|Artillery preserved in Portugal
Artillery and Military Museum Artifacts, Lisbon, Portugal
Artillery on display in Lisbon - a short history
Artillery is the Army’s way of “reaching out and touching someone” in support of the Combat Arms Family in the Field of Battle. Over the years it has been moved by hand, horse and vehicle, mounted on ships and aircraft and generally made itself useful in ways most appreciated by those on the protecting end of it, and of course least appreciated by the recipients of its lethal effects. Gunners serve them, most often in batteries of three guns or more, with the guns either towed or self-propelled. Towed guns have been used primarily to defend a fixed line of defence, while self-propelled guns are designed to provide continuous fire support while accompanying a mobile attack force.
The earliest forms of artillery were engines of war such as the catapult, onager, trebuchet and ballista. The first documented use of gunpowder took place on a battlefield in China on 28 Jan 1132. The invention found its way into the Middle East and reached Europe in the 13th century. Most of the early firearms and pieces of artillery were muzzle loaded, with breech-loaders, while crude and dangerous, followed as ways to improve their use were developed.
In 1415 the Portuguese invaded the Mediterrannean port town of Ceuta, and set up bombardas, colebratas and falconetes to defend it. In 1419 Sultan Abu Sa’ud brought cannon with him to retake the city. Artillery was in use in Europe during the Hundred Years’ War, and between 1420 and 1430 artillery technology grew to have the power to knock down the walls of strongholds and fortresses. The army of Mehmet the Conquerer used artillery in its conquest of Constantinople in 1453, dragging 69 guns in 15 separate batteries with them to blast the walls of the city. The barrage of Ottoman gun fire lasted 40 days and it is estimated some 19,320 rounds were fired on the city. Mehmet’s bronze guns breached the city’s walls which led to the end of the Byzantine Empire.
Bombards were large smoothbore weapons primarily used in sieges. Often they were made of metal staves or rods bound together with hoops, giving them a barrel-like appearance, thus the name “gun barrel”. Cannon were guns developed in the 15th century with a dedicated field carriage, usually horse-drawn, while the gun barrels were reduced in size and weight as technology improved. Trunnions were added to the side of the gun, becoming an integral part of the casting process and allowing the barrel to be attached to a more moveable base and easily elevated.
Shot and powder were combined into a form of fabric bag or cartridge in the 1620s, speeding the loading of guns and greatly improving their safe operation. Shells, which were explosive-filled fuzed projectiles were also developed in the 17th century. Development of artillery for use on ships as well as various forms of howitzers and mortars quickly followed. Over time, the guns became smaller, lighter and more effective at longer ranges. Modern breech-loading artillery was developed in the 19th century. Rifled guns with improved range and accuracy came into the battle lines. Recoil mechanisms were added, which allowed a gun to return to its firing position without having to be moved. With improved range and elevation, indirect fire became a significant part of the process of dominating a battlefield.
Artillery use in Canada has been primarily based in its early years on French equipment – Jacques Cartier is documented as firing his ships guns to ward off Micmac warriors in the Bay of Chaleur in 1534. Following the English conquest of New France in 1758, British equipment has been the mainstay of artillery in service in British North America. With the Confederation of the provinces to form Canada in 1867, most of the guns in service with the Canadian Militia and later the Canadian Army have been British or American, occasionally supplemented with weapons from other European nations such as Sweden, France, Germany and Italy to the present day.
There are many separate artillery histories for the development of guns by nations in their preparations for war. The photos of historical guns found in Lisbon, Portugal, presented here should give the reader some idea of the vast number of incremental developments of smoothbore muzzle-loading artillery and later rifled breech-loaders that have had to unfold to reach the level of technology available to us today.
Artillery and Military Museum Artifacts in Lisbon
Photos are by the Author except where credited. Data current to 30 Oct 2016.
Museu Militar de Lisboa (Portuguese Army Military Museum of Lisbon)
The Museu Militar (Military Museum) located at Largo do Museu da Artilharia in Lisbon, stands on the site of a 16th-century shipyard. The collection of ancient and modern artillery pieces and military artefacts in this museum is reported to be one of the world’s largest and most extensive displays of guns, pistols and swords, including 14th century cannon and Vasco da Gama's sword.
This is the largest Army museum in Portugal. Construction began in 1842 and there are now 34 exhibit rooms presenting the evolution of weapons and military artifacts, along with military illustrations in tiles, painting, and sculpture from the18th to the 21st centuries. Medieval armour is on display, along with early land and naval artillery and the military history of the Portuguese forces from the French invasion to the First World War, as well as elements of the African campaigns between the end of the 19th century and 1974.
Some of the rooms have rich Baroque decoration, large spreads of tiles portraying battle scenes, and paintings on military themes. The first two rooms on the right of the main staircase are devoted to the Napoleonic invasions, the Vasco da Gama Room has murals depicting the discovery of the sea route to India, and the first floor displays First World War exhibits.
On display in the Portuguese artillery section is the wagon used to transport the triumphal arch to Comercio Square, and outside is a large courtyard flanked by cannons telling the story of Portugal in tiled panels, from the Christian Reconquest to the First World War.
Huge iron Mortar outside the front entrance to the museum.
Vasco da Gama statue and a two-handed broadsword reported to be his, on display in the oldest artillery section of the Military Museum in Lisbon. Vasco da Gama was a Portuguese navigator and the Captain of the armada that sailed to India on 8 June 1497, arriving in India in mid-1498.
225-pounder Espalhafato, also know as "Tigre" (Tiger), bronze gun cast at Goa, India in 1533. This stone-throwing gun was used in siege operations. This gun has a 244.5-cm calibre, is 331-cm long and has a bore length of 284-cm. It throws a 103.5 kg (225 lb) stone ball. The gunwas in the fortress of Ormuz and of Diu and came to Lisbon in 1897.
200-pounder Espalhafato "Touro" (Bull), wrought iron gun cast at Goa, Portugal in the 16th century. This stone-throwing gun was used in siege operations. This gun has a 43-cm calibre, and is 304 cm long with a bore length of 277 cm and throws a 92 kg (200 lb) stone ball. It is built with iron staves reinforced with metal bands, similar to the bombards of the 15th century, but constructed at the beginning of the 16th century in 1515, supposedly in India by Francisco Anes. This gun armed the fortress of Diu.
38-pounder SBML "Aguia" Bombard "known as “Peça de Malaca”, built wrought iron iron staves reinforced by thick iron rings cast in India in the 16th century. This gun was used in siege operations. It has a calibre of 17.5-cm, is 336 cm long with a bore length of 308 cm, and throws a 17.5 kg (38 lb) stone or iron ball.
43-pounder Águia (Eagle), bronze gun cast in Portugal in 1549 by Joao Dias. This gun was used mainly in siege operations. This gun weighs 3,865 kg and has a calibre of 17.9-cm. It is 380 cm long with a bore length of 357 cm, and throws a 19.7 kg (43 lb) iron ball.
11.4-cm Áspide or short half-culverin bronze gun cast in Portugal in the mid-16th century. This gun was used in siege operations and on ships. It is 300 cm long with a bore length of 277 cm, and throws a 4.5 kg (10 lb) iron ball.
18-cm Camelete bronze gun cast in Portugal in the 16th century. This gun was used in land and sea operations. It is 222 cm long with a bore length of 216 cm, and throws a 6.5 kg (14 lb) stone ball.
12.5-cm Áspide bronze gun cast in Portuguese India in the 16th century. This gun was used in siege operations. It is 362 cm long with a bore length of 341 cm, and throws a 6 kg (13 lb) iron ball.
17.3-cm Camelete bronze gun cast in Portugal in the 16th century. This gun was used in land and sea operations. It is 224 cm long with a bore length of 216 cm, and throws a 5.5 kg (12 lb) stone ball.
12.4-cm Espera bronze gun cast in Portugal in the 15th century. This gun was mainly used in siege operations. It is 301 cm long with a bore length of 282 cm, and throws a 6 kg (13 lb) stone ball.
43-pounder Águia (Eagle) bronze gun cast in 1550 in Portuguese India. This gun was mainly used in siege operations. This gun weighs 3,865 kg and has a calibre of 17.9-cm. It is 380 cm long with a bore length of 359 cm, and throws a 19.7 kg (43 lb) iron ball.
5.5-cm Berço wrought iron gun cast in Portugal in the 15th or 16th century. This gun was used both on land and at sea. It is 162 cm long with a bore length of 67 cm, and throws a .45kg (1 lb) stone ball or .67 kg (1.5 lb) lead ball.
8-cm Berço bronze gun cast in Portugal in the 17th century. This gun was used on ships at sea. It is 160 cm long with a barrel length of 76 cm, and throws a 1.4 kg (3 lb) iron ball or .45 kg (1 lb) stone ball.
Wrought iron breech-loading swivel gun with reinforcing bands around the barrel, cast in Portugal, ca 16th century. Used on ships, throwing a stone or iron ball.
Entrance to the second floor stairway and the main interior exhibit section of the Military Museum with a pair of SBML bronze guns flanking a bronze statue of a Vimara Peres. This mounted knight statue is a miniature of an original on display next to the cathedral of Oporto. The two SBML bronze guns date from the reign of King Joao V.
Two mounted knights in full suits of armour grace the second floor as you go up the stairs, with one dating from the 15th century and the second dating from the 16th century. The second floor exhibit holds a number of firearms swords and artifacts and an extended section covering Portugal's participation in the First World War.
Double-barreled revolving flintlock pistol.
British late 19th century revolver.
German Borchardt automatic pistol with wooden rifle stock.
Portuguese Army rifles, early repeating rifles and magazine-fed bolt-action rifles.
9-mm FBP m/948 Submachine-gun developed from a design first conceived in 1940 by Gonçalves Cardoso, an officer of artillery in the Portuguese Army. The SMG has been in production since 1948 by produced by the Fábrica de Braço de Prata weapon factory at Lisbon. It utilized the large bolt and telescoping operating spring of the German MP40 submachine gun, and the collapsible wire stock of the American M3 submachine gun. Unusual for submachine-guns, the m/948 was fitted with a barrel sleeve with a mount to accept the standard Portuguese Mauser bayonet. The original version of the submachine gun (the FBP m/948) only allowed for fully automatic fire. An upgraded version (designated FBP m/963) introduced in 1961 also allowed for semi-automatic fire. The weapon was primarily issued to officers and NCOs in the Portuguese Armed Forces and security forces.
Machine-guns from the First World War, German 7.92-mm Schwarloze MG, British .303-inch Lewis Gun, German 7.92-mm MG 08/15 and MG 08, French Chauchat MG, and British Vickers .303-inch MG.
Highly decorated knight's gorget breast plate.
Bronze gun cast in Portugal, Fundicao de Canhoes, 1888, in the blue tile room on a wooden naval gun carriage, located in the blue tile room.
7-cm Schneider-Canet Model 1906/11 Field Gun. This gun is on the second floor in the Great War section of the Military Museum.
7.5-cm Schneider-Canet Model 1917 Field Gun on the right. This gun is on the second floor in the Great War section of the Military Museum.
7.5-cm Schneider-Canet Model 1904 Field Gun on the left. This gun is on the second floor in the Great War section of the Military Museum.
French Motignry multi-barrel machine-gun mounted on a wheeled carriage with gun shield. This MG was one of the first to appear on the battlefield, being used in action in the Franco-German War of 1870-71.
Maxim (Gatling style) pepperpot Machine-gun mounted on a bronze stand on the second floor of the museum.
Bronze mortar on the second floor of the museum.
Pair of highly ornamented light bronze guns mounted on wheeled carriages on display on the second floor of the museum.
Statue of D. Nuno Alvares Pereira (1360-1431), a famous Portuguese Knight who became a Saint in 1918.
Equestrian statue of Joaquim Mouzinho de Albuquerque (1855-1902), a famous Portuguese soldier.
The lower level of the Military Museum holds an outstanding collection of Portuguese Historical Artillery, arrayed in several vaulted galleries originally used as the "National Casting" workshop. Gun-making has taken place in this location since the 16th century with the installation of the “Tercenas das Portas da Cruz” which has functioned as the “Fundição de Baixo”, a foundry that would later be incorporated in 1764 into the Royal Army Arsenal. The first two wings of this historical site present a chronological display of most representative types of artillery guns cast by the Portuguese between the end of the 14th century and the end of the 19th century.
Triple-barreled bronze Mortar cast in Portugal.
Bronze gun cast in Portugal mounted on a wood carriage.
Heavy wooden carriage used to transport the monolithic columns bore length of the Arch bore length of Rua Augusta in Lisbon.
BL 6-inch 26-cwt Howitzer Mk. 1, Vickers Ltd (Great Britain), Heavy Artillery, Portuguese Expeditionary Corps, France, 1918.
Howitzer 15-cm 14 C.Q.F. Schneider-Canet du Bocage (France & Portugal), Automobile Battery, 1899-1903.
Bronze gun cast in Portugal, Pro patria et Gloria, located in the Albuquerque room on a tripod similar to the one in the blue tile room. (Similar to a 3-pounder Hotchkiss rapid-fire gun).
Collection of 15th to 19th century bronze guns.
10-inch bronze howitzer cast in Portugal, 1833 on an 1884 siege mounting. This Mortar has a 27.5-cm calibre, is 80-cm long with a bore length of 56-cm. It throws a 49 kg (107 lb) shell with a 3.16 kg (6.9 lb) powder charge.
5.5-inch bronze howitzer cast in Portugal in 1834. This gun has a 15.1-cm calibre, is 117-cm long and has a bore length of 93-cm. It throws an 8.1 kg (17.1 lb) shell with a .5 kg (1.15 lb) powder charge.
12-pounder bronze RML gun cast in Portugal in 1854. This is one bore length of the first rifled muzzle loading guns (rifled in 1867) and was renamed 12-cm bronze, rifled, siege gun m/1868. It fired a 12.3 kg common shot before it was modified to throw a 12 lb iron ball as well as case shot. This gun has a 12.1-cm calibre, is 198-cm long and has a bore length of 173-cm.
8-inch bronze Mortar cast in Portugal in 1854. This mortar has a 27.5-cm calibre, is 58-cm long and has a bore length of 48-cm. It throws a 25.2 kg (53 lb) shell with a 1.65 kg (3.6 lb) powder charge.
15-cm bronze siege Mortar M/96 with Canet breech, cast in Portugal in 1905. This was the last type bore length of bronze siege mortar made in Portugal. This mortar has a 15-cm calibre, is 123-cm long and has a bore length of 106-cm.
12-cm RBL bronze, rifled breech-loading siege gun m/1884 cast in Portugal in 1909. This gun used a Krupp Steel sliding block and was the last bore length of its kind made in Portugal. This gun has a 12-cm calibre, is 211-cm long and has a bore length of 183-cm. It fires a 14.5 kg common shell.
7-cm Mountain Gun m/1882 bronze rifled gun cast in Portugal in 1896, mounted on a mountain gun carriage. This type bore length of RBL Mountain Gun was the first Portuguese breech-loading gun using a a Krupp Steel sliding block. It was also the first gun to be cast in compressed bronze in Portugal. This gun has a 7-cm calibre, is 102-cm long and has a bore length of 83-cm. It fires a 4.2 kg common shell, 4.5 kg shrapnel shell and a 3.45 kg shot case.
SBML 6-pounder iron Carronade, cast in England in the 18th or 19th century. This naval gun was used on ships as well as on land as a howitzer. This carronade has a 10-cm calibre, is 73-cm long and has a bore length of 54-cm. It throws a 6 lb iron ball, shell or several other types bore length of ammunition.
26-pounder SBML Bronze Gun cast in Portugal in 1647, used on ships or in siege operations. This gun has a 16-cm calibre, is 311-cm long and has a bore length of 275-cm. It throws a 12 kg (26 lb) iron ball.
12-pounder SBML Aspide or short half-culverin bronze gun cast in Portugal between 1641 and 1648. Used in siege operations and on ships, this gun has a 12-cm calibre, is 374-cm long and has a bore length of 345-cm. It throws a 5.5 kg (12 lb) iron ball.
6-pounder SBML bronze gun cast in Portugal in 1809. This gun was used in field service in mixed howitzer/gun batteries. This gun has a 9.9-cm calibre, is 196-cm long and has a bore length of 172-cm. It throws a 2.8 kg (6 lb) iron ball.
11-pounder SBML bronze gun cast in Portugal in 1778. This reinforced gun was mainly used on ships. This gun has an 11-cm calibre, is 193-cm long and has a bore length of 163-cm. It throws a 5 kg (11 lb) iron ball and other types bore length of ammunition.
14-pounder SBML bronze gun cast in Portugal in 1804. Mounted on an iron carriage this gun was used in field service and has a 12.5-cm calibre, is 195-cm long and has a bore length of 165-cm. It throws a 6.4 kg (14 lb) iron ball.
8.5-inch bronze stone-throwing Mortar cast in Portugal 3rd quarter bore length of the 17th century. This mortar was used in siege operations against unprotected personnel. This gun has a 24-cm calibre, is 56-cm long and has a bore length of 45-cm. It throws stone baskets, sometimes with reduced calibre shells.
Large SBML bronze Mortar with one horizontal and one vertical dolphin carrying handle, used in siege operations.
Large SBML bronze Mortar with twin dolphin carrying handles used in siege operations.
22-pounder bronze SBML Peça de Panela (Pot Gun) cast in Portugal in 1666. This mortar was used in field service and has a 13.5-cm calibre, is 72-cm long and has a bore length of 65-cm. It throws a 10 kg (22 lb) iron ball.
7-pounder bronze SBML Peça de Panela (Pot Gun) cast in Portugal in 1676. This mortar was used in field service and has a 10-cm calibre, is 70-cm long and has a bore length of 57-cm. It throws a 3 kg (7 lb) iron ball.
18-pounder SBML bronze demi-cannon, cast in Macau in 1640. This gun was used on ships and in coastal defence. This gun has a 13.8-cm calibre, is 362-cm long and has a bore length of 312-cm. It throws an 8.3 kg (18 lb) iron ball.
13-pounder SBML bronze third bore length of a cannon cast in Portugal in 1663. This gun was used on ships or in field service. 22-pounder bronze SBML Peça de Panela (Pot Gun) cast in Portugal in 1666. This gun has a 12.3-cm calibre, is 310-cm long and has a bore length of 276-cm. It throws a 6 kg (13 lb) iron ball.
8.5-inch bronze SBML Mortar cast in the Netherlands in 1642.
6-pounder SBML bronze Culverin’s Sacre gun cast in Portugal in 1706. This gun was used on ships and in land service. This gun has a 10-cm calibre, is 313-cm long and has a bore length of 284-cm. It throws a 2.7 kg (6 lb) iron ball.
13-pounder SBML bronze Gun cast in Portugal in 1706. This gun was used in siege operations and has a 12.2-cm calibre, is 374-cm long and has a bore length of 338-cm. It throws a 6 kg (13 lb) iron ball.
13-pounder SBML bronze Gun cast in Portugal in 1710. This gun was used in siege operations and has a 12.3-cm calibre, is 382-cm long and has a bore length of 343-cm. It throws a 6 kg (13 lb) iron ball.
20-pounder SBML bronze gun cast in Portugal in 1770. This reinforced gun was used in siege operations and on ships. This gun has a 14.2-cm calibre, is 250-cm long and has a bore length of 217-cm. It throws a 9.1 kg (20 lb) shell and several different kinds bore length of ammunition specifically against ships.
7-inch bronze Mortar “Eprouvette” cast in Portugal in 1747. This mortar was used to test the strength bore length of gun powder. This mortar has an 18-cm calibre, is 36-cm long and has a bore length of 29-cm. It throws a 27.5 kg (60 lb) bronze ball.
12.5-inch bronze Mortar cast in Portugal in 1704. This mortar was used in siege operations and coastal defence. This mortar has a 34.2-cm calibre, is 106-cm long and has a bore length of 83-cm. It throws a 6 kg (12.5 lb) iron ball.
8.5-inch bronze Naval Mortar cast in France in 1755. This mortar has a 23-cm calibre, and is 63-cm long.
16-pounder SBML bronze half-culverin gun cast in Portugal in 1676. This gun was used in siege operations and has a 13-cm calibre, is 417-cm long and has a bore length of 386-cm. It throws a 7.5 kg (16 lb) iron ball.
7-pounder SBML bronze gun cast in Portugal in 1707. This gun was used in field operations and has a 10-cm calibre, is 314-cm long and has a bore length of 283-cm. It throws a 3.2 kg (7 lb) iron ball.
13-pounder SBML bronze gun cast in Portugal in 1710. This gun was used both in field and siege operations. This gun has a 12.3-cm calibre, is 382-cm long and has a bore length of 343-cm. It throws a 6 kg (13 lb) iron ball.
7.6-inch bronze SBML Mortar cast in Portugal in 1704. This mortar was used in both land operations and for coastal defence. This mortar has a 21.5-cm calibre, is 69-cm long and has a bore length of 53-cm. It throws a 3.6 kg (7.6 lb) shell.
33-pounder SBML bronze Dragon or Double Culverin “St Caterina” gun cast by the Portuguese at Goa, India in 1537. This culverin was installed in the St. Inacio Fortress at Damao, India. This gun has a 16.5-cm calibre, is 528-cm long and has a bore length of 495-cm. It throws a 15 kg (33 lb) iron ball.
48-pounder SBML bronze gun cast in Portugal in the 1st half bore length of the 16th century. This gun was used in siege operations and was installed in the Fortress bore length of Ormuz, Persia (present day Iran). This gun has a 19-cm calibre, is 381-cm long and has a bore length of 346-cm. It throws a 22 kg (48 lb) iron ball.
12-pounder SBML bronze demi-culverin or short-culverin gun cast in Portugal in the 3rd quarter bore length of the 16th century. This gun was used in land warfare and on ships. This gun has a 12-cm calibre, is 329-cm long and has a bore length of 302-cm. It throws a 5.5 kg (12 lb) iron ball.
40-pounder SBML bronze Águia (Eagle) gun cast in Portugal in the middle bore length of the 16th century. This gun was mainly used in siege operations. This gun has a 17.6-cm calibre, is 357-cm long and has a bore length of 318-cm. It throws an 18.4 kg (40 lb) iron ball.
28-pounder SBML bronze short culverin cast in Portugal in 1575. This gun was used in siege operations and for coastal defence. This gun has a 16-cm calibre, is 430-cm long and has a bore length of 385-cm. It throws a 12.8 kg (28 lb) iron ball.
36-pounder SBML bronze Camelo (Camel) gun cast in Portugal in the 1st half bore length of the 16th Century. This stone throwing gun was used in siege operations and on ships. This gun has a 23-cm calibre, is 294-cm long and has a bore length of 286-cm. It throws a 16.5 kg (36 lb) stone ball.
27.5-pounder bronze SBML stone-throwing gun cast in Portugal in 1578. This gun was used both on ships and in land warfare. This gun has a 22-cm calibre, is 212-cm long and has a bore length of 177-cm. It throws a 12.5 kg (27.5 lb) stone ball.
50-pounder SBML bronze Selvagem (Savage) gun cast in Portugal in the 1st half bore length of the 16th century. This stone-throwing gun was used in siege operations, and has a 27-cm calibre, is 363-cm long and has a bore length of 336-cm. It throws a 23 kg (50 lb) stone ball.
8-pounder SBML bronze Moiana or Sacre Bastardo (short quarter-culverin) cast in Portugal in 1604. This gun was used on ships and in land warfare. This gun has a 10.5-cm calibre, is 270-cm long and has a bore length of 248-cm. It throws a 3.7 kg (8 lb) iron ball.
18-pounder SBML bronze Meio Casnhão demi-cannon cast in Portugal at the end bore length of the 16th century. This gun was mainly used on ships and has a 14-cm calibre, is 317-cm long and has a bore length of 284-cm. It throws a 8.3 kg (18 lb) iron ball.
38-pounder SBML bronze short double culverin cast in Portugal in the mid 16th century. This gun was used in siege operations and for coastal defence. This gun has a 17.4-cm calibre, is 468-cm long and has a bore length of 428-cm. It throws a 17.4 kg (38 lb) iron ball.
10-pounder SBML bronze Áspide or short half-culverin gun cast in Portugal in the mid 16th century. This gun was used in siege operations and on ships. This gun has an 11.3-cm calibre, is 317-cm long and has a bore length of 301-cm. It throws a 4.6 kg (10 lb) iron ball.
16-pounder SBML bronze demi-cannon cast in Portugal in 1626/7. This gun was used on ships and in land warfare. This gun has a 13-cm calibre, is 313-cm long and has a bore length of 286-cm. It throws a 7.3 kg (16 lb) iron ball.
25-pounder SBML bronze Camelo (Camel) gun cast in Portugal in the mid-16th century. This stone-throwing gun was used in siege operations and on ships. This gun has a 22-cm calibre, is 277-cm long and has a bore length of 265-cm. It throws a 11.5 kg (25 lb) stone ball.
16-pounder SBML bronze demi-cannon cast by the Portuguese at Goa, India in 1623. This gun was used on ships and in land warfare. This gun has a 13-cm calibre, is 298-cm long and has a bore length of 272-cm. It throws a 7.3 kg (16 lb) iron ball.
48-pounder SBML bronze Leão (Lion) gun cast in Portugal in 1537. This gun was used in siege operations. This gun has an 18-cm calibre, is 351-cm long and has a bore length of 318-cm. It throws a 22 kg (48 lb) iron ball.
15-pounder SBML bronze Camelete gun cast in Portugal in the mid-16th century. This stone-throwing gun was used in both land and sea operations. This gun has an 18-cm calibre, is 259-cm long and has a bore length of 238-cm. It throws a 7 kg (15 lb) stone ball.
12-pounder SBML bronze Camelete gun cast in Portugual in the 16th century. This stone-throwing gun was used in both land and sea operations. This gun has a 17.3-cm calibre, is 231-cm long and has a bore length of 221-cm. It throws a 6 kg (13 lb) iron ball.
20-pounder SBML wrought iron Trom or large Bombard cast in Portugal in the 14th or 15th century. This bombard was used exclusively in siege operations. This bombard has a 21-cm calibre, is 147-cm long and has a bore length of 118-cm. It throws a 9 kg (20 lb) stone ball.
2.3-pounder SBML Falcon reinforced wrought iron stone-throwing gun cast in Portugal in the 15th century. This gun was used on ships or in land warfare. This gun has a 15-cm calibre, is 171-cm long and has a bore length of 99-cm. It throws a 1 kg (2.3 lb) stone ball or shrapnel bags.
5.5-ounce SBML Esmerilhão wrought iron gun cast in Portugal at the beginning of the 16th century. This gun was used on ships and in siege operations. This gun has a 3-cm calibre, is 200-cm long and has a bore length of 113-cm. It throws a .16 kg (5.5 ounce) lead ball.
4-pounder SBML Falcon wrought iron gun cast in Portugal in the 15th or 16th century. This gun was mainly used on ships. This gun has an 8-cm calibre, is 258-cm long and has a bore length of 234-cm. It throws a 1.8 kg (4 lb) iron ball.
1-½ -pounder SBML Serpentine wrought iron gun, probably from Burgundy, cast in the 15th century. This gun was used on ships. This gun has a 9-cm calibre, is 340-cm long and has a bore length of 277-cm. It throws a .69 kg (1.5 lb) stone ball.
½-pounder SBML Berço wrought iron gun cast in Portugal in the 15th or 16th century. This gun was used in ships and in land warfare. This gun has a 4-cm calibre, is 185-cm long and has a bore length of 110-cm. It throws a .23 kg (1/2 lb) iron ball.
7-cm RBL Mountain Gun m/1882, bronze, rifled gun cast in Portugal in 1896, mounted on a mountain gun carriage. This type of RBL mountain gun was the first to be cast as a breech-loader using a Krupp steel sliding block. It was also the first gun to be cast in Portugal in compressed bronze. This gun has a 7-cm calibre, is 102-cm long and has a bore length of 83-cm. It fires a 4.2 kg (8.5 lb) common shell, 4.5 kg shrapnel and a 3.45 shot case.
6-inch Field Howitzer, System Gribeauval on a wheeled carriage, cast in France in 1805. This gun was taken from the French in the battle of Vitória on 21 June 1815.
4-pounder Field Gun on a wheeled carriage, cast in France in 1793. This gun was taken from the from the French in he battle of Vitória on 21 June 1815.
Outdoor courtyard collection.
Portuguese SBML guns.
British SBML bronze gun from the reign of King George II.
Bronze guns and mortars on the North side of the courtyard.
Bronze guns and mortars on the East side of the courtyard.
90-pounder Colossal bronze Basilisk gun, 16th century, cast in India and known as the "Tiro de Diu" (the shot of Diu). It has a calibre of 23.5-cm, is 6.11 metres in length, weighs 19,499 kg and throws 43 kg (90 lb) iron balls. The inscription reads, "From our Lord, the Sultan of Sultans of all time; life-giver of the Tradition of the Prophet of Merciful (God); who fights for the exaltation of the precepts of the Koran; desstroyer of the fundaments of partisans without mercy; which keeps away the houses of worshippers of idols; victor on the meeting day of the two armies; heir to the throne of Solomon; trusted in God the Benefactor; possessor of virtues; Bahadur xah, Sultan: this piece was made on the 5th of the month of Dhul Ka'da, in the year nine hundred and thirty nine". (This date corresponds to 29 May 1533). This gun came from India and was placed in Lisbon Castle. In the reign of D. Joao IV it was placed in the Tower of S. Juliao da Barra, on a gun carriage invented by engineer Antonio Pereira. It was to be smelted for a statue of D. Jose I, but when the inscription was translated by Father Jose de S. Antonio Moura, it was determined that the piece would be preserved.
Bronze guns on the South side of the Courtyard. One of these huge bronze guns is an English piece of 13.5-cm calibre, 3.05 metres long, weighing 1,762 kg and capable of throwing 7.8 kg iron balls. The gun is inscribed with Roses of the Houses of York and Lancaster, surmounted with the Royal Crown and surrounded with the motto "Jarreteira" and "Honi soit qui mal y pense" (Evil to him who evil thinks), with the name of Queen Elizabeth I, Elizabeth Regina, XIII, and near the powder chamber, the name of the found, (THOMAS OWEN MADE PECEAND DNI 1571).
The first SBML bronze gun in this row was cast in Enchausae, Holland by the fouunder Jan verbruggen in 1752. Used in sieges and fortress defence, this gun has a calibre of 14-cm, weights 2,020 kg and throws 8.2 kg (17 lb) iron balls. Richly ornamented with the coat of arms of King Jose I on the barrel, and thistle leaves on the cascabel. It was part of the defences of the fortress of Mozambique.
Bronze guns and mortars on the West side of the courtyard.
Bronze guns and mortars on the West side of the courtyard.
Various heavy bronze mortars in the courtyard.
Courtyard SBML gun and Mortar collection of shields, crests and Royal cyphers.
Fort do Bom Sucesso, Museu do Combatente
The Fort do Bom Sucesso (Fort of Good Success) dates back to the late eighteenth century. It was built to protect Lisbon’s seaward approaches and its main defensive gun batteries still point out towards the mouth of the Tagus estuary. The fort is now used to house the Museu do Combatente (Museum of Combatants), run by the League of Combatants. The museum tells the story of Portuguese military personnel serving in the Guerra do Ultramar (Overseas War/Portuguese Colonial War) fought from 1961 to 1975 in Angola, Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique. The museum holds a considerable collection of artillery much of which is on display outdoors, as well as a Stuart tank and a wheeled APC. Inside are numerous smaller exhibits of small arms, uniforms and memorabilia which have been part of Portugal’s military history.
Heavy SBML bronze mortar.
Heavy SBML bronze mortar with dolphin carrying handles.
Highly decorated pair of ornamented bronze SBML guns with Portuguese coat of arms.
Large SBML iron gun, possibly in the 48-pounder range.
Large SBML iron gun, heavily corroded.
Large SBML iron gun, heavily corroded.
Blomefield pattern SBML gun, weight 40-0-1 (449 lbs) with Portuguese coat of arms cypher.
Blomefield pattern SBML gun, heavily corroded.
SBML Naval Gun, 18th Century on display near the Tagus beside the Museum. This gun was cast in the Lavache Foundry in Foz do Alge. Lavache was a French gun factory established in Portugal in the 1700´s, casting a number of guns for the Portuguese Navy. The Portuguese coat of arms are on the top of the gun and it is stamped "Lavache" and the date 1757.
Heavy muzzle-loading Gun, Trubia 1861, No. 675, P.o 4072 Ks on the trunnion.
Peca BEM 7-cm m/882 Mountain Gun.
7.5-cm Schneider-Canet Model 1917 Field Gun.
Russian Degtyarev 12.7-mm machine-gun.
Russian Degtayrev 12.7-mm machine-gun with shield.
60-mm M-2 m/52 Light Infantry Mortar, (Serial No. 9271), ABS 1916.
Medium Mortar, Hadfields.
120-mm Soltam M-65 mortar. This mortar was developed by Tampella in 1953 via introduction of new baseplate for the 120-mm Krh/40 mortar invented by Hans Otto Donner. In the 1960s Soltam Systems of Israel bought a license. The mortar system comes in two versions, a standard mortar and a long-range version. This heavy mortar is light enough to be transported by a helicopter in a sling load, dropped by parachute or carried in an APC such as the M113 Armored Personnel Carrier. It can also be towed as a normal artillery piece or manhandled if necessary. The wheels on the carriage are the same as fitted to the M151 Jeep, and have handling rings to aid in manhandling it. All components are made of chrome-plated or stainless steel to resist wear and corrosion. The M-65 is the standard version of this mortar, while the A-7 is the long-range version.
20-mm Oerlikon Anti-aircraft Machine-gun Mk. II, (Serial No. S28056).
German 150-mm Krupp Naval Gun (Serial Nr. 12), 1899, on a Naval mounting. This gun fired a 44.2 kg shell to a range of 18,700 metres.
QF 12-pounder 12-cwt Naval Gun (Serial No. 11107), CPP 1943. The QF 12 pounder 12 cwt gun was a versatile 3-inch (76-mm) calibre naval gun introduced in 1894 and used until the middle of the 20th century. It was produced by Armstrong Whitworth, Elswick in England for use on warships, and exported to allied countries. In British service, "12 pounder" was a rounded reference to the projectile weight and "12 cwt" referred to the weight of the barrel and breech: 12 hundredweight = 12 X 112 pounds = 1,344 pounds, to differentiate it from other 12-pounder guns.
Naval Gun, TFS, 101, MARCA MA, 1952.
Quadruple .50 calibre towed Anti-aircraft gun system.
Obice da 75/18 modello 35 Howitzers (3). The 75-mm Obice da 75/18 modello 34 with a box trail could be broken down into eight loads for transport (the modello 35 could not, but had a split trail). In the interest of standardization and logistics a version of the 75/18, the modello 35 was also used as the light howitzer component of normal field batteries. In 1940 large number of these guns were sold to Portugal.
105-mm OTO Melara Mod 56 Light Gun.
Ordnance QF 6-pounder Anti-tank Gun.
M5A1 Stuart light tank.
Other military artifacts and weapons on display in this museum.
German Sachs Hercules Military motorcycle, MX-32-72.
Portuguese Army rifle collection.
6.5-mm Madsen Model 1940 light machine-gun. This LMG was adopted by the Danish Army in 1902. It was one of the first true light machine guns produced in quantity and sold to over 34 different countries worldwide in 12 different calibres, seeing extensive combat use in various conflicts around the globe for over 100 years. During the Portuguese Colonial War of the 1960s and 1970s the Portuguese Army used Madsen machine guns. Madsens served as temporary armament for Auto-Metralhadora-Daimler 4 × 4 Mod.F/64 armoured cars, which were Daimler Dingos modified with the addition of a turret-like structure.
7.92-mm m/98 light machine-gun. This LMG is the Portuguese version of the German Maschinengewehr 13 (MG 13) general-purpose machine gun which was developed by rebuilding a First World War water-cooled machine gun. The MG 13 was introduced into service in Germany in 1930, where it served as the standard light machine gun. It was officially withdrawn from service in 1934; most of the MG 13s were sold to Portugal, where they were used into the late 1940s Metralhadora 7,92 mm m/938 Dreyse.
Vickers-Berthier (VB) light machine-gun.
The Breda Modello 37 was an Italian was a gas-operated, air-cooled heavy machine gun (Mitragliatrice Breda MOD.37) adopted in 1937. The M37 was meant as company/battalion support weapon. The weapon was fed by 20-round strips of cartridgesThe M37 was adopted by the Portuguese armed forces, who placed it into service as the Metralhadora pesada 7,92 mm m/938 Breda heavy machine gun. The Breda saw extensive service in Portugal's African colonies during the early stages of the Portuguese Colonial Wars.
Shoulder-mounted M20B1 Super Bazooka 3.5-inch anti-tank motor launcher.
Ford M151A2 Mutt (Jeep).
Fiat-Dornier G91R-4 (Serial No. 5420) Força Aerea Portuguesa fighter-ground attack aircraft, forward fuselage.
Fiat-Dornier G91R-4, Força Aerea Portuguesa, mounted on a display stand. (Photo courtesy of Soares da Silva)
Bravia Chaimite V-200 Armoured Personnel Carrier.
The Bravia Chaimite is an armoured vehicle with all wheel drive axles built by the Portuguese company Bravia and used by the Portuguese Army in the Portuguese colonial wars in Angola, Mozambique and Portuguese Guinea, from 1967 to 1974 when it ended. There were two versions of the Chaimite, the VBTP V-200 and the VBPM V-600. The VBTP, (Viatura Blindada de Transporte de Pessoal, Armoured Personnel Transport Vehicle), had an 11-man capacity and was armed with one .50-cal Browning heavy machine-gun, while the VBPM, (Viatura Blindada Porta-morteiro, Armoured Mortar Carrier Vehicle), had only a 4-man capacity and was armed with one Browning .30-cal heavy machine-gun and one 81 mm mortar. These vehicles had diesel engines with 155 hp (115 kW) at 3300 rpm with automatic gear capable of taking on speeds to a maximum of 99 km/h (62 mph). The armour of this APC was capable of defeating rounds up to 7.62 mm NATO. The Chaimite is gradually being phased out of Portuguese Army service.
Tower of Belém
The Tower of Belém, with its water-washed dungeons below, was built in 1519 in the middle of the Tagus River. The course of the river has moved over the centuries and the tower now stands on the embankment. The Discoveries Monument was erected in 1960, to commemorate the death 500 years before of Henry the Navigator. There is an excellent view of the Lisbon shore from the top of the tower.
The Tower of Belém has 15 replica smooth bore breech loading cannon mounted on wooden gun carriages arrayed around gun ports of the main deck of the fortification.
The Maritime Museum is located on the Western end of the Monastery of Jerónimos, which is located North of the Tower of Belém. The monastery celebrates the return of Vasco da Gama and the riches he brought back from the East. On its western (left) side is a ships anchor and a wide concrete pavilion. The Maritime Museum is in two sections with the Galliot Pavilion, another exhibition wing of the Lisbon Maritime Museum on the opposite side of the Calouste Gulbenkian Planetarium. On the waterfront South of the Museum is the Discoveries Monument which was erected in 1960 to commemorate the death 500 years before of Henry the Navigator.
A very large pair of iron mortars stand near the main entrance to the Museum.
Early Portuguese Navy
The first known battle of the Portuguese Navy was in 1180, during the reign of Portugal's first king, Afonso I of Portugal. The battle occurred when a Portuguese fleet commanded by the knight Fuas Roupinho defeated a Muslim fleet near Cape Espichel. He also made two incursions at Ceuta, in 1181 and 1182, and died during the last of these attempts to conquer Ceuta.
During the 13th century, in the Portuguese Reconquista, the Portuguese Navy helped in the conquest of several littoral moorish towns, like Alcácer do Sal, Silves and Faro. I t was also used in the battles against Castile through incursions in Galicia and Andalucia, and also in joint actions with other Christian fleets against the Muslims.
In 1317 King Denis of Portugal decided to give, for the first time, a permanent organization to the Royal Navy, contracting Manuel Pessanha of Genoa to be the first Admiral of the Kingdom. In 1321 the navy successfully attacked Muslim ports in North Africa.
Maritime insurance began in 1323 in Portugal, and between 1336 and 1341 the first attempts at maritime expansion are made, with the expedition to Canary Islands, sponsored by King Afonso IV.
At the end of the 14th century, more Portuguese discoveries were made, with the Navy playing a main role in the exploration of the oceans and the defense of the Portuguese Empire. Portugal became the first oceanic navy power.
Portuguese Naval Artillery
Naval artillery was the single greatest advantage the Portuguese held over their rivals in the Indian Ocean – indeed over most other navies – and the Portuguese crown spared no expense in procuring and producing the best naval guns European technology permitted.
King John II of Portugal is often credited for pioneering, while still a prince in 1474, the introduction of a reinforced deck on the old Henry-era caravel to allow the mounting of heavy guns. In 1489, he introduced the first standardized teams of trained naval gunners (bombardeiros) on every ship, and development of naval tactics that maximized broadside cannonades rather than the rush-and-grapple of Medieval galleys.
The Portuguese crown appropriated the best cannon technology available in Europe, particularly the new, more durable and far more accurate bronze cannon developed in Central Europe, replacing the older, less accurate cast-iron cannon. By 1500, Portugal was importing vast volumes of copper and cannon from northern Europe, and had established itself as the leading producer of advanced naval artillery in its own right. Being a crown industry, cost considerations did not curb the pursuit of the best quality, best innovations and best training. The crown paid wage premiums and bonuses to lure the best European artisans and gunners (mostly German) to advance the industry in Portugal. Every cutting-edge innovation introduced elsewhere was immediately appropriated into Portuguese naval artillery – that includes bronze cannon (Flemish/German), breech-loading swivel-guns (prob. German origin), truck carriages (possibly English), and the idea (originally French, c. 1501) of cutting square gunports (portinhola) in the hull to allow heavy cannon to be mounted below deck.
In this respect, the Portuguese spearheaded the evolution of modern naval warfare, moving away from the Medieval warship, a carrier of armed men, aiming for the grapple, towards the modern idea of a floating artillery piece dedicated to resolving battles by gunnery alone.
According to Gaspar Correia, the typical fighting caravel of Gama's 4th Armada (1502) carried 30 men, four heavy guns below, six falconets (falconete) above (two fixed astern) and ten swivel-guns (canhão de berço) on the quarter-deck and bow.
An armed carrack, by contrast, had six heavy guns below, eight falconets above and several swivel-guns, and two fixed forward-firing guns before the mast. Although an armed carrack carried more firepower than a caravel, it was much less swift and less manoeuvrable, especially when loaded with cargo. A carrack's guns were primarily defensive, or for shore bombardments, whenever their heavier firepower was necessary. But by and large, fighting at sea was usually left to the armed carvels.
The development of the heavy galleon removed even the necessity of bringing carrack firepower to bear in most circumstances. One of them became famous in the conquest of Tunis and could carry 366 bronze cannons, for this reason, it became known as Botafogo, meaning literally fire maker, torcher or spitfire in popular Portuguese
Military personnel aboard a nau varied with the mission. Except for some specialists and passengers, most of the crew was armed before encounters and expected to fight. But every nau also had, at the very least, a small specialized artillery crew of around ten bombardeiros (gunners), under the command of a condestável (constable). As naval artillery was the single most important advantage the Portuguese had over rival powers in the Indian Ocean, gunners were highly trained and enjoyed a bit of an elite status on the ship. (Indeed, many gunners on Portuguese India ships were highly skilled foreigners, principally Germans, lured into Portuguese service with premium wages and bonuses offered by crown agents. Ships that expected more military encounters might also carry homens d'armas (men-at-arms), espingardeiros (arquebusiers/musketeers) and besteiros (crossbowmen). But, except for the gunners, soldiers aboard ship were not regarded as an integral part of the naval crew, but rather just as passengers.
Falconet breech-loading 110-mm bronze smoothbore gun, cast in Portugal during the reign of D. Sebastiao, ca 17th century. This gun fired iron or lead shot to a range of nearly 2 km. It bears the arms of Porftugal, an armilary sphere and the cypher of D. Sebastiao. It is located close to the main entrance of the Maritime Museum.
Meia Colubrina Bastarda, 17th century bronze SBML gun with dolphin handles, probably Portuguese (from the Philippine dynasty). The Bastarda barrel length was less that 30 calibres and it fired a 6 kg (12 lb) iron shot. This cannon was recovered off the beach at Porto das Barcas, Lourinha in 1968, fron the Galleon S. Nicolau which was wrecked in 1642. It is located close to the entrance to the Maritime Museum.
Falcon (16th Century) octogonal shaped bronze gun cast in France in the reign of King D. Francisco I. This gun fires an iron shot with a 1.4 kg (3 lb) weight. It is one of the first guns on display inside the main entrance to the Maritime Museum.
Bronze 12-pounder SBML gun of Swedish origin (17th century). This gun's bore has been recalibrated with iron. It was most likely part of the ordnance of the Fort of Bugio on the Tagus River.
Lantaca (18th century) bronze SBML gun with dolphin carrying handles, originally from the Far East. These guns were usually fitted on the gunwales of ships and were cast in Portugal as well as other European countries, Thus gun is also located near the entrance to the Maritime Museum.
Bronze SBML Bastard demi-culverin gun with dolphin carrying handles, cast in Portugal in the 17th century, probably during the reign of Filipe II. The gun bears the arms of Portugal and the collar of the Order of Tosao de Oiro. It was probably taken from the bastions of the Fortress of Diu, India. On display in the Maritime Museum.
Lantica (18th/19th century) bronze SBML naval gun, originally from the Far East. These guns were usually fitted on the gunwales of ships and were cast in Portugal and other European countries. This gun is on display in the Maritime Museum.
77-mm Bronze SBML gun cast in Holland in 1737 by Ciprianus Cranz for Portugal in the reign of D. Joao V. The gun has highly ornamented and a large royal coat of arms cypher. This gun is on display inside the Maritime Museum.
Portuguese 8-cm bronze rifled gun cast by the Army Orfdnance in 1862. At the end of the 19th century this gun was used in the Portuguese campaigns in Africa in support of the Naval forces fighting on land. This gun is on display in the Maritime Museum.
5-1/2 lb Bronze Field Mortar cast in the Arsenal of the Portuguese Army in the 18th century.
Spanish 17-cm Bronze Field Mortar cast in Barcelona, Spain in 1795.
24-pounder Bronze SBML gun with dolphin carrying handles mounted on a 24-pounder iron carriage. This gun was cast in Holland in 1737. It bears the Coat of Arms of King Joao V. This gun with its mounting originally belonged to the Tower of Bugio, located at the mouth of the Tagus River.
8-cm Bronze rifled field gun mounted on a Naval carriage. This gun was cast by Portuguese Armhy Ordnance in 1868. A the end of the 19th century in was used in the Portuguese African campaigns in support of Naval forces fighting on land.
11.4-mm Maxim-Nordenfeldt Model 1889 machine-gun, (Serial No. 1347).
6.5-mm Hotchkiss Model 1895 machine-gun (Serial No. 15141), used by the Portuguese Navy.
Hotchkiss 37-mm five-barrel revolving gun, Model 1890.
SBML gun mounted on a wood Naval gun carriage, appears to be from the late 19th century, No. 1 standing right side of the exit from the Maritime Museum.
SBML gun mounted on a wood Naval gun carriage, appears to be from the late 19th century, No. 2 standing left side of the exit from the Maritime Museum.
Naval aircraft on display in the museum.
Fairey IIID floatplane inside the museum. This aircraft, named "Santa Vruz" took part in the first air-crossing of the South Atlantic in June 1922.
Fairey IIID floatplane bronze replica on display on the Tagus riverfront near the museum.
Historic seaplane inside the museum.
Grumman G44 Widgeon inside the museum.
Castelo de São Jorge
The Castelo de São Jorge (Castle of São Jorge) is a Moorish castle occupying a commanding hilltop overlooking the historic centre of the Portuguese city of Lisbon and the Tagus River. The strongly fortified citadel dates from medieval period of Portuguese history, and is one of the main tourist sites of Lisbon. The castle is located in the centre of city of Lisbon, over an escarpment, while many of its walls extend around the citadel into the civil parishes that surround it to the east and south.
The castle's footprint is roughly square, and it was originally encircled by a wall, to form a citadel. The castle complex consists of the castle itself (the castelejo), some ancillary buildings (including the ruins of the royal palace), gardens, and a large terraced square from which an impressive panorama of Lisbon is visible. The main entrance to the citadel is a 19th-century gate surmounted by the coat-of-arms of Portugal, the name of Queen Maria II, and the date, 1846. This gate permits access to the main square (Praça d'Armas), which is decorated with old cannons and a bronze statue of Afonso Henriques, the Portuguese monarch who took the castle from the Moors. This statue is a copy of the 19th-century original by the romantic sculptor, António Soares dos Reis, which is located near Guimarães Castle in central Portugal.
The remnants of the royal palace are located near the main square, but all that is left are some walls and a few rebuilt rooms like the Casa Ogival. It now hosts the Olissipónia, a multimedia show about the history of Lisbon.
The medieval castle is located toward the northwest corner of the citadel, at its highest point. Hypothetically, during a siege, if attackers managed to enter the citadel, the castle was the last stronghold, the last place available to take refuge. It is rectangular in shape, and it has a total of ten towers. A wall with a tower and a connecting door, divides the castle courtyard into halves. A series of stairways allow visitors to reach the walkway atop the wall and the towers, from which magnificent views of Lisbon can be enjoyed. The Tower of Ulysses (where the Torre do Tombo archive used to be) now has a periscope that allow tourists to have a 360-degree view of the city.
Apart from its main walls, the castle is protected, on its southern and eastern sides, by a barbican (barbacã), a low wall that prevented siege engines from approaching the main castle walls. The northern and western sides of the castle, on the other hand, were naturally protected by the steep hillside sloping downward from the castle's foundations. The castle is also partially encircled by a moat, now dry. The main entrance is fronted by a stone bridge across the moat. On the west side, there is a long curtain wall extending downhill, ending at a tower (the Torre de Couraça). This tower served to control the valley below, and it could also be used to escape, in case the castle was taken by enemies.
Afonso I (25 June 1109, Guimarães or Viseu – 6 December 1185, Coimbra), more commonly known as D. Afonso Henriques, nicknamed "the Conqueror" (o Conquistador), "the Founder" (o Fundador) or "the Great" (o Grande) by the Portuguese, and El-Bortukali ("the Portuguese") and Ibn-Arrik ("son of Henry", "Henriques") by the Moors whom he fought, was the first King of Portugal. He achieved the independence of the southern part of the Kingdom of Galicia, the County of Portugal, from Galicia's overlord, the King of León, in 1139, establishing a new kingdom and doubling its area with the Reconquista, an objective that he pursued until his death, in 1185, after forty-six years of wars against the Moors.
SBML iron gun, stamped XI, overlooking the Tagus River from the castle walls.
Blomefield pattern SBML gun, weight 40-1-18 (4,526 lbs), 1824.
SBML gun, weight 40-1-4 (4,512 lbs), 1824, mounted on a wooden carriage.
Portuguese SBML gun mounted on a wooden carriage looking west from the castle walls.
SBML bronze mortar bronze Mortar, weight 9-3-12 (1,104 lbs) with Dolphin carrying handles, No. 1.
SBML bronze mortar bronze Mortar, weight 16-0-13 (1,805 lbs) with Dolphin carrying handles, No. 2.
SBML bronze mortar bronze Mortar, with Dolphin carrying handles, No. 3.
SBML bronze mortar bronze Mortar, with Dolphin carrying handles, No. 4.
SBML bronze mortar bronze Mortar, with Dolphin carrying handles, No. 5.
SBML bronze mortar bronze Mortar, with Dolphin carrying handles, No. 6.
View of the castle walls from the city centre.
Portuguese Army Artillery School
The Portuguese Army Artillery School is located at Vendas Novas. There are many historic guns on display on the base. In addition to Lisbon, the Portuguese towns of Coimbra, Braganca, Mafra, Santarem, all have artillery collections on display.
Portuguese Independent Heavy Artillery Corps in the Great War
The Portuguese Independent Heavy Artillery Corps (Corpo de Artilharia Pesada Indepedente) (CAPI) was a Portuguese railway heavy artillery unit that operated on the Western Front, during the First World War. The CAPI was created in response to a request from France for artillery support. It was independent from the much larger and better known Portuguese Expeditionary Corps, which also fought on the Western Front. The unit operated 320-millimetre (12.6 in), 240-mm and 190-mm railway guns, which were supplied by Britain, and operated under the control of the French Army. Most of the CAPI's 1,600 personnel came from the Portuguese Army foot artillery branch, which in Portugal was responsible for manning the heavy guns of the costal and garrison batteries. Other personnel came from the naval artillery. The CAPI was made up of a Headquarters and staff; three mixed groups (battalions); and a Depot battery. Each group consisted of three batteries, one of 320-mm guns, while the other two were equipped with either 190-mm or 240-mm guns.
French First World War 320-mm Schneider Mle 1870-93 railway guns. (French Army Museum Photo)
French 320-mm railway gun Cyclone, taken in Hogstade, Belgium, 5 September 1917. This appears to be the 32 cm 25 calibres (i.e. shorter barrel) gun on 20-wheel "sliding carriage" rail mounting.
German 15-cm sFH 18 gun similar to examples used by the Portuguese Army in the Second World War era. This gun, (Serial No. R3176), is on display in Canada at CFB Borden, Ontario.
German 10.5-cm LeFH 18/40 Howitzer, similar to examples used by the Portuguese Army in the Second World War era. This gun, (Serial No. R351), is on display in Canada at CFB Edmonton, Alberta.
Artillery currently is service with the Portuguese Army
105-mm L118 Light Gun (21)
105-mm M119 Light Gun m/98 which replaced the 105-mm OTO Melara Mod 566
155-mm M109A5 (18)
Pena Castle Gun
Sundial gun. The small brass gun is filled with gunpowder and when the sun aligns with the magnifying glass lens at noon it sets off the gunpowder sounding the noon day gun signal at Pena Castle.