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Kartouwe exhibit in Königstein Fortress (Germany)
Half-kartouwe exhibit in Magdeburg (Germany)
The fortifications of Oostende (Fig. 1) and the parts of a kartouwe (Figs. 2 and 3) in a 1616 print
Kartouwe and accessories in a 1616 print

A kartouwe is a siege gun used in European warfare during the 16th and 17th centuries.[1] The name is a corruption of Latin quartana[2] (quarter cannon).[3] Kartouwe is of Dutch origin,[3] in the Holy Roman Empire the gun was called Kartaune in German or cartouwe in contemporary Latin,[4] in the Swedish Empire Kartow,[4] spelling variants include kartouw, kartouve,[5] cartow,[3] cartaun,[3] courtaun[3] and others.

Characteristics[]

Kartouwen were developed from bombards.[1] A kartouwe has a caliber of 8 inches (200 mm), weighs about 8,000 pounds (3,600 kg), and is designed to fire cannon balls weighing up to 52 pounds (24 kg).[6] As a minimum, twenty horses or oxen were needed to move a kartouwe.[6] In addition to "whole" ("hele") kartouwen, there were also double,[7] half ("halve")[8] and quarter kartouwen.[4] The barrel of a whole kartouwen has a length of 18 to 19 times the caliber, weighs 300 kilograms (660 lb) to 350 kilograms (770 lb) and was transported on a special wagon by 20 to 24 horses, another four to eight horses were needed to transport the mount (lafette).[9] The barrel length of a half-kartouwen is 32 to 34 times the caliber, which ranges between 105 millimetres (4.1 in) and 115 millimetres (4.5 in).[9] Its barrel weighs 110 kilograms (240 lb) to 150 kilograms (330 lb), the whole gun 170 kilograms (370 lb) to 240 kilograms (530 lb).[9] Half-kartouwen fired cannon balls weighing between 8 pounds (3.6 kg) and 10 pounds (4.5 kg), and for the transport of its barrel, 10 to 16 horses were needed.[9]

Use and perception[]

Kartouwen were used for example in the Livonian War by the Russian[5] and Swedish forces.[7] During the Battle of Narva (1581), the besieging Swedish forces destroyed the walls of Narva, 5.5 metres (18 ft) strong, within two days using twenty-four double and half-kartouwen.[7]

Kartouwen were also the characteristic of the Thirty Years' War.[10] As such, they were featured in contemporary poems,[10] e.g. in Am liebsten bey der Liebsten by Sibylla Schwarz ("grausame Kartaune", "gruesome kartouwe").[11] In his 1844 poem Die Tendenz, Heinrich Heine used kartouwen to symbolize loudness.[12]

Sources[]

References[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Meyers (1907), p. 682; Brockhaus (1911), p. 943
  2. Meyers (1907), p. 682; Brockhaus (1911), p. 943; Adelung (1796), p. 1506
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Llewellyn (1936), p. 24
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Adelung (1796), p. 1506
  5. 5.0 5.1 Peterson (2007), p.95
  6. 6.0 6.1 Kasekamp (1990); Peterson (2007), p. 95
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Kasekamp (1990)
  8. Kasekamp (1990); Adelung (1796), p. 1506
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 Medick & Winnige, entry "Stück"
  10. 10.0 10.1 Hartung (1995), p. 329
  11. Sibylla Schwarz, Am liebsten bey der Liebsten: "So schreckt mich die Posaune / das Spiel der Schwerdter nicht / die grausame Kartaune / kompt nie mir ins Gesicht."
  12. Sørensen & Arndal (2002), p. 23

Bibliography[]

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