As gun, colloquially also called cannon, a barrel weapon is called, which is not for the hand use, speak of 1 person to hold and to use.


The origin:

As the origin of the guns you can call the ballistic weapons such as catapults or ballists. The projectiles (stones, arrows or heavy objects) were fired by means of spin or force. However, these weapons have not yet been defined as guns in military terms, but as guns.

The guns have a further origin in the development of Archimedes, who in the 3rd century BC. Developed a kind of cannon, which could fire a bullet with the help of steam.



The first weapons with black powder:

The Chinese were the first to develop firearms based on the principle of firing projectiles by igniting black powder. During the Song Dynasty from 960 to 1279 bamboo pipes were used in which black powder were ignited. Although they did not yet fire any missiles, they paved the way for later developments as so-called fireworks.

In the subsequent Yuan dynasty from 1279 to 1368, the first metal tubes with a diameter of up to 2.6 cm were introduced, in which projectiles such as arrows, iron or steel fragments were introduced and fired by the ignition of black powder. At the end of the 13th century, tailor-made arrow projectiles were added to simplify handling.



The first guns in Europe:

At the end of the 14th century, the principle of the guns came to Europe via the Arab trade routes. There, the iron or bronze guns were cast, mounted on a kind of wooden table, and fired fire or iron arrows, until later spheres of lead were poured or formed of stone and used as projectiles.
From Italy, these weapons then spread rapidly across Germany and the rest of Europe and were used in the armies.


Rekonstruktion einer frühen europäischen Pfeilbüchse, Anfang 14. Jahrhundert

Reconstruction of an early European arrowbox, early 14th century


With the development of the barrel, the range and accuracy could be improved. Nevertheless, guns were initially used in sieges to destroy the huge defenses. For this they were usually brought close to the target and then could only open the fire.

During the Hussite Wars the first field guns were developed. For this purpose, the guns were complained on a light wooden stand, which was provided with wheels and as a team with horses could also be transported quickly over long distances. Thus, the guns were used in land forces in large numbers.

Likewise, during the 15th century, guns were mounted on ships. In the wake of the arms race of the naval forces of the respective ruling states in Europe, this led to huge warships that have carried dozens of guns on superimposed rows.



Development during the early modern period:

From the 16th to the 18th century, the development of the guns was mainly characterized by the classification of the weapon relative to the bullet weight, such as 40-pounders or 24-pounders. Furthermore, bronze was used more and more as a material because its stability and casting properties were clearly superior to those of iron. In Sweden, military strategists recognized the importance of light guns with a high degree of mobility. Thus, the new leather cannons, whose barrel was wrapped with ropes, metal strips, hemp and linen and was reinforced with a coat of thick leather, used in the Polish war 1628-1629. Although the experiment failed from a military point of view, it accelerated the development of ever lighter field guns until the weight could be reduced to 116kg for a 3-pounder.

Until the 19th century, only minor developments such as the leveling screws followed, which significantly simplified the aiming and maintained the height settings after a shot. Further stone castles were installed for the ignition, thus eliminating the constant provision of a fuse for igniting the black powder.



Decorated cannon from the Middle Ages


Cannons at Königstein Fortress


Decorated small field gun




The guns of the industrial age to the modern age:

The industrial revolution also brought many innovations in the field of gun technology. For example, cross-country guns with cross-country guns were used from the middle of the 19th century onwards, which, due to their rotation during firing, took a much more stable trajectory, significantly improving the accuracy of the hits.

Almost at the same time developed the Swedish businessman Martin von Wahrendorff the Hinterladersystem. If the guns were otherwise only loaded from the same side as fired by the fact that there was only one opening, the guns could now be loaded in the rear area as it is known today. Other innovations were the emergence of railroad guns, which used the mobility of the emerging railroad and the introduction of Pivotlafetten, which could better route guidance and absorb the recoil.

As steel also became cheaper and went into mass production, guns could be made of this material to increase the stability significantly. A pioneer in this technique was Alfred Krupps, who coined the connection between steel and guns with the term "Kruppstahl" until the Second World War.

Another far-reaching achievement was the development of rapid-fire guns. Previously, when the projectile was fired, the entire gun was displaced backward due to the recoil, which could be changed by removing the rigid linkage and the hydropneumatic braking device. Now only the pipe ran backwards when firing, the carriage stopped. Also, the target facilities remained, no reorientation was required.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the low-smoke powder, which was based on cellulose nitrate, displaced the usual black powder.

After trucks were introduced to the land forces, they were also used to pull field guns of different sizes. Later, they began to mount the guns directly on the vehicles, so-called self-propelled guns. Especially in World War II and the blitzkrieg tactic, the army command put great emphasis on the mobility of the gun units. Great siege guns such as railroad guns, lost due to the emerging bunker and armor-piercing use of aircraft ever more important. The same fate was shared by battleships with their large guns, which were gradually displaced by aircraft carriers.



German assault gun


Small field gun from the 2nd World War


Russian tank destroyer ISU-152



After the Second World War, the development of missile weapons made so much progress that they were later used primarily for anti-tank and thus replaced the anti-tank guns.



Rocket launcher


Rocket launcher



In the modern armed forces are today particularly the mobile Panzerhaubitzen in use like the German Panzerhaubitze 2000 or the US Panzerhaubitze M109.



M71 Howitzer


M109 Howitzer


German tank howitzer 2000




Types of gun:

  • field gun
    (small gun for mobile use in the field)
  • infantry gun
    (Gun, which was assigned directly to the infantry unit and not the artillery unit.) Replaced by mortar from the mid-20th century)
  • Anti-tank gun
    (Gun designed for the direct combat of tanks and armored units)
  • Antiaircraft gun
    (Gun used to combat aircraft, can also be used in ground combat)
  • siege artillery
    (Gun what large caliber shoots ammunition against fortifications)
  • fortress gun
    (Guns used in fortresses or bunkers for defense)
  • coastal artillery
    (Large-caliber guns to defend coastlines)
  • naval guns
    (Large-caliber guns used on warships)
  • mountain gun
    (Small guns that can be disassembled for use in mountainous terrain)






You can find the right literature here:


Greek and Roman Artillery 399 BC–AD 363

Greek and Roman Artillery 399 BC–AD 363 (New Vanguard) Paperback – November 21, 2003

The catapult (katapeltikon) was invented under the patronage of Dionysius I, tyrant of Syracuse, in the 4th century bc. At first only the arrow-firing variant was used, and it was not until the reign of Alexander the Great that stone-projecting catapults were introduced. The Romans adopted these weapons during the Punic Wars and further developed them, before introducing the new arrow-firing ballista and stone-throwing onager. This title traces the often controversial design, development and construction of these weapons throughout the history of the classical world.

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Civil War Heavy Explosive Ordnance

Civil War Heavy Explosive Ordnance: A Guide to Large Artillery Projectiles, Torpedoes, and Mines Hardcover – May 6, 2003

Civil War Heavy Explosive Ordnance is the definitive reference book on Union and Confederate large caliber artillery projectiles, torpedoes, and mines. Some of these projectiles are from the most famous battles of the Civil War, such as those at Fort Sumter, Charleston, Vicksburg, Richmond, Fort Pulaski, Fort Fisher, Mobile Bay, Port Hudson, and the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. Others were fired from famous cannon: the “Swamp Angel” of Charleston, the 10-inch Parrott rifles and 12.75 Blakely rifles used in Charleston, “Whistling Dick” of Vicksburg, and the 8-inch British Armstrong rifle and 8-inch Blakely rifle of Fort Fisher. And some are from ships such as the Alabama, Richmond, Pawnee, and Montauk, or were involved in torpedo attacks against major warships.

Jack Bell covers more than 360 projectiles in smoothbore calibers of 32-pounder and up and rifled projectiles of 4-inch caliber and larger. Bell also documents twenty-one Union and Confederate torpedoes and mines, both those from historical records and those that have survived to modern times. Each projectile and torpedo is presented in a data sheet showing multiple views of the specimen and providing data including, but not limited to, diameter, weight, the gun used to fire it, rarity index, and provenance.

Over the years those studying Civil War ordnance have been relying on the out-of-print 1973 publication by Sydney Kerksis and Thomas Dickey, Heavy Artillery Projectiles of the Civil War 1861-1865, which covers less than half the material presented in Bell’s book. Beautifully illustrated with more than 1,000 photos of projectiles from public and private collections, Civil War Heavy Explosive Ordnance is the new standard reference volume and will be of great interest to Civil War historians, museum curators, field archaeologists, private collectors, dealers, and consultants on unexploded ordnance.

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Artillery in the Great War

Artillery in the Great War Hardcover – May 18, 2011

Artillery was the decisive weapon of the Great War - it dominated the battlefields. Yet the history of artillery during the conflict has been neglected, and its impact on the fighting is inadequately understood. Paul Strong and Sanders Marble, in this important and highly readable study, seek to balance the account.Their work shows that artillery was central to the tactics of the belligerent nations throughout the long course of the conflict, in attack and in defense. They describe, in vivid detail, how in theory and practice the use of artillery developed in different ways among the opposing armies, and they reveal how artillery men on all sides coped with the extraordinary challenges that confronted them on the battlefield. They also give graphic accounts of the role played by artillery in specific operations, including the battles of Le Cateau, the Somme and Valenciennes.Their work will be fascinating reading for anyone who is keen to understand the impact of artillery

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German Artillery of World War Two

German Artillery of World War Two Paperback – August 19, 2013

The complete story of German Artillery during World War Two, this illustrated volume is divided into sections according to the weapon classes: Infantry, Mountain and Field Artillery, Heavy Field Artillery, Heavy Artillery, Railway Artillery, Anti-Aircraft Artillery, Anti-Tank Artillery, Coastal Artillery and Recoilless Artillery.

German Artillery of World War Two also contains details of the general organization of the German artillery arm, together with development histories of the weapons and their ammunition. In addition, the book contains a series of comprehensive data tables, and appendices including a glossary of technical terms.

The first edition of this book, published over twenty years ago, is highly sought after by collectors and enthusiasts today. This new edition brings an enduring classic to a new generation of readers.

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