Parts of An Artillery Weapon
The typical artillery weapon has two main parts—the barrel and the carriage. The barrel consists of two openings – ‘muzzle’ and ‘breech’. The opening where the shell comes out is called muzzle. A weapon contains either a rifled or a smooth bore. The bore (inside) of the barrel generally contains spiral grooves, called rifling, that cause the projectile to spin in flight, increasing its accuracy. The bore of the gun that contains ammunition with fins, which steady shells in flight, is called smooth-bore. The firing mechanism has a primer, used for guns with larger caliber or a firing pin for smaller weapons. A primer ignites the propellant in the ammunition. This propellant builds up a high pressure and then the projectile is forced to move out of the muzzle at high velocity, that is speed. The rear of the barrel is called the breech, where the ammunition is inserted. Most artillery weapons are loaded from the breech, either automatically through a slot or manually through a door called the breech-block. The breechblock closes the breech tightly. Generally, the breech-block contains the firing pin or firing mechanism.
The carriage consists of a recoil mechanism—a spring or hydraulic device that absorbs part of the backward-pushing force caused by the firing—and a mounting device that permits the gun or barrel to be traversed (pivoted) and the barrel to be pointed upward at varying angles. The carriage is generally mounted on wheels or on a tracked vehicle with a chassis similar to that of a tank. Some guns are protected by armor plate.
Small guns that fire at targets visible to the gunners are aimed by optical sights attached to the weapon itself. Larger guns are aimed, sometimes automatically, by separate sighting and computing devices. In one system, a forward observer uses a laser aiming device to determine the target's position and the data thus obtained is relayed electronically to a computer; the computer transmits aiming and firing data to the appropriate gun position.