Obusier de vaisseau

The Obusier de vaisseau was a large calibre but light piece of naval artillery mounted on French warships of the Age of Sail. Designed to fire explosive shells at a low velocity, they were an answer to the carronade in the close combat and anti-personnel role. However, their intended ammunition proved too dangerous for the crew, and the French navy phased them out at the beginning of the Empire in favour of the carronade.

Obusier de vaisseau
Obusier de 36, modèle 1787, found on the wreck of the Golymin. On display at the Musée national de la Marine
Typenaval gun
Place of originFrance
Service history
In service1787–1805
Used byFrance
Production history
Barrel length85 cm


Accounts by British warships of the armament of captured French ships tend to describe them as carronades. However, when the description includes the remark that the weapon was brass, this suggests that it was an obusier.

Several of the guns were recovered from the wreck of the Golymin in the road of Brest, and are now on display at the Musée national de la Marine in Paris and in Brest.[1]

Citations and references

  • Jean Boudriot et Hubert Berti, L'Artillerie de mer : marine française 1650-1850, Paris, éditions Ancre, 1992 (ISBN 2-903179-12-3) (notice BNF no FRBNF355550752). (in French)
  • Jean Peter, L'artillerie et les fonderies de la marine sous Louis XIV, Paris, Economica, 1995, 213 p. (ISBN 2-7178-2885-0). (in French)
  • Napoléon et l’évolution de l’artillerie des vaisseaux, Nicolas Mioque (in French)
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