There seems to be a clear line of progression for many weapons. For example, in the west, crossbows were mounted on carts by the Roman empire, while in the east, they were mounted on camels. The Zamburak is a clear improvement on the "crossbow camel", as a cannon instead of the crossbow is used, giving more firepower. But a similar improvement in the west is missing, at least until the advent of the tachanka. Why? The obvious answer seems to be recoil, but why were then the Zamburaks feasible? Maybe the possibility was simply overlooked?

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    What is a "tachanka-style cannon"?
    – SJuan76
    Jun 26 '16 at 15:52
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    Good questions provide references for every entity in the question. We don't know what a Tachanka cannon is, or why recoil is relevant.
    – MCW
    Jun 26 '16 at 16:10
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    What would the advantages be of mounting a cannon on a wagon or horse saddle rather than traditional horse drawn artillery?
    – Schwern
    Jun 26 '16 at 17:55
  • Mobility, of course. You can fire a few volleys and move to a different location on the battlefield. Jun 26 '16 at 18:00
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    Perhaps because the risk of a cart taking fright and fleeing the battlefield is much less than mounting a noisy cannon on a neurotic animal whose only response to any stimuli is to flee at top speed? Mule drawn artillery carts are just as mobile as horse drawn, you can unmount the mule when you fire the cannon, and if the mule dies, you can swap in a new mule much easier that swapping a saddle mounted cannon (not to mention that saddles are matched to horses and aren't easy to swap).
    – MCW
    Jun 26 '16 at 18:49

A tachanka is a cart with a machine gun mounted on it. What makes you think that cannon were not mounted that way?

  • For a cannon mounted so that the weapon and crew stand on the cart, see the Krupp Ballonabwehrkanone.
  • And of course there were plenty of cannon where the crew would dismount from the cart to fire.
  • The "kanone" belongs to approximately the same era as the tachanka, but I didn't really know about it until now, good catch :) I had the time from the roman empire until the tachanka and the "kanone" in mind. Jun 26 '16 at 18:05

Yes, it existed, but (as recoil was indeed an issue) it had to wait for some technologies to be developed.

First, think of the difference of case use between the zamburak. The first was used by not industrialized nations, who were fighting enemies who could not field big numbers of "true" cannons. Against those undefended troops, the zamburak users could stay outside the range of the enemy weapons and harass them with their weapons. If they had to charge against an enemy with a good artillery support they would have been decimated before getting into firing range.

Now, in more modern and industrialized conflicts, cannons appeared everywhere, and used better propellants (= more recoil) that black powder. So, small artillery pieces had not the range or power to be effective and would be very easy to destroy, bigger pieces would be difficult to transport and would tore away unprepared vehicles.

So, for regular artillery pieces to be effective you needed vehicles designed to be able to transport and fire them, and so self-propelled artillery came into existence. A few years later, it was thought that (since mounting the guns in vehicles resulted in a target very vulnerable to enemy artillery fire) it would be good to have some guns built with heavy armour around it so it could be used in the assault of enemy strong points, and so the assault gun was born.Stug III Assault gun(Image from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sturmgesch%C3%BCtz_III)

For the apparition of an artillery piece that was both effective and light enough (and with not so much recoil), you would have to wait to:

  • In the middle ages, you could have a volley gun mounted on a cart, which would eliminated the recoil issue, but it never happened for some reason. For all I know a crossbow cart might still have been effective, at least for some time. Jun 27 '16 at 3:37
  • Please note, that I'm asking my question for a huge time span, from the fall of the Roman empire (5th century AD to the time of the Ballonabwehrkanone/tachanka). No nation was industrialized at the fall of the Roman empire. It would be interesting to know, if the Zamburak was used against Rome/Byzantium. Jun 27 '16 at 8:21
  • BTW: The katyusha also had a problem with recoil, it could not fire sideways, because of the danger of toppling over. Jun 27 '16 at 12:03

You folks completely forgot the war wagon from the 15th century. During the Hussite wars the war wagon enjoyed a moment of glory, smashing an encirclement in column formation during the Battle of Kutná Hora.

However, on 21 December, Zizka grouped his war wagons into a column and charged the enemy lines. The battle wagons advanced rapidly, with all of their guns blazing. The column smashed a hole through Sigismund's line, allowing the Taborites to escape the encirclement.

However all this happened after the Mongol invasion of Europe. The Mongols being the true progenitors of mobile warfare.

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    On "The Mongols being the true progenitors of mobile warfare" ... not quite. Don't forget the Cimmerians, Scythians and a few others.
    – J Asia
    Mar 15 '18 at 19:30
  • The didn't do anything on the scale the Mongols did. Soviet and German WW2 strategies were based on the lessons handed down to us by the Mongols. Mar 16 '18 at 7:57

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