Military Review

Railgun predecessors

In the age of high technologies, which are most actively implemented in the field of means and methods of warfare, we are no longer surprised by the periodically emerging news about the next successful test - as a rule, in the USA - electromagnetic guns, or, as they are often called today, railguns. Actively, this topic is played up in the movies: in the movie “Transformers 2. Revenge of the Fallen "the railgun is armed with the newest American destroyer URO, and in the blockbuster" The Eraser "with Arnold Schwarzenegger there is a manual electromagnetic assault rifle. However, is this invention really so new? It turns out no. The first prototypes of railguns, the so-called "electric guns", appeared more than a century ago.

For the first time, the idea of ​​using bullets and shells instead of powder charges of electric current appeared in the 19th century was documented. In particular, in the magazine The Mechanics' Magazine, Museum, Register, Journal, and Gazette, published in London, in Volume 43 for July 5 - December 27 1845, on the 16 page, you can find a small note about the so-called "electric gun" Beningfield designs (original name - Beningfield's "Electric Gun"). This news item says that recently in the wasteland on the south side of King Street in Westminster, one of the districts of the British capital, there were "very interesting experiments with an electric gun - the invention of Mr. Benington from Jersey (an island in the English Channel, the largest Islands as part of the Channel Islands), which the magazine has already briefly reported on 8 in March. ”

Something like this looked like an “electric gun” designed by Beningfield, presented to them in 1845

The following is a description of the gun itself: “The barrel for firing bullets or balls with a diameter of 5 / 8 inch (about 15,875 mm. - Approx. V. Shch.) Is installed on the machine that generates energy for the shot, and the entire gun is mounted on a two-wheeled carriage. The weight of the whole structure is half a ton; according to calculations, it can move with the help of one horse at a speed of 8 – 10 miles per hour. In the combat position, for the strength of the stop, the third wheel is used, which allows you to quickly direct the gun. The barrel has a sight similar to a gun. The balls are fed into the barrel by means of two stores, fixed and movable (removable), the latter can be made in a variant with large sizes and include a significant number of balls. It is estimated that 1000 or more balls can be released per minute, and with ammunition from a large removable store, the queues can be almost uninterrupted.

During the experiments, the inventor managed to achieve all the goals that he set for himself. Bullet-balls pierced a sufficiently thick board and then flattened themselves on an iron target. Those balls that were fired directly at an iron target literally scattered at the atoms ... The energy of the shot, thus, significantly exceeded the one that can produce any of the existing models of weapons of equal caliber, which use the powder gases for the shot.

The cost of operating such weaponsAccording to the developer, the cost of maintaining it in working condition and the cost of directly using it for its intended purpose is significantly lower than the cost of using any other weapon of equal potential capable of firing thousands of bullets at the enemy. The invention is not protected by a patent, therefore the inventor has not made public the design of his installation or the nature of the energy used in it. However, it has been established that not energy of steam is used for the shot, but energy obtained by means of galvanic cells ”.

Fiction correspondent or useless creativity self-taught from the island of Jersey? Far from it - this is a description of a very real event that took place in the middle of the nineteenth century. The inventor himself is quite real and famous - Thomas Beningfield owned a tobacco manufactory, was known as an electrical engineer and inventor. Moreover, the combat potential of the invention of Beningfield, also known under the designation "Siva electric machinegun", turned out to be very, very attractive for military customers. Let us again refer to the London magazine: “During the tests, a three-inch board (7,62, see — Approx. V. Sh.) At a distance of 20 yards (near 18,3, m — Approx. V. Sh.) Was riddled with bullets, as if a carpenter had worked with a drill and the speed and accuracy with which this was done proved extraordinary. When stripping a trench or when destroying manpower, such an installation would be extremely destructive. "

In addition, we recall, the note states that the publication has already written about this gun, and then, in the notes section, on the 96 page of the same issue of the magazine, it is noted that since the preparation of the news article, with which we started the story, the electric gun Beningfield was demonstrated to the weapons committee experts in Woolwich (also Woolwich or Vulich): “At a distance of 40 yards (about 36,6 m. - Approx. V. Sh.), On which the target was located, the effect was amazing: a three-inch board was literally perforated , and the balls that pierce it Ali to the steel target and flattened out to the thickness of the coin in half a crown ... and some completely scattered into small pieces. " It emphasizes that “high rate of fire was a surprise”, and “the cost of continuous shooting for 18 hours - with a break for a few minutes every four hours - will be 10 pounds sterling, and during this time the number of released balls will exceed the number of bullets fired by two regiments shooters, leading the fire with the highest possible rate of fire. "

Representatives of the British Royal Artillery from Woolwich, where the headquarters units and artillery barracks of the British Army (on the reproduction of the postcard) were located before, did not receive the design of his invention from Beningfield.

It is also noteworthy that in another magazine, “Littell's Living Age”, published in American Boston, in volume VI for July-August-September 1845, a note entitled “Electric Gun” was published on the 168 page Beningfield. Moreover, the note cited the following words of the engineer himself: “My bullets are 5 / 8 inches in diameter, but the serial model that will be adopted will have larger sizes and will be able to shoot bullets-bullets with a diameter of one inch (2,54 see. - Approx V. Shch.), And with increased strength. According to calculations, the bullets used now can kill at a distance of one authorized mile (British land or statutory (statutory) mile is equal to 1609,3 m. - Approx. V. Sch.), They freely pierce a three-inch board — it simply breaks it when firing. on the part, although when shooting at an iron target, on the contrary, the bullets fly into small pieces. In the case of firing at the log, the bullets, as it turned out, stick together with each other - as if welded ”.

It should be noted that the author of the note himself points out: “It is argued that the gun cannot fire bullets weighing more than one pound (453,6 grams. - V. Shch. Note), but it is not heavy and easily transported, it can be easily transported by one horse ”. According to the publication, Beningfield's invention attracted increased attention from the army and naval specialists, and the note states that for the next test, scheduled a week after the one described in the magazine, several artillery officers expressed their intention to arrive.

30 June 1845, the British newspaper The Times, published a note in which it was reported that Duke Wellington attended a demonstration of "Mr. Beningfield's electric gun" and expressed "his great admiration." A month later, The Times returned to this invention - a new note from 28 July indicated that a group of representatives of the royal artillery from Woolwich (today the area in South London, and before that an independent city. Previously, there were headquarters units and barracks of British artillery Army, and today there is a museum. - Approx. V. Sh.), joined by Colonel Chambers, attended a demonstration on the south side of King Street, Westminster, where a demonstration of the Beningfield gun took place. The results of the assessment of the invention of the military could not be found.

In the end, the fate of the "Beningfield electric machine gun" was unenviable. The inventor, as already noted, did not patent his invention and did not submit the drawings to the British military experts. Moreover, as W. Karman points out in the book "History armament: from early time to 1914 year ", Beningfield" demanded from the military money, and demanded immediately. " And only in this case he was ready to hand over to the customer the documentation and execute the contract for serial deliveries. As a result, as U. Karman points out, “the military did not submit a report on the machine gun to the command”.

On the other hand, for the sake of justice, it is nevertheless necessary to note that today it has not been convincingly and accurately proved that this gun was precisely “electric.” There is no patent, no drawings either, it was not accepted for service. And the long - on the mentioned 18 hours - the developer did not fire. It is possible that there really was a compact steam engine (although observers would then notice steam or smoke from combustible fuel), or, more likely, balls were ejected using compressed air energy or a powerful spring mechanism. In particular, in Howard Blackmore's “Machine Guns and Guns of the World”, published in 1965, in the “Electric Machine Guns” section of the 97 – 98 page with reference to another work, “Shooting Science”, published in London in 1845 year, provides the following data:

“The case of the“ electric machine gun ”demonstrated by Thomas Beningfield to the Committee on Weapons in London in 1845 deserves interest. According to the brochure printed by the inventor and entitled “SIVA or the Destroying Power” (“SIVA or Destructive Power”), the gun had an 1000 – 1200 per minute rate of fire. Representatives of the committee personally observed 48 shooting one-pound lead balls at a range of 35 yards. Everyone who attended the demonstration, including the Duke of Wellington, was amazed at what he saw. Unfortunately, the inventor did not inform the committee of the principle of operation of his machine gun and did not allow him to study it, so the committee, in turn, could not do anything. Beningfield never patented his invention and did not give a detailed explanation of how it works. 21 June 1845 of the year in the edition of “Illustrated London News” reported on this invention, which stated that “the shot was made at the expense of the energy of the gases ignited by means of a galvanic cell”. W. Greener himself suggested that gases — probably a mixture of hydrogen and oxygen — could have been produced by hydrolysis of water. ”

As we can see, there could be no talk of any prototype of the modern railgun - the bullet was not pushed by the energy of electricity, which was used only as a fuse. However, this, I repeat, only an assumption - today it was not possible to find accurate and confirmed information by our contemporaries about the design and working principles of the Beningfield gun.

Russian inventor and the American "miracle weapon"

Railgun predecessorsHowever, soon there were projects that can be called “ancient railguns” with complete confidence. So, in 1890, Russian inventor Nikolay Nikolayevich Benardos, widely known as the discoverer of electric arc welding “Elektrogefest” (he is also the creator of all major types of electric arc welding, and also became the founder of mechanization and automation of the welding process), presented the project of shipboard (casemate) electric gun. He turned to the military theme for a reason - Nikolai Nikolayevich was born in the village of Benardosovka in a family in which military service was the main profession for many generations. For example, his grandfather - Major General Panteleimon Yegorovich Benardos - is one of the heroes of the Patriotic War 1812 of the year. Among other, less well-known inventions of N. N. Benardos, there are no less fantastic than the “electric gun”. This is an all-terrain steamboat, which was equipped with skating-rinks and could go aground or bypass other obstacles along the coast along the track. He built a prototype of such a vessel in the 1877 year and successfully conducted tests, but none of the Russian industrialists was interested in them. Among the more famous inventions of N. N. Benardos are a can, a tricycle, a screw stopper, a digital lock for a safe, as well as projects for a hydroelectric station on the Neva and ... a mobile platform for crossing pedestrians across the street!

In the same year as N. N. Benardos, the American inventor L. S. Gardner proposed a project for his “electric” or “magnetic” gun. The latest newspaper, Oswego Daily Times (located in Oswego, Kansas, USA), devoted 27 to February of 1900, a note entitled “New horror for war: a southerner developed an electric gun”.

The note begins quite curiously: “Anyone who has developed a killing machine that in a certain period of time can destroy people more than any other weapon can enrich itself without limit,” said Eugene Debs during a speech in New Orleans (the American trade union leader, one of the organizers of the Social Democratic and Socialist parties of America, as well as the Industrial Workers of the World organization, often spoke out with anti-war speeches (comment by V. Shch.). Thousands applauded him, but at the same time not far, at a distance of hearing his voice, one L. S. Gardner was performing the last actions to create what was supposed to be the very fighting machine Debs was talking about. This is an electric gun.

The gun should be the most powerful means of warfare. Its design is very unusual. Instead of being pushed out (by powder gases. - Approx. V. Sh.), The projectile moves along its barrel under the influence of the system from powerful magnets and flies into the air with the initial velocity that the operator sets. According to the Chicago Times Herald, the barrel of the gun is open on both sides, and it takes no more time to leave the projectile than when loading through the breech of a conventional gun. She has no recoil, and instead of steel, the barrel can be made of glass. ”

That's such a fantasy - a barrel of glass. However, it further states that Gardner himself "does not see the possibility of using his gun in the field, since his work requires a large number of powerful electric batteries." According to the developer, the most likely use of such a gun in defense systems and in the fleet. “The advantage of the gun is that it will be possible to shoot from it with dynamite charges or other explosives, due to the absence of any shock loads,” writes the author of the article.

Here is how LS Gardner himself described his invention:

“The gun is a simple line of short coils or hollow magnets that ultimately form a continuous tube. Each magnet has a mechanical switch that supplies current to it or turns it off. This switch is a thin disk, from the center of which a row of metal “buttons” goes to its edge. The switch is connected to the "gate" of the gun and serviced by the gunner. Depending on the speed of rotation of the switch and the number of magnets involved, one or another initial velocity of the projectile is ensured. As magnets are placed in operation, located along the barrel from the bolt to its muzzle, the projectile accelerates rapidly and flies out of the barrel with great speed. On the opposite side of the row of “buttons” there is a through hole on the disk, so that at each turn the projectiles can enter the barrel from the magazine. ”

It is noteworthy that then the author of the note, referring to L. S. Gardner, indicates that the inventor, explaining how the projectile in his gun passes through the magnets, even stated that in this way almost any initial velocity of the projectile can be achieved.

“After his secret was revealed, Mr. Gardner tried not to talk about the technical details of his invention, fearing the negative consequences of such publicity,” the newspaper writes further. - He agreed that he would demonstrate his gun model in New York for a group of capitalists. The model includes a small glass tube, about a quarter of an inch in diameter (see 0,63 - Approx. V.Sch.), Which is surrounded by three coils of wires, each of which is a magnet. "

In an interview with journalists, Gardner recognized that there were still a number of small issues that he needed to solve, but the main task — to disperse the projectile and send it to the target — was successfully resolved. “If there are no unexpected problems, Mr. Gardner’s electric gun can easily make a revolution in the theory of artillery firing,” the author notes in the Oswego Daily Times. - The gun does not require ammunition (meaning gunpowder or explosives. - Approx. V. Sch.), It does not produce noise or smoke. It has a small mass, and its assembly will cost a small amount. The gun will be able to fire a projectile behind the projectile, but its barrel will not heat up. The flow of projectiles will be able to pass through its barrel at a speed that can be limited only by the speed at which they are delivered. ”

In conclusion, it was said that after the completion of the current work with the model, the inventor would assemble a working model, a prototype in real size, and begin its actual testing. Moreover, it was argued that "the trunk is likely to be made of thin sheet metal, since, due to the lack of pressure inside the trunk, there is no need to make it heavy and durable."

It should also be noted that in 1895, an Austrian engineer, a representative of the Viennese school of cosmonautics pioneers Franz Oscar Leo Elder von Geft, presented the project of a coil electromagnetic gun, designed to launch spacecraft on the moon. And during the Spanish-American war, in 1898, one of the American inventors suggested shelling Havana with a powerful current coil - it was to be on the coast of Florida and launch large-caliber shells at a distance of about 230 km.

However, all these projects remained only “projectors” - it was not possible to implement them in practice at that time. And first of all - from a technical point of view. Although the idea that the barrel of an electromagnetic instrument can be easily made of glass is something ...

The Norwegian professor enters the case.

The first more or less real project of an electromagnetic gun was proposed by Norwegian Christian Olaf Bernard Birkeland, professor of physics at Queen Frederick University of Oslo (from 1939 of the year - University of Oslo), in September of 1901 of the year of the coil-type electromagnetic gun which, according to the professors' calculations, was supposed to give the projectile with a mass of 0,45 kg an initial velocity of up to 600 m / s.

We can say that the idea of ​​developing such a gun came to him by chance. The fact is that in the summer of 1901, Birkeland, better known to our readers for his work on the study of the aurora borealis, worked in his university laboratory to create electromagnetic switches, he noted that small metal particles falling into the solenoid fly through the coil at a speed of a bullet. Then he decided to conduct a series of relevant experiments, becoming in fact the first to understand the practical significance of this phenomenon for military affairs. In an interview two years later, Birkeland recalled that after 10 days of endless experiments, he finally managed to assemble his first model of a gun, after which he immediately filed a patent application. 16 September 1901, he gets a patent for the number 11201 on "a new method of firing projectiles using electromagnetic forces."

The idea was simple - the projectile had to close the circuit itself, supplying current to the solenoid, entering the last one, and opening the circuit when leaving the solenoid. At the same time, the projectile itself was accelerated to the required speed under the influence of electromagnetic forces (in the first experiments the professor used a unipolar generator based on a Faraday disk as a current source). Birkeland himself compared his elegant and simple at the same time electromagnetic gun design with the "rope of Baron Munchhausen". The essence of the comparison will be clear if you bring an excerpt from the “First Journey to the Moon”: “What should I do? What to do? Will I never return to Earth? Will I still stay all my life on this hateful moon? Oh no! Never! I ran to the straw and began to twist a rope from it. The rope came out short, but what a misfortune! I started to go down it. With one hand, I slid along the rope, and with the other I held the ax. But soon the rope was over, and I hung in the air, between heaven and earth. It was terrible, but I was not taken aback. Without thinking, I grabbed a hatchet and, firmly holding the lower end of the rope, cut off its upper end and tied it to the lower end. It gave me the opportunity to descend lower to Earth. ”

Shortly after receiving the patent, Birkeland proposed to four Norwegians, two of whom were high-ranking officers and two others represented the industry and the government of Norway, to create a company that would take over all the work on developing, putting into service and mass production of the new "miracle weapon".

The book by Alva Egeland and William Burke “Christian Birkeland: the first space explorer” contains Birkeland’s letter from 17 September 1901 of the year addressed to Gunnar Knudsen, an influential politician and shipowner, in 1908 – 1910 and 1913 – 1920 who served as Norway’s prime minister, where the professor wrote: “I recently invented a device that uses electricity instead of gunpowder. With such a device, it becomes possible to shoot large charges of nitroglycerin at a considerable distance. I have already applied for a patent. Colonel Craig witnessed my experiments. To collect the capital needed to build a few guns, a company will be formed, which will include several people. I invite you, who supported my basic research, to take part in this company. The idea is that if the gun works — and I believe it — then Colonel Craig and I will present it to Krupp and other representatives of the arms industry to sell them a patent. In fact, it all looks like a lottery. But your contribution will be relatively small, and the chances of making a profit are high. It is better if the answer is given by telegraph. Of course, all this must be kept secret for some time. ” Knudsen responded positively: “I accept the offer with pleasure. I promise to smile even if the lottery turns out to be losing. ”

In November 1901 of the year, Birkeland's Firearms was established, the authorized capital of which was 35 thousand NOK, distributed to 35 shares (stocks). At the same time, Birkeland received five shares for free - payment for his scientific contribution to the common cause. The first “electromagnetic gun”, about a meter long, was built in 1901 year, it cost XKNUMX CZK and was able to disperse a half-kilogram projectile to a speed of 4000 m / s. It was necessary to hold a demonstration of a cannon to a wide range of specialists.

The New York Times The 8 of May 1902, in connection with a demonstration held in Berlin, stated: “Theoretically, Professor Birkeland’s gun could send a missile weighing two tons to 90 miles, or maybe more.” However, according to other foreign sources, the initial speed of the entire 15 m / s was obtained at the "test" tests of 50 in May, which significantly reduced the calculated firing range - no more than 1000 meters. Not so hot that even for the beginning of the twentieth century.

In 1902, Birkeland and Knudsen held a demonstration of the cannon for the Swedish king Oscar II, who demanded above all to ensure a long range of fire and therefore literally brightened when Knudsen informed him that such a cannon could get Russia from Oslo. However, the inventor himself understood the inaccessibility of such distances. After filing the third patent, he, in particular, wrote down: “to shoot a steel shell with a mass of 2000 kg, containing 500 kg of nitroglycerin, with an initial speed of 400 m / s, a barrel length of 27 meters will be required, and the pressure will be 180 kg / sq. cm". It is clear that then to build a weapon with similar characteristics was a very difficult affair, one can say - almost impossible.

6 March 1902, Birkeland held a gun demonstration at the Norwegian Academy of Sciences, firing three shots at a wooden shield measuring 40 centimeters thick. The demonstration was successful, followed by admiring responses in various publications, including the English Mechanics and World of Science. Moreover, at this demonstration, the professor announced a developed method to reduce the sparks that accompanied the projectile flying through the coils. Impressed by the demonstration, the Germans offered Birkeland to buy out his company. The board did not approve the proposed price, but since the project required new investments - it allowed Birkeland to hold 6 in March 1903, in 17: 30, a public lecture and a gun demonstration at the University of Oslo. However, instead of the grand success of the "lecture" ended in fiasco. No, the gun did not explode, did not kill anyone, but the trouble that occurred during the demonstration frightened off investors and customers.

For the demonstration, the last version of the gun was chosen, the model 1903 of the year, which had a caliber 65 mm, a barrel length of about 3 meters and included 10 solenoid groups of 300 coils in each. Today, this gun, costing 10 thousand crowns and firing 10-kg shells, is on display at the Norwegian Museum of Technology in Oslo. The university allowed its professor to give a lecture and demonstration in the old banquet hall. The upcoming event was widely advertised in the press - as a result there were no empty seats in the hall. And a few hours before the event, Birkeland and his assistant conducted a test - a shot at the oak shield was successful.

The demonstrators were later described by the assistants of Birkeland, Olaf Devik and Sem Zeland, an English translation of their memories is given in the mentioned book by A. Egeland and W. Burk: “The gun was installed in the old banquet hall and aimed at a target — a wooden board five inches thick (12,7 see - Approx. V. Shch.). A power dynamo was installed outside in the hall. I blocked the space on both sides of the projectile flight path, but Fridtjof Nansen ignored my warning and sat in the danger zone. In addition to this closed space, the rest of the room was filled with spectators. In the front row were representatives of Armstrong and Krupp ...

After explaining the physical principles on which the gun was built, I declared: “Ladies and gentlemen! You can not worry. When I turn the switch, you will not see and hear nothing, except how the projectile hits the target. ” Then I took the switch. Immediately there was a powerful flash of light, loudly loud. A bright arc of light is a consequence of a short circuit at a current of 10000 amperes. Flames burst from the barrel of the cannon. Some ladies screamed. Panic reigned for some time. It was the most dramatic moment in my life - a shot brought down my capitalization from 300 to 0. However, the projectile still hit the target. ”

However, the Norwegian historians and researchers still have not come to an unequivocal opinion about whether the projectile hit the target, or whether it has not left the gun barrel. But then for Birkeland and his companions it was not important - after the confusion that had arisen, no one wanted to acquire either a gun or a patent.

In this way, the artist presented the latest experience of Professor Birkeland with his electromagnetic gun.

In the article “Electromagnetic gun - closer and closer to the weapon system”, published in the journal “Military Technology” No. 5 for 1998 a year, Dr. Wolfram Witt, coordinator of research programs of the company “Rainmetall”, and the engineer in the field of super-power electromagnetic accelerator devices, brought such memories of one of the witnesses about the gun Birkeland: “The gun is rather awkward, one might say, a scientific device, which at first did not cause much confidence in its utility, but which further improvement could be useful ... It is difficult that a special energy source is needed for a gun ... In short, the electromagnetic gun is currently in the embryonic stage. But it is premature to try to draw conclusions based on its imperfections, that this first weapon system will not develop into a useful combat weapon of destruction in the future. ”

In April 1903, Birkeland was asked to prepare a proposal to transfer the design of the electromagnetic gun for study and production to the French Minister of War, but the inventor never received a response from the head of the commission on inventions to his proposal.

Birkeland's electromagnetic gun of the 1903 model of the year in the Museum of the University of Oslo

The last attempt to pave the way for his brainchild Birkeland took about six months before the start of the First World War. A. Egeland and W. Burke point out: “Birkeland sent letters from Egypt to Lord Reilly (a famous British physicist, Nobel Prize winner. - Approx. V. Sh.) And to Dr. R. T. Glaisbrooke (British physicist. - Approx. V. S.) to members of the British Commission for the Study of Military Inventions (British Commission for the Examination of Inventions of War). In both letters, the British government was offered the right to free and free development and use of its electromagnetic gun.

At the same time, he set three conditions: an absolute secret - the name of Birkeland should not be mentioned in any documents; after the completion of the weapons work, Norway should have received free access to it; weapons created on the basis of this technology should never be used against the inhabitants of Scandinavia.

The requirement for secrecy arose in view of Birkeland's fears that he, as the inventor of the electromagnetic gun, could be in danger. The meeting with Francis Dalrymple of the British Council on Inventions in Cairo at the end of November 1916 probably ended in vain. ”
A year later, Birkeland died, having received six patents for an electromagnetic gun.

Not up to innovation

The project by the London inventor A.S. Simpson was less successful: the “coil” gun of the 1908 model of the year, allegedly capable of throwing a 300-kg projectile with an initial speed of 907 m / s at the 9144 range for miles (colonel R. Maud mentioned it) in the New Zealand edition of “Progress” from 1 August 1908, which, however, raises great doubts), was rejected by the UK military as impracticable and overly technically complex for that time.

It is noteworthy that in response to the note, a letter came from the New Zealand engineer James Edward Fulton, a member of the British Institute of Civil Engineers and an employee of the Wellington and Manawatu Railway Company, in which “A. Simpson’s ideas were criticized:“ The inventor claims that he has reached a very high initial velocity of the projectile and at the same time says that "there is no return!". On the same page, Colonel Maude of the Royal Artillery declares that "indeed, the gun can provide the initial velocity of the 30000 projectile feet per second (9144 m / s) without recoil." On the 338 page, the strange words of Colonel Fashion are quoted: "Mr. Simpson (the inventor) managed to overcome the laws of Newtonian mechanics."

We must be skeptical about the ability of the inventor to overcome these laws. One of Newton's laws says: "Action is always an equal and opposite reaction." Therefore, the work of explosives will lead to action in the opposite direction. Suppose you made a shot with an open shutter, then the powder gases rush into the air, which is lighter and more elastic than the projectile - as a result, the powder gases will put little pressure on him. If in this case we turn the cannon backward with a muzzle cut, then the inventor will simply shoot with air, but at the same time, he will probably declare that there is no recoil on the projectile, which, as it were, acts as a shutter. During the test, a projectile weighing 5 pounds (2,27 kg. - Approx. V.Sch.) Was fired from a cannon with a barrel length 16 pounds (7,26 kg. - Approx. V.S.), but the recoil could be invisible if the tool was significantly heavier than a shell.

As you can see, doubts about the reality of the invention of A.S. Simpson arose not only in our country. By the way, for comparison: the initial speed of the 31,75-kg projectile Mark 45 Mod 4, adopted by the US Navy in the 2000 year and having a total mass of 28,9 tons, does not exceed 807,7 m / s, and the speed of an anti-aircraft guided missile is the most recent American RIM-161 “Standard-3” ship system is 2666 m / s. And then the usual gun of the early twentieth century with a projectile speed of more than 9000 m / s. Of course, fantastic!

The project of the “magnetofugal cannon” of the Russian engineers Colonel Nikolai Nikolaevich Podolsky and M. Yampolsky did not go over to the practical plane either. A request for an 97-ton 300-mm ultra-long electric gun with a 18-meter barrel and a calculated initial velocity 3000 m / s for 1000-kg projectile The Artillery Committee of the Main Artillery Directorate of the Russian Army rejected by 2 in July 1915 of the year due to lack of funds and production power in the context of the ongoing world war, although he recognized this idea as “correct and feasible.”

Under the very curtain of the First World War, the French engineer Andre Louis-Octave of Fachon-Villeple — and the French had the Kaiser troops simply exhausted at that time — offers an “electrical apparatus for moving the projectile,” which was constructively two parallel copper rails placed inside the barrel, over the top whose coils of wire were hung. The wires were passed electric current from the battery or mechanical generator. When driving on rails, the feathered shell with its “wings” successively closed the contacts of the above-mentioned coils and thus gradually moved forward, picking up speed. In fact, it was about the first prototype of today's railguns.

The Fauchon-Villepleu project was prepared at the turn of 1917-1918, the first application for a patent in the USA was filed on July 31, 1917, but the French engineer received his patent for No. 1370200 only on March 1, 1921 (he received three patents in total). By that time, the war had already ended happily for England and France, Germany was defeated, and Russia, in which the Civil War was rampant, was not considered a rival. London and Paris reaped the laurels of victory, and they were no longer up to any "exotic." Moreover, during the past war, new types of weapons appeared - including combat aircraft and Tanks, the further improvement of which, as well as dreadnought and submarines, pulled all the forces and means of the military ministries.
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    NOMADE 23 August 2013 08: 36
    Thanks to the author! A very interesting historical and technical article. For more such smile
  2. Iraclius
    Iraclius 23 August 2013 13: 09
    The article contains interesting factual material, but a complete terminological confusion.
    Railgun is a pulsed electrode mass accelerator. In the simplest case, it consists of two conductive electrodes (rails) located in parallel and on which a conductive projectile rests. The acceleration of the projectile occurs under the action of the Lorentz force, from the equation of which it follows that the magnetic force on the wire with current is directly proportional to the square of the current in the conductor. Already from this it follows that Beningfield invented anything but a railgun because of the fact that in the 19th century powerful sources of constant electric current simply did not exist.
    The problems with them are now - the available unipolar generators are still too cumbersome to install them on anything other than ships.
    If, in the design of the gun, sequentially installed solenoids are used to disperse the projectile, then this device is called a Gaussian gun.
    There are even more problems - the efficiency is very small, you need a fucking amount of capacitive capacitors, etc., etc. This thing will be just a funny homemade product for a long time.
    There are tons of videos on the Internet where inventors shoot cans with their Gauss cannons. They are not suitable for more.
    1. Cpa
      Cpa 24 August 2013 01: 13
      Gauss railguns and cannons were designed for use in star wars in orbit to disable American satellites. Even a small projectile in orbit can do a lot.
  3. R150
    R150 26 August 2013 13: 30