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"Austrian Artillery ?" Topic

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Arch Duke charles Inactive Member05 Sep 2017 5:17 p.m. PST

I have been trying to workout if Austrian Artillery had Howitzers attached to the gun Battery?.
Looking at the order of Battle for Wagram they list 6x6p pdr Position Battery, But no Howitzers.
Can anyone shed any light on this please.

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP05 Sep 2017 6:00 p.m. PST

After 1806 the Austrian artillery were organized into Brigade and Position Batteries

Brigade Batteries had 8 guns, either 3 pounders or 6 pounders and were attached to brigades for close support

The Position Batteries were supposed to have either 4 X 6 pounders with 2 x 7 pound howitzers (division) or 4 X 12 pounders with 2 X 7 pound howitzers (corps) or 4 X 18 pounders with 2 X 10 pound howitzers (army reserve)

Cavalry batteries had 5 X 6 pounders and 1 X 7 pound howitzer

So – if a divisional Position Battery they were supposed to have 2 howitzers in addition to the 6 pounders and they were only supposed to have 4 6 pounders

So – maybe 6 pounders were substituted – or maybe the person writing the OOB assumed all 6 tubes in the battery were the same type of gun

Ghecko05 Sep 2017 6:11 p.m. PST

Yes, as noted above

keithbarker06 Sep 2017 11:25 a.m. PST

It is hard to comment on your question without knowing which OOB you are looking at.

However the rule for Austrian batteries is that 8-gun batteries were equipped with 8 cannon and 0 howitzers and 6-gun batteries were equipped with 4 cannon and 2 howitzers.

This agrees mostly with what Fredrick writes above. But for Cavalry batteries which also had 4+2 see
Austrian Specialist Troops of the Napoleonic Wars

Hope this helps

Arch Duke charles Inactive Member07 Sep 2017 11:40 p.m. PST

Thank you all for clearing this up for me.

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP08 Sep 2017 3:02 a.m. PST

or 4 X 18 pounders with 2 X 10 pound howitzers (army reserve)

Interesting, i never knew 18pdrs were still used as field artillery during the Napoleonic war.. i thought 12 was the biggest.
But then asutria is the nation I've read about the least.

Brechtel19809 Sep 2017 6:19 a.m. PST

The Austrian 18-pounder was not a field piece, but heavy (siege) artillery. If the Austrians used it in the field it would be difficult to move and keep up with the army and needed more horses to pull it than a field piece.

The would be used either to protect prepared positions or to defend them, being emplaced in the fortified position itself.

They would also be used in sieges.

Again, they weren't field pieces.

Brechtel19810 Sep 2017 5:41 p.m. PST

The Austrian artillery arm went through considerable reorganization during the period 1792-1815.

First, the number of artillery regiments was increased from three to four.

The permanent field train, the Militarverpglungegungs-fuhrwesenkorps was established in 1782 and not only provided horse teams for the artillery, but also for the field bakeries and administrative services.

Light and heavy artillery, the first assigned to the maneuver units, and the second to the artillery reserve. The batteries formed usually consisted of four guns and two howitzers. The cavalry batteries, consisting of four 6-pounders and two howitzers were not horse artillery but mobile field artillery, some of the gun crews riding on the gun trails of the field pieces specifically designed for this in the late 1770s and early 1780s.

There was no specific doctrine for the employment of field artillery in combat. The Austrian artillerymen, however, were well-trained and efficient and until the advent of the new Gribeauval artillery system were considered the finest artillery arm in Europe.

By 1805 there were now four artillery regiments, each of sixteen artillery companies. The artillery batteries for field service did not have permanent horse teams or drivers. The artillery was divided into 'line guns' and an artillery reserve. Infantry brigades were assigned 3-pounder batteries, but artillery was taken from the cavalry brigades. Overall, the Austrian artillery arm was distributed among the infantry battalions which handicapped the ability to mass artillery fire.

During the period 1806-1809 the artillery was at least partially reorganized with the battalion artillery being withdrawn from the infantry units. The 3-pounders were reorganized into 8-gun batteries to be used in support of the infantry brigades. The 6-pounders were reassigned to the artillery reserve.

The Fuhrwesen Korps was militarized and a cadre was permanently assigned to each artillery battery.

6-pounders, usually accompanied by two 7-pounder howitzers, were now classified as Unterstutzungs Batterien, support batteries, were put into the corps artillery reserves along with the cavalry batteries.

Heavy artillery batteries, using 12- and sometimes 18-pounders were designated as position batteries and these constituted the Haupt-Dispositions-Reserve. Brigade, support, and position batteries were manned by foot artillerymen. However, there was no special training or designation for those artillerymen assigned to the cavalry batteries.

Senior artillerymen were assigned as corps artillery chiefs.

von Winterfeldt11 Sep 2017 1:53 a.m. PST

for 1808 and later, thanks to the superb series of articles of Enrico Acerbi on

I recommend to visit the site and download the whole article

n Light Batteries : 8 pieces of 3 pdr. or 6 pdr. These had to be attached to the brigades so they were called Brigade artillery.

n Heavy batteries: 4 pieces of 6 pdr. or 12 pdr. and 2 howitzers of 7 pdr. These were commonly named as Position artillery and they were divisional assets. This divisional artillery represented also the Corps artillery.

n Park artillery or Reserve: marched with the army and was the replacement unit of the whole system.

The ammunitions field depots (Protzen) did stay 10 "schritte" away from the guns, the pack animals (4 for each gun) did stay utter 10 "schritte" in the rear of the depots, the wagons of the ordinary foot-batteries were 40 "schritte" away from the guns – all probably variated with the terrain.

Brechtel19812 Sep 2017 3:20 p.m. PST

…But for Cavalry batteries which also had 4+2 see

I'd be careful using the 'study' on cavalry batteries and horse artillery by Lt Smola. This study was done after the wars, and I don't believe that Lt Smola was a combat veteran, although his father was and had successfully commanded a reinforced cavalry battery at Neerwinden in 1793. In point of fact, Smola the elder was one of the best artillerymen of the period.

The fact that Lt Smola comes to the conclusion that the Austrian cavalry battery 'system' was superior to individually mounted horse artillery is somewhat self-serving and the main point he seems to be trying to make is that the cavalry batteries were cheaper to maintain than the horse artillery units because of the number of horses per battery, and that made them 'better.'

Many times, the funding has to be provided to give your army what it actually needs to outperform the enemy and win. In the end, if you lose, the issue of funding doesn't really matter.


William Ulsterman12 Sep 2017 7:34 p.m. PST

I had always thought that the Austrians didn't really have horse artillery as other nations did and that their "cavalry artillery" wasn't just horse artillery by another name, but a different approach altogether, by having numerous light batteries that were mobile and could rush to concentrate together at the vital point in a way that the heavier batteries could not?

von Winterfeldt13 Sep 2017 1:14 a.m. PST

Indeed, Austria had so called Kavallerie Geschütze, the crew would ride on the limbers of the guns – their benefit, the ammunition was carried on horses and or mules, so they were not hampered by the very slow ammuniton waggons the French horse artillery had to put up with – what is a gun without ammunition?
Those Austrian "cavalry" batteries had also howitzers – they had 6 horses for the limber.
Actually also the Prussians created in 1813 more mobile artillery by mounting their gunners and the limbers and as well as on the artillery train horses.

Brechtel19813 Sep 2017 2:41 a.m. PST

The Austrian cavalry batteries were not mounted on the gun limbers, but on the trail of the piece. And in addition to some of the ammunition being carried on horses they also had one caisson per battery.

The cavalry batteries were not actual horse artillery.

The idea that the French artillery caissons could not keep up with the field pieces is not true.

The Prussian horse artillery were individually mounted on their personal mounts as in the French horse artillery.

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