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When Maneuvering Around Artillery
(This File is A Must Read for ALL Infantry Troops)

When Maneuvering Around Artillery
(This File is A Must Read for ALL Mounted Troops)

The following is an outline of the safety requirements a unit commander can expect at a reenactment.

1. Equipment and Gun Drill Forms must be completed and signed by all members, along with the passing of Equipment and Drill inspections before each artillery piece is qualified to be taken to the field.. These forms can be obtained by clicking here or from the Reserve's Ordnance Officers, at the Artillery Headquarters immediately upon arrival of an event.

2. Be prepared for inspections of the following:
       a. Detachment Drill
       b. Failed Primer Drill
       c. Equipment Inspection
       d. Rounds Inspection

3. Please contact the safety officers at headquarters as soon as you arrive at an event to schedule your inspections.


All Safety forms can be found under FORMS AND DOCUMENTS - 'Ordnance Forms'

Note: For large events, safety inspections may change because of the large number of guns and equipment. Details of any changes will always be posted on the RESERVE WEB PAGE or sent via E-Mail to unit commanders.

From: Lieutenant Colonel Steven Kuhn
Artillery Reserve Chief Ordnance Officer

Cannon Inspections, Large Events

1) Battery and/or Brigade Commanders will assist inspections (as and independent eye) of there assigned Battery or Brigade units (while accompanied by an Ordnance Officer) to be sure all unit members within there Command know the gun drill that the individual unit has stated in there Inspection Form before that said unit can participate in any of the event scenarios. The Artillery Reserve Ordnance Officers may “spot-inspect” individual organizations during these inspections.

2) Brigade or Battery Commanders encountering problems during their gun and drill inspections are to notify one of the Artillery Reserve Ordnance Officers immediately of the problem(s), and its resolution.  All resolutions will be coordinated amongst the Ordnance Officers, Brigade or Battery Commander, along with the said individual organization to which the gun or detachment is owned.

                     Cannon Inspections, Small Events
1) Ordnance Officers will inspect assigned Battery or Brigade units of their  Equipment, and Gun Drill to determine all unit members know the complete gun drill that the individual unit has stated in there Inspection Form before that said unit can participate in any of the event scenarios. The Artillery Reserve Ordnance Officers may “spot-inspect” individual organizations during these inspections at any given time of the event, and have the authority to pull any units off the field for safety violations..
2) All inspections are to be performed using the Inspection Form located on this webpage. Completed inspection forms are to be forwarded to the Reserve Ordnance Officers for compilation in the Consolidated Inspection Report.

                          Basic Safety Precautions
A) All Ordnance is to be free of any debris in the bore and vent.  Gun carriages and limbers are to be in good working field-use order.  Sponges are to be intact with no holes, rips, or tears, and be of the correct bore size for the piece.  Rammer heads are to be intact and be of the correct bore size for the piece.
B) Any and all rounds should be made without any form of filler material.
The rounds are to be wrapped in double wrapped aluminum foil with folds.  No powder leakage. Absolutely no flour or other foreign materials are to be added to or in addition to any round. All rounds shall be kept in the ammunition chests, except for rounds being delivered to the pieces.
The lid of a chest shall remain closed and the chest locked at all times except when rounds are being removed, during inspections, or while work is being performed inside chest. No artillery cartridges shall be constructed at the event site.

C) All implements are to be on site, be of proper equipage, and be in proper working order prior to the gun and detachment inspection.  This is to include 2 sponge & rammers, 1 worm, vent pick, gimlet, vent punch, and gunner’s pliers (pincers). All poles on sponge rammers, and worms, are to be made of wood, NO PVC Pipe is allowed.
D) The complete gun detachment must be present in order for the drill to be inspected. Detachments will be inspected in accordance with their own drills. Equipment and Gun Drill Forms must be signed by each person manning the gun, and all visual and written inspections must be completed and passed before each
artillery piece is qualified to be taken to the field.

E) The Nos. 1 & 2 cannoneers must be jacketed, and and wear proper gloves during the loading & firing of the gun.

The following safety maneuvers must be carried out on the field:

"Crossed Implements"
When a gun has a failed primer, Number 1 and Number 2 Cannoneer’s shall place the implements (sponge rammer and worm) over the wheels, crossing over the barrel at an apex to indicate the signal that the primer has failed and the piece is still hot and loaded. To avoid confusion of Infantry troops, this signal is only to be used when the primer has failed, and the 50 yard safety “Blast Area” zone is once again active for this piece of ordnance and must be avoided until the piece is rendered safe.

Handling misfires:
The 3 minute misfire drill will be strongly enforced. After the third misfire the vent and barrel must be properly flushed and unloaded through the muzzle (no fourth attempts). If any misfired primer tube (first or second attempts) cannot be accounted for, the barrel must be flushed and unloaded through the muzzle.
No re-ramming misfired rounds. The only time a round can be re-rammed is when #3 discovers the round is not properly seated before it is fired the first time. If it becomes necessary that you must unload through the muzzle for any reason, a safety officer must be present during the procedure. Misfired primers must
be removed from the field in a safe container.

"Spiked Gun"
This procedure is to be used to indicate gun is safe to: over run, advance threw, redeploy back to, occupy by infantry, ect.
Artillery pieces are not to be charged/assaulted except as previously arranged in a “scripted” scenario, and then only at a pre-arranged signal. The signal to opposing in
fantry or cavalry shall always be the sponge rammer protruding from the muzzle of the gun, with the front of the gun unoccupied indicating the gun is clear and safe for assault.


The blank cartridge (powder charge), when ignited in the field  piece tube, throws a cone of flame down range from the muzzle of the gun almost 50 yds. . An accidental discharge with an object
such as the rammer, the worm or a small solid piece of debris in the tube will throw fragments down range an unpredictable distance. The spent primer is launched upward in a column of flame as the gun is fired and sometimes comes down outside the danger zone. All personnel shall be aware of the dangers associated with being near the gun line or a cannon and remain outside the danger zones if not a member of the Artillery or attached to that service.

All non-artillery personnel, re-enactors and spectators, will maintain a safe distance from the artillery during demonstrations or battle reenactments. The proper safe distances from any gun line or cannon and limber is outlined in the following diagram (not to scale).

A 50 yard diameter danger zone will be maintained in front of the gun in all directions along with (if available) an unobstructed view (line of site) of 125 yards from the muzzle. No one including Artillery personnel will breech th 50 yard “Blast Area” danger zone. This zone may be marked by red flags or other identification markers at their outer limits on stationary guns.
Gun’s positioned within a battery are usually 14 to 20 feet apart from hubs, or 20 yards from hubs if Infantry is to advance and support the gun line with an additional defence. A 50 foot diameter danger zone will be maintained around the limber. Only artillery personnel may occupy this area; all others must request permission from the battery commander. Discharging of firearms or the smoking of tobacco within the danger area is strictly prohibited
The minimum safe distance to the gun (gun hubs) from the sides is 50 feet.

Other safety manuals and forms are listed on the Forms and Document page.

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