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Subject: Grape shot
scholar    7/15/2004 2:46:11 PM
Whatever happened to it? When did it stop being used? Or is there some modern variant on it?
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HorribleSailor    RE:Historical note   8/24/2004 12:22:57 PM
Erm, no it wasn't. Grape was very short ranged and used for it's anti-personel properties, tearing up sails and rigging was secondary. Far better for that purpose was bar / chain shot.
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jastayme3    RE:Grape shot   8/24/2004 2:06:53 PM
Is that ever done? Did gunners in WW2 ever do that ----------------------------- gunners in wwII did use it, it was used in Guadalcanal for instance. However normally gunners don't get that close anymore. It was used in Vietnam, and probably a lot more because the lack of clear lines allowed firebases to be attacked several times. In Vietnam it was also used out of tank guns, sometimes quite effective in that form
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scholar    andyf   8/24/2004 5:27:20 PM
How big are those 1100 Tungsten balls? Yikes, I wouldn't want to be anywhere near that thing.
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Nichevo    RE:andyf   10/20/2004 2:14:19 AM
1) Somebody already nailed it with the new 120mm canister round for the M1. 2) Grapeshot, smaller than the lone solid shot meant for a given bore, were larger than case shot and were meant for more property damage, probably analogous to killing soft-skinned vehicles rather than personnel. Wouldn't pierce the hull but it'd probably smash up the ship's wheel pretty good, for instance, or kill a ship's boat. It also might have been better than case (canister) at longer ranges. They also had such specialties as bar and chain shot to tear up rigging and the like. 3) It seems unlikely that WWII or later dates stuffed autoloading weapons with blackpowder or nails. All weapons of WWII used self-contained brass or steel cartridges to hold both powder and shot. If you had powder, you in all likelihood therefore had shot. I doubt many on Guadalcanal found themselves caught short with a lot of blank cartridges. It is possible, though odd, that they found themselves with no ammo but with reloading supplies. As for loading scrap in the barrel, again, not really apropos of modern designs. I suppose, on some occasion or other, artillery might have had something shoved down its maw. Again, this supposes one has powder but no shot, which is a little more possible with artillery, but also seems unlikely. Shotguns--you have me there. People will put ANYTHING in a shotshell ;>.
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big79    RE:andyf   11/16/2004 5:34:22 PM
my kowledge of history is that chain/bar shot was anti mast/sail canister is anti sail/personel solid shot was anti rigging/personel now let me explain this solid shot did a great job at penetrating things like the iron rigging that attachted the mast support ropes to the lower hull, cutting these would disable the mast. the solid shot capaillity in the anti personel for the navy was from the debri from a shell strike. the splinters from a single solid shot strike could cause the loss of an entire gun crew even if the shell never penetrated the hull. most naval battles were won by attrition of men not from sinking ships. grape shot was used to create splinters and to take out sails grape shot being 1" to 2 1/2" balls. On the land grape shot and canister were mixed at first creating a multi range round. the solid shot was used to strike solid targets to cause damage or create spall. canister was not developed until the 1800's exploding shells were the original longer range anti personel rounds.
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Shooter    RE:Grape shot   12/2/2004 4:48:51 PM
There are many alternatives to "Grape" available now. Canister, Schrapnel, behive, flechette and others all provide more or less close in deffence of the gun pos. Some munitions provide an offensive punch and some will shoot threw cover in addition to threw concielment. I recomend Ian V. Hogg's Encyclopeadia of Ammunition for more info.
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Texastillidie    RE:Grape shot   4/4/2005 12:43:48 AM
Grape shot is a technical term in artillery. If you place six balls inside the bore diameter of a particular cannon, the diameter of those balls is grape shot for that cannon. Grape for a 12 pounder is smaller than grape for a 24 pounder. Grapeshot was typically stacked three rows deep (18 balls) with plates between. The whole affair was connected together with a rod up the center. Grape was used against infantry past the range of cannister. Cannister uses balls about 3/4 inch in diameter and was used under 300 yards. Grapeshot fell out of use with breechloading artillery. There is no modern equivalent of Grapeshot. Hope this helps, Texastillidie
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neutralizer    RE:Grape shot   4/4/2005 4:04:05 AM
Probably last used at Waterloo 1814, not least because there was then several decades of peace in Europe. However, some years before Waterloo Shrapnel had invented shrapnel and this made grape shot obsolete although it may have lingered on for several decades in naval use and other parts of the world (various Indian states made extensive use of French advisors after 1814 and they may have used grape shot). Basically shrapnel shells fire musket size balls forward, it was used through out WW1 and may have been used by UK in NE Africa (Abysinnia, Eritrea, Somalia) against the Italians in 1940-1. After WW2 UK conducted trials of shrapnel shells fuzed VT, worked OK (but the normal VT HoB would be too high for really effective shrapnel and the angle of descent may also have been a bit steep to get the long cone (300 yds) of balls) shrapnel was past its time. The nearest modern equivalent starts with the US Beehive firing flechettes in SVN, however, I believe it has been US policy to only use this for direct fire. Reputedly, the USSR then adopted it and used/uses it in indirect fire both at 122 and 152mm calibres. Like the US I suspect they'd use/d time fuzes not VT. If you were facing massed infantry, mostly on foot in open country then a beehive type shell would proably be quite effective with indirect fire although you might want to go to heavier flechettes to get a long effective cone at a fairly flat angle of descent. Incidentally in WW1 the Brits also developed a shrapnel type incendiary shell that used thermit pellets (I don't think the standard reference books mention this).
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jastayme3    RE:andyf   4/4/2005 4:44:41 PM
solid shot was anti rigging/personel ------------------------- actually it was the generic-it could be used against almost anything with reasonable reliability. It was mainly direct fire. Sometimes though they would deliberatly extend it's range by taking advantage of the deadly bouncing at the end of the range(quite deadly despite it's illusion of harmlessness; several inexperienced men lost their hands trying to touch it. shell was developed quite early. it was seldom used aboard ship except in specialized shore bombardment vessels("bomb ketches")presumably because of the nearness to flammable or explosive substances, the damage to be incurred if an opposing ship was captured, or the desire to capture rather than destroy ships. One famous oddity was "shrapnel"-canister carried inside an explosive shell. It was different from what we mean by the word today(flying junk)and was a specific type of weapon used for several purposes. It was perhaps the most reliable counterbattery weapon of the time, though most commanders considered counterbattery to be generally wasteful in most circumstances
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neutralizer    RE:andyf   4/5/2005 5:53:46 AM
Given the tens of millions of rounds used in WW1 I'd hardly call shrapnel an oddity. It was the most lethal shell of its day, which lasted well over 100 years having been invented by Henry Shrapnel (1761-1842), later a General. The pre-eminent users of shrapnel were the Brits, their use seems to have been more effective than other armies, mainly because they aimed to burst it a bit lower (at 15 ft) than other armies, so the 300 yd cone was particularly effective against troops in the open (remember this was from quickfiring guns firing on a fairly flat trajectory). Furthermore it was not the most reliable CB weapon. GHQ Artillery Notes No 3 'Counter Battery Work' issue early in 1917 states 'Shrapnel fire of field guns and 60-pdr can be usefully employed in conjunction with the actual work of destruction effected by heavy howitzers'. For neutralization is states that gas is best. .
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