Gourd-handgun thingamajig on history channel


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WestKentucky
June 20, 2014, 01:54 PM
I think the program is called ancient discoveries, but they filled a gourd with what appeared to be a clay based plaster then bored a hole, packed it with powder and bits of schrapnel. Not as in one Big Bang but as in a cone firework that shot bits out. They presume it would be a good defensive weapon against an army trying to climb a fortified wall. Anybody see this or have any info?

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Sam Cade
June 20, 2014, 02:15 PM
Sounds like a Fire Lance variant.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fire_lance

KodeFore
June 20, 2014, 02:18 PM
I saw that episode too. Looks like the invention of the first sparkler. My thought is that it would not be very effective causing physical damage but would have a tremendous psychological impact, evoking horrific fear of fire breathing dragons in foes unfamiliar with the modern technology of the day.

CWL
June 20, 2014, 04:06 PM
I saw that episode too. Looks like the invention of the first sparkler. My thought is that it would not be very effective causing physical damage but would have a tremendous psychological impact, evoking horrific fear of fire breathing dragons in foes unfamiliar with the modern technology of the day.
Where did you get your information?

Fire lances and similar weapons were in fact quite deadly. They weren't just used during sieges, but infantry and cavalry troops also used them on the battlefield. To protect against self-immolation, Fire lance brigades and rocket troops wore specialized armor made from rattan, which was fire resistant.

Don't make the mistake of thinking earlier generations were that superstitious or stupid, they were highly intelligent and didn't have the distractions that we have today. Take a moment and think about how modern people are so ready to believe anything they see on TV and the internet...

barnbwt
June 21, 2014, 12:38 AM
"Sparkler" or no, gun powder's been pretty much the same since the beginning, so more than capable of tremendous damage to either foe or wielder. The Chinese were extraordinarily clever, too, inventing sophisticated crossbows and war engines, so it's no surprise they'd find a quick way to make the gunpowder technology effective. Their gunpowder was every bit as intimidating and effective as Greek Fire (naval flame throwers)

I am surprised that fire-lances predated grenadiers, though; you'd think sending poor schmucks running out front to throw the lit gourds at advancing spearmen or defensive structures would have come before a spear-cannon :confused:. Exploding gourds must not have been nearly as effective, is all I can guess.

TCB

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