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"French Horse Artillery during the Revolution" Topic


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Chad4723 Dec 2017 10:18 a.m. PST

Can anyone tell me what size of Artillery the above used?

Thanks

Artilleryman23 Dec 2017 3:01 p.m. PST

Usually 4 pdrs.

Brechtel19823 Dec 2017 3:13 p.m. PST

The favorite field piece of the French horse artillery arm was the 8-pounder.

The 4-pounder was also used, but they preferred the 8-pounder.

In a pinch, the 12-pounder could also be used.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP23 Dec 2017 3:31 p.m. PST

I think if Brechtel says so…he may just be right!

He does seem to have that gift.

But, as a complete ignoramus about anything outside 1815 (or Dec 7th 1941 or Finnish aircraft 1939-45) I am amazed that horse artillery of any nation, in any era pre WWI could use 12pdrs!

He who sticks his head over the parapet……….bang

Garde de Paris24 Dec 2017 3:50 a.m. PST

This is a question about the Revolutionary period, so the 4-pdr would have been most used.

GdeP

Dave Jackson Supporting Member of TMP24 Dec 2017 6:54 a.m. PST

I would have said 4 lbers as well, BUT…..Paddy Griffith in his "The Art of war in Revolutionary France, 1789-1802" in Chapter 9 "The Special Arms" discusses Gribeauval's and the French Horse Artillery arm's use of 8 lbers. 4lbers were relegated to infantry battalion support. Having said that, I am sure there were a few 4lbers in the horse artillery as well.

Le Breton24 Dec 2017 7:00 a.m. PST

Brechtel,

"The favorite field piece of the French horse artillery arm was the 8-pounder.
The 4-pounder was also used, but they preferred the 8-pounder."

They did a survey?????
How do we know what "they preferred"?
Is there primary source support for this assertion? Or is it just you own personal opinion?

von Winterfeldt24 Dec 2017 7:08 a.m. PST

A very complex topic which cannot be answered by the usual sweeping comments.
the first 9 companies, 6 were mounted on waggons as for like the Bavarian army on ammunition carriages, 3 were mounted on horses, then a lot of changes and modifications would take place.
According to the regulations of 1792 they should have had 4 pdrs, but it seems (one would to check ordres de batailles) that 8pdrs as well as occationally 12 pdrs were used, but this all was leading to a big discussion within the French army of advocates of lighter calibres and heaviers ones.
I must check Coutanceau and Lauerma on this, best would be to see actual battle orders – this would be best to avoid being draged into political discussions what was bestö

von Winterfeldt24 Dec 2017 7:13 a.m. PST

@Le Breton

This is the opionion of B – taking on the opionion of some gunners in the French army,there was a big political dispute running what calibre was best, I am unaware of a survey, they voiced their opinions and nothing else, Napoleon did away with that by introducing the 6 pdr, but even he was only grudgingly obeyed by block heads as Gassendi.

Brechtel19824 Dec 2017 8:41 a.m. PST

Gassendi a blockhead? Incredible.

The 6-pounder was rapidly becoming an obsolete caliber. Ruty and others didn't care for it either. And the long gun calibers of the new Valee system were 8- and 12-pounders.

And the Grande Armee was still using the 8-pounder in Germany in 1809-see Saski, Volume I.

Further, the 8-pounder was still being used by the French in Spain through to 1814.

Le Breton24 Dec 2017 10:42 a.m. PST

Brechtel,

You just prior post does not answer the request for primary source support for your assertion:
""The favorite field piece of the French horse artillery arm was the 8-pounder.
The 4-pounder was also used, but they preferred the 8-pounder."

If this is only just your own personal opinion, then please just say so – then we can stop asking what "the French horse artillery arm …. preferred".

Use of the 8-pounder because other guns were lacking is not an example of "preferrence". In 1809, the Gribeauval pieces were being replaced. That this took a long time, given the losses later in Russia, does not support any idea of a "preference" for the heavier Gribeaval guns over the An XI 6-pounder.

So, do we have any primary souce evidence for your assertion or not?

GarryWills24 Dec 2017 10:56 a.m. PST

When I was researching my book, "Wellington's First Battle" about Boxtel in 1794, I faced the same question. The Nafziger OOB for the Army of the North in July 1794 proved most useful. This was based on Jouan's 1915, La Campagne de 1794-5 dans les Pays Bas. I am not sure what sources Jouan used but he has all of the Light artillery at that time armed with 8 pdrs and even one detachment with a single 12 pdr.

Regards

Garry

link

GarryWills24 Dec 2017 12:40 p.m. PST

A bit more detail on my last post. Jouan cites Coutanceau, La Campagne de 1794 a Armee du Nord;Part 1 Organisation Vol. 2, p.221 – based on the Situations of the Armies of the North and Sambre et Meuse for June 1794 and March 1795.

Regards

Garry

von Winterfeldt24 Dec 2017 12:55 p.m. PST

though a pet subject of B – he lacks exertise compared to Mr. Dawson, here some interesting information:

"Generals Lariboissier, Saint-Cyr, Charpentier [to Marmont 19 December 1803 SHDDT 2w 48] all agreed a 6-pdr was ideal for the army, based on economics, mobility and fire power. The 8-pdr was too heavy, the prolonge was dangerous as the gun could overturn, [ie. far better to be able to limber up quicker without having to resort to dragging the gun back, because the gun tube was slow and cumbersome to move to travelling position trunnion, and then moving back to the firing position.]
On balance of economics in materials, horses, gun powder, as well as more officers being in favour of the 6-pdr than the 8-pdr the 6-pdr replaced both the 4-pdr and 8-pdr.
Now once the new system was in production, some generals complained that the new guns were no good. General Songis, Nanousty, Sorbier, Saint-Maurice and Gassendi, who had been critiques of the new system from day one. These generals argued that the French must have larger calibre guns than the enemy, or what advantage would the French have. i.e the larger the gun in calibre and weight of the shot, the better it was because it was more powerful than the enemy.
General Lariboissier argued that the new 6-pdr with the limber ammunition box, gave the guns more fire power, and less reliant on the old caissons. He argued that under the old system, the guns could not operate without a caisson and a train of men ferrying ammunition. Now with the limber mounted ammunition box, as opposed to having to lift the ammunition box on and off the gun carriage, which he complained was dangerous to the gunners, and took time, batteries could operate with more ease and were not as tied down to the caissons. Indeed, limbers could be sent to the caisson, reloaded and taken back to the gun line far quicker, and safer than moving the caissons to the gun lines.
General Allix called gassendi, sorbier and Songis as partisans of the Royalist cause in not favouring change and embracing new republican ideas and technology.
Now thanks to Comte de Cessac, he got his chum Gassendi put into the officer of artillery at the war ministry and general Songis named as general inspector. So it was hardly a shock that these three men issued an order stopping construction of the new guns on 9 November 1805 [SHDDT 2w 48]. General; Dejean ordered a report written evaluating the new system and hoped that sense would prevail and the 8-pdr being be brought back into service. The report was delivered and prepared by Gassendi on 16th February 1806. Napoleon ordered yet another report on 14th April as Gassendi was hardly impartial and had done no testing of the two systems. Gassendis report was issued 9 April 1807. Napoleon found in favour of the 6-pdr:
1) cheaper to make, cheaper in terms of gun power, needed less horses to move
2) two calibre of field gun made logistics and supply easier/ captured munitions could be used
3) would be sensless to have special guns for the horse artillery, requiring their own ammunition that had to come from France
4) the new limbers allowed the guns to operate far more effectively than previous in terms of munition supply on the field
5) the 6-pdr was more mobile than the 8-pdr, did not have to use the prolonge, and was as quick as the 4-pdr if not more so as there was no ammunition box on the carriage to move around, to get into action, which Napoleon noted was surely a good thing for horse artillery.
6) the gunners trained to use a 6-pdr could readily use captured guns, whereas gunners trained to use an 8-pdr would need more training time to use a 6-pdr effectively and be aware of ranges.
The 8-pdr was supressed becasue:
1) slow to get into action
2) had limited ammunition supply and relied more on the caissons
3) encastrement and moving the coffret was dangerous to the gunners
4) could not fire captured munitions, therefore was none standard in the theatre of war in which the French were operating
However, Gassendi ordered a thorough re-design of the rolling stock and carriages, so it meant that the 8-pdr HAD to be used in 1809 as no one was yet allowed to make 6-pdrs. This was not done till 16th April 1809.
So when it is noted that the 8-pdr was used at Wagram, well it was because there were not enough new 6-pdrs to go around, and General Gassendi had taken up nearly 4 years in his quest to abolish the 6-pdr, which ultimately failed as he was forced to re-introduce the 6-pdr in 1807, but it took him TWO years to agree to this. So when writing in 1819 it is hardly surprising that the man who did all he could to abolish the artillery committee and its ordnance wrote against the system. Gassendi is not an impartial writer, just like Ruty.
"

Unfortunalty the reference in Coutanceau – starting at page 221 is in general and based on the opinion of d'Urtubie – who was one of the big bang guys, the heavier the better – however they were critical comments – as in the observations sur le wurst, 1er août 1806, refuting the advantages of a 12pdr gun in horse artillerie.

What we need are actual OdBs of that time stating what guns the artillerie légér did use from 1792 – 1800.

Le Breton24 Dec 2017 1:30 p.m. PST

Garry & VW,
Thank you both,
Fact-based, nuanced, sourced, specific not sweepingly generalized…. and therefore extremely informative.
Thank you again!

Chad4724 Dec 2017 1:32 p.m. PST

If my question is going to start another bloody argument, then just forget it!

Brownand25 Dec 2017 1:51 a.m. PST

Chad47,
Would like to see the answer about the FR period and hope that the discussion stays on topic.
Gary, thanks for your answer.

Le Breton25 Dec 2017 4:58 a.m. PST

just a start ….

11 janvier 1792 : 2 compagnies : « Guérit-Martin » capitaine Chanteclair & « Martin-Mouvant » capitaine Barrois
17 avril 1792 : 9 compagnies
1 juin 1793 : 30 compagnies
1794 : 9 régiments, each of 10 compganies (not fully implemented)
18 floréal an III – 8 régiments, each of 6 compagnies
13 nivôse an VIII – 1 compagnie artillerie légere for in the garde des consus
18 vendémiaire an X – 7e & 8e régiments suppressed, leaving 6 régiments, each 6 compagnies

see : artillerie à cheval 1792-1794 (in French) :
link

Chad4725 Dec 2017 5:25 a.m. PST

So I can use either 4pdr or 8pdr?

Brechtel19825 Dec 2017 6:18 a.m. PST

Yes.

von Winterfeldt25 Dec 2017 7:10 a.m. PST

It is a good question, according the the regulations of 1792 – yes, but I try to find some odbs to see what the actual practise was, in case, you can go for a mix as well.

LORDGHEE25 Dec 2017 4:01 p.m. PST

I did the battle of neerwinden 1793 marche 18 and in the toe what surpised me was a battery of horse artillery with 8 lb. so i researched this and confiremed the rising of this unit (it was new) with 8lber i will try to finnd the citation.

they like this batter so much they rasied a 2nd also of 8 lbers.

LORDGHEE25 Dec 2017 4:14 p.m. PST

oh and the other take away from that research was there where some 12lb HA batteries, after the First 2 the rest seemed to use what they had around at the time of formation.

if you look at the TOE the French cav div then corp where formed suddenly said we need HA and formed units from whatever handy. one of the way in orginzation that they lead until the 1812 campain.

Brechtel19826 Dec 2017 11:02 a.m. PST

"Generals Lariboissier, Saint-Cyr, Charpentier [to Marmont 19 December 1803 SHDDT 2w 48] all agreed a 6-pdr was ideal for the army, based on economics, mobility and fire power. The 8-pdr was too heavy, the prolonge was dangerous as the gun could overturn, [ie. far better to be able to limber up quicker without having to resort to dragging the gun back, because the gun tube was slow and cumbersome to move to travelling position trunnion, and then moving back to the firing position.]
On balance of economics in materials, horses, gun powder, as well as more officers being in favour of the 6-pdr than the 8-pdr the 6-pdr replaced both the 4-pdr and 8-pdr.
Now once the new system was in production, some generals complained that the new guns were no good. General Songis, Nanousty, Sorbier, Saint-Maurice and Gassendi, who had been critiques of the new system from day one. These generals argued that the French must have larger calibre guns than the enemy, or what advantage would the French have. i.e the larger the gun in calibre and weight of the shot, the better it was because it was more powerful than the enemy.
General Lariboissier argued that the new 6-pdr with the limber ammunition box, gave the guns more fire power, and less reliant on the old caissons. He argued that under the old system, the guns could not operate without a caisson and a train of men ferrying ammunition. Now with the limber mounted ammunition box, as opposed to having to lift the ammunition box on and off the gun carriage, which he complained was dangerous to the gunners, and took time, batteries could operate with more ease and were not as tied down to the caissons. Indeed, limbers could be sent to the caisson, reloaded and taken back to the gun line far quicker, and safer than moving the caissons to the gun lines.
General Allix called gassendi, sorbier and Songis as partisans of the Royalist cause in not favouring change and embracing new republican ideas and technology.
Now thanks to Comte de Cessac, he got his chum Gassendi put into the officer of artillery at the war ministry and general Songis named as general inspector. So it was hardly a shock that these three men issued an order stopping construction of the new guns on 9 November 1805 [SHDDT 2w 48]. General; Dejean ordered a report written evaluating the new system and hoped that sense would prevail and the 8-pdr being be brought back into service. The report was delivered and prepared by Gassendi on 16th February 1806. Napoleon ordered yet another report on 14th April as Gassendi was hardly impartial and had done no testing of the two systems. Gassendis report was issued 9 April 1807. Napoleon found in favour of the 6-pdr:
1) cheaper to make, cheaper in terms of gun power, needed less horses to move
2) two calibre of field gun made logistics and supply easier/ captured munitions could be used
3) would be sensless to have special guns for the horse artillery, requiring their own ammunition that had to come from France
4) the new limbers allowed the guns to operate far more effectively than previous in terms of munition supply on the field
5) the 6-pdr was more mobile than the 8-pdr, did not have to use the prolonge, and was as quick as the 4-pdr if not more so as there was no ammunition box on the carriage to move around, to get into action, which Napoleon noted was surely a good thing for horse artillery.
6) the gunners trained to use a 6-pdr could readily use captured guns, whereas gunners trained to use an 8-pdr would need more training time to use a 6-pdr effectively and be aware of ranges.
The 8-pdr was supressed becasue:
1) slow to get into action
2) had limited ammunition supply and relied more on the caissons
3) encastrement and moving the coffret was dangerous to the gunners
4) could not fire captured munitions, therefore was none standard in the theatre of war in which the French were operating
However, Gassendi ordered a thorough re-design of the rolling stock and carriages, so it meant that the 8-pdr HAD to be used in 1809 as no one was yet allowed to make 6-pdrs. This was not done till 16th April 1809.
So when it is noted that the 8-pdr was used at Wagram, well it was because there were not enough new 6-pdrs to go around, and General Gassendi had taken up nearly 4 years in his quest to abolish the 6-pdr, which ultimately failed as he was forced to re-introduce the 6-pdr in 1807, but it took him TWO years to agree to this. So when writing in 1819 it is hardly surprising that the man who did all he could to abolish the artillery committee and its ordnance wrote against the system. Gassendi is not an impartial writer, just like Ruty. "

Unfortunalty the reference in Coutanceau – starting at page 221 is in general and based on the opinion of d'Urtubie – who was one of the big bang guys, the heavier the better – however they were critical comments – as in the observations sur le wurst, 1er août 1806, refuting the advantages of a 12pdr gun in horse artillerie. What we need are actual OdBs of that time stating what guns the artillerie légér did use from 1792 – 1800.

Just a few points of interest regarding the above comments, many of which are incorrect in point of fact as well as regarding the French artillery arm:

‘The Three Calibers':

The Gribeauval System was designed for a war of maneuver and was built accordingly. The Gribeauval 4-, 8-, and 12-pounders were designed to be moved easily by either horse or man-team because of the mechanical advantages built into them when they were designed. The idea that they were ‘too heavy' for field use is incorrect. Further, the idea that the 8-pounder could not be used with a prolonge is also incorrect.

Jean Duteil commented in his Usage in 1778 that ‘As the French artillery is rendered formidable by the speed with which it supports the rapid and clever movements of our troops, and the rapidity and intelligence of its execution, we are committed, now more than ever, to determine the best manner of using it in field battles…'

Ammunition:

As different armies used different standards for ammunition weight, the term ‘pounder' to denote the weight of the round used by a particular field piece was nation-dependent. Captured ammunition could not be used by other countries for the ‘same' caliber field piece unless the captured ammunition was modified. For example, captured Austrian 6-pounder ammunition was too light or small to be used by French 6-pounders and capture French 6-pounder ammunition was too large or too heavy for Austrian 6-pounders. Further, the windage standards for each country was different, with the French standard of .088 of an inch being the most accurate. Austrian field pieces, for example, had a different windage tolerance for each caliber. The French 8-pounder was equivalent to an American 9-pounder, which used British Imperial Weights. The French 6-pounder was almost a seven pounder, and the Austrian 6-pounder was less than the French 6-pounder. This difference in weights and measures is usually overlooked when discussing period artillery.

Ammunition resupply:

The coffret was taken from the gun carriage when the artillery company was emplacing and placed on the limber. That was the ammunition that was used in the unit's fire missions. The coffret was resupplied from the piece's caisson. It was much easier to manually move the ammunition from the caisson to the limber instead of moving the gun limber to the caisson when the coffret was empty. It was also illogical to do so, as the piece would be without ammunition while the limber was moving off. And that would also require the prolonge to be removed from the limber, as when emplacing the gun crews would unwind the prolonge from the rear of the limber, attaching one end to the limber, and the other to the trail of the piece. It stayed there while the piece was in action in case it had to be used for movement.

The Systeme AN XI 6-pounder was assigned the same number (3) of caissons as the Gribeauval 8-pounder. Further, the 6-pounder also used the prolonge for necessary maneuvers and the new gun carriage was found weak and impractical, and the modified gun carriage was 'given' a coffret.

Encastrement:

Regarding encastrement, that is the changing of the gun tube of the piece from the travelling trunnion plates to the firing trunnion plates and back, there was a prescribed ‘maneuver' for doing this in the French artillery manuals. The ‘maneuver' was always done while the piece was limbered and it didn't take long. ‘By the manner in which these trunnion plates have been disposed, the piece is made to pass from one to the other with the greatest ease, and in as little time as is necessary to take the trail from its limber,'-Tousard, Volume II, page 98.

1809:

The Army of Germany was organized and formed for the 1809 campaign because most of the Grande Armee was engaged in Spain. Davout commanded the troops left in central Europe after Tilsit in 1807 and those included his own III Corps as well as the heavy cavalry and other troops. These units had retained the 4-, 8-, and 12-pounders of the Gribeauval System, as did the Grande Armee units in Spain.

The two new French corps formed for 1809, II Corps initially under Oudinot and the IV Corps under Massena, were generally armed with the newer Systeme AN XI 6-pounders and other pieces. The information is included in Commandant Saski's study of the 1809 campaign, Volume I, and is interesting from an artillery perspective. As of 1 January 1809 Davout's command had fourteen 12-pounders, fifty-four 8-pounders, eight 6-pounders, twenty-eight 4-pounders, twenty-two 6-inch howitzers, and four 5.5-inch howitzers. By March 1809 the Army of Germany as a whole had twenty-two 12-pounders, fifty-six 8-pounders, forty-six 6-pounders, twenty 4-pounders, twenty 6-inch howitzers, and sixteen 5.5-inch howitzers. Horse artillery units used the 8-pounder and 6-pounder throughout the campaign.

Caliber:

Caliber was measured by every army in Europe by the diameter of the bore of the piece, except by the French. They measured caliber by the diameter of the round. Further, with the implementation of the Gribeauval System, caliber was gradually replaced as a unit of artillery measure by the inch.

Horse Artillery Conference:

This conference established the parameters and purpose of the new French horse artillery arm:

‘The [French] adoption of [horse artillery] was for a long time proposed in vain; but in 1791 M Duportail, then minister of war, authorized the commanding officer of the division of Metz to form two companies of horse artillery; and finally in the year 1792, it was adopted generally, and soon carried to great perfection. In order to give it the advantage of superior fire, the French flying or horse artillery consists of 8-pounders, and 6-inch howitzers. The ammunition is carried in light caissons and most of the artillerists are on horseback, while others ride on the wursts. By this arrangement, in addition to the known abilities of the French cannoniers, the republican horse artillery soon acquired a decided superiority over that of the Austrian, and other powers, which the imperial horse artillery had maintained, and even surpassed, during a series of victories in the glorious wars of 1805 and 1806.'

‘The success of this experiment in 1791, the extraordinary skill in the choice of the officers and artillerymen, who were employed, and who, in a few weeks, were able to maneuver with the light troops, dispelled every doubt on the subject, and showed how fit the French were for this kind of service.'

‘In 1792, a short time before the declaration of war, M de Narbonne, who had succeeded M Duportail in the department of war, formed at his office a committee, composed of very intelligent and well-informed officers; thither he summoned the generals of the three great divisions of the army, and the principal generalos and field officers of the artillery and engineers. He ordered them to inquire into and decide upon the means of perfecting and extending to the French army the use of the horse artillery. The result of this conference will be seen in the following section.'

‘We cannot give a more correct idea of the organization and importance of the horse artillery than by relating the result of this famous conference. The officers who concurred in the following results were unquestionably the best-informed in the French army. They resolved as fundamental points:

1.That a numerous horse artillery, well-served, and always kept complete in men and horses, is the surest method of protecting the evolutions of a corps but tolerably trained, by supporting its attack by the bayonet, and of rendering almost nugatory, by positions taken opportunely and with celerity, the advantage that troops, better disciplined, might promise themselves from their superiority in maneuvering.

2.That for the effective employment of this horse artillery, and for the regulation of its service, training, etc. it is necessary to provide it with better horses than field artillery usually has, to that it may be transported with the greatest swiftness to whatever place it may be required at; and that the artillerists may be able to follow their pieces, and begin to fire as soon as they are placed.

3. That, to accomplish this object, it is better that the artillerymen should be all on horseback, than if they even partly rode wursts or stuffed caissons, because accidents are less frequent, movements more easy, retreat more certain, and horse more easily replaced.

4.That, without excluding pieces of any caliber, it appears most advantageous to make use of 8- and 12-pounders, and 6-inch howitzers.

5.That it is useless to train the horse-cannonier like a dragoon, intended for cavalry maneuvers; that this would be diverting him, to no purpose, from his principal object; that it is sufficient if he be well-seated on horseback, accustomed to mount and dismount nimbly, to guide his horse freely, without confining him to any particular rank in following the pieces, and leaving to his judgment the task of learning to know, and to execute, if required, the cavalry maneuvers, in which he may be engaged.

6.That the maneuver a la prolonge should be employed whenever the impossibility of maneuvering with traces would force the artillerymen to renounce them, because the horses remaining harnessed while the pieces are firing, all the time that is lost in taking off or putting to the limbers, is gained for profiting by the position taken, and because ditches and rivers can, in this manner, be crossed with the greatest celerity.

7.That, in order to form at once a sufficient number of companies of horse artillery, without weakening the artillery regiments, it would answer at first to attach to each piece two intelligent artillerymen, and to take the remainder from other corps, and chiefly from the light troops.'

‘Upon these principles this establishment was organized in the French armies, which have reaped such great advantages from it in all their campaigns.'

From Elementary Treatise on the Forms of Cannon and Various Systems of Artillery by Professor N Persy of Metz, 1832:

‘With a very few exceptions, all the innovations prescribed by the decree of the year XI, and those which came after it were abrogated, and the system of Gribeauval, exhibited in detail in the tables of construction, rigorously restored.'

From Ruty:

In late 1814 General Ruty conducted a study comparing the new 6-pounder of the Systeme AN XI to the older 4- and 8-pounder of the Gribeauval System.

In part, Ruty's report to the king stated:

‘The 8-caliber has, in all respects, an undeniable advantage of the 6-caliber. The use of the former, in preference to the latter, could not be put in doubt if we disregarded all economic considerations in the use of the resources. If, on the other hand, we proposed to coordinate with these last considerations, rather that with the first ones, the determination of the field calibers, the advocates of the old system would appose [sic] to the 6-caliber, the 4-caliber which, for the economy of the resources, obtains more advantages in relation to the 8-caliber. Yet, if the question was considered from only one of these points of view, it would be discussed in an incomplete and wrong way. In order to grasp the real point of view of the question, we must determine, in a more precise manner, the various purposes the cannon can serve in field warfare and then, examine if, for a definite sum or resources, the combination of the 8- and 4-calibers serves better these purposes than the intermediate 6-caliber.'

He continues and concludes:

‘If the reasoning itself did not suffice to establish the advantages of the 8-caliber or the 6-caliber in the formation of the batteries…it would rely on the memories of the past to convey its undeniable advantages…Twenty years of brilliant success had sacrificed it. Nobody can feel more inclined than the artillery officer to grant the personnel a share of merit it has to claim in these successes; yet it is for the same officer to judge to what extent the nature of the weapon has played a part in obtaining these successes. It seems impossible to deny that the material and positive superiority of a caliber more significant than the usually weaker caliber, had a lot to do with the superiority of our horse artillery batteries generally accepted at the time of the war currently being discussed. This opinion was so widespread that the gunners brought themselves reluctantly to renounce a weapon that so many reasons of pride and trust made it precious to them. They seized with eagerness the opportunity to take it back, wherever the 8-caliber was still accepted in the composition of field companies, in competition with the 6-caliber, which has been introduced in our armies only successively.'

While Ruty's recommendations were not implemented until after Waterloo his indictment of the 6-pounder definitely influenced not only the reinstatement of the Gribeauval System but the adoption of the Valee Artillery System in ca 1829. The two long gun calibers used in the new system were the 8- and 12-pounder. The 6-pounder was not reinstated in the new Valee Artillery System.
Systeme AN XI: The Syteme AN XI was implemented based on a split vote of the Artillery Committee under Marmont. Gassendi was one of the general officers who voted against it. The new system was never fully implemented, even though adopted. It did not replace the Gribeauval System, but supplemented it.

Valee System:

The 6-pounder was not retained in the new Valee System of ca 1827. Valee used both 8-pounders and 12-pounders for his long guns.

D'Urtubie:

This was an excellent artillery manual but it was rendered out of date by Gassendi's Aide-Memoire.

Captain Adye, the British artillery officer and author of the Bombardier and Pocket Gunner, wrote of the French Gribeauval System, ca 1800:

‘The French system of artillery was established as far back as the year 1765, and has been rigidly adhered to through a convulsion in the country which overturned everything like order, and which even the government itself has not been able to withstand. We should, therefore, conclude that it has merit, and, though in an enemy, ought to avail ourselves of its advantages. At the formation of their system, they saw the necessity of the most exact correspondence in the most minute particulars, and so rigidly have they adhered to this principle that, though they have several arsenals, where carriages and other military machines are constructed, the different parts of a carriage may be collected from these several arsenals, in the opposite extremes of the extremities of the country, and will as well unite and form a carriage as if they were all made and fitted in the same workshop. As long as every man who fancies he has made an improvement is permitted to introduce it into our service, this cannot be the case with us.'

For the French artillery arm of the Revolution both Roquerol's and Lauerma's studies are highly recommended. I have copies of both and have found them to be most useful over the years.

von Winterfeldt26 Dec 2017 10:46 p.m. PST

@Lordghee
Looking forward for your citations, I am only able to find so far only general statements in secondary sources, that for example that Kleber's corps (sic, it comprised of two divisions)in 1796 according to Matti Lauerma, had 8 pouder guns and howitzers.

42flanker27 Dec 2017 3:16 a.m. PST

I am surprised there has been no mention of French hens or a partridge in a pear tree.

Le Breton27 Dec 2017 3:33 a.m. PST

That would be "superior" French hens and a "glorious" partridge in the tree, wouldn't it?

Le Breton27 Dec 2017 3:56 a.m. PST

La défense nationale dans le Nord en 1793
link

La campagne de 1794 à l'armée du Nord
link

There is some detail here, but little pattern as to which types of guns went with which companies and divisions of artillery.

von Winterfeldt27 Dec 2017 4:32 a.m. PST

a pity that the standing orders of Houchard – in 1793 – for his army are not published in full.

The work of Coutanceau, 4 volumes, is very detailed, you find out numbers of desters and suchlike but what guns served with the artillerie légère – difficult to judge

42flanker27 Dec 2017 4:59 a.m. PST

'A Partisan' Partridge, I warrant. Sheltered by Pitt in the 'Perfidious' Pear Tree of Albion.

He was a notoriusly bad shot. Or so he claimed

Le Breton27 Dec 2017 5:43 a.m. PST

I never did see y'all as so perfidious. But I was born in "New" England, where the ale can be warm, the food often boiled, and school grades counted in "forms". We even say "lift" and "flat" as often as "elevator" and "apartment".

The modern sense of the phrase comes from a revolutioanry era French poem :
"Attaquons dans ses eaux la perfide Albion."
Let us attack perfidious Albion on her waters.

Not that such sentiments should have caused the British any concern for national security …. nor the odd invasion of Ireland …. or those thousands of invasion landing boats being built in Normandy, and that big army sitting in camps nearby …. oh no no, nothing to be concerned about at all.

Brechtel19827 Dec 2017 5:49 a.m. PST

The British came up with an ingenious plan to get the Grande Armee off the Channel: Hire Austria to again go to war with France and invade her ally Bavaria.

Without Great Britian's financial help to the allies during the period, Austria, Russia, and Prussia could not have taken the field as often, as they were bankrupt-especially in 1813-1814.

Le Breton27 Dec 2017 6:08 a.m. PST

"Russia …. could not have taken the field as often, as they were bankrupt-especially in 1813-1814"

Can you please any contemporary or econometric source support for Russia's "bankruptcy"?

Or maybe just explain how exactly an agarian feudal economy can go "bankrupt". Bankruptcy means having no cash to pay for things. There was virtually no cach in the Russian economy to begin with!

Who exactly in Russia had to be actually paid at all? The Emperor's munitions factories? The Emperor's textile factories ? The Emperor's Army? The nobles who had feudal rights to farmland ? The serfs? Of course not – they issued paper rubles as needed to make exchanges easier, and everone could either accept them at face value or get arrested.

Do you suppose that, excepting luxury goods, there was some great negative balance of international trade that needed to be financed in cash ? For what ? Food?, Timber and Wood Products?, Iron Ore ? Horses? Those were all exports.

Really, just how did this "bankruptcy" thing work?
Or is this just some fantasy that you have invented?

von Winterfeldt27 Dec 2017 7:38 a.m. PST

@Le Breton

Please don't get distracted, B acts as usual and is throwing smoke bombs, moving goal posts etc, as Garth in the Park said, his procedure is usually obvious and shouldn't work any longer.

42flanker27 Dec 2017 9:27 a.m. PST

financial help to one's allies

What an extraordinary proposition. How low can one stoop?

Prince of Essling Supporting Member of TMP27 Dec 2017 2:42 p.m. PST

From "Esquisse historique de l'artillerie française depuis de moyen-age jusqu'a nos jours" by Auguste Moltzheim- page 33 in section about Gribeauval – however not exclusively horse artillery:

A company of artillery was habitually 4 cannons of 8 pounders (pdr)and 2 howitzers of 6 pdr, sometimes 2 cannons of 12 pdr, 2 of 8 pdr or of 4 pdr and 2 howitzers. The cannons of the 3 calibres – 12, 8 and 4 – were substituted one for the other in the armament of a company, according to circumstances and the wishes of the General in command. Then, when the 4 pdr cannons were withdrawn from the regiments, it particularly affected the horse artillery pieces; they were formed into divisional companies of 8 pdr or 4 pdr, 12 pdrs were exclusively for the reserve. Finally batteries were made up of the same calibre: batteries of 4 pdr were given to the advance guard and cavalry divisions, 8pdr batteries were attached to infantry divisions, the 12pdrs with 6 pdr howitzers composed the reserve batteries.

Prince of Essling Supporting Member of TMP27 Dec 2017 3:00 p.m. PST

From "Essai sur l'organisation de l'arme d'artillerie" by General Augustin Lespinasse (Paris 1800)- page 11 mentions horse artillery ideally 4 x 4 pdr cannon and 2 x 6 pdr howitzers, but where cavalry proceeded infantry the horse artillery should hang on to their 8pdrs.

Prince of Essling Supporting Member of TMP27 Dec 2017 3:31 p.m. PST

DELETED

Brechtel19827 Dec 2017 7:06 p.m. PST

From Guineas and Gunpowder: British Foreign Aid in the Wars with France, 1793-1815 by John Sherwig:

'The economic weakness of the continental powers in 1793 made their war with France less of an unequal struggle than it appeared. Prussia was on the verge of bankruptcy, while Austria had to borrow heavily abroad to meet her current expenses. Thanks to Catherine the Great's wars with Turkey, Russia's economic health was even worse than her neighbors'. The Tsarina staved off disaster only by massive loans from Dutch bankers and by flooding her country with paper money.'-11.

'The financing of the emerging coalition hung heavily over the heads of Castlereach and Vansittart during the spring of 1813. Lieven had already asked for 4 million pounds for the Tsar, and he hoped that the Cabinet would appropriate an additional 500,000 pounds for the maintenance of the Russian squadron Britain had seized at Lisbon in 1808. The Prussian envly, Jacobi, had also warned that generous British aid was 'indispensably necessary' for his government to remain at war.'-289.

For 1813-1814 the following subsidies were given to Russia, Prussia, and Austria to continue in the war against France (367-368). The amounts are in pounds:

Prussia: 2,088,682

Russia: 3,767,270

Austria: 1,659,523

If the three belligerents could fund their own armies to take the field against the French, the above subsidies would not have been needed. And there is more for the other years of the conflict. Guineas and Gunpowder is an excellent and quite eye-opening volume.

Wu Tian27 Dec 2017 7:13 p.m. PST

La partie principale de l'artillerie de l'armée se composait de huit batteries à cheval qui avaient l'armement usuel, quatre canons de 8 livres et deux obusiers de 6 " chaque.4

4 Perrin-Solliers p. 49—55; Gouvion Saint-Cyr III p. 153 n. — Par moments (comme par ex. le 24 juin) il y avait jusqu'à quatre batteries à l'échelon de l'armée; un corps d'armée n'était alors muni que de sa seule artillerie de régiment (Perrin-Solliers p. 49 et 54).

PERRIN-SOLLIERS, Armée de Rhin et Moselle. Campagne de 1796. (Archives de Guerre, manuscrit 334.)


Lauerma, L'artillerie de campagne française pendant les guerres de la Révolution, p. 205, 339.

So at least in 1796, the horse artillery of the Armée de Rhin-et-Moselle did rely on 8-pounders, a company usually had four 8-pounders and two 6 pouce howitzers. Of course, there was a shortage of 4-pounders then, since each demi-brigade could only field two pieces of 4 instead of three.

Brechtel19828 Dec 2017 6:23 p.m. PST

The total subsidies sent from Great Britain to Russia, Prussia, and Austria from 1793-1816 are as follows (in pounds):

Russia: 9,129, 904.

Prussia: 5,632,808.

Austria: 13,455,277

6,220,000 of the Austrian total was in loans in 1795 and 1797.

Source: Guineas and Gunpowder by John Sherwig, pages 365-368.

From the totals in subsidies it seems apparent that Russia, Prussia, and Austria could not have continued the wars against France with significant payments in cash and kind from Great Britain. That signifies, at least to a great extent, that those three continental powers were for all intents and purposes bankrupt and had to be supported financially by Great Britain in order to fight France and Napoleon.

Le Breton29 Dec 2017 3:56 a.m. PST

Staying On-Topic ….

"The favorite field piece of the French horse artillery arm was the 8-pounder.
The 4-pounder was also used, but they preferred the 8-pounder."

Have you found anything like a contemprary source for your assertions? …. or are these comments merely a product of your imagination?

Brechtel19829 Dec 2017 6:18 a.m. PST

'4.That, without excluding pieces of any caliber, it appears most advantageous to make use of 8- and 12-pounders, and 6-inch howitzers.'

And your condescension and false accusations are once again noted.

It is too bad that you cannot post without being insulting-twice in this thread.

Or is it just you own personal opinion?

or are these comments merely a product of your imagination?

These type of comments only reflect badly on yourself. Civil discourse is obviously outside of your ken.

we can stop asking what "the French horse artillery arm …. preferred".

Are you now using the Royal Plural, or do you have knowledge of someone else asking repeatedly as you're constantly doing?

Brechtel19829 Dec 2017 6:25 a.m. PST

This is the opionion of B – taking on the opionion of some gunners in the French army,there was a big political dispute running what calibre was best, I am unaware of a survey, they voiced their opinions and nothing else, Napoleon did away with that by introducing the 6 pdr, but even he was only grudgingly obeyed by block heads as Gassendi.

I would suggest that the opinions of French gunners who actually used the piece in combat are entirely relevant. That you don't agree is irrelevant and not germane to the issue.

Where is your 'evidence' that Gassendi was a 'blockhead?' I would suggest that he was exactly the opposite. Have you read his Aide-Memoir? Blockheads don't write artillery treatises.

And the Gribeauval 8-pounders were not 'done away with' with the introduction of the new 6-pounder. The Gribeauval field pieces were still employed in Spain and with the Grande Armee in central Europe through 1809, with the 4-pounders still being used by the Imperial Guard into 1811.

Seems to me that your opinions are wrong. But you are entitled to your opinions, but you are not entitled to your own facts.

Osage201729 Dec 2017 6:54 a.m. PST

wow, what a reply

Brechtel wrote :
"I would suggest that the opinions of French gunners who actually used the piece in combat are entirely relevant. That you don't agree is irrelevant and not germane to the issue."

von Winterfeldt29 Dec 2017 11:18 p.m. PST

about French gunners, or part of them

"The committee was presided over by General d'Aboville, the First Inspector of Artillery. Its members were Lamartillere, Marmont, Andreossy, Eble, Songis, Faultrier, and Gassendi."

"


General Fave was commissed to carry out the work and offer his opinions to the committee, and reported that changes were needed. His principal faults with Gribeauval were:
1) Changing barrel position quickly fatigues the gun crews. Therefore new pieces, which could be moved on the prolonge with out changing position, were required.
2) Moving the ammunition box quickly fatigued the gunners and made lifting the carriage onto the limber cumbersome. Moving the ammunition box to the limber would make this task less fatiguing.
3) If the guns crews could ride on the carriage, the foot artillery could deploy at the same speed as the horse artillery. Moving the ammunition chest could facilitate this.
4) The 4 pounder gun was mobile but it lacked the ‘hitting power' of the 8 pounder. He proposed to replace the 4 pounder with a new piece but keep the 8 and 12 pounder guns.
General Gassendi was critical of this report, and was opposed to any changes to Gribeauval. He appealed to Napoleon, who became involved in the discussions. Napoleon's view is highly informative in the way that the committee should think:
"The artillery should have but 4 calibres, the 6, 12, 24 pounders. and the 5½-inch howitzer. In this way we abolish 4 calibres. We should add 3 pounders. for mountain equipment. In abolishing the Rostaing guns, we get rid of stubborn beasts not worth the trouble they give. 3 pounders should be a minimum caliber"

From

The Artillery of System An XI
The Findings of the 1801 Committee on Artillery
by Paul Dawson

Brechtel19830 Dec 2017 3:27 a.m. PST

The only problem here is that, as previously stated, the vehicles of the Systeme AN XI were not put into production and it was also later found that the new gun carriages were not substantial enough to endure prolonged field use and had structural problems during firing.

And the head of the artillery committee was General Marmont.

The bottom line is that the Systeme AN XI did not replace the Gribeauval System, but merely supplemented it. The report of the artillery committee is one thing; implementation another.

von Winterfeldt30 Dec 2017 3:42 a.m. PST

@Le Breton

I am not surprised that B cannot cough up a decent reply, there he cannot read French.

As I wrote before there existed within the French army a group of gunnders who believed in the big bang.

"Il est à la connoisance (sic) de tous militaires que le cannon produit des effets plus grands par le tonnère qu'il imite, que part (sic) la foudre qu'il lance;

Boney had evidently a different view – braking out of the big bang thinking and surprisingly condidering logistics as well a reducing spare parts up to be able to use captured ammunition.

@Chad 47

It seems that a 8 pdr gun would fit for French Republican Horse artillery.

Brechtel19830 Dec 2017 5:56 a.m. PST

Could you then explain the difference in round weight and caliber and the ability to use captured ammunition?

You have not addressed this issue nor have you addressed the main issue that the Systeme AN XI was never fully adopted and was that the Gribeauval Systeme was completely reinstated in 1815.

Further, the 6-pounder was abolished and not reinstated by Valee in 1827 in favor of the 8-pounder field piece.

Instead of making pejorative personal comments and relying apparently only on a modern secondary source, perhaps you could merely stick to the topic which you seem unable to do.

Supercilius Maximus30 Dec 2017 3:09 p.m. PST

Instead of making pejorative personal comments and relying apparently only on a modern secondary source, perhaps you could merely stick to the topic which you seem unable to do.

Re-arrange the following words to make a well-known aphorism:

Black. Kettle. Calling. Pot. The.

(No prizes, just for fun.)

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