You Can See the One That Gets You!

So they said during  the Late Unpleasantness, meaning that if you could see a cannon or Minié ball you were in trouble because it was probably the one that would take you out. So why would that be? Normally a projectile travels too fast for the eye to see, but if it’s headed straight at you it’s different since there is no angular motion and it doesn’t appear to move, just get bigger. Obviously there is some room for error since some soldiers lived to tell about it. Sharpshooter Berry Benson, for example, recalled seeing a small black dot moments before hearing a rifle ball pass right by his ear.

Want to actually see what it looks like? There is an incredible video from the civil war in Syria that shows this – a tank takes a shot at a camera crew and you can actually see the shell coming, even though a modern tank round moves well over twice as fast as a black powder era gun. Amazing and scary, as well as proving the old timers were right.

One other similarity as well — the 125mm Russian tank cannon is a smoothbore, just like the old Napoleons.






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