Artillery in the 17th Century
Major battles would often start with a large artillery barrage in the hope that the enemy would be pummelled before the main attack. Then, during the battle itself the gun crew had to be prepared to move the gun to a better firing position depending on the events of the battle.
A well placed shot from the guns could devastate ranks of soldiers as a heavy ball decimated the files. Sometimes the guns fired ‘grape shotte’ – a large spread of smaller shots designed to take out a wider frontage of soldiers – which was only effective at closer range; they slowed down and dropped sooner.
Artillery in the 21st Century
Stamford’s gun is called Lady Jane, named after Lady Jane Grey, a relation of the Earl of Stamford. In order to work with the gun crew, you need to, like musketeers, obtain a licence to acquire black powder. Gun Captains must also have the appropriate shotgun or firearms licence. If a member of the gun crew wishes to carry a sword on the battlefield they must, like anyone else, undertake sword training before taking the test.
The Gun Captain, as you would think, runs the crew and safety is of upmost importance. You will be trained carefully if you wish to work on the Lady Jane. There are a number of stages in the preparation of a gun for firing- worming, wet mopping, dry mopping loading the charge then wadding, pricking and priming the pan, before actual firing.