|On the Armor board someone posted about the feasibility of a Steam-engine tank. Got me to thinking about a cable-propelled wagon with side-firing opposing cannon (to negate recoil) which could be sent out to blunt an attack or to create a breach in defensive lines.
Well, carrying the thought one step farther, a Claymore is essentially a recoil-less command-fired mine with projectiles launched in one direction, debris in the other. Why not a black-powder Claymore, fired by a string pulling a trigger on a flintlock mechanism?
How terribly effective would these have been against troops marching abreast, especially the first time? A row of black powder claymores and an intentionally weak point in the line to invite an attack? Nasty surprise, and they would not know what hit them.
Carrying the thought yet farther (as genius is want to do...) why not a true recoilless gun then? if black powder can propel a cannon shot several thousand meters, why not a nasty cannister round ("Back blast area clear!") fired out of an open steel/iron tube? Far more mobile than a Napoleon, can be deployed right in with the troops. (Back blast area clear!) Paper cartridges can be pre-loaded, and Rate of Fire would be terrifying in short bursts: Swab from the rear, load from the rear (a pin in the tube near the pilot hole tears the cartridge open) and fire. 10 - 15 RPM?
Am I blowing billows of black powder smoke, or is the North damn lucky that I have not teleported back to Charleston, circa 1861?