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(in Russian, kartech’; from Polish kartecza, from Italian cartoccio, literally “bundle” or “cartridge”), a type of artillery shell used by the artillery to strike at enemy personnel at close distance. (The Russian word kartech ’ also refers to large buckshot, 5 mm or more in diameter.)
In the 14th through 16th centuries canisters had different sizes and shapes and consisted of pieces of stone or iron, which were loaded into the bore above an explosive charge and fastened with a plug. Later, canisters were placed in a bag to protect the bore. In the 17th through 19th centuries canisters were shells with spherical cast-iron or lead bullets placed in a metal container or cardboard packing. Canister bullets were lethal at a distance of up to 300 m and spread up to 50 m along the front. In the early 19th century canisters gradually lost their value after the invention of shrapnel; they are no longer used in modern artillery.