The Pike and Shot Thread - European Military History and Developments, c.1550 to c.1680

May 2019
76
Earth
#21
One of the aspects of military history during this era that really interests me is the use of light artillery, mortars, and hand grenades. I had a thread in the Military History section about 16th century grenades, which got a few useful replies. Could anyone recommend some good English-language reading material on these three topics during the period covered in this thread, particularly during 1600-1660?

For example, I've already read the Osprey titles 'English Civil War Artillery' and 'Dutch Armies of the Eighty Years War (2)' (the latter covers artillery and engineers, including the use of hand grenades in siege warfare).
 
Likes: pikeshot1600
Jul 2009
9,837
#22
@hyuzu,

I appreciate your interest in the thread.

I also have Osprey's English CW artillery title, and that has a lot of the basic info. The artillery of the ECW was essentially the same as what developed on the Continent since 1600. I am not familiar with anything published that would be specific to artillery and engineering, but I recall seeing some on-line sites that I can research.

I have a doctor's appt. today, but I will look into it later this PM. (post at 1:15 EST)
 
Likes: hyuzu
Jul 2009
9,837
#23
@hyuzu,

Sorry for the delay in responding. I looked on-line for specific information on grenades and mortars, but most of it seems to be in obscure blogs and buried in articles about 17th century artillery. The Osprey title we both have gives a good overview of artillery in the 17th c., but not AFAIK on grenades (it doesn't seem to be a widespread interest).

I am sure you have Googled all this, so images and photographs of old grenade artifacts are familiar to you. One thing(s) I did see that was of interest were grenade launchers dating from the late 16th century, and the 17th and 18th centuries. The term "hand mortar" is sometimes used, but the weapon is a clever device to extend the range of the grenade thrower (grenadier), hopefully before the thing exploded.

Google 'seventeenth century grenade launchers' for some pictures of surviving examples. Some earlier ones were wheel lock types; later ones had a snap lock or flintlock mechanism. Interesting.

Sorry I can't be of more help.
 
Mar 2014
6,607
Beneath a cold sun, a grey sun, a Heretic sun...
#24
AFAIK, Vauban hadn't much with the baionet. What he did was counceling Louis XIV in forbidding/eliminating pikes in French army (1703).
For what it's worth, Encyclopedia Britannica asserts that Vauban introduced the socket bayonet in 1688, superseding the plug type bayonet. It doesn't mention if he actually invented it.
 
May 2019
76
Earth
#25
@pikeshot1600

Thanks for trying anyway. I'm actually somewhat familiar with hand mortars, having done a bit of reading on them in my search for sources on early-modern grenades. The ones I've come to be most familiar with are flintlock variants produced between ca. 1700-1800. One army that seems to have made use of them are the Russians during the reign of Tsar Peter I, with specialist soldiers (in the artillery) known as "bombardiers" assigned to use them, firing from the shoulder and using a specially issued halberd as a rest. These bombardiers even wore mitre caps like the grenadiers. The grenades were inserted into the hand mortar with the fuse facing outward, and relied on the flash from the powder charge to ignite them. These weapons were used in at least a few sieges of the 18th century, such as the Russian attack on Vyborg in 1710.

As far as the use of hand mortars in the 17th century, I haven't been able to track down much detail, other than the fact that they were used and (as you stated) came with contemporary ignition systems such as the wheellock.

As you also said, the Osprey title on English Civil War Artillery doesn't really cover hand grenades, although it does have some useful info on mortars. One source which does provide a bit of info on 17th century grenades (including an illustration of a period grenadier) is Bouko de Groot's 'Dutch Armies of the Eighty Years War (2)', which is also an Osprey title. De Groot mentions that grenades in this period were known to be made of brass and could weigh up to 5lbs. It definitely makes you see why the early grenadiers were chosen from among the biggest guys in the army, if you wanted to throw something that heavy at a longer range. He also says that, by the 1630s, a fortress of 3,000 soldiers was supposed to have 1,200 of these 5lb grenades in stock.

I know that in the 18th century (and into the early 19th century Napoleonic conflicts), hand grenades were used to give some extra firepower to naval boarding parties. Not sure if the same was being done already in the 1600s. Most references to 17th century grenades that I've found are regarding sieges...