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"12-pounders, French line and guard artillery" Topic

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896 hits since 23 Oct 2017
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
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4th Cuirassier23 Oct 2017 2:16 a.m. PST

I have two questions about this.

On what basis, if any, were 8-pounder as opposed to 12-pounder pieces allocated to individual French line and Guard foot units?

Relatedly, was this issue fairly permanent once made, or might they draw different pieces from the parc from one campaign to the next?

Essentially I'm trying to figure out if line foot artillery can have 12-pounders and if Guard foot artillery can have 8-pounders, and how it was decided who got what (and how the decision was revisited).

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP23 Oct 2017 2:30 a.m. PST

Not exactly sure what you are asking.
Are you asking how common it was for regular foot artillery to have 12pdrs? And if Guard foot artillery sometimes used 8pdrs?

4th Cuirassier23 Oct 2017 4:54 a.m. PST

Yes, and what – if any – was the basis for why a battery got this or that calibre. Availability? Seniority? Variety? Reduced need to roll sixes?

Artilleryman23 Oct 2017 5:09 a.m. PST

To some extent, the organisation of who got what was quite fluid and depended on the Emperor's plan. For instance,his intention in 1809 was that each infantry division would have two companies of artillery with one preferably being horse artillery. Each light cavalry division was to have one horse company with two horse companies to each heavy cavalry division. These would be 4, 6 or 8 pdrs. The 12 pdrs would be corps-level assets. As an example, Davout's 3rd Corps had 3 companies of 12 pdrs from the 7th Artillerie a Pied.

The Guard was seen as an army-level asset with artillery support to its divisions roughly as above with the 12 pdrs available to deploy for the main effort as required. At Wagram there were 7 6 pdr companies and 3 12 pdr companies, about what you would expect for a corps.

Things changed from campaign to campaign so you would have to check each one historically e.g the use of regimental artillery from 1809 to 1812.

Art23 Oct 2017 5:58 a.m. PST

G'Day Phil…

I have two questions about your question…because there are two answers:

Before or during l'ordre Francaise / l'ordre perpendiculaire?

Best Regards

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP23 Oct 2017 11:07 a.m. PST

And the French switch from 8 lbers to 6 lbers, what the System X changes that Marmont made @ 1808?

It is hard to determine all the reasons for different weight artillery, but the ease of movement [weight], the amount of ammo that could be carried for the two guns etc. all played into that. But the Guard foot artillery did used lighter weight guns than 12 lbers.

seneffe23 Oct 2017 1:06 p.m. PST

Absolutely no expert here, but I thought that both Line and Guard artillery contained companies equipped with 8/6pdr and 12pdr on a roughly equal proportionate basis.

As the Guard infantry- at least latterly- had a size and shape similar to a quite powerful corps (the Guard cavalry was virtually a corps itself)- it therefore had companies attached to its infantry divisions equipped with 6 pdrs, and companies equipped as reserve artillery with 12 pdrs- just like a line corps would have.

The Guard artillery may have been used by Napoleon as a de facto army artillery reserve on occasion- but that wasn't its formal standard set up afaik.

Three Armies23 Oct 2017 9:38 p.m. PST

I know wargamers want 12pdrs and 8pdrs because they work better in a game, but the reality is in the Imperial period Napoleon was trying to phase out the 8pdrs and 4 pdrs and replace them all with ANXI 6pdrs. Spain would be an exception as they had the same system and the ammo was readily available there. As an example it is doubtful if the French army took any 8pdrs to Russia at all ! But of course some 8pdrs remained, as there were never enough to go around.

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP24 Oct 2017 1:15 a.m. PST

And that's why you should game 1796-1807 period, plenty of 8pdrs.

Chad4724 Oct 2017 7:24 a.m. PST


Are you saying the 8pdr was not used before 1796? If so could you tell me what was used?


Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP24 Oct 2017 8:13 a.m. PST

No but Napoleon last leads his first army in 1796 and it's the Napoleonic board.

Major Bloodnok24 Oct 2017 9:21 a.m. PST

From what I understand the 12pdrs didn't see service in Spain, though I could be wrong.

Chad4725 Oct 2017 10:16 a.m. PST


I will be more precise with my question. Was the 8pdr used during the Revolutionary Wars or is my question irrelevant simply because Napoleon did not command an army during the period 1792-95?

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP25 Oct 2017 10:33 a.m. PST

It was used.

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