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The Cost of Modern Warfare.

The recent experiments with steel guns in Germany has called up some interesting facts concerning the increased cost of ordnance in modern times. We have but to go back to the days of the Crimea to find the ordinary -weapon of cast iron, which was regarded as good enough for killing and wounding by our forefathers for centuries. A field-piece of cast iron that carried a cannon ball of 10 or 12 lbs. weight conld be fashioned for £5, or if made of bronze or gun-metal the expense of material and casting was not more than, double that sum. Now-a-days a fieldpiece of improved construction, made of the finest steel, such as Herr Krupp, of Essen, produces at his well-known factory, costs £llO. Next to the Krupp steel-gun comes the iron-steel cannon of Woolwich. A field-piece manufactured on this principle costs from £7O to £75, and the Armstrong breech-loader, that was formerly in use in our service was made for the same money, or perhaps a little less. In the British gun the most costly part is the steel tube or core of the weapon, which has to be bored out of a solid pillar. The steel tube is strengthened by having placed round it a coil or cylinder of wrought iron, which if it adds strength to the weapon makes it also heavier. The cheapest of all modern guns are those of the Austrians. These, like the Krupp cannon and unlike our own, are breechloaders, and resemble in make a good deal the weapons turned out at the Essen factory. The Austrians make their field guns for £35 a piece, the lowest price paid by any nation for rifled cannon. The material of which the guns are made is bronze, treated after a method proposed by General Uchatius. The metal is cast in a chill-mould, which renders the alloy harder and more crystalline, and still further strength is given to the gun by dilating the bore,’brought about by forcing a steel cone through the tube, and thus increasing the calibre.

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The Cost of Modern Warfare. Ashburton Guardian, Volume I, Issue 14, 28 October 1879

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