13
These are samch'ongt'ong, a fairly common handgonne that this method would have been used with. The length is about 33 cm and the bore about 1.7 cm. They fired either shot or a heavy arrow.

 

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