Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The Great Turkish Bombard

So a mysterious Hungarian (or possibly German) fellow named Orban, a master founder, offered to make some of these for the city of Constantinople, who declined the offer. So Orban moved on to offer his services to Mehmed II, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. Mehmed paid to have a bunch built. The could shoot 1500 pound granite rocks a mile. It took 60 teams of oxen and 400 men to move one of these puppies. Mehmed set them up a mile or so outside Constantinople, and after 90 days of firing 7 rounds per day from each cannon, he breached the walls, and thus ended the Roman Empire, and thus did Constantinople become Istanbul.

They have a 30 inch bore. Dude. For 1453, pretty seriously awesome engineering. Nearly 500 years later, future engineers would design the first atomic bomb. Is that forward or backward progress?

1 comment:

byron smith said...

I just stumbled across the GTB a few weeks ago on Wikipedia while reading about the fall of Constantinople. I kept following the links to other 'superguns'. Weird stuff.

Although I thought that the GTB wasn't particularly effective because it took so long to reload that the defenders could more or less repair the walls in between hits. In any case, Constantine fell, and with it, (what was left of) the Eastern empire.