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The Tsar Cannon (Russian: Царь-пушка, Tsar'-pushka) is a large early modern period artillery piece (known as a bombarda in Russian) on display on the grounds of the Moscow Kremlin. It is a monument of Russian artillery casting art, cast in bronze in 1586 in Moscow, by the Russian master bronze caster Andrey Chokhov. Mostly of symbolic impact, it was never used in a war. However, the cannon bears traces of at least one firing.[1] Per the Guinness Book of Records it is the largest bombard by caliber in the world,[2] and it is a major tourist attraction in the ensemble of the Moscow Kremlin.

Tsar Cannon on a 1978 USSR post

The cannon was cast in bronze in 1586,[5] during the reign of Tsar Fyodor Ivanovich, in the Cannon yard, by Russian master Andrey Chokhov.

The carriages and the cannon itself was richly decorated in 1835 at the St. Petersburg plant of Berd, with designs by architect A. P. Bryullov and drawings engineer P. Ya. de Witte.

The Tsar Cannon was placed at several points around Moscow in its history. It is known to have been mounted on a special frame with a fixed inclination angle in the Red Square near the Place of Skulls in order to protect the eastern approaches to the Kremlin, indicating that it originally did have a practical application. However, by 1706, it was moved to the Kremlin Arsenal and mounted on a wooden gun carriage. It was not used during the French invasion of Russia, although Napoleon Bonaparte considered removing it to France as a war trophy. The wooden gun carriage burnt in the fire that consumed Moscow in 1812, and was replaced in 1835 by the present metal carriage, which disabled the firing function of t

The carriages and the cannon itself was richly decorated in 1835 at the St. Petersburg plant of Berd, with designs by architect A. P. Bryullov and drawings engineer P. Ya. de Witte.

The Tsar Cannon was placed at several points around Moscow in its history. It is known to have been mounted on a special frame with a fixed inclination angle in the Red Square near the Place of Skulls in order to protect the eastern approaches to the Kremlin, indicating that it originally did have a practical application. However, by 1706, it was moved to the Kremlin Arsenal and mounted on a wooden gun carriage. It was not used during the French invasion of Russia, although Napoleon Bonaparte considered removing it to France as a war trophy. The wooden gun carriage burnt in the fire that consumed Moscow in 1812, and was replaced in 1835 by the present metal carriage, which disabled the firing function of the cannon.

In 1860, the Tsar Cannon was moved to its current location on Ivanovskaya Square near the Tsar Bell, which is similarly massive and is the largest bell in the world (but which has never been rung).

Voltaire joked that the Kremlin's two greatest items were a bell which was never rung and a cannon that was never fired.[5] For a long time, there was a common theory that the Tsar Cannon was created only to impress foreigners of Russia's military powers. Thus, according to writer Albert Valentinov:

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"...Andrey Chokov knew from the very first moment that this would not be a whopper cannon at all. Even if we assume that the barrel would fire grapeshot, a massive amount of propellant would be needed to push the two-ton shot, making it impossible for the cannon to be transported from one position to another. Therefore Chokhov did not mean to cast it as a functional cannon at all. His cannon is always only a symbol of Russian power and of the capabilities of the Russian industry. If we render a Russian master able to create such a whopper cannon, the smaller ones would have much less use. Therefore, the Tsar Cannon was put on display in the Kremlin for foreign diplomats."

However, subsequent studies showed that this version, which emphasized that the creation of the cannon was purely propagandistic, was only fiction.

The cannon

The cannon was last restored in 1980 in the town of Serpukhov. It was thoroughly studied by specialists in the Artillery Academy at that time and gunpowder residue was found, indicating that the cannon had been fired at least once, hinged and dug into the ground.[6]

Another theory by other researchers is that Tsar cannon never fired because of the bronze parts that would fade away after the shot, also due to the absence of a pilot hole that makes firing completely impossible.[7]

In the spring of 2001, as commissioned by the management of the Moscow Udmort enterprise "OAO Izhstal", a replica of the cannon was cast in iron. The replica weighed 42 tons, with a single wheel at 1.5 tons, the kernel at 1.2 meters and a caliber of exactly 89 cm.

This copy was given as a present from Moscow to Donetsk, which was installed in front of the Donetsk City Hall in May 2001. There were two copies, with the other one produced in Izhevsk set in the premises of OAO Izhstal.

The Yoshkar-Ola copy

In 20

This copy was given as a present from Moscow to Donetsk, which was installed in front of the Donetsk City Hall in May 2001. There were two copies, with the other one produced in Izhevsk set in the premises of OAO Izhstal.

In 2007, another replica was installed in front of the National Art Gallery in Yoshkar-Ola. This replica was made in a scale of 1:2. This replica is incomplete, with ornaments changed or absent, and other details missing. The kernel of the cannon weighs about 12 tons, with the barrel and the carriage cast in steel, and the wheels being solid. Three staples were installed on the cannon for fastening cables when moving it. It was cast on Zvenigovsky Shipyard named after N. S. Butyakov. Initially, the ornaments were cut from wood, and then cast from metal. The copy was suitable for shooting, as the barrel and the core were welded together. Four ornamental cannonballs are located next to the cannon.

Perm Tsar Cannon

There was the world's largest 20-inch cast iron cannon in Per

There was the world's largest 20-inch cast iron cannon in Perm. Unlike other "Tsar cannon"s, the one in Perm was a military weapon. The cannon, nicknamed the "Perm Giant", was made in 1868, by the order of the Ministry of Marine to the Motovilikha manufacturing plant (which is PAO "Motovilikha Plants" today, manufacturing weapon systems such as cannons, mortars, howitzers, self-propelled artillery, "Grad", "Uragan" and "Smerch" rocket systems).

Tests were carried out with the gun on 16 August 1869, starting from firing from the shore of the Kama River (which is around 0.8–1 km wide). Later tests were carried out on this place until the end of Perestroika, with a lot happening in Soviet

Tests were carried out with the gun on 16 August 1869, starting from firing from the shore of the Kama River (which is around 0.8–1 km wide). Later tests were carried out on this place until the end of Perestroika, with a lot happening in Soviet times. A certain F. V. Pestich, chief of the artillery of Kronstadt port attending most of the tests. The Perm cannon made a total of 314 shots, including grapeshot and bombs of different systems. As a result, the strength of the cannon was tested, and the weight of the powder charge was optimized. During the test, the charge weight was gradually increased to 120 kg. The set amount of propellant charge was 53 kg of black gunpowder in battle, putting the firing range to at most 1.2 km.

As quoted by writer Mikhail Osorgin, who witnessed the events:

"...In fact, 4 miles from the city, on the banks of the river, there was a cannon factory. Trying new guns, not testing shot projectiles (but shells seems more while there was none), but cannonballs. They shot it over the Kama River, landing in the forest, where trees were knocked down and deep ditches were dug by those cannonballs. I was not allowed to go there. Yes, and there was no one, except on Sundays, when the plant was silent as tiny spiders float on the river and boats carry people from the factory to Zakamskaya Pohulyanka. There were undershoots where the cannonball fell into the water, rising fountain spray and steam. There was no one, and no guns behind the Dalyu on the other side, only the smoke from the volleys indicated where the cannons were firing from... The river roared, shaking the air, and the mood of war was all over."[8]

A model of the Perm Tsar Cannon in full size was put before the Russian Pavilion at the 1873 World Exhibition in Vienna.

The Perm cannon was to take its place in Kronstadt at Fort Constantine, where a special carriage was already installed to ensure all-around coverage, and to protect St. Petersburg from the sea. Two such cannons were also intended to equip the armored frigate "Minin", which was built in St. Petersburg from 1866 to 1878.

However, the cannon never reached Kronstadt. The Giant has been returned to the road in Perm. This is due to the fact that the engineer-inventor Pavel Matveyevich Obukhov of Zlatoust has developed the technology to produce high-strength steel cannons. Having established a factory in St. Petersburg, he began producing lighter cannons, which were installed with breech (the Krupp system), technically outdating the Perm cannon.

Emperor

However, the cannon never reached Kronstadt. The Giant has been returned to the road in Perm. This is due to the fact that the engineer-inventor Pavel Matveyevich Obukhov of Zlatoust has developed the technology to produce high-strength steel cannons. Having established a factory in St. Petersburg, he began producing lighter cannons, which were installed with breech (the Krupp system), technically outdating the Perm cannon.

Emperor Alexander II's decision saved it from destruction, instead preserving it as a historical relic.

Today, the Perm Tsar Cannon is held on exhibition in the open museum of military equipment belonging to PAO "Motovilikha Plants".