The Vandenburg Volley Gun
A weapon of questionable value, this large volley gun was manufactured in England and saw limited use in Europe and in the American Civil War. Different models could have anywhere from 85 to 150 barrels that fired all at once. The method of ignition was unique in that the center charge was fired by percussion and ignited the whole volley simultaneously. However, by plugging off the vents, or ignition galleries, in advance, the discharge of the piece could be regulated to fire by clusters or rows of one-sixth, one-third, or one-half of the group. The other sections remained charged, ready to be fired by inserting a new percussion cap, and opening the formerly plugged orifices. The gun was loaded from the breech with the back unscrewing to expose the chambers. A loading machine for facilitating the charging of the many chambers in the breech. The device, when placed on dowels, was in proper position over the holes in the chambers. By manipulating a lever, measured charges of powder were dropped simultaneously into every chamber. This mechanism could be removed quickly, to be replaced by another containing lead balls. When properly positioned, the latter dropped the bullets into place. A ramming device was then put on, and all charges were compressed at once by the action of a lever on the loading plungers. Unfortunately the gun was big, heavy, and hard to move, making in difficult to place in order to achieve maximum effect. Plus the tightly grouped shot pattern of the gun was not large enough to cover a large area, and cannon grapeshot was considered to be a more effective weapon.
Noah Rothman reports: During a congressional committee hearing about the constitutional limits imposed on the presidency and the implications of President Barack Obama’s disregard for implementing the Affordable Care Act as written, one expert testified that the consequences of the president’s behavior were potentially grave. He said that the precedent set by Obama could eventually lead to an armed revolt against the federal government.
“If the people come to believe that the government is no longer constrained by the laws then they will conclude that neither are they.”
On Tuesday, Michael Cannon, Cato Institute’s Director of Health Policy Studies, testified before a congressional committee about the dangers of the president’s legal behavior.
“There is one last thing to which the people can resort if the government does not respect the restrains that the constitution places on the government,” Cannon said. “Abraham Lincoln talked about our right to alter our government or our revolutionary right to overthrow it.”
“That is certainly something that no one wants to contemplate,” he continued. “If the people come to believe that the government is no longer constrained by the laws then they will conclude that neither are they.” Read the rest of this entry »
Until today, this cannon hadn’t seen air for 295 years.
In 1718, legendary Caribbean pirate Blackbeard sank his ship, Queen Anne’s Revenge, after it got stuck on too-shallow land outside the coastal city of Beaufort, N.C. For almost three centuries, the ship’s hodgepodge of cannons from around the world has sat at the bottom of the sea. Today several of Blackbeard’s big guns rose to the surface in the largest cannon catch yet from the site.
Led by North Carolina’s Department of Cultural Resources, today’s cannon recovery is the latest development in an archeological endeavor scheduled to conclude in 2014. The wreck, recorded at least as early as July 12th, 1718, was discovered on the ocean floor in 1996. Since then, archeologists have recoveredtens of thousands of artifacts. A museum dedicated to the wreck offers this fun interactive map of the ship on the ocean floor.
Republicans risk too much in the shutdown battle, because it’s being fought mainly in the media.
Cannon to the right of them,
Cannon to the left of them,
. . . Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell
Rode the six hundred.
— Alfred, Lord Tennyson, “The Charge of the Light Brigade”
Mona Charen writes: Almost exactly 159 years ago, a British light-cavalry brigade rode directly into Russian guns at the battle of Balaclava in the Crimean War. Tennyson was available to immortalize the valor of the soldiers who rode bravely to their deaths (“theirs was not to reason why”). How stirring, for the survivors.
The light brigade was actually meant to harry a retreating Russian artillery battery. But “someone had blundered” and the order was given that the six hundred ride directly into a valley surrounded by Russian guns.
Good generals are responsible for choosing their battles wisely. In politics, as in war, the goal should be victory, not glorious (or “principled”) defeat.
The Republicans’ blunder is to risk so much in a short-term public-relations battle fought mainly through a medium that Democrats control — the press. With a few exceptions, the American press is the Democrats’ artillery in any battle with Republicans.
You may say, in that case, why should Republicans ever take on the Democrats? Won’t the press always create a hopelessly uneven playing field? Read the rest of this entry »