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"Most Common Artillery Gun?" Topic

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ccmatty Supporting Member of TMP26 Oct 2017 7:15 a.m. PST

What size gun was fielded most often by Union? By Confederates? 12lb?


Wackmole9 Supporting Member of TMP26 Oct 2017 8:13 a.m. PST

Depends on year,Army,and location.

Personal logo ColCampbell Supporting Member of TMP26 Oct 2017 8:18 a.m. PST

For the Union Army, especially in the Eastern Theater, the most common guns were the 12-lb Napoleon, the 10-lb Parrot rifle, and the 3" Ordnance rifle. In the Western Theater, early on the gun varieties were more scattered by eventually they standardized on the above three.

For the Confederate Army it was whatever they could acquire through Southern foundries, captured Union pieces, and overseas purchases. Besides the above three pieces, you could also find 6-lb smoothbore guns, 6-lb rifled guns, 24-lb howitzers, and, to lesser extent, English Whitworths.

But as Wackmole stated, it really depends on the theater and the time period.


robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP26 Oct 2017 8:21 a.m. PST

Varies army by army and year by year, but yeah, if I had to pick one, it would be a 12-pound Napoleon.

The general rule is that the earlier you go and the further west you go, the more 6-pd smoothbores you find, and the Confederacy was a little slower than the Union in getting rid of them. The Union is also more prone to rifled guns, which may be related to having more reliable fuses. Howitzers vary a lot. And army commanders have influence. Joe Johnston has almost no rifled guns in 1864: all he wants if 12-pd smoothbores and howitzers, and Grant reworks the Army of the Potomac artillery a bit later.

And keep in mind that CSA batteries are almost all a mix until 1863, and larger artillery formations--battalions and brigades--are almost always a mix of types in either army. The higher the level you fight at, the more you need to abstract the thing.

marshalGreg26 Oct 2017 8:25 a.m. PST

Have you done a search that would help you redefine your question and facilitate what is still missing to be possibly answered by TMP member who may have run across that specific missing info?
This link is a good start: link

In the spread sheets there is the corp OOBs and their battery information breakdown.
Some analysis of that kind of data will begin to give you a picture as to an answer.
There is also differences by western and Eastern theater to use for the search criteria
Good luck and go to it!


Frederick Supporting Member of TMP26 Oct 2017 10:58 a.m. PST

If you want a generic field piece, hard to beat the 12 pd Napoleon – used by both sides, all theatres

As noted 10 lb Parrots more and more as the war went on – and many, many fewer of the 6 pd after early 1862

Personal logo Der Alte Fritz Sponsoring Member of TMP26 Oct 2017 3:29 p.m. PST

The 12 pound Napoleon was probably the most common smoothbore Cannon used so you can't go wrong with it. The 3-inch Rodman was a widely used rifled Cannon.

ccmatty Supporting Member of TMP26 Oct 2017 4:39 p.m. PST

Thanks everyone. I was not very descriptive because I am just at the beginning stages of building a 15mm civil war project. I wasn't sure where to start when picking out the artillery pieces. Seems like I can't go too wrong by starting with some 12lb Napoleons and 10lb Parrots for a Union force. Probably the same for CSA.

No, MarshalGreg, I didn't do a search. I wasn't really sure where to start, so I always start at TMP because members like you and others are really generous with sharing knowledge, information an awesome links like the one you provided. What a great site and I will plan on using it. Thank you.

Thanks again everyone.

Sobieski Inactive Member27 Oct 2017 2:00 a.m. PST

While the pot's boiling, do I need a couple of 20 pdr Parrotts (one on each side) to liven things up in a pair of armies of about a dozen units each for the War of Northern Aggression?
I ask partly because there is a chance of a gunboat in support if the bogey table is generous, and I don't suppose little guns would dent one of those.

AND would Dixie sharpshooters be in any special uniform, or attempt thereat?

donlowry28 Oct 2017 10:47 a.m. PST

20 pdr Parrotts were pretty rare on both sides in the War of the Southern Rebellion. When you say "a dozen units each," define "unit." Regiment? Brigade? When an entire army might only have 2-4 20-pdrs, I'd say it's unlikely a force of your size would have any.

As for special uniforms for Confederate sharpshooters, I'd say its highly unlikely. Never heard of any such.

Sobieski Inactive Member28 Oct 2017 5:08 p.m. PST

Thanks. I meant a battalion, but I think you've answered me pretty thoroughly.

Old Pete04 Nov 2017 5:24 p.m. PST

12for Napoleon and 3"Rifled guns were most common for both sides in the East and Union forces in other theatres. Confederate forces in other theatres used a variety of guns but generally poorer quality than their Northern opponents.

Old Pete09 Nov 2017 5:07 p.m. PST

I did mean 12pdr Napoleon, dam the Kindle spell checker :)

Rallynow Supporting Member of TMP11 Nov 2017 1:02 a.m. PST

12pd Napoleon
3inch Rifle (Rodman)
10lb Parrott
12lb Howitzer
6pd Smoothbore

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