- "These immense guns form the backbone of an artillery battery, hurling solid balls of iron into the enemy, ripping through ranks and devastating formations. Armour is no protection against a cannon ball and the effect a well-aimed salvo can have on tightly packed regiments cannot be underestimated."
- —Excerpt from Machineries of Destruction – The Manifold Methods of Maiming the Mass and the Mob on the Field of Battle, by Master Engineer Hallar Hansleben of Wissenland.[2a]
Great Cannons are among the largest of the mobile cannons built and employed by the armies of the Empire, and are used extensively as the main artillery. The Great Cannons of the Empire were first invented by the ingenuous designers of the College of Engineers. This cannon is one of the most successful weapons ever invented by the Empire, able to sow terror and destruction upon any battlefield.[1a]
Their thunderous fire has the potential to send large iron balls hammering into tightly-packed ranks of enemy infantry, with even the mightiest of creatures unable to survive a direct clean shot from these iron behemoths. The ultimate power of the Empire Great Cannon was demonstrated at the siege of Middenheim, when Master Gunner Pumhart von Steyr decapitated a rampaging Dragon with a single well placed shot. Though the cannon may at times malfunction, or in some cases even explode, should an experienced Master Engineer take command of the cannon crew, it is certain that their shots have the potential to turn the tides of many battlefield.[1a]
Alternatively, a cannon crew may choose to fire grapeshot. Rather than a single ball, this type of ammunition is a canvas sack full of small, musketball-sized projectiles. Upon impact, the bag tears, scattering the deadly projectiles over a wider area.[2a]
Because they are so large and heavy, cannons must be moved around by draught ponies. This means that a cannon may not be redeployed during battle. Cannons must be set up before battle in a position where they can inflict maximum damage. Typically, this is on higher ground, for this means increased range and better vision for the crew.[2a]