Page 12 - Moncrieff's Disappearing Guns
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Moncrieff’s Disappearing Guns                                                                            David Moore


              Army and Navy Gazette - Saturday 29 August 1868

             The experiments carried on at Shoeburyness on Wednesday week have gone far to prove the complete success which
             is destined to attend Captain Moncrieff’s admirable invention. It is not long since we called attention to the important
             changes that must sooner or later brought about in our scheme of national defence the application of his novel and
             ingenious system, under which the maximum of effective fire is obtained from piece of ordnance with the minimum
             of danger the gun and the detachment. The principle of Captain Moncrieff’s invention, by which the recoil, hitherto
             deemed so destructive and dangerous enemy, is converted into a useful agent, is now well known that we need enter
             into no details. Our readers will remember that the recoil, instead of, heretofore, driving the gun carriage back along
             platform with such force that the most powerful methods of applying friction had be devised to check the recoiling
             mass, at the cost of severe strain to the carriage, platform, and foundations—serves, under this system, to lower the
             gun  in  a  cycloidal  curve  from  its  firing  position  above  the  parapet  into  a  safe  and  protected  position  below  the
             parapet, and, at the same time, raising a counterweight, which, on being released when the gun is loaded, raises the
             gun again into its firing position simply its weight. All this is accomplished almost without strain to the carriage, and
             with so little strain on the foundations, that the costly method of supporting the platform, hitherto in use, might, under
             this system, safely be abandoned.

             Preliminary trial carried on at Woolwich on the 4th and 5th May were decidedly successful, and the 7-inch gun and
             carriage which had been thus tried were sent down to Shoeburyness for further experiment. Among the advantage
             claimed for his system by Captain Moncrieff is the power of placing heavy artillery gun pits or hole dug in the natural
             surface of the ground, that the gun when down in the loading position, is not only out of sight with all its detachment,
             but that there is no mark of any kind for an enemy to lay his artillery upon, all parapets being dispensed with. For a
             few moments the gun must be raised into firing position, to be laid on the object and fired, but even then not man
             need ever be exposed, for Captain Moncrieff has invented a reflecting sight, by which the gun can be laid from below
             the parapet, and at the very instant of firing the gun disappears below the surface of the ground. The inventor, also
             claims  for  his  system  great  advantages  over  any  system  of  embrasures,  not  only  on  account  of  the  additional
             protection, but because of the great increased lateral range obtained.

             Wednesday’s experiments have  tested  all these points—whether  the  carriage would work  safely and easily  under
             battering  charges,  whether  the  strain  would  really  be  so  removed  from  the  platform  to  allow  solid  foundations
             dispensed with, whether great lateral range could be obtained, whether the practice would be accurate if the reflecting

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