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one of the original models of Western European hand firearms, which appeared in the first third of the 15th century. The harquebus was loaded from the muzzle, and the powder charge was ignited by hand through a cartridge vent on the barrel. Stone, and later lead, spherical bullets were fired from the harquebus. In Rus’ the harquebus was called a pishchal’.
(Russian, pishchal’), a heavy hand firearm and artillery gun, with which Russian troops were armed from the 15th to 17th centuries.
At first the harquebus was used for the defense of fortresses. Later, it also came to be used in field battle. The hand-held harquebus had one or more barrels and was called a short, or shoulder, harquebus. Certain types of harquebuses were used to blast walls during sieges, and others were designed to defend fortresses. In Rus’, regimental types of harquebuses were called sokoliki and volkoneiki. The caliber of artillery harquebuses ranged from 1.2 to 10 inches, and their length was 10–70 calibers. Certain harquebuses were up to 110 calibers in length. Various models of the harquebus are preserved in the Central Museum of the Artillery, Engineer Troops, and Signal Troops in Leningrad.