Armament

 

The Prinsessens Bastion (The Princess’ Bastion) facing the Sound was the flag bastion of the citadel, where the official flag flew, and until 1788 when it was moved to Holmen (the Naval base on the other side) where it still flies every day from the battery ”Sixtus” it was and still is the official flag of Denmark, ”Rigets Flag” (Flag of the Kingdom) that all foreign ships were expected to salute in order to show their respect to the Danish King. When you’re standing on the bastion, and look across the water towards “Sixtus” it is thus not just any flag you see over there, but the official flag of Denmark. As such it is hailed by a cannon shot when raised or lowered, which happens at dawn and sunset.

The beautiful old cannon on this bastion are all 12 pounder bronze cannon of the so called system of 1766, also known as “System Carl of Hessen”, the prince who stood behind the casting of these guns. In those days they were super modern guns, very uniform and in a limited number of calibers in order to simplify the ammunition supply. These guns got a very long lifespan in service. The gun in the northeastern corner is a 12 pounder L/22 full cast gun model 1766, which means that the length of the barrel is 22 times the diameter of the bore, and cast in a specially heavy form, having full caliber thickness over the touchhole. This piece is cast 1768 in Frederiksværk as a smoothbore cannon, and served as such almost a century (more exact 93 years) after which it was rifled in 1861, meaning that spiraling grooves were cut to make the grenade rotate in flight. This made it shoot longer and more accurate. This process was done according to two different systems, a French system La Hitte, named after the head of the French rifling commission, or an improved Danish system called Winstrup – and this very piece is rifled according to the Winstrup system.

After being rifled it got a new number (42). During the German/Danish war of 1864 is was mounted on board the frigate “Sjælland” and in battle several times. It took part in a battle with two Preussian korvettes and several smaller vessels 17th March 1864, during which it fired 12 rounds, and at another occasion it fired 3 shots at a Preussian naval steamer on 14th April. Later in the same war it was aboard the frigate “Tordenskjold” and even later aboard the korvette “Heimdal”.

 On the bastion two more bronze pieces of the same artillery system is also standing, both also cast as smoothbores, and rifled in 1861. They are cast a bit lighter, since both are 12 pound 5/6 cast guns of system 1766 “Carl of Hessen”. The one nearest Norgesport was cast 1766, the other 1767 both in Frederiksværk. Both were rifled 1861 as number 2 and 3. Number 2 was rifled after the French system La Hitte and used for trials. It fired 161 shots for “The Commission for Rifled Artillery” and 49 shots for “The Commission for Shooting against Brickwork”. During the war of 1864 it served in Fredericia, where it among other engagements on 20th March fired 7 shots in a counter-battery shooting against an enemy battery.

Number 3 (the one in southeast) was rifled after the Winstrup system. With this two series of tests, each of 25 rounds at different angulation of the barrel. In December 1861 a full test of 275 shots were fired with 2 3/8 pound loading of powder and a grenade of 27 pound. From this shooting the gunnery table was done, that was used all during the war 1864, and was probably also the reason for choosing the system Winstrup rather than the French system La Hitte.