Dardanelles Gun

Dardanelles Gun

Dismantled Dardanelles Gun at Fort Nelson, Hampshire, overlooking Portsmouth
Type Bombard
Service history
Used by Ottoman Empire
Wars Dardanelles Operation
Production history
Designer Munir Ali[1]
Designed 1464[1]
Weight 16,800 kg (37,000 lb)[2]
Barrel length 518 cm (204 in)[1]
Diameter 1,054 mm (41.5 in)

Action slow match
Elevation none
Traverse none
Feed system muzzle loader

The Dardanelles Gun[3] or Great Turkish Bombard[2] (Turkish: Şahi topu or simply Şahi) is a 15th-century siege cannon, specifically a super-sized bombard, which saw action in the 1807 Dardanelles Operation.[4] It was designed and built in 1464 by Turkish military engineer Munir Ali.


The Dardanelles Gun was cast in bronze in 1464 by Munir Ali with a weight of 16.8 t and a length of 518 cm, being capable of firing stone balls of up to 63 cm diameter (over 25 inches).[1] The powder chamber and the barrel are connected by the way of a screw mechanism, allowing easier transport of the unwieldy device.

Such super-sized bombards had been employed in Western Europe siege warfare since the beginning of the 15th century,[5] and were introduced to the Ottoman army in 1453 by the gunfounder Orban (from Brassó, Kingdom of Hungary) on the occasion of the Siege of Constantinople.[6] Ali's piece is assumed to have followed closely the outline of these guns.[6]

Along with other huge cannons, the Dardanelles Gun was still present for duty more than 340 years later in 1807, when a Royal Navy force appeared and commenced the Dardanelles Operation. Turkish forces loaded the ancient relics with propellant and projectiles, then fired them at the British ships. The British squadron suffered 28 dead through this bombardment.[4]

In 1866, on the occasion of a state visit, Sultan Abdülâziz gave the Dardanelles Gun to Queen Victoria as a present.[6] It became part of the Royal Armouries collection and was displayed to visitors at the Tower of London and was then moved to Fort Nelson, Hampshire, overlooking Portsmouth.[7]

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 Schmidtchen (1977b), pp. 226–228
  2. 1 2 http://www.royalarmouries.org/visit-us/fort-nelson/galleries/single-object/196
  3. Ffoulkes (1930), pp. 217–227; Schmidtchen (1977b), pp. 226–228
  4. 1 2 Schmidtchen (1977b), p. 228
  5. Schmidtchen (1977a), pp. 153–157
  6. 1 2 3 Schmidtchen (1977b), p. 226
  7. "Geometry of War – Pg. 6" (PDF).


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