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The Pirate Weapons

Cannonshots: Shots from Iron Barrels

Guns and Cannons came out approximately the same time. Probably around 1600s. Cannons were first used in Europe and China. Round shot and grapeshot was the early ammunition used for cannons.

Cannons required 4 men per cannon to load, aim, fire and reposition. By 1700, many improvements for loading, aiming, accuracy, range and speed made them more formidable. Its range was 700-1000 yards.


It's a round solid ball made from iron that would be shot from a smooth-bore cannon to batter the wooden hulls of enemy ships, forts or anything they needed to hit.


Two round balls linked by a length of chain or a solid bar. This was used to slash through the rigging and sails of an enemy ship so they couldn't sail or maneuver. It was inaccurate and only used at close range. Two headed bullets aka angels were similiar but made of two halves of a ball than two balls.


An anti-personnel projectile that included many iron round shot or lead musket balls in a metal can which broke up when fired scattering the shot throughout the enemy people acting like a large shotgun.


Small clay pots filled with burning sulfur, sometimes plant gums and rotten fish, that was thrown on the deck to overwhelm the victims like tear gas.


They were named for the spanish word for pomergrante which they remsembled. They could be small glass bottles or little pots made from clay, wood or iron filled with black powder mixed with broken glass or scraps or iron and lit with a fuse. This would inflict shrapnel wounds and shock value.


This was invented in 1784 by Lt. Henry Shrapnel, Royal Artillery, Great Britain. An iron anti-personnel projectile that contained an interior cavity that was packed with lead or iron round balls around a small bursting charge of just enough force to break open the thin-walled iron projectile. The fuse would blow up the central bursting charge when it was airborne and about 6-10 feet above the heads of enemy infantry. It would shower them with the iron balls and fragments of the casing.


An explosive anti-material and counter-battery projectile of iron with a cavity packed with a high explosive bursting charge of powder that was used to destroy enemy wagons, breastworks or opposing artillery.


An anti-personnel weapon, simliar to canister shot, but the shot would be contained to a canvas bag and they would be of a larger caliber. They were called because of the resemblance of the clustered shot in the bag to a cluster of grapes on the vine. In one variation of this, the shot was held together by a coiled bar and was spread by a fused charge in the same way as shell. It was very effective against infantry, but it had a very short range and didn't work against infantry who took cover. Grapeshot was the starting point for the creation of shrapnel.


An incendiary/antipersonnel projectile that was designed to burn fiercely and produce poisonous fumes. It was constructed of an iron frame bound with sack cloth and filled with pitch, antimony, sulfur, saltpeter, tallow and venetian turpentine. Then it would be ignited by the cannon's propellant charge then bursting on impact, releasing the noxious fumes while setting fire to its surroundings. It was an early chemical weapon as well as an incendiary and area denial weapon. The name is possibly referred to the medieval practice of hurling dead animals from a trebuchet as a form as biological warfare or the projectile's superficial resemblance to a human carcass.


A solid iron cannonball would be heated red hot in a special wood or coat fired furnance then loaded to be fired. This was used for shore based forts defending against attacks by wooden warships which would be easily lit afire by those hot shots.


It is a chain shot, but it has many chains than just one. It wasn't used often even though it was very effective against small ships and morale.


They were packs of short metal bars to make short work of a crew or passengers. It did massive injuries.


A box or cage or canister filled up with grape, bundle shot or stones to get the fight over with.

The Pistols of Old Days Past


The Swords of Pirates