Patrick O'Brian Discussion Forum


How were the gun drills run?

mike barksdale
soprismb@live.com


I have recently started reading the Patrick O'Brian's canon. I am two books in and already I absolutely love them. I have been able to follow most of the story, lingo, history and medicine. One thing continues to befuddle me and answering it was exclusively why I joined you fine people. I'm a land lubber about as far from an ocean as you can get (Aspen, Colorado).

CAN SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME, SPECIFICALLY, HOW THE JACK PRACTICES GUN DRILLS? 

EXAMPLE: In the book, "Master and Commander", Jack Aubrey has his gun crew try and beat something like eight minutes. How do they shoot over that time? Did they all shoot from the larboard side, and then the captain would come about on the wind and then they would fire as she makes on the starboard side? I read it that one circuit of practice was actually firing four different broadsides. Did that mean that they would go port, starboard, port and starboard? 

I am completely confused on this one part, and all five books I own that explain the Aubrey/Maturin books don't offer any insights into gunnery practice. Can one of you please help me?


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