The grasshopper cannon is a weapon designed by the British in the 18th century as a light battalion gun to be carried around with infantry. It frequently saw service in rough terrain such as the frontiers of British North America.
Its barrel was made of bronze instead of iron. Bronze is less brittle than cast iron, and so the barrel could be made thinner and lighter than that of an iron gun. Further, if a bronze gun developed a defect it would rupture; an iron gun with a flaw would shatter, at great cost to its own crew. It fired a three pound ball (or 3 pounds of canister shot).
Using the conventional split trail, it was moved by its own crew using drag ropes and wooden shafts much like a handcart. Two straight shafts were placed on each side of the cheek pieces facing forward, and two angled ones at the trail. Their appearance, and the fact that the gun jumped backwards with the recoil when it was fired, led to its nickname of Grasshopper.
Famous battles with grasshopper cannon
- Cowpens in the American Revolution
- Yorktown in the American Revolution
- Craney Island in the War of 1812
- Frenchtown in the War of 1812
- Queenston Heights in the War of 1812
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