Firearms: History of Guns

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9780856131370: Firearms: History of Guns

It was in China that a shattering innovation was developed which was to change the whole way of warfare. In a Chinese book of the 11th century there is a formula for an incendiary mixture which contains, among other ingredients, charcoal, saltpetre and sulphur. These three chemicals are the component parts of gunpowder. By the 13th century the Chinese had come to appreciate the explosive qualities of gunpowder and were using a very crude form of firearm. It was no more than a strengthened bamboo tube which may have discharged a clay bullet, but this was the prototype of the 16-inch naval gun or the modern aircraft's battery of cannon.

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