Slow motion video of tank canister shot

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Slow motion video of tank canister shot

Canister shot (or case-shot) is a kind of anti-personnel ammunition used in cannons. It was similar to grapeshot in which the canister round's effect is similar to that of a giant shotgun shell.

Canister shot consists of a closed cylindrical metal canister typically filled with round lead or iron balls, normally packed with sawdust to add more solidity to the mass and to prevent the balls from crowding each other when the round was fired.

At times when the supply of balls was limited, nails, scrap iron or lead, wire, and other similar metal objects were included. The canister itself was usually made of tin, often dipped in a lacquer of beeswax diluted with turpentine to prevent corrosion of the metal. Iron was substituted for tin for larger-caliber guns. The ends of the canister were closed with wooden or metal disks.

Attached to the back of the metal canister was a cloth cartridge bag, which contained the round's gunpowder charge which was used to fire the canister from the gun barrel. A sabot of wood, metal, or similar material was used to help guide the round during firing from the cannon. Various types of canister were devised for specific models of artillery field pieces.

When fired, the canister disintegrates and its shards and projectiles spread out in a conical formation, causing a wide swath of destruction. It was particularly effective during the Napoleonic Wars and the American Civil War, where massed troops at close range (usually less than 400 yards) could be broken up by artillery batteries firing canister. At times, particularly at very close range, artillery crews would fire extremely lethal "double canister," where two rounds were loaded into the gun tube and fired simultaneously using a single charge. This simple and incredibly effective technology has been wreaking havoc in ground fronts since the Napoleonic Wars.

Designed to create a destructive cloud to do major damage on a large group of soft bodies, the canister shot has played a central role in ground battles since the 18th century.

In this video you can see how it works: A cylindrical metal canister is filled with lead or iron balls and sawdust, used to firmly pack the metal balls while avoiding them to crowding each other when the cannon fires. Basically, this type of shell turns the large tank cannon into a giant shotgun. And like a shotgun, its destructive power at close range is now mostly used in urban warfare.

By netchicken: posted on 21-12-2009

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