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"Gribeauval Artillery Range Tables-1790-1848?" Topic

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2,122 hits since 5 Oct 2014
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
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Personal logo The Virtual Armchair General Sponsoring Member of TMP05 Oct 2014 10:31 p.m. PST

Yeah, I'm being picky, but what I'm in great need of is better data than I so far have access to for the performance of Smoothbore, Muzzle Loading, 4, 6, 8, 12, 16-pdr Guns, and 4", 6", and 7" Howitzers.

I am already aware, thank you, that nominal shot weight and muzzle diameters are NOT always as popularly named.

And by "performance" data I mean the range to first graze when fired at 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 degrees. The weight of powder is not important for my needs, only the ranges from "Point Blank" out to Extreme. In the case of Howitzers, while angles might vary from 30 to 45 degrees, I really only need to know Point Blank to Extreme, as with Guns.

I can also use any data you may have on shot effectiveness--chances of landing in, say, a 60 x 120 ellipse at various ranges, or what fraction or percentage of canister rounds might fall in a given area at a given range--though it's the Gun/Range Tables that I need.

And the more this data that can somehow be specific to either the Mexican Army up to 1848, and/or the Spanish Army of the Napoleonic Era, the better.

I already have Otto von Pivka's "Armies of the Napoleonic Era," and Haythorthwaite's "Encyclopedia of the Napoleonic Wars," both of which are very helpful, but neither of which quotes all that I need from their original sources.

Here is the chance for one or more of the cognoscenti of TMP--especially the OCD Geniuses of the Napoleonics and 18th Century Boards--to share their knowledge, or at least their sources.

As this information is crucial to a rules project well under way, I can promise that any/every one who can provide me the information I need (specified by weapon, above) will not only get a credit, but a copy of the finished rules.

Now, here's your chance to show who really has the Right Stuff!

Please post here, or to and I will let you know if you're scoring any hits!



I would appreciate the same data for other Guns & Howitzers where possible, but that would is not the main thrust of my search.

summerfield06 Oct 2014 12:05 a.m. PST

Look at the Smoothbore Ordnance Journal which has most of this data from Ken Trotman Ltd (printed) or Napoleon Series.

Ken Trotman has reprinted Adye (1813) Bombardier and Pocket Gunner. These have range tables. I wrote the introduction to this essential book. I think it is £60.00 GBP as it is half leather.

I have many other contemporary sources of course from various contemporary manuals.

Volunteer Fezian Inactive Member06 Oct 2014 2:49 a.m. PST

Look at TMP: TMP link
Are you looking for info like:

Canon de 12 Gribeauval
Crew: 15 men, 6 horses
Weight: 880kg
Effective firing range:
Ball: 900-1,000 m
Grapeshot: 500-700 m
Canister: 500 m

Canon de 8 Gribeauval
Crew: 13 men, 4 horses
Weight: 580kg
Effective firing range:
Ball: 800-900 m
Grapeshot: 400-600 m
Canister: 400 m

It sounds to me like you would be better off calculating what you need yourself. If you are into math there is an excellent article on 18th-19th cent. smooth bore cannon ballistics with formualae; muzzle velocity tables; trajectory figures; and historical range tables for 12lb, 24lb, 32lb and 42lb cannon at elevations from 1 through 10 degrees. With the info in this article you should be able to calculate any range for any weight cannon for any elevation angle.

von Winterfeldt06 Oct 2014 4:18 a.m. PST

Check Kriegsspiel by Rei▀witz the original version and as well the amendments of 1828 which heavily modified artillery

Brechtel19806 Oct 2014 6:51 p.m. PST

There is a copy of the 1827 edition of Adye on Google Books and the range tables are under 'R'.

I have a copy of an original 1813 edition and if you would like the range data I would be happy to scan it for you and send it to you. My home email is

That would save you 60 pounds if you're interested.

I also have other pertinent information you can have if you want it. Just let me know and I can scan and email it to you.


Personal logo The Virtual Armchair General Sponsoring Member of TMP06 Oct 2014 7:23 p.m. PST


Thank you all for responding--between you, I have some of what I seek, and a greater variety of resources now and for the future.

In no special order of reply:

von Winterfeldt! Are you aware of a PDF Edition of Reisswitz that is A) Affordable, and B) Downloadable? My Hun Speak is rusty as some iron guns, but I might be able to figure him out where he may have the sort of info I want.

Volunteer! The Link you provided is over my head, but I'm blessed with other colleagues for whom the exterior ballistics math is meat-and-potatoes. Generally, the heavier Siege/Fortress pieces cited are beyond the scope of my project, but the 12- and 24-pdr's can be compared to the Spanish pieces provided by the Good Dr. Summerfield--though I suspect their numbers will be more impressive than the Spanish examples.

Herr Doktor Summerfield! I have encountered SOJ while fishing for facts, but it was not until I was able to visit all issues that I found the articles on Spanish examples of the Gribeauval System as applied by them.

More to the point, one of the several articles did provide "first graze" and extreme range for a 4-, 8, 12, 24-pdr, and the "7" Spanish Howitzer. All of these were spot on, and even if the table reproduced only provided elevations from "0" to "2" degrees, plus extreme, I was able to break the ranges down to Point Blank, Short, Medium, Long, and Extreme (arbitrary divisions, I know, but which work better for analysis via Trevor Nevit DePuy's "Quantified Judgment Model" [QJM) published in the 1980's.

However, as good as all this information is--and it's especially important that it applies to SPANISH (read "Mexican") Artillery for the 1846-48 War--I have a question or two, and still need similar information for another couple--at least--of pieces.

First, looking at the ranges provided in Paces (and converted back to English Yards), these Spanish pieces have far less range than the presumably comparable French 4-, 8-, 12-, and 24-pdr pieces, data for which are provided via you own sources, and in Pivka, Haythornthwaite, and others.

That there would be differences is not surprising. That the Spanish pieces are so markedly inferior is at least somewhat so. Mind, Peninsular War pieces, and some later makes, were the newest examples in the Mexican Army by 1846.
Gribeauval carriages (those which survived) were still in use, but almost all other rolling stock had been replaced by ox drawn carts and wagons.

Surviving carriages were in generally poor repair, and of the hundreds of tube in Mexico, either in storage or in fortress settings, the vast majority had become rusted/worn/honeycombed. Perhaps 135 reliable Guns were still available by 1846.

Poor quality Mexican made powder must have further reduced the guns effectiveness, and essentially late Spanish Napoleonic Gun Drill was still the order of the day.

In short, I had expected Mexican pieces to have on the order of 20% to 25% shorter effective ranges than the shockingly well equipped U.S. Batteries, in all sizes.

But, the numbers of these Spanish Gribeauval pieces are, as stated, far shorter even than what I expected.

I have no case to make, and do not question the provided values, but I simply wish to be sure that the ranges for elevation you presented have no other qualifiers--or, frankly, any reasonable chance of being higher.

Finally, the Mexican Armories had some other oddball sizes of gun which made some historical appearances which are not listed in your article on the Napoleonic Spanish Artillery.
Could you consult your remarkable sources, or direct me to same on the Internet, for these additional Spanish Gribeauval pieces?

1) 2-pdr
2) 6-pdr (Lt, Medium, and/or "Heavy")
3) 8-pdr Iron
4) 12-pdr Iron
5) Other Field Howitzers (4"? 5.5"? 12"?)
6) 16-pdr (Bronze and/or Iron)

The latter piece is particularly interesting as 3 of these pieces (not much more specifically described) were manned by the San Patricio "Battalion" comprised of U.S. Deserters who actually man-handled the guns in action in the same general manner of the U.S. Field Artillery, advancing their guns while under fire and delivering fire with deadly effect (a practice not attempted at any other time in the War by Mexican Artillerists).

As nominally a "16-pdr," I'm aware that the actually shot weight could be something else, but certainly is too heavy to be the Spanish 7" Howitzer (6.4", etc). Could it be an 8" or other, large Howitzer? A 16" Siege Gun (on a double trail carriage) frankly sounds far too heavy and cumbersome to be quickly and effectively rolled towards the enemy, though a Howitzer might not be.

And, did the Spanish Army adopt or produce any form of 6-pdr during or shortly after the Napoleonic Era? If so, would it have been "retroactively" added to the fading Gribeauval System, or would they have been more likely to be cast off British and/or French prizes? Frankly, I suspect the latter, and if so, which range values would you suggest would be most representative?

In short, Sir, I'm picking your mind for additional range/elevation data on the original guns you described in that issue of SOJ, but also for the other guns listed above, and your opinion about the origin/natures of the "Spanish" 6-pdr.

I know this is a lot, and it doesn't help that you so quickly and successfully provided me with so much information on your first reply. You spoil me, Sir!

You are certainly welcome to reply (if at all) here at TMP, but if you prefer, my address is ever ready.

And for whatever it's worth, please expect the SOJ to figure prominently in the Bibliography!

Most Gratefully Yours,

von Winterfeldt07 Oct 2014 4:55 a.m. PST

Rei▀witz is available in the Queens English from the TooFatLardies – I assiume they include also the changes of 1828.

Personal logo The Virtual Armchair General Sponsoring Member of TMP07 Oct 2014 9:58 a.m. PST

von Winterfeldt!

Danke sehr!


LORDGHEE07 Oct 2014 12:49 p.m. PST

here is the guide


The bombardier and pocket guide

has tables for 4 and 12

LORDGHEE07 Oct 2014 12:55 p.m. PST

page 282

LORDGHEE07 Oct 2014 1:00 p.m. PST

308 intresting

Personal logo The Virtual Armchair General Sponsoring Member of TMP08 Oct 2014 1:11 p.m. PST


And thank YOU, Sir!

It's apparent that Dr. Summerfield's numbers for the Spanish guns at 0, 1, and 2 Degrees are taken from Adye.

Alas, however, that seems to leave the other guns I need to find data for out in the cold, at least from this source.

I've bookmarked the link to Adye and will look into printing out a copy for ready reference, but your page references have already proved "on target!"

Now, the Good Dr. can get back to me with anything more as I have requested above, I may have all this in the bag.

Thanking you again,

GROSSMAN Supporting Member of TMP17 Oct 2014 10:45 a.m. PST

How about just using short, medium and long range…

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