Detail of a 16th century painting of the Battle of Pavia

16th Century

By the early 16th century hand-held firearms were being used in battles. They were basic, heavy to carry, slow to load, fired only short distances and were largely inaccurate.

Battle of Pavia

This battle was the first battle in which infantry armed with firearms (harquebusiers) were victorious over fully armoured knights. Metal plate armour proved no defence against bullets.



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Did you know?

Thunder birds are go!

Artillery pieces before about 1700 were often classified by names. A rare type of very big gun was known as a basilisk, a more common long powerful gun was known as a culverin while smaller versions were named after birds of prey such as saker and falcon.