par Jean-Louis Vial

Bed for mortar

The mortar beds had to be very resistant, considering the absence of recoil to amortize firing, wooden bed had to absorb all the energy, so their rapid wearing imposed from this period the construction of the first cast iron beds.


Wooden beds were composed of two strong wood cheeks, sized according to the gauge of the mortar, jointed with two strong thick wood braces. In the middle at the superior part of cheeks was carved a half-round notch to place trunnions of piece, this notch was strengthened with two iron reinforcements, the under-band and the sus-band that insured solidarity of the mortar and its bed. Front and back, through cheeks there was two long iron bolts that served to hold tight cheeks exactly with braces. In front of the cheeks there were four iron ankles raised perpendicularly between which was placed a wood wedge called in French " coussinet " on which leaned the bulge of the mortar, the "coussinet" can equally be maintained by two notches carved in front of cheeks.


Beds for pierriers were less solid than for mortar, their cheeks measured approximately 5 pieds in length, 18 or 20 pouces in width and 12 or 14 pouces in thickness.

The absence of mobile carriage for these pieces necessitated to use particular wagons. They were of similar construction than for heavy cannons, only their dimensions differed.

Loading and unloading maneuvres on wagons for these heavy pieces was made with hoists.



Jean-Louis Vial