Boy's Manual of Seamanship and Gunnery

Gunnery Exercise


The following practical questions in Gunnery will be found useful to boys when passing through a Training Ship :

Q. What is the use of the priming wire ?

A. To prick the cartridge and to ascertain that the vent is clear.

Q. Why do you prick the cartridge ?

A . To ascertain that the charge is home.

Q. Would the charge ignite if it was not pricked?

A. Yes, the strength of the tube being sufficient to penetrate three or four thicknesses of the cartridge bag.

Q. Why would you enter the cartridge seam sideways and bottom first?

A. To prevent the seam or tye of the cartridge getting under the vent, in which case the gun would miss fire.

Q. What is the cause of a gun missing fire ?

A. In the first instance, the charge not being home ; secondly, being entered tye first; lastly, the tubes being old or damp.

Q. Why do you enter the cartridge to the full extent of the arm ?

A. To give sufficient room for the projectile; also to protect it from the fire of other guns, and from getting wet from a spray of the sea entering the ports.

Q. What is the use of the vent bitt ?

A. To clear the vent when it is choked, taking care to use it between the two left forefingers and thumb, being the safest way.

Q. What is the use of the sponge?

A. To extinguish any fire left in the gun.

Q. What is the particular duty of Nos. 3 and 4 when sponging and loading ?

A. To see that No. 1 serves the vent, for if the vent was not served, the lives of Nos. 3 and 4 would be in great danger, as the charge may ignite from any burning fragment that may be left in the gun.

Q. What is the use of the rammer ?

A. To ram home the charge and projectile.

Q. Supposing the rammer was broken, or lost overboard, and no spare one at hand, what would you do ?

A. Ram home with the sponge.

Q. Why is the sponge tapped under the muzzle after sponging?

A. To knock off any burning or fouling fragments.

Q. Supposing any fire came out of the gun after sponging, what would you do?

A. No. 1 would direct No. 3 to extinguish it with a wet swab, which world be taken off the tompion in action, and wetted for the purpose.

Q. What, is the use of the worm ?

A. To search the gun ; that is, to withdraw projectile, charge, or anything else that may be left in the gun.

Q. Suppose the rammer jambed in the gun, what world you do?

A. Run the gun out till the muzzle is square with the outer port sill, place a handspike across the port outside, and lash the staff of the rammer to the handspike with the converging line, man the preventer tackle or preventer ropes, and run the gun gently in.

Q. Suppose the rammer-head is left in the gun, what would you do then ?

A. First try a boarding pike to get it out with; if that failed, drown the charge by pouring water or vinegar down the vent and muzzle, introduce a small quantity of powder down the vent, see the range clear, and blow it out; if the range be not clear run the gun close in, depress the muzzle in the waterways, place the wet swab in the waterways to receive the fire and rammer-head, and blow it out.

Q. Suppose the priming wire was jambed in the vent, what would you do ?

A. Place a handspike across the gun, lash the bow of the priming wire to the handspike with the spare tube lanyard, and direct the handspike men to draw it out.

Q. What is the use of serving the vent ?

A. To stop any current of air passing through the gun when sponging and loading. This is one of the most important duties of the captain of a gun, which, if not strictly attended to, places the lives of the whole of the gun's crew in-danger, should the charge ignite while being rammed home.

Q. If firing with extreme elevation and you require more, what would you do ?

A. List or roll the ship.

Q. If the ship is rolling, would you fire with a rising or falling motion ?

A. With a rising motion, looking out to fire just before the sights are brought on.

Q. How would you lay a gun horizontally in harbour ?

A. By pointing with the sights close down at an object, the same height above the water as the gun is.

Q. How would you lay a gun horizontally at sea?

A. By pointing with sights close down at the horizon.

Q. What is the meaning of spiking a gun?

A. Insert a spike made for the purpose, or a nail, in the vent-hole.

Q. How would you clear a gun spiked with a spring spike ?

A. Turn the spring of the spike towards the muzzle by the notch in the head, press the rammer-head gently against the spring, and pull the spike out.

Q. How would you clear a gun spiked with a common spike ?

A. Load the gun with a reduced charge and shot, lay a train of powder along the bore of the gun, place a piece of Bickford's fuze or match in the muzzle of the gun, and set fire to the outer end of the match.




When the armament consists of heavy guns, the guns on the battery-deck are to be arranged in quarters distinguished as starboard and port-battery, or, if the guns are numerous, as starboard (or port) foremast and after battery. Each battery is to consist of a certain number of guns on the same side of the deck, commanded by a lieutenant. In some cases it may be necessary to station a lieutenant to command guns on both sides of the ship; when this is done, a sub-lieutenant will take command of the guns on one side when the starboard and port batteries are working independently. The guns before and abaft the battery, and on the upper deck, should be arranged in quarters under command of responsible officers.

NOTE.- Guns of 4 tons weight and upwards are "heavy" guns, and of less weight, " light " guns.


Number of men to each gun - to every gun a crew is to be allotted as follows :

M. L. R. guns

10 inch,

19 men.

Revolving or Slide.

9 inch

14 men.

8 inch

7 inch

The odd-numbered guns are manned by the starboard watch, the even-numbered guns by the port-watch.

When there is an odd number of guns' crews on the deck, one gun's crew should be composed of men taken from each watch. To every two light guns on each side a crew is to be allotted as follows :



M. L. R. gun

14 men.


B.L. R. gun






When light guns are mounted as revolving or chase guns, a full crew is allotted to each. Numbering the guns:- Heavy guns are to be numbered odd on the starboard side and even on the port side, commencing from forward. Light guns are numbered consecutively from forward aft on each side of the deck ; the odd-numbered guns the starboard side, and the even-numbered guns on the port side, being known as the left guns, and the others as the right guns.


Gunnery Instructors and Seamen-Gunners.

In large vessels the gunnery instructors should not be stationed at the guns. The captains of the guns are always to be seamen-gunners, and the other more important numbers will also be filled by them, as far as possible.

A proper proportion of the seamen-gunners should be reserved for the principal duties in the magazines and shellrooms


The remainder of the guns' crews should be formed of men taken, as much as possible, in equal proportions from the different parts of the watch bill, avoiding stationing petty officers at guns of which the captains are their subordinates. All the leading numbers in the watch bill and the upper yard men should be stationed near their work. No. 5 and 6 at heavy guns has the important duty of attending the compressor, and so much depends on its proper working, care should be taken in his selection.


The riggers who will be under the care of the boatswain, should consist of good seamen taken from the different parts of the watch bill, but are on no account to include a seaman-gunner, unless he holds the rating of chief boatswain's mate.


The gunner will superintend the supply of powder from the principal magazine, and the chief gunner's mate that from the after magazines. A seaman-gunner is to be stationed in each section of a magazine, his duty being to supply from the powder cases. The remaining men required in the magazines and handing-rooms, and on the different decks, are to be taken from idlers, the best men being stationed in the handing-rooms

The chief or senior gunner's mate is to superintend the supply of powder from the principal magazine, and a first-class petty officer who is a seaman-gunner, that from the other magazine.


Each heavy gun requires two powdermen, and other guns two stationary and one extra powderman to every four guns. When the charges are too heavy for boys, men are to be stationed to supply powder to the guns.


A sufficient number of men, according o the fittings of the ship, are to be stationed to supply the shells to the gun-deck. This party should be formed from idlers. With heavy guns extra men will be required to supply the shell from the shell hatch to the guns ; with light guns this duty will devolve on the left rear men. If shell barrows are supplied, fewer men will be required than if the projectiles had to be carried. A gunner's mate will be in charge of the shell-room. The fitting of fuzes (when necessary) is to be performed by the gunner's mate or first-class seaman-gunner, petty officer, under the superintendence of an efficient officer. When necessary numbers are to be ordered to fall out from the guns to assist.


The carpenters, and a portion of the stokers, will form the fire-brigade, under the command of either a lieutenant or sub-lieutenant.


In addition to the above stations, men will be required to attend in the store-rooms, also for signals, wheel and relieving tackles, and to attend the surgeon.

Arrangements for concentrating and directing the fire of the guns.

With truck guns, the beams of the deck overhead will be marked at a convenient distance in rear of the guns, so as to admit of their being converged on the several bearings of a beam 1 point and 3 points before and abaft the beam at a distance of 500 yards. Although the guns are converged at only one distance, it would be evident that the fire would, under ordinary circumstances, be effective at all distances up to 1000 yards.

Whenever a ship's broadside consists of both slide and truck guns, the converging should be arranged for the same bearings.

The directing instrument should be fitted in each ship as nearly over the directing gun as convenient on battens parallel to the keel and to the plane of the deck.


When time admits, the following preparations should be made preparatory to sounding for action. The mess-tables, stools, sashes, and ladders (that can be replaced by Jacob's ladders), as well as all inflammable materials, or anything liable to cause splinters, to be stowed below.

The bulkheads that interfere with the working of the guns should be taken down, and movable gear removed from the ship's side.

Hawsers passed round the rigging ready for frapping in a wreck, grapnels prepared to prevent the screw being fouled, gaffs got down and slung, stays and backstays snaked, preventer stays got on the masts, braces toggled, anchors lashed, and cables unbent or not as necessary, spare steering gear prepared, boats' davits topped up or turned in, water-supply completed on the gun decks, both for drinking and otherwise, tubs of sand provided, &c. Sails if not unbent, and all articles likely to catch fire, to be wetted, and boom-boats clear for hoisting out.

It must be left to the judgment of the officer commanding the ship, as to what preparations are advisable to be carried out with respect to the condition of the ship aloft, depending upon the description of each vessel ; and the circumstances under which she may be going into action.

On the call for action, every one repairs at once to his allotted station ; the upper deck quarters and marines take their rifles, sword-bayonets, pistols, and pouches to their quarters ; the seamen stationed at guns are to wear their waist-belts, pistols, and pistol-pouches only ; the rifles, swords, bayonets, or cutlasses of the upper deck quarters, and the cutlasses, swords, bayonets of the main deck quarters are to be placed in the temporary ranks in rear of the guns. The gunner obtains the keys of the magazine and shell-rooms. In armoured ships battering charges are to be immediately passed up, and in unarmoured ships, full charges, unless otherwise ordered ; both the supply and return scuttles are to be used for the first supply of powder.

The stationary and extra powdermen fall in in single rank at the scuttles, the stationary powdermen nearest to them ; with heavy guns the stationary powdermen receive one cartridge-case each, and with light guns two cases, then proceed to their guns, receiving all further supply from the extra powdermen who work between them and the scuttles.

The guns are to be immediately cast loose and loaded in armoured ships with battering charges and chilled shell, filled, unless otherwise ordered ; and in unarmoured ships with full charge and armour shell, filled, and then run out. If it is desired to commence firing at once, the necessary orders will be communicated by the voice-tribes. A supply of rifle and pistol ammunition is to be passed up from the Snider magazine ready for distribution on the decks by men specially stationed, and should be served out at once to the top riflemen, the men armed with pistols, and the marines. Ammunition is also to be placed in the rifle pouches of the seamen stationed at the upper deck quarters, by men specially stationed to perform this duty.

The riggers provide luffs and all gear necessary; according to the arrangements made for frapping in rigging, clear of screw, tomahawks, and axes for cutting away wreck, &c.; and then fall in at the place allotted on the upper deck with their arms.

The top riflemen provide their arms, ammunition and top-screens, go into the tops, and place themselves in the best position of firing on the enemy, and concealing themselves from view.

The helm and leadsmen, signalmen, orderlies, &c. provide their arms and proceed to their respective stations.

The fire-brigade rig pumps, prepare hoses and branch pipes, and fill tubs with water. The carpenter is responsible that the cocks are turned on for the supply of water; the engineer that the Kingston and sluice-valves are open, and the steam fire engine ready for use. The fire-brigade are to extinguish all fires below the gun-deck, and if unable to do so, they are to be assisted by the guns' crews in the immediate vicinity of the fires. Stations should be made out for fires in each compartment - as a rule it would not be practicable to use a pump in the compartment where the fire occurs. If a fire occurs in the magazine compartment the magazine must be closed, the magazine men assisting to extinguish the fire. Shot-plugs should be distributed in different parts of the ship below the gun-deck, with bags of oakum for stuffing them, and jiggers for housing them in.

When fire occurs on a gun-deck, the nearest gun's crew is to extinguish it; for this purpose a gun's crew should be instructed in the duties of working the pumps and screwing on hoses and branch-pipes at their respective quarters. The mess-gear, tables, and stools, are to be passed below.

The keys of the magazine flood-cocks are not to be taken from their appointed place without the commanding officer's orders.

The party for the supply of projectiles are to keep up the supply of chilled shot and shell to the gun-decks, and are to be prepared to supply any other nature of projectile which may be required. Cases of gun-tubes are to be placed in the boxes fitted for them by men specially stationed. The relieving tackles are to be hooked to the ship's side, and overhauled ready for use ; the spare tiller shipped, and fighting-wheel ropes brought to, if they do not interfere with the steam steering gear. The directors are to be placed in position, and electric firing-gear prepared.

Convenient places are to be set apart for the surgeons below the gun-deck.

Special arrangements are to be made for supplying filled common shell, and for fitting time fuzes, should they be required.

NOTE. At action for exercise, empty cartridge-cases are to be passed up in lieu of full ones ; the rifle and pistol ammunition is to be provided, but not served out.



In Preliminary Drill the principal duties to be performed by each of the gun's crew, in the evolutions of the truck gun exercise, are detailed. Too much attention cannot be paid to the thorough instruction of the boys in these duties, upon which the accuracy and rapidity of the fire mainly depends.

The following drill is for 64-Pr. M. L. R. converted guns, mounted on truck-carriages with beds and quoins.

The alterations necessary for 64-Pr. M. L. R.. guns, with screw elevating gear, will be given.

The crew fall in two deep in rear of the gun, as follows :-

Front Rank, P. M., 9 . 7 . 5 . 3 . 1 . 2 . 4 . 6 . 8.

Rear Rank, E. P. M.,11 . 13 14 . 12. 10.


Close up.

The gun's crew place themselves as follows, turning towards the ship's side :

No. 1 in rear of the gun ; 2 on the right of 1, clear of the recoil ; 3 close to the ship's side on the left ; 4 close to the ship's side on the right ; 5 in the rear of 3 ; 6 in rear of 4 ; and so on in succession.

Note:- At the order " CHANGE ROUNDS," 3 becomes 4, and the remainder move round one place to the left.


The gun's crew call their numbers in succession,

Manning both sides.

The crew take their places as follows:- The odd numbers at the left guns, and the even numbers at the right guns.

Both Sides.

1 remains 1

2 becomes 1

3 becomes 2

4 becomes 2

5 becomes 3

6 becomes 3

7 becomes 4

8 becomes 4

9 becomes 5

10 becomes 5

11 becomes 6

12 becomes 6

13 becomes 7

14 becomes 7


Right (or Left) Guns

The gun's crews take their places at the Right (or Left) guns, as in " Close Up."

Starboard (or Port Guns)

The 1st, 2d, 3d, &c., gun's crews man the named 1st, 2d, 3d. &c., on the side of the deck.



NOTE.-At the order " Fall Out," when both sides are manned, the numbers place themselves in rear of the guns they are at ; the powdermen in line with the left rear axletree of their guns, turning inboard.

Cast Loose

Nos. 1 and 2 trice back the upper half port ; 5 and 6 raise the breech of the gun with the handspikes to free the quoin ; 1 withdraws it to clear the lower half port, then clears away the tube lanyard and puts on thumb stall ; 5 and 6 ground the handspikes ; 5 provides projectiles ; 6 clears away sponge, rammer, and worm ; 2 and 7 clear away and hook on preventer tackle ; 2 mousing the hook of the outer block ; 3, 4, 5, and 6 clear away breeching and side tackles, 5 and 6 shifting the inner blocks to the training loops. The gun is then run in ; when in, 1 orders " Well, " 2 chokes the luff of the preventer tackle and hooks up converging line ; 3 and 4 put down the lower half port, 3 takes out the tompion. When the gun is cast loose the numbers close up.

NOTE: At guns with screw elevating gear, 5 and 6 place hand spikes, 1 runs the screw down.

When the gun is secured with the preventer tackle under the brackets, all numbers except 1, clear it away before performing their other duties.

At upper deck guns 1 and 2 remove sight covers ; 3 and 4 unship upper half port.


No. 1 examines the vent with the priming wire ; 3 and 4 step in towards the muzzle; 6 gives the worm to 4, who searches the gun ; while the worm is being withdrawn 6 takes the rammer.

NOTE: 6 returns the worm after serving the rammer to 4.

When the gun is trained so far to the left, as to prevent 4 using the worm, 6 serves the worm to 3, who performs that duty.

If the order " For Securing Worm " is given, the tompion should he put in by 3, before the gun is run out.


No. 1 serves the vent ; 2 hooks on a tube ; 3 takes the cartridge from the powderman, enters it to the full extent of his arm, then receives the projectile and wad from 5 and enters them ; 6 gives the rammer to 4 ; 3 and 4 ram home ; 4 springs the rammer ; 6 returns it ; 3 and 4 step out ; 1 then pricks the cartridge. ~

NOTE: When using time fuzes, 3 uncovers the priming after the projectile is entered, keeping his hand over the head of the fuze until just before it is covered by the head of the rammer.

The mark on the rammer steff (sic) indicates when the full charges and common shell are home ; allowance is to be made when other projectiles are used.

In loading 3 and 4 are not to place themselves more in front of the muzzle than is absolutely necessary.

When required the rammer is to be served on the left of the gun.

When the gun is trained so far to the right as to prevent 3 entering the projectile, 5 gives it to 4, who enters it before receiving the rammer.

Run out

Right rearman attends the preventer tackle ; the remaining numbers, except 1, run the gun out by the side tackles ; when the gun is out 3 and 4 coil down the side tackle falls, 7 and 8 place the handspikes, and the numbers close up.

NOTE: When the gun is run out after first casting loose, it is to be laid horizontal.

In running out care should be taken to prevent the carriage striking heavily against the sweep piece, as the projectile is thereby liable to be displaced.

At the order, " Reeve preventer tackle," the preventer tackle fall is rove through a ringbolt, and attended by the rearmen ; when ordered to " Unreeve preventer tackle, " the fall is unrove from the bolt.

If the ship is rolling 3 and 4 choice the luff of the side tackles when the gun is out.

Guns when cast loose, are always to be left with the side tackle falls bracketed by 3 and 4, who are responsible that they are unbracketed on closing up at the gun.

______ Yards (name the object). Point.

When the distance is named, 1 and 2 adjust the sights ; at the order " Point, " 7 and 8 pick up the handspikes turning outwards from the gun, and man them in front, 9 and 2 in rear ; the right rearman attends the preventer tackle, the remaining numbers man the side tackles ; the gun is trained for the object under the direction of 1, who then retires to the extent of the tube lanyard.

NOTE: This method of laying the gun for direction is used when the object is visible from the gun.

When necessary the bearing may be named to indicate roughly the direction of the object.

By Director ________ Yards (name the bearing). Point.

As above, except that at the order " Point," 1 takes the converging line ; the gun is trained accurately to the named bearing under the direction of 1, who then hooks up the converging line and places himself at the extent of the tube lanyard.

This method is used when it is necessary to train the to correspond with the director.

NOTE: The position of the numbers on the side tackles are : 11 and 12 inside, the other numbers outside.

The orders for training are " Right " (or " Left ") " Two handspikes Right " (or " Left "), or " Right " (or " Left ") " Quick, " according to the direction in which the muzzle of the gun is to be trained, and the amount of training required ; when the direction is on, 1 orders " Well."

At the order "Two handspikes Right " (or "Left"), 1 places the tube lanyard over the neck-ring and falls to the rear ; 7 (or 8) works the handspike inside the bracket, 9 (or 2) mans the side tackle fall ; at " Well," the numbers resume their former positions. When the order " Right " (or " Left ") is followed by the word " Quick," I renders the breeching through the neck ring, 3 (or 4), assisted by the other numbers, shift the side tackle to the side tackle bolt of the next port ; all the numbers man it except the right rearman, the handspikes being manned as in " Two handspikes Right" (or "Left "). At " Well," the side tackle is replaced and the numbers resume their former positions.

At guns fitted with centre sights, they are to be used as far as their length permits, instead of the side sights, unless deflection is required. When deflection is ordered, it is to be named before the distance, and its use continued although the distance may alter, unless otherwise ordered.

No. 1 is responsible that the sights are correctly adjusted.

If no distance is named, 1 estimates it, and adjusts the sights accordingly.

When loaded with case shot, the gun is laid for the object with the sight close down.

The order "Point" is not to be given except when the gun is to be laid for firing ; if required to be trained for any other purpose, the order " Right " (or " Left "), &c. is to be given ; at " Well, " the numbers close up.

At the extent of the tube lanyard, 1 stands directly in rear of the sights he is using, with his feet separated, and his weight distributed equally on both.. If there is not sufficient room in rear of the gun to allow him to use a tube lanyard of the proper length, he should stand so as to be able to spring off to the left when firing.


Nos. 7, 8, and 9 place the handspikes on the steps of the carriage and raise the gun off the quoin ; 2 withdraws it ; 1 orders " Raise " (or " Lower, ") bringing the top of the fore sight in line with the object through the notch in the rear sight ; at " Well " from 1, 2 presses in the quoin, and signals to 7 and 8 ; the numbers then resume the position of " Point. "

By scale

Nos. 7, 8, and 9, as above ; 1 repeats the elevation or depression ; 2 adjusts the quoin, and signals to 7 and 8 ; the numbers then resume the position of " Point."

Horizontal (or _____ Degrees Elevation or Depression)

Elevate Horizontal or ____ Degrees Elevation (or Depression).

When laying by Director, 1 orders " Rest. "

No. 1 repeats the heel to 2, then as above.

NOTE.-When the ship is rolling, the alignment of the sights should so pass above and below the object, as to cause them to come on at the most favourable period of the roll.

If, while elevating, the sights require re-adjustment, No, 1 orders " Rest," the sights are altered, and 1 proceeds as before detailed.

No. 2 attends the quoin-lanyard, bed, and depression chock.

When laying by director, the quoin will require re-adjustment after each alteration of bearing, 1 repeating the elevation (or depression) to 2 after the order " Elevate. "

When laying by quoin with the rear trucks off, the quoin is to be forced in two more degrees, 1 repeating the corrected elevation (or depression) to 2, after the order " Elevate " has been given.

At guns fitted with a side scale, 10 attends it.

At guns fitted with screw elevating gear, 2 attends the screw and lever; 8 withdraws his foot and handspike while 2 is attending the lever. When a considerable change in elevation is required, 1 orders " Handspikes." The lever is to be placed close to the right bracket when the elevation is correct.

With screw elevating gear, 1 is responsible that the gun is never fired with more depression than the port will admit of.


No. 1 slacks the tube lanyard, and brings his left hand over his right ; 2 places the tube in the vent ; the numbers let go the side tackle falls.

NOTE: If the sights or elevation of the gun require readjustment when at the " Ready," 1 orders " Half-Cock, " the sights are then adjusted, or the gun relaid, and 1 proceeds as before detailed.

When laying the gun by director, the gun is to be relaid for elevation after each alteration of distance (not bearing).

When necessary to train the gun at the "Ready," the handspikes only are used, the opposite one checking the training.

On an alteration of bearing when laying by director, 1 orders " Half-Cock," and proceeds as before detailed.

Before giving the order " Two Handspikes Right " (or " Left, ") or " Right " (or " Left ") " Quick," 1 orders " Half-Cock."

At the order " Ready " or " Half-Cock," 8 withdraws his right foot and handspike to allow 2 to step up clear of the recoil.

If the ship is rolling, the side tackle falls are kept in hand until the moment of firing, 1 raising his left hand as a signal for them to be let go.


No. 1 pulls the tube lanyard downward with a jerk, bringing his left hand smartly on his right, still keeping his eye steadfastly fixed along the sights.

NOTE: If the gun is laid by quoin (or scale), the order " Fire " is to be preceded by the words " Stand By."

Should the gun " miss fire," 2 clears the vent if necessary, and hooks on a fresh tube.

Run In.

No. 1 places the tube lanyard on the neck ring, 7 and 8 ground the handspikes ; all the Nos. man the preventer tackle, except 1, and 3 and 4 who overhaul the side tackles. When the gun is in, 1 orders " Well," the right rearman chokes the luff of the preventer tackle and attends it, and the Nos. close up.

NOTE: No. 2 attends the coil of the preventer tackle; 1 sees the gun laid for loading


No. 1 serves the vent ; 3 and 4 step in towards the muzzle ; 6 gives the sponge to 4, who, assisted by 3, forces it hard home to the bottom of the bore, keeping it pressed there while a round turn is taken ; 4 then withdraws it, and 6 takes the rammer.

NOTE: No. 6 returns the sponge after serving the rammer to 4.

The gun is not to be sponged until the vent is served.

When the gun is trained so much to the left as to prevent 4 using the sponge, 3 takes that duty, 4 assisting as much as possible.

The sponge should be wetted (sprinkled by hand) when firing.

Half-Cock ( from the Ready).

No. 1 drops his left hand to his side ; 2 takes the tube out of the vent.

Cease Firing (from the Ready).

No. 1 orders " Half-Cock ; " 2 takes out the tube, and the Nos. resume the position of " Close Up," the sights being put down, and the deflection scales set at zero.

0ff Rear Trucks.

No. 1 orders " Off Rear Trucks," 7 and 8 place the handspikes under the rear axletree cleats ; 9 and 2 take off the trucks ; the Nos. then resume their former position.

Replace Rear Trucks.

No. 1 orders " Replace Rear Trucks," 7 and 8 place the handspikes under the rear axletree cleats ; 9 and 2 replace the trucks ; the Nos. then resume their former position.

Note: If at the " Ready," 1 orders " Half-Cock. "

The trucks may be taken off to diminish the recoil, or to give greater control over the gun, in running in or out.

Outboard Secure:

No. 5 and 6 raise the breech of the gun with the handspikes to free the quoin; 1 withdraws it; 3 and 4 haul up and secure the lower half port ; 5 and 6 lay the gun horizontal, and return the handspikes, 1 attending the quoin or screw ; 2 and 7 unhook preventer tackle, and place it on the right of the gun; 1 makes up the tube lanyard ; all Nos. except 1 secure the breeching and tackles ; 2 squares the upper half port, and returns the converging line; 5 returns the projectiles. When everything is finished, 1 orders " Fall Out."

NOTE: The breeching is placed over the horns of the carriage. The inner blocks of the side tackles are hooked to the bracket loops, the falls are rove through the side tackle bolts and training loops, and frapped.

The preventer tackle is hooked to the training loop, and the bolt in the ship's side on the right of the gun hauled taut and hitched.

When the breeching is rove through the brackets of the carriage, the bights are hauled back and secured to the bracket loops.

As an additional security in a heavy sea-way, the preventer tackles should be passed under the rear part of the brackets, hooked to the bolts in the ship's side, hauled well taut and secured ; with breeching rove through the neck ring, the hitch should be cast off on the right of the gun, the end hauled taut round under the cascable and secured.



This part comprises the different modes of firing together with other matters connected with the general working of truck guns ; and it should be impressed upon the boys that laying the gun cannot be too carefully performed, and requires extreme care and attention on the part of No. 1, as well as the intelligent co-operation of the gun's crew in carrying out No. 1's orders. Loading, on the contrary, cannot be performed too rapidly, provided neither the safety of the crew or gun being compromised. As the details of each number's duty have been fully explained, it will not be necessary to repeat them in this part ; but any deviation from, or addition to them, will be specified.

If the order is given to man the " Port," " Starboard," " Right " or " Left " guns, from both sides being manned, the guns that are left are to be placed in the "Cease Firing" position.



The guns are to be cast loose, wormed, loaded with fall charges and filled common shell, and run out.

For Exercise Action.

As above without powder being provided. Motions of loading to be performed.


In this firing, the Nos. 1 must seize the most favourable opportunity for delivering their fire. To be effective, it is requisite that they should have no difficulty in laying the guns by sight as soon as they are out.

Independent Firing.

A caution to indicate what description of firing is about to be practised. .

Close Alongside (or ____ Yards). _____(name the object).

No. 1 gives the order " Point," and when the direction is on " Elevate," lays the gun for the object, and gives the word " Ready."


No. 1 fires at his own discretion, and, if necessary, orders " Run in ;" when the gun is in, it is sponged and loaded without orders ; 1 then orders " Run out ; " when out, " Point," and proceeds with the firing.

Cease Firing.

As detailed in preliminary drill. If the gun is in, it should be loaded and run out.

When the ship is rolling the gun should be fired a little before the sights come on with the object.

Broadside Firing.

In this firing the guns having been previously laid for exactly the same point, are fired simultaneously by order. There are four descriptions of broadside firing, viz. :

  1. By director.
  2. By a directing gun.
  3. By scale.
  4. Ship steady.

The first is intended to be used when the object is not distinctly seen from the gun deck, or whenever it is necessary to deliver converging fire on any given bearing.

The second can be used at moderate distances with a slight motion or heel, whenever it is necessary to direct the fire of the broadside from a particular gun.

The third may be used when the motion of the ship is sufficient to bring the sights on with the object, the elevation due to the distance being given by quoin or scale.

The fourth may be used when the may be used when the ship has no rolling motion, all the guns being laid independently for the object;

1. Broadside Firing by Director

A caution to indicate what description of firing is about to be practised.

________ Yards (name the bearing).

No. 1 orders " Point " and when the gun is trained to the required bearing, gives the order " Elevate," " Rest."

Horizontal or ______ Degrees, Elevation (or Depression).

No. 1 repeats the elevation to 2, who lays the gun by quoin or scale ; 1 then orders " Ready."

Stand By. (A caution.)


No. 1 fires, and if necessary, orders " Run in, " when the gun is in, it is sponged and loaded without orders ; 1 then orders " Run out ; " " when out " Point," relays, the gun for direction and elevation, and comes to the " Ready, "

Cease Firing.

As in independent firing.

Electric Firing by Director. _____ Yards (name the bearing).

As in broadside firing by director, excepting that the friction tube and lanyard are not required.

Horizontal or _____ Degrees, Elevation (or Depression.).

As in broadside firing by director, except that at the order " Ready," 2 places the electric tube in the vent, 1 then connects the branch to the main wire ; when the gun is fired, 1 disconnects, and if necessary, orders " Run in," 2 hooks up the wires, and when the gun is in attaches a tube.

Cease Firing.

No. 1 disconnects the branch from the main wire, 2 then takes out the tube and hooks up the wires ; the numbers resume the position of " Close Up."

NOTE: If the tube of any gun is not fired with the remainder of the broadside, or fails to ignite the charge, 1 disconnects the branch from the main wire, and directs 2 to shift the tube, then comes to the " Ready."

2. Broadside Firing - Gun Directing.

A caution to indicate what description of firing is about to be practised.

_____ Yards (giving bearing if necessary) (name the object).

No. 1 orders " Point," and when the direction is on " Elevate," " Rest, " except 1 of the directing gun, who gives the order "Elevate," and lays for the object; at " Well, " 2 gives 1 the elevation by quoin (or scale), who repeats it to the officer of the quarters and gives the order " Ready."

horizontal or _____ Decrees, Elevation (or Depression).

At a non-directing gun, 1 gives the elevation to 2, who lays the gun by quoin (or scale); he then comes to the " Ready."

Stand By.

No. 1 of the directing gun raises his left arm perpendicular, and as the sights are coming on, brings it smartly down as a signal for the officer of the quarters to give the order " Fire."


No. 1 fires, and if necessary, orders " Run in; " when the gun is in, it is sponged and loaded without orders ; 1 then orders " Run out," when out, " Point, " relays the gun for direction, and by quoin (or scale) for the same elevation as the previous round, and comes to the " Ready."

Cease Firing.

As in independent firing.

NOTE: Whenever 1 of the directing gun finds that the elevation of the previous round will not bring the sights in line with the object, he again lays the gun by the sights, 2 reading off the elevation by quoin (or scale) ; the officer of the quarters repeats the elevation given from the directing gun to the remainder of the broadside, who lay accordingly.

3. Broadside Firing by Scale, Gun Directing _____ Yards

(name the object).

As in 2, except that when the direction is on, Nos. 1 at all the guns order " Elevate," and give the elevation to the Nos. 2, who lay the guns by quoins (or scale).

Stand by As in 2.

Fire As in 2.

Cease Firing.

As in independent firing.

NOTE: If, after the guns are at the " Ready," another gun is ordered to direct the fire of the broadside, the guns are not to be relaid for elevation.

4. Broadside Firing, Ship Steady _____ Yards

(name the object).

The guns are laid for direction and elevation as in independent firing.

Stand By

A caution.


As in 1.

Cease Firing

As in independent firing.

Shifting Breechings.

The gun having been loaded and run out, and if necessary, trained clear off the breeching bolts, No. 1 gives the order " Shift Breeching '' ; " 3 and 4 hitch the side tackle falls ; 3, 4, 5, and 6, cast off the old, and secure the new breeching ; 7 and 8 bring up the spare breeching on their respective sides, and give the ends to 3 and 4 ; 8 returns the old breeching; 1 unsnatches and snatches the breeching.

When the hitches are formed, 1 gives the order " Point," and proceeds to lay the gun.

NOTE: If the breeching is rove through the brackets of the carriage, 7 and 8 bring up the spare breeching to the left of the gun, 8 gives his end to 3, and then returns the old breaching ; 7 hitches the seizing of the old breeching to the becket in the end of the spare one, the numbers on the right of the gun haul it through.

The breeching is rove from right to left, and hitched close up to the bolts ; the seizing is passed first with a racking turn, and the remainder round about turns towards the hitch, the ends expended in two crossing turns and reef-knotted. 1 is not to come to the " Ready," until 3 and 4 hold up their hands as a signal that the breeching is secured.

In shifting breechings from the "Ready," 1 orders " Half-Cock," then proceeds as before detailed.

Shifting Trucks. Shift the Right (or Left) Fore Truck.

No. 7 (or 8) places his handspike under the rear axletree cleat ; 9 (or 2) takes off the rear truck ; 7 (or 8) stands on the arm of the axletree; 8 (or 7) places his handspike under the fore axletree, using the spare truck as a glut ; the numbers on that side of the gun assist at the handspike ; 2 (or 9) provides and shifts the truck, forcing in the small quoin under the fore axletree to keep the weight of the gun off the truck. When the fore truck is shifted, the opposite rear truck is replaced.

NOTE.-No. 1 passes the small quoin to 2 (or 9), who returns it to 1 when the truck is shifted.

If the rear trucks are off, the rear truck on the same side as the fore truck to be shifted, must be put on.

If at the "Ready," 1 orders " Half-Cock," " Shift the Right (or Left) Fore Truck ; " at that order the gun is run in clear of the sweep-piece, the truck shifted, and the gun run out; 1 attends the preventer tackle, while 2 is shifting the truck;, the handspikes are not grounded to run the gun in.

1 truck may be shifted while loading.

Shift the Right (or Left) Rear Truck.

No. 8 (or 7) places his handspike under the rear axletree cleat ; 2 (or 9) shifts the truck. If at the " Ready," 1 orders " half-Cock," " Shift the Right (or Left) rear truck."

Supply of Spare Stores, and Method of replacing Disabled

Gun Gear.

The guns' crews should all be acquainted with the stowage of the spare gear belonging to their division of guns, such a, rammers, sponges, extractors, tackles, handspikes, trucks, dismounting gear, &c. and they are to be exercised in replacing gun gear supposed to have been rendered useless.

Whenever anything is broken or carried away, it is at once to be replaced by the numbers whose duty it is to attend it. No. 1 orders one or more numbers to fall out and provide the stores required.

The gun should not be kept longer out of action than can possibly be avoided; but if gear carries away which places the gun out of control, it is to be secured at once, so as to prevent doing further damage, and so placed as not to interfere with the working of adjacent guns.

If a rammer is lost overboard, use the sponge instead, until another rammer is provided.

If the training loop carries away, use the bracket loop, until a strop is provided.

If the preventer tackle carries away when the gun is being run in, 1 orders " Run Out," rearmen provide spare preventer tackle.

If a side tackle carries away while training with the ship rolling, the opposite fall should be bracketted, until a new tackle is provided, or the gun run in.

If the breeching carries away on recoil, hitch the side tackle falls, while the gun is in and loading.

Exercise by Signals.

After the guns' crews have been well trained in the different firings, they should be made thoroughly conversant with the following system of signals, which should be used instead of the words of command for which they stand, during exercise at quarters, unless smoke or darkness renders the word of command necessary.

This method possesses the great advantage of enforcing silence, and compels the guns' crews to fix their attention on the Nos. 1.


Right (or Left). If at the breech of the gun, 1 extends his right (or left) arm to the front in line with the shoulder, the palm of the hand turned in the direction towards which the breech of the gun is required to be moved. If at the extent of the tube lanyard, the left arm is to be extended to the front above the right, the palm of the hand as before detailed.

Two Handspikes Right (or Left). As for " Right " (or " Left "), the directing arm being raised to an angle of 45.

Right (or Left) Quick. As for " Right " (or " Left "), but moved quickly in the required direction.

Elevate. The arm extended to the front, the palm of the hand up or down, according as the breech of the gun is to be raised or lowered.

Rest. The upper arm extended in line with the shoulder, and the fore arm raised perpendicularly ; palm of the hand to the front.

Well. In training or elevating drop the hand ; in running in or out, 1 raises his right arm perpendicularly, palm of the band to the front.

Ready: No 1 slacks the tube lanyard.

Half-Cock No. 1 shakes the tube lanyard.

NOTE.-The gun is run in and out without orders.

When the executive order for the firing is given, the guns' crews at once get into the pointing position without orders.

In transporting and dismounting, words of command are invariably to be used.

In broadside firing-gun directing, if the directing gun requires training after the order " Stand by" has been given, 1 gives the necessary orders for training.

Exercise with Diminished Crews.

When casualties occur, 1 directs the highest numbers to fill up the vacancies, except in the case of 1 and 2 being removed, when the vacancy should be filled up by the lowest original number.


1. With a full gun's crew. Fall out 1 ; 2 takes 1, then directs 3 to take 2 ; and the highest number to take 3.

2. With a full gun's crew. Fall out 1 and 2 ; 3 takes 1, then directs 4 to take 2, the highest number to take 3, and the next highest to take 4.

3 (continuing 2). Fall out 1 ; 2 takes 1, then directs 5 to take 2, the original 3 and 4 having been removed, and the highest number to take 5.

In all cases of exercise with diminished crews, whatever additional work they may have to perform, the numbers will continue their duties as if with a full gun's crew, unless otherwise specified.

With 9 or 8 Men. Nos. 1, 3, and 4 assist to run in ; 8 mans the side tackle at the order " Right " (or " Left' ') " Quick," after unhooking the preventer tackle ; 5, 6, 7, and 2 attend handspikes ; 7 and 2 attend the trucks.

If a truck requires shifting with the gun in, it is done after the loading is completed.

In shifting a fore truck with the gun out, 5 and 6 man the preventer tackle to run the gun in.

With 7 Men. As with 8 men, except that 2 attends preventer tackle, and assists 7 in shifting breeching.

If the gun has to be trained so much as to require the preventer tackle being hooked to another rear bolt, 2 unhooks it, and then mans the handspike or right side tackle; when the training is completed, 2 hooks the preventer tackle in line with the gun, assisted by 1.

With 6 Men. As with 7 men, except 2 attends trucks,

In Clearing for Action.

With 6 Men. As with 7 men; except that 7 assists 2 with preventer tackle.

With 5 Men. As with 6 men ; except that 3 and 4 attend handspikes, 2 serves worm and rammer to 4.

With 4 Men. As with 5 men; except 3 provides and brings up the projectile.

Securing with 4, 5, or 6 men is similarly performed.


Transport. Nos. 3, 4, 5, and 6 cast off the breeching, and place the ends on the gun ; 7 and 8 unhook the side tackles from the ship's side, and place them over the gun ; 9 and 2 provide handspikes from the disengaged guns ; 1 then orders " Run in," and when in, " Four handspikes Right " (or " Left "), if necessary ; the right rearman, assisted by the other numbers, hooks the preventer tackle to the transom loop ; all the numbers man it except 1, and 2, 7, 8, and 9, who assist with the handspikes.

Note. The gun may be transported either muzzle or breech first ; 1 if necessary, uses the small quoin to check the gun ; 9 and 2 work the handspikes under the fore axletrees. When the gun is at the new port, 1 and 2 trice back the upper half port, 6 provides sponge, rammer, and worm.


Dismount: The gun is trained to the required position and run in ; 1 unships the side tangent sights, makes up the tube lanyard and converging line, 3 unhooking it ; the gun is then placed fair under the dismounting bolts, housed and run up, 1 taking out the quoin (or elevating screw), and throwing back the depression chock ; 2 and 9 hook and attend the dismounting tackle ; 11 and 12 hook the runner ; 3 and 4 pass the muzzle lashing ; 5 and 6 throw back the cap squares, unspan the breeching and place it over the trunnions ; all the numbers man the dismounting tacky except 7 and 8, who assist with their handspikes until of no farther use ; when the muzzle lashing is passed, 1 orders " Dismount," and when high enough " Well ;" the numbers then close up ; 1 replaces the quoin (or elevating screw) and depression chock.

NOTE: Four turns of the muzzle lashing are passed, and the end twice hitched on the bight.

At guns without a swell to the muzzle, 3 and 4 place dismounting tompion.


Remount: The gun is lowered into the carriage under the direction of 1 ; 3 and 4 cast off muzzle lashing ; 5 and 6 on cap Squares; the gun is then run out, the dismounting gear returned by the numbers who provided it, and the numbers close up; 1 hooks up the converging line.

Shifting Carriages.

Shift Carriages: The gun is dismounted as before detailed ; 7 and 1 unhook side tackles, 14 the preventer tackle ; when the carriage is clear, 1 orders " Carriage back. "

The new carriage is then placed under the gun ; 7, 8, and 14 hook the tackles, and the gun is remounted in the usual manner ; when the gun is out the numbers close up.

NOTE. If the breeching is rove through the carriage, 4 and 6 cast it off, and the numbers on the left of the gun haul it through ; when the carriage is shifted, the breeching is re-secured as in shifting breechings.

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