This weapon embodied all the essential features which distinguish the ordnance of to-day from the cannon of the middle ages - it was built up of rings of metal shrunk upon an inner steel barrel; it was loaded at the breech; it was rifled; and it threw, not a round ball, but an elongated projectile with ogival head.
The infantry and rifles are armed with small-bore magazine rifles, and the active artillery have steel breech-loaders with extreme ranges of 4150 to 4700 yds.
It has suffered considerably in modern times from the competition of other towns in this industry, especially since the introduction of the breech-loading rifle.
The number of field battalions was nearly doubled, two-thirds of the artillery received breech-loading rifled guns, the infantry had for some years had the breech-loading "needlegun," and steps were initiated to train an adequate number of staff officers to a uniform appreciation of strategical problems, based on Moltke's personal interpretation of Clausewitz's Vom Kriege.
Rifled guns with shrapnel shell were considered more than sufficient to make good the slight advantage then conceded to the breech-loader.
The advantage of the breech-loader now began to assert itself, for the Austrian skirmishers who covered the front of the guns could only load when standing up, while the Prussians lay down or fired from cover.
But the improved organization, better communications and supplies, superior moral, and once again the breech-loader versus a standing target, which caused the Prussian successes, at least give us an opportunity of comparing the old and the new systems under similar conditions, and even thus the principle of the "armed nation" achieved the decision in a period of time which, for the old armies, was wholly insufficient.
But while there was no doubt as to the shooting capacities of these guns, defects in the breech mechanism soon became equally patent, and in a few years caused a reversion to muzzle-loading.
Except in the boreal areas the breech-clout was nearly universal with men, and the cincture or short petticoat with women.
Until the 9th century the only means for sighting cannon was by the " line of metal " - a line scored_ along the top of the gun, which, owing to the greater thickness of metal at the breech than at the muzzle, was not parallel to the axis.
The earliest form of a hind or breech sight was fixed, but in the early part of the 19th century Colonel Thomas Blomefield proposed a movable or tangent sight.
This is called " quadrant elevation," and the proper inclination was given by means of the " gunner's quadrant," a quadrant and plumb bob, one leg being made long to rest in the bore, or by bringing lines scribed on the breech of the gun in line with a pointer on the carriage; these were called " quarter sights."
Other improvements were: the gun was sighted on each side, tangent scales dropping into sockets in a sighting ring on the breech, thus enabling a long scale for all ranges to be used, and the foresights screwing into holes or dropping into sockets in the trunnions, thus obviating the fouling of the line of sight, and the damage to FIG.
Was of skins of woven aloe and palm fibre, but at the time of the conquest cotton was largely cultivated in the hot lands, spun with a spindle, and woven in a rudimentary loom without a shuttle into the mantles and breech-cloths of the men and the chemises and skirts of the women, garments often of fine texture and embroidered in colours.
One of his last essays dealt with the war of 1866 and the influence of the breech-loading rifle, and he died at Passy on the 24th of March 1869 only a year before the Franco-German War.
The mixture, then, was composed of such materials as sulphur and naphtha with quicklime, and took fire spontaneously when wetted - whence the name of wet fire or sea fire; and portions of it were "projected and at the same time ignited by applying the hose of a water engine to the breech" of the siphon, which was a wooden tube, cased with bronze.
The driver in his bast shoes ran panting up to it, placed a stone under one of its tireless hind wheels, and began arranging the breech-band on his little horse.
The former, bred in the tradition of the Napoleonic battle, looked for the decision only from the employment of "masses"; the latter, trained with the breech-loader and without war experience, expected to decide battles by infantry fire only.