from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The wroughtiron welded coil shrunk on the rear end of the steel tubes of the Fraser system of heavy guns.
- n. A heavy mass of steel which supports the wedge in the Krupp system of guns.
Sorry, no etymologies found.
The crew necessary to serve the gun consists of six men -- a gunner, a man to manoeuvre the breech-piece, a man to manoeuvre the pointing lever, two men to pass the ammunition, and a man to regulate the fuse.
The young man knew, of course, that sometimes a cartridge will "hang fire", and that many a gun's crew have been blown to pieces by prematurely opening the breech, but he forgot all about that now in his anxiety, and unscrewed and opened the breech-piece immediately.
"I'm the breech-piece mule of number two gun of the First Screw
"You pressed on the lever and opened the breech-piece.
"I'm the breech-piece mule of number two gun of the First Screw Battery," said the mule, "and the other's one of your friends.