Where are Bonaparte's siege cannon? An episode in the Egyptian campaign

Deborah Cvikela, Haim Gorenab

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


During his expedition to the Holy Land in 1799, Napoleon Bonaparte needed to transport his heavy siege artillery for the siege of Acre. Over 200 years later, what happened to the guns remains an enigma. The heavy cannon (24-pounders) were transported from Egypt by sea. One shipment was captured by a British squadron commanded by Sidney Smith, and used in Acre's defence against the French army. The other cannon were safely disembarked, and were used by the French to bombard the town. After lifting the siege, the French army retreated southwards, abandoning weapons at Tantura. This article deals with the transportation of the heavy artillery to Acre, and its subsequent fate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-142
Number of pages14
JournalMediterranean Historical Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This article is partially based on an MA thesis for the University of Haifa, ‘Archaeological Evidence in Tantura Lagoon and Historical Evidence of the Marine Aspect of Napoleon Bonaparte and his Army’s Retreat from Acre’, by Deborah Cvikel. The thesis was supervised by Professor Haim Goren and Dr Yaacov Kahanov. The research was partly supported by Lord Jacobs, the Sir Maurice Hatter Fellowship for Maritime Studies, the Fraenkel Fellowship Committee, the Israel Science Foundation and the Hecht Foundation, to whom we are grateful. The authors would like to thank Dr Yaacov Kahanov for his advice and contribution, and Mrs Barbara Doron and Mr John Tresman for their assistance.


  • Acre
  • Artillery
  • Napoleon Bonaparte
  • Sidney Smith
  • Siege
  • Tantura

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science


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