What was a carronade?

Carronades were short heavy guns, similar to canon, used by the British Royal Navy on battleships from the late 18th century until about 1820.

Known as the 'Smasher', they were usually mounted on traversing slide carriages – so they could slide back and forth – but some were mounted on carriages and trucks. They were manufactured in the following calibres: 68, 42, 32, 24, 18, 12 and 6-pounder.

The carronade was invented by General Robert Melville (1723–1809), the son of a Scottish minister, who persuaded the Carron Company in Falkirk to manufacture the guns, which they were then named after.

Discover more about the naval warships of the 17th to 19th centuries