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History Channel crew films at Fort Frederick

April 20, 2005

BIG POOL - The History Channel filmed at Fort Frederick State Park on Monday.

A film production company that works for the History Channel's "Battlefield Detectives" has been working with the National Museum of Civil War Medicine in Frederick, Md., over the past year on a number of projects involving ballistics.

Museum Executive Director George Wunderlich has been working with the Maryland Park Service, arranging for a cannon and a location to perform the live fire.

The TV production crew is working on a project that involves a naval battle during the War of 1812. The TV episode will show on film what a cannonball does when it strikes wood. The simulation shows how the splintering of the hull caused significant injuries to the ships' crews and caused tremendous damage to the wooden ships.

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According to the Maryland State Park Service, a black powder-trained artillery crew from South Mountain State Park, under strict Maryland Park Service black powder safety guidelines, fired the park's 12-pound Napoleon Cannon at the Fort Frederick State Park Range.

Several firings, with real cannon shells, boomed during the day. All filming took place Monday, and captured the force that cannons had from that historic period. Shells pulverized through the thick wooden targets and penetrated more than six feet into the firing range's dirt berm.

Each "Battlefield Detectives" episode uses scientific and technological lines of enquiry to forensically analyze a particular battle.

The British TV production crew came to Fort Frederick especially to film the cannon ballistics episode. The TV crew had great praise for the assistance provided by Wunderlich and the Maryland State Park Service cannon crew, led by South Mountain Battlefield's Al Preston. The State Park Service cannon crew was in authentic uniforms and performed with military precision.

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