naval artillery

Article

May 28, 2022

Naval artillery is the expression that generically encompasses all fire pieces mounted on board a vessel, used to attack other vessels or targets on land. It is also referred to as "marine artillery", "ship artillery" or "ship artillery". The first pieces of fire to be mounted aboard ships were hunting pieces; that is, pieces mounted on the bow that fired forward when in pursuit of a vessel. There are references to fire pieces mounted on galleys in the Mediterranean used to facilitate the approach. With the increase in the power of the pieces, there was also an increase in their weight, which led to the passage from the bow to the deck. In the beginning the pieces were only placed on the upper deck, but their weight, with the appearance of increasingly larger and heavier pieces, caused problems with the vessel's balance. The passage to the lower decks was only possible with the appearance of the hatch. However, this passage to the lower decks was not without accidents, notably the sinking of the Mary Rose or the Vasa. This passage also implied a fundamental change in the tactics of naval combat, as well as the appearance of the warship as we understand it today. From a tactical point of view, the move from artillery to the sides of ships led to the adoption of the “line”; the opposing fleets advanced in parallel lines, bombing each other. This tactic led to the development of ships built from scratch to be exclusively warships, and which were called ships of the line. This would be the dominant tactic for over two hundred years, and it would only be called into question for the first time by Admiral Horatio Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar.

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