19th-century tools of war in 21st-century conflict?

We know Syrian and Iraqi militants (many of whom are terrorists by any other name) have been making their own improvised weapons for some time (see here for some examples).  However, this home-made improvised cannon on the back of a truck, courtesy of bmashina’s Tumblr page, made me blink.

It reminds me of nothing so much as the muzzle-loading cannon common in European warfare from the Renaissance through the Napoleonic wars, or the early breech-loading cannon that succeeded them.  See, for example, this British Ordnance BL 12 pounder 7 cwt breech-loading artillery piece from the 1880’s.

One wonders whether something like the older cannon didn’t serve as a visual inspiration for its home-made modern equivalent (and whether a museum specimen didn’t help the designer of the latter weapon to figure out how to construct it).  It looks as if a hydraulic piston from a modern piece of earth-moving or construction equipment was used as a recoil-absorbing mechanism.  Ingenious, but a bit frightening if something lets go at the wrong moment!



  1. I don't believe for a moment that the tube in that photo is a home-made improvisation. It was clearly cast in that shape, with too much detail to be a field-expedient job.
    I say the tube is an actual museum piece, and the truck mount with the hydraulics is an awesome bit of adaptation.

  2. What Jim said. I've read too many historical accounts of exploding artillery to want to be near any home-made version, or near any museum piece brought back into service.


  3. That is an old fortress mount from the late 1800's, before hydraulic recoil mechanisms came about.

    What is weird, but not expected, is the US Military was actively recruiting horse handlers and mule skinners in the early days of the Global War on Terror.

    Nothing is ever new. Next we'll see spar torpedoes mounted on LCS (about the only way those dumb ships can actually hurt something.)

  4. If they are not using the old-fashioned black powder, that cannon is being horribly over-stressed with each shot. The building near the muzzle makes it hard to see how much smoke comes from the shot, in the video, so I am not sure if they used real black powder.

    Yeah, I'd stay very far back from that thing when it fires. Like in the next time zone.

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