Incendiary cannon arrows
Mike Loades, author of the excellent Swords and Swordsmen and all round historical Good Chap (tm), shared this awesome picture on Facebook today.
If you don't do FB, the thing looks to be about four feet long and the commentary reads:
"Mary Rose Museum
Alex Hildred, Curator of Ordnance at the Mary Rose, examines an incendiary arrow, one of the more unusual weapons found on the Mary Rose.
Made of silver fir with an oak flight, this object was found at the stern of the Mary Rose, alongside a bronze demiculverin (a type of cannon) which appears to have been the primary method of deployment. The head would have consisted of a pitch-coated cloth bag, containing Incendiary Mixture (gunpowder and sulphur) and a large iron spike, which would have embedded in the side of a ship, allowing the incendiary mix to blow a hole in the side."
Giant arrows. Fired out of cannon. On fire. Oh, the possibilities... :D
All my old D&D characters are jealous.
I know what you mean, and this stuff is so much cooler when you know it was actually real!
The big question of course is did it work? I can see a number of problems with it ranging from not always sticking in the target vessel and the charge exploding early. In fact, it looks like the sort of weapon that the inventor should have been made to sit on it metaphorically speaking until the idea went away.;)
Looks like something for Mythbusters (the T.V. show) to tackle.
Obviously there's no saying it actually worked!
It could be every bit as much fun in a story to watch it not work, of course...
Right, in a story setting, absolutely fun. But I do want to see if it would work. It probably did enough to warrant putting it on that ship!
Originally Posted by PeteMC
I would have thought so, given this sort of thing wouldn't have been cheap I assume some sort of testing would have been done.
I don't know how well Mike Loades is known in the States but over here he has an occasional TV show on the history channel where he recreates ancient weapons and tests them (he did chariot archery a while ago, which was amazing!) so with a bit of luck he'll get his production company interested enough to let him have a go at this at some point.
What's the time period for this weapon? 17th Century? 18th? 19th?
Tudor - the Mary Rose sank in 1545 so sometime before then.
http://www.maryrose.org/ if you're interested.