Monday, 23 February 2009

Elizabeth's Super Gun

There's an interesting article on the BBC about two cannons that were recovered from an Elizabethan warship. During Elizabeth's reign the English Navy were greatly feared, but historians couldn't clearly show why this was, until now.

The cannons that were recovered from the wreak, were reconstructed and historians believe that Elizabeth changed English warships to have guns, of uniform size, firing rates and standard ammunition. The benefit of this is it's more effective to have lots of small guns, all the same and firing all at once.

Timewatch did firing tests on the replica gun, which showed the cannonballs were travelling at almost the speed of sound, estimating that they could hit a target about a mile away, and puncher right through a ship at 100 yards. The historians involved say this made the English Navy 50 years ahead of their time technologically.

Which goes some way to explaining the mystery of why Elizabeth's fleet were able to the defeat the Spanish Armada, even though they were out numbered by 200 ships to 130.

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