Fort Sill demonstrates 175-year-old cannon

  • Photo by Fort Sill Public Information Officer Ygal Kaufman

The operation of a Model 1841 cannon, a 175-year-old artillery piece, was demonstrated last Saturday outside the Field Artillery Museum at Fort Sill. Col. Frank Siltman, a historian and retired U.S. Army field artillery officer, said the weapon was used primarily from the time of the Mexican-American War (1846-48) until about 1863, in the middle of the Civil War. A bronze smoothbore cannon had no rifling, so accuracy was a problem, Siltman said.

However, iron guns would frequently explode under pressure, while bronze artillery would instead just crack. The M1841 fired different kinds of ammunition; for example, solid shot was effective against buildings and other artillery pieces, while canister shot and shrapnel filled with iron or lead balls were employed as anti-personnel projectiles.