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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.

Dardanelles Gun
Great Turkish Bombard at Fort Nelson.JPG
Dismantled Dardanelles Gun at Fort Nelson, Hampshire, overlooking Portsmouth
Service history
Used byOttoman Empire
WarsFall of Constantinople Dardanelles Operation
Production history
DesignerMunir Ali[1]
Mass16,800 kg (37,000 lb)[2]
Barrel length518 cm (204 in)[1]
Diameter1,054 mm (41.5 in)

Actionslow match
Feed systemmuzzle loader



The Dardanelles Gun was cast in bronze in 1464 by Munir Ali with a weight of 16.8 t and a length of 5.18 m (17.0 ft), being capable of firing stone balls of up to 0.63 m diameter (24.8 in).[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 European siege warfare since the beginning of the 15th century.[5] According to Schmidtchen, they were introduced to the Ottoman army in 1453 by the gun founder Orban (from Brassó, Kingdom of Hungary) on the occasion of the Siege of Constantinople,[6] and Ali's piece is assumed to have followed the outline of these guns closely.[6] According to Paul Hammer, however, the technology could have been introduced from other Islamic countries which had earlier used cannons.[7]

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 casualties from this bombardment.[4] A spheric round made of full iron, of 63 centimeters of diameter, has a weight of 1027.5 kilograms.

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 later moved to Fort Nelson, Hampshire, overlooking Portsmouth.[8]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c Schmidtchen (1977b), pp. 226–228
  2. ^ a b c
  3. ^ Ffoulkes (1930), pp. 217–227; Schmidtchen (1977b), pp. 226–228
  4. ^ a b Schmidtchen (1977b), p. 228
  5. ^ Schmidtchen (1977a), pp. 153–157
  6. ^ a b c Schmidtchen (1977b), p. 226
  7. ^ Paul E. J. Hammer (2007), Warfare in Early Modern Europe 1450–1660, page 297, Ashgate Publishing
  8. ^ "Geometry of War – Pg. 6" (PDF).


  • Ffoulkes, Charles, "The 'Dardanelles' Gun at the Tower", Antiquarian Journal, Vol. 10 (1930), pp. 217–227
  • Schmidtchen, Volker (1977a), "Riesengeschütze des 15. Jahrhunderts. Technische Höchstleistungen ihrer Zeit", Technikgeschichte 44 (2): 153–173 (153–157)
  • Schmidtchen, Volker (1977b), "Riesengeschütze des 15. Jahrhunderts. Technische Höchstleistungen ihrer Zeit", Technikgeschichte 44 (3): 213–237 (226–228)

External linksEdit

  Media related to Dardanelles Gun at Wikimedia Commons