Improvements in iron production and chemical knowledge improved the manufacture of ordnance in the eighteenth century. The brief of the Inspector General included contributing to these improvements. However, naval as well as army guns were supplied by the Ordnance Board which was independent of the Admiralty. From arming small craft for the defence of the Liman in the Black Sea in Russia’s war with Turkey in 1788–9, Bentham had developed ideas for the non-recoil of guns in naval vessels. He thus wanted non-recoil carronades in his experimental vessels. However, the Admiralty directed they should be tested by the officers of the Ordnance. For them, recoil was conventional and they neither used appropriate carriages for testing the guns nor tested them on water. Bentham requested trials at sea but these too threw up problems. At this time, the necessity for defence against invasion using small vessels produced an argument for ‘mass naval force’ employing non-recoil guns. The latter could fire very quickly and used few men. Vessels so mounted would, in the Inspector General’s opinion, perform better than the navy’s gun boats and gun brigs. In 1798, further trials by the Ordnance Board were more promising and the experimental vessels were strengthened with more non-recoil guns. They performed well and by 1804 established reputations. Indeed, the Admiralty proposed non-recoil guns should be mounted in all vessels as convenient. However, the growing role of the Inspector General in the business of the dockyards enhanced Navy Board hostility.