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skmurphy · 2008-02-28 · Original thread
The naval gunfire story is recounted in more detail in "Gunfire at Sea" and is available here it makes for fascinating reading. It's a chapter from "Men, Machines, and Modern Times" by Elting Morrison which also makes great reading.

Elting Morrison makes the point that the modern naval gunnery was enabled by the intersection of metallurgy advances that could build longer strong gun barrels giving improved range, improved optics so that you could see and range find what you were aiming at since it was a mile or more away, an elevating gear to compensate for the rolling motion of the deck.

Together these three inventions enabled a continuous aim firing method that saw 175x increase in the rate of effective fire in 6 years: "After twenty-five minutes of banging away, two hits had been made on the sails of the elderly vessel. Six years later one naval gunner made fifteen hits in one minute at a target 75 by 25 feet at the same range–1600 yards; half of them hit in a bull’s eye 50 inches square."

I had included it in a longer blog entry about Paul Saffo speaking on forecasting technology

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