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"Napy questions Austrian "horse artillery"++" Topic

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Jcfrog Supporting Member of TMP14 Oct 2018 2:46 a.m. PST

1 Saw several times the Austrian and Bavarian Kavallerie Batteries were not all mounted on horses, many men on Wurst ( the store the balls?)
Which should gamewise make them slower thanother nations truly mounted artillerists? Right?

2 Artillery ammunition resupply: would the spare caissons, in the field go to the central storage while the battery is firing to restock, ( like Acw theory AFAIK) or would the whole outfit retire?
Any national doctrine differences then?

Artilleryman14 Oct 2018 3:25 a.m. PST

1. Agreed. The 'Wurst' based mounted artillery would be a bit slower than 'proper' horse artillery. In theory they could go just as fast, but cross country, you would probably lose a good few gunners. In my rules they can move as fast on roads but cannot charge and must move at 75% the speed of horse artillery cross country.

2. The usual practice was to send the caissons back to replenish rather than send the whole unit back. The detail as to whether caissons were 'swapped over' or 'refilled' varied from army to army. I am not sure which was which. I am sure that there are others out there who have the detail. (Is Dr Summerfield still there?)

von Winterfeldt14 Oct 2018 9:51 a.m. PST

Austrian gunners rode on the Wurst at the gun carriage – see for example Perrys in 28 mm or Franznap in 1 / 72, on the other hand they used pack horses to provide ammunition.

So in my view they were not slower than the French who used as ammunition wagon the clumsy 4 wheeled obsolete Gribeauval design, the gunners had to wait till they arrived to be able to shoot.

The Bavarian light artillery batteries, the gunners were mounted on the ammunition wagon, also see for example Perrys 28 mm.

rmaker14 Oct 2018 10:24 a.m. PST

For question 2, Mercer's Journal of he Waterloo Campaign indicates he sent the caissons back to the park to reload while the battery remained in action. And on the second trip, he told the NCO in charge not to bother bringing back anything but case.

Jcfrog Supporting Member of TMP14 Oct 2018 11:08 a.m. PST

Last year I read something Austrian, as usual without taking notes of source😧😇😝 on the net.
They were pretty happy with themselves for the artillery. No mention of being slower. But generally they seem to think they did very well and won the wars.😝
Also somewhere the French artillery nearly always kept the guns roped to the limbers in action, notably the horse artillery. It would mean no "unlimbering" but would be slower than limbered HA but way faster than hand pushed.
These people like to complicate the life of poor wargamers.

So I shoukd keep things simple and have these Kaiserlicken just as fast as others. Not slowing down their cavalry. ??
No French source noticed them being slow, that is more than their natural Strüdel eating slovenliness.

14Bore14 Oct 2018 11:44 a.m. PST

You know years ago Dave Hollins would have charged in, told us how having artillerists on hobby horses was much faster as less horse handling and less separation on troops.

von Winterfeldt14 Oct 2018 11:49 a.m. PST

from an article of Geert van Uythoven, translating the conclusions of a French officer

Il en résulte que dans ces terribles combats d'artillerie dont les dernières guerres offrent souvent l'exemple, nous combattions avec un nombre à peu près double de voitures et de chevaux pour produire un feu égal ; et que dans les circonstances critiques et difficiles qu'offrent les batailles, soit pour y arriver ou en sortir, l'encombrement énorme de voitures a souvent accru nos dangers et nos pertes ; et il est à remarquer que, sous ce rapport même, nos caissons, si peu maniables, incapables de tourner, prêts à verser dans toutes les irrégularités de terrain, et qu'on ne peut relever sans des travaux qu'on n'a pas toujours le temps d'effectuer, offrent encore bien plus de difficultés que les pièces, et sont un sujet d'inquiétude pour les officiers d'artillerie.

Telle fut, en effet, la funeste issue de plusieurs batailles où l'on fit des pertes énormes d'artillerie 4), par exemple celle de Dennewitz et de la Katzbach ; cette dernière, surtout, s'étant livrée dans un terrain coupé de ravins et de défilés où les communications étaient très-difficiles, tout fut encombré de voitures ; l'artillerie ne put s'en tirer : on perdit cent cinq pièces de canon et plus de trois cents caissons ; au combat de Mockern, lors des journées de Leipzig, soixante-quatre ; à Dennewitz, soixante, etc.

4) A la première journée de Leipzig, du côté seulement du 6e corps, à Mockern, on perdit 64 pièces ; à Kulm, 90.

Sans doute que si l'on compare la situation d'une artillerie également nombreuse, exposée aux chances bonnes ou mauvaises d'une bataille, qui toutes cependant doivent se prévoir, on ne saurait refuser la préférence à celle qui, offrant la même masse de feux, déploie à peu prés moitié moins de voitures et de chevaux, rendant, par cela seul, tous les mouvements plus simples et plus faciles.

Les inconvénients que nous signalons se font encore bien plus sentir dans l'artillerie à cheval, destinée essentiellement à agir avec vitesse et à réunir subitement une masse de feux sur un point décisif. Quels que soient ses efforts 5), les caissons sont un obstacle continuel à ce qu'elle puisse avoir aucune rapidité ; les moindres irrégularités de terrain l'arrêtent à chaque pas : les pièces, à la vérité, les franchiraient ( et en effet on peut les faire passer presque partout ); mais sans leurs caissons que feraient-elles ? Cette artillerie est paralysée ou retardée, le moment manqué, et l'artillerie à cheval la mieux instruite, la plus exercée et la plus hardie, peut se trouver ainsi arrêtée dans le moment le plus important par les obstacles que lui oppose la nature de son matériel.


Jcfrog Supporting Member of TMP14 Oct 2018 12:56 p.m. PST

Clauzewitz also says carts were a plight for the russians at Borodino.
So gone are the slow moves for Schnitzel and sachertorte eaters.
We kept forgetting it anyway.
Grüss gott!

evilgong Supporting Member of TMP14 Oct 2018 3:42 p.m. PST

For the OP's question-1, I guess that depends on the granularity of your rules.

If your rules are 'broad-brush' in most areas, just make them the same as other horse arty.

That the Austrians had examples of other systems around them, and did not change, suggests they thought them good enough for their intended role.

If you have lots of detail for other things you could make them a touch slower in moves.

(Somebody had to round up and hold gunners' horses – does that mean chaps jumping off the wurst could get into action a shade quicker?)


David F Brown

Jcfrog Supporting Member of TMP15 Oct 2018 1:42 a.m. PST

Yes the Austrian thing said that picketing horses lost a bit of time.
Definitely army rules, so no need of such a petit detail.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP15 Oct 2018 4:13 a.m. PST

The Austrian cavalry batteries were not horse artillery, but mobile field artillery. Their ammunition per piece was carried by both pack horses and one caisson per piece.

They were not as mobile as actual horse artillery and were not considered an elite unit, as were the Royal Horse Artillery and the French horse artillery arm, both line and Guard.

The French artillery, both foot and horse, had their extra caissons with the various parcs which would be used to shuttle ammunition forward. One of the assigned caissons per piece would be with the gun company and it would rotate out to the rear to be resupplied and was replaced by one of the those shuttling forward. The principle was to push the ammunition forward so that the gun companies would remain engaged and not be pulled out and replaced.

The French were not the only artillery arm that used four-wheeled caissons. Further, when an artillery company went into action and the pieces put into battery and emplaced, the coffret, which stored the ready-use ammunition, would be removed from the trail of the piece and placed on the limber. The ammunition used from the coffret would be replenished from the caisson.

Horse artillery was designed to be able to keep up with cavalry. That does not mean that they always moved faster than a walk, no more than cavalry would. When going into action they certainly would, and if the caissons could not immediately be present in the gun company position, the ready ammunition would then be used, again to be replenished from the caissons.

Horse holders were assigned and used to hold the gunners' individual mounts in action in at least both the French and Royal Horse Artillery. That subject has already been covered on this site recently. One horse holder would be responsible for his own and at least two other gunner's horses. The horse holder would probably remain mounted to better control the other horses in action.

The Austrian 'system' of mounting the gun crew on the elongated gun trail for the cavalry batteries was awkward at best and would not facilitate going into action any faster, and probably a lot slower, than individually mounted horse artillery.

von Winterfeldt15 Oct 2018 4:44 a.m. PST

I don't know if the Austrians were quicker than the French, certainly not slower both had to deal with not the best equipment in mobility, in contrast for example to British or Prussian limber designs.
In case the French used to obsolete Gribeauval 8 pdr gun they had to move the barrel from the traveling to the firing position, on drill ground this was done just under one minute, that has to be added as well.
The Austrians did not need horse holders for their gunners, there those ware carried by the Wurst, the French had to detach from their gunners horse holder as well.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP15 Oct 2018 5:03 a.m. PST

The Gribeauval 8-pounder was not an obsolete piece. In point of fact, it was the favorite piece of the French horse artillery arm.

And if the 8-pounder is considered by some to be obsolete, then the Prussian, Russian, and Austrian field pieces were also obsolete as they were of an older and less efficient design than the Gribeauval pieces.

The idea that the Austrian cavalry battery system was more efficient than that of the French is incorrect. And the Prussians used the same horse artillery system as the French did, and also used a four-wheeled caisson. Therefore, the caisson argument is nothing more than a strawman.

Regarding encastrement, the changing of the gun tube on the French 8- and 12-pounder from the traveling trunnion plates to the firing trunnion plates, and vice versa, it took as long as it did to unlimber the piece and was always done when the piece was limbered. The entire procedure is described in detail in Louis de Tousard's American Artillerist's Companion, Volume II, 97-100. In point of fact, it takes longer to read the procedure than it did to carry it out.

marshalGreg15 Oct 2018 6:24 a.m. PST

It a book or research found ( ICLN) it supports much of what has been said by the other posters, the units could not keep up as well as a horse mounted artillery but it could launch and pull up a bit faster since the key artillerist were already located with the gun vs un-mounting from horses. THis would probably be a difference of up to 15secs. No rules would have that measured against that of 7 mi/hr average speed vs perhaps 4.5 mi/hr traveling across the field in a last rush ( >>walk) to position. Most rules have them much equivalent to the horse arm, since there is little mechanics in their rules for something in-between.

von Winterfeldt15 Oct 2018 10:44 a.m. PST

It is really a bit surprising that the French did not employ limbers like the Prussians or British, which carried at least that amount of ammunition so that the gunners could engage in any fire fight till the more clumsy 4 wheelers came up.

In 1813 the Prussians started to mount even their foot artillery gunners on the limbers – and as well on the artillery train horses, to create a sort of driving artillery.

For mobility of ammunition supply – pack horses like the Austrians might have been the best choice.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP15 Oct 2018 1:02 p.m. PST

Again, a strawman argument.

The only time the French even came close to running out of ammunition was at Leipzig in 1813 and that was because their trains were cut off in Eilenberg north of Leipzig, not because of any inefficiency in their supply and resupply system and the transportation of it.

Whatever the Prussians artillery arm did or didn't do did not improve their artillery system to the standard of the French or British, or of the Austrian or Russian artillery arms. It was still the most inefficient of the major powers.

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