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Unit Information Game Strategies History

Gunpowder first emerged in China possibly around the Tang period, eventually reaching Europe in the 13th century with the oldest European account of a formula being a letter from Francis Bacon to Pope Clement IV in 1267CE. By 1275, Albertus Magnus described a formula of four parts saltpetre to one part charcoal and one part sulphur.

As an instrument of war, its first application was as handheld grenades, but eventually it was discovered that if loaded into the bottom of a vessel of considerable robustness, it could be used to launch a projectile outwards through its mouth. These were the first guns to be created and as mediaeval knowledge of chemistry and engineering advanced, so did the size of the projectiles and the weapons that fired them.

The mediaeval cannon (from the Italian, "big cane") developed into a thing of many parts. Iron strips were placed round a wooden cylinder and welded together Two layers of iron hoops were then forced over the strips to hold them in place and seal any gaps. The wood was then burnt out. Whilst this method of manufacture allowed for larger weapons than the first rudimentary castings, they were still almost as dangerous to their operators as to the enemy, as they often blew up.

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