Video: Test firing of a 24pdr gun and the damage on a "wooden wall"


Staff member
Blandford Group Build
Dec 25, 2017

Vienna, Austria
Found this video
Gives some idea of the damage a 24 pndr cannon ball when it hits through the hull of a ship.
Most sailors were killed and injured during action by wooden splinters.....

Test firing aims to show how 17th century sea battles were conducted
A 24-pounder gun was successfully fired at a newly-built section of the Royal Swedish warship Vasa's hull on Wednesday (October 22). The firing is part of a research project which aims to show how sea battles during the early 17th century were fought and the effect guns had in these battles. The research project, funded by The Friends of the Vasa Museum support association, will look at the firing distances chosen and the impact of different kinds of ammunition. It also seeks to understand under what conditions the gun crews were operating, exposed to blast waves, noise and smoke and operating heavy weights on a moving platform. According to The Friends of the Vasa Museum, the test firing was successful and showed that Vasa's cannon had considerable firepower and fairly good precision at moderate distances. The Vasa sank on her maiden voyage in Stockholm 1628 and was salvaged in 1961. It is the only preserved 17th century ship in the world and can now be seen in a specially built museum in Stockholm. Copies of Vasa's gun carriage, cannon, a 24-pound cannonball and a 4,5x3,4 metre section of its hull in solid oak were produced for the test. Gun powder with a similar chemical composition as used on Vasa was also made in Germany.



Well-Known Member
Jul 28, 2014

Deception Bay, Queensland
Came across this video which is a continuation of the video above. language is in Swedish but there is some English, one can get the gist of what is being said. The slow motion video of the cannon firing, recoil and the "wave" behind the cannon ball makes it all worthwhile.
Now, they fired a 24 pound ball at a DRY hull section, in reality the wood would have been wet and the effects would have been different. The greater the distance (100 yards plus) the less effect a 24 pounder will have, i.e. it may punch through the hull but be slowed down somewhat by damp wood but still wreak havoc inside on its way to the other side.
An interesting thing I came across, a 42pound ball from 100 yards (point blank) will go through five feet of dry Oak, greater kinetic energy. Because they were on the lowest deck they were used more for punching holes below the water line.

In the video they refer to chain shot, it looks like they fired individual links at the sail and not short lengths of chain which was designed to take down rigging, what they fired is known as grape shot, designed for anti personnel and weakening the sails so the sails rip under pressure from the wind.