Except form-fitting plate armor isn't single relatively flat metal plates.feld wrote: ↑Mon Feb 05, 2018 11:20 pmNo. Not at all. The level of metallurgical skill required to make single relatively flat plates of metal to resist striking pressure from melee weapons is a different order of magnitude of difficulty than the ability to make closed cylindrical barrels and chambers that can survive internal explosions.
More importantly, armor (like weapons) is forged from high-carbon steel, whereas for a long time cannon were cast from bronze or iron. Humans were casting bronze for thousands of years before they started forging steel. Different technology? Sure. "Different order of magnitude of difficulty?" Not even close.
What a lot of people don't realize is that earlier formulae for gunpowder burned much more slowly than modern gunpowder (which is really cordite). It made a helluva lot more noise and smoke, but didn't generate the pressure forces, or recoil, that modern ammunition does. (Or, to be more accurate, it spreads the recoil out over a longer time, lessening the sensation of 'kick'.) So cannon didn't have to withstand the stresses that modern artillery does.
Not that I really care, vis a vis Middle-earth. Just sayin'.