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The wall gun

"wall gun"

Master blacksmiths, master casters and master gunsmiths and their works reflect the highest artistic and technical skills of their respective societies and epochs. They therefore show a unique aspect of art history and material culture. The Wallbüschsen represent a special genre. Wall rifles are classic fortress weapons. Their name already indicates that these oversized rifles were fired from the ramparts. Depending on their age, Wallbüchsen can have an overall length of between one and a half and three and a half metres. The assumption still prevalent in the 17th century that the length of the barrel was decisive for the range was refuted in the following two centuries. The range of such wall rifles was between 500 and 700 metres. Even at this range, the weapon type could still penetrate light cover. The powerful powder charge, combined with the heavy weight of the bullet, gave the projectile a penetrating power two to three times greater than that of ordinary infantry rifles. The size and weight of the Wallbüschsen did not allow for freehand use. In the feasibility study, a New Prussian Wallbüchse from Potsdam from the years 1815-1819, representing the equipment of the young Prussian garrison of the fortress of Luxembourg, was tried out.

Weapons are three-dimensional objects. In order for visitors to be able to view them adequately, these weapons must be displayed all-faceted. However, the lock, the trigger, the barrel and the entire mechanism of such objects can only be understood by the viewer by manipulating the wall rifles. Such manipulation is out of the question for museum visitors. This is even more true for weapons. Therefore, a three-dimensional capture and exhibition in virtual space lends itself to allowing the viewer to explore the object and discover even the grain of the woods used and the smallest indentations in the metal.

The three-dimensional digitisation of wall guns poses a double challenge and only a test can ensure whether this can be overcome. It is therefore important to find out to what extent the special software can handle the geometry of a wall gun (long narrow barrel). In addition, earlier digitisation attempts have shown that metal surfaces are quite difficult to process and display.

This article is also available in: German French


This article was written for us by Chargé de mission Dr Ralph Lange and Gilles Zeimet from the National Museum of History and Art Luxembourg (MNHA) / Documentation Centre on the Fortress of Luxembourg (CDF).