Design of a muzzle loading cannon
A muzzle loading cannon rests on a carriage, which could be made of wood or iron.
Side view of a ships cannon carriage without a cannon
Top view of a ships cannon carriage with a cannon
Top view of a ships cannon carriage without a cannon
The biggest feature of a muzzle loading cannon is that it doesn't have a breech at the back-end of the barrel and that it must be loaded through the muzzle end.
Not all artillery weapons that are loaded through the muzzle end were classified as cannon.
To be classified as a cannon the barrel length of a muzzle loading artillery weapon had to be at least 12 times its bore width.
Another feature of a cannon is that it rests on two trunnions - one on each side of the barrel, almost in the middle of the barrel measured on its length. It can also have handles on the top of the barrel, called "dolphins" because of their shape.
Side view of a typical cannon barrel
A muzzle loading artillery weapon, which is often confused with a cannon is the carronade. A carronade is shorter than a typical cannon and rests on a pin underneath the weapon, instead of trunnions on the sides.
Side view of a typical carronade barrel
Another muzzle loading artillery weapon that can be confused with a cannon is a howitzer. The barrel length of a howitzer is shorter than the standard of 12 times its bore width. It is an artillery weapon that was designed to fire with an arc in stead of a direct line. A howitzer must also not be confused with a mortar.
Side view of a typical howitzer barrel
Mortars were designed to deliver indirect fire.
Side view of a mortar
SOUTH AFRICAN CANNON ASSOCIATION