10 June 2015

Knights of Malta Introduce Fire Hoops in Combat During Great Siege

From the Heritage Malta's website commemorating the 450th Anniversary of the Great Siege is an account on what happened on this day during the siege.
On Sunday, June 10, Grand Master Jean de La Valette sent a quantity of ammunition to Fort St Elmo. Besides the usual supplies of powder, shot, and grenades, he also sent over a number of new incendiary devices which had never been put to use until then. The idea behind this invention is said to have been that of the knight Ramon Fortuyn. Basically, these weapons consisted of barrel hoops that were well covered with caulking tow and well steeped in a cauldron of boiling tar. During an assault, they were set on fire and hurled at the enemy, causing significant damage by their flame and smoke.

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