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"Harnessing a draft horses team" Topic

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14Bore15 Sep 2020 12:08 p.m. PST

I think I have down how a 4 horses team of draft horses is done, but adding more to 6 or 8 is a mystery I can't find a good picture or diagram anyway. Been faking it on the first few but it would be nice to get it right.
On my first I connected the 3rd row to the limber pole, second I made the 3rd row of horses connect to the 2nd row of horses.

Richard Brooks Sponsoring Member of TMP15 Sep 2020 2:10 p.m. PST

Try link
About half way down the page I the set up for six
Also google how to hitch six horses go to images and scroll down to the drawings

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP16 Sep 2020 7:39 a.m. PST

A bunch of pictures which may help. The stagecoach link above very nicely shows how each of the first four horses pulls through a transverse bar directly behind, a swingle. For each pair of horses this is or course doubled and attached to a narrower but similar cross pole. Eventually all the traction is transmitted through a longitudinal pole. Remember the rear pair have a much more complicated set of straps over their rump (a sort of braking mechanism).

The one difference from the much later stagecoach is that there is only one central, longitudinal pole, which only extends just beyond the rear most pair of horses. Ah, so how do a third or even fourth row of horses pull anything? The answer is; not terribly well actually. Basically they are pulling the horse (or at least his harness straps) directly behind him. In other words your second attempt was spot on for the era!







Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP16 Sep 2020 9:00 a.m. PST

The above was the 18mm version and the ropes were not actually attached at that stage I now see. Try this, Boney's coach in 28mm, obviously based on French Artillery harness system for six.


IronDuke596 Supporting Member of TMP16 Sep 2020 10:06 a.m. PST

Both of you have provided some good information on traces.
Thank you.

14Bore16 Sep 2020 2:35 p.m. PST


Closest is copy of my Russians in the middle, the 2nd row ropes are cast, I made the front out of thread. The back is Prussians,each horse is cast like the miniature model, I added the ropes.
Thanks for explaining it,making 3 x 6 horses for the position batteries.

Stoppage16 Sep 2020 4:23 p.m. PST

I read somewhere that the Gribeauval limbers used up horses very quickly (one year).

Something about the rear pair not only providing the braking force (see the chains in d-h's sketch drawing) but also having to bear weight vertically because the limber wheels were small.

Which is a shame because the rear ones were probably the most experienced.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP17 Sep 2020 4:58 a.m. PST

Absolutely right. Very hard on the rear pair. They did most of the steering and indeed pulling.

The chain attached to the front of each collar and running to the centre pole will only work for these two critters. Plus they have the far more complex rear harness as modelled by most makers. This spreads the vertical load over their rear but, more importantly, is another part of the way of restraining the carriage on any slope. The vehicle wants to run forward, the driver wants the horses to stop it, so they slow down. The vehicle is now pushing against their rear ends. However many times I read that it still somehow sounds wrong, but it isn't.

Personal logo SHaT1984 Supporting Member of TMP17 Sep 2020 4:40 p.m. PST

I don't think that modern illustration/ interpretation is correct.
I can't find my close ups slides of a limber somewhere, but I believe those chains at the lead are:
-attached to the side of the shaft on a fixed ring,
-attach to the horse collars directly, so the horses neck is the lift AND PULL, not the pull straps along flanks, that also terminate at the lower collar.

If I remember correctly, I 'hand measured' one of them and that strap was about an inch thick, maybe 30mm double stitched.
Maybe, cheers d

* To be picky- they were nags not thoroughbreds, so hairy!
And BTW, Roustam/ Ali wasn't a driver, he was a personal servant/ valet, so he rode i rider seat or his own mount.**

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP18 Sep 2020 7:03 a.m. PST

Oh certainly Boney's personal Mameluke servant was not a driver or postillion. Tradition often shows him sitting on the coachman's seat, however perilous that arrangement might have been. I put him there on the 28mm version but not on the 18mm one, now in Oz. Perched there he had no control over the carriage as far as I know, not even a brake!

The modern illustration is of course from the Jouineau "Histoire and Collections" series. The chains as a lift is an interesting thought and makes perfect sense if there is no traction from the horses ahead.

Where is the centre of balance of a limber then, with a gun in tow? I somehow imagine the pole would head skywards without the horses, not sink to the ground. I imagined the chains having little braking effect. (they would just pull the collar off the horse's head.)

Bet they were more for steering. It is the only way I can see the rear horses turning the pole right or left.

Michael Head's French Nap Art 1977 confirms your recall of the chain arrangement though. see drawing C and the text with it


Personal logo SHaT1984 Supporting Member of TMP18 Sep 2020 5:13 p.m. PST

Whew thanks for that small confirmation. I have 'Head' but didn't think to check, now I will. [I'd been trying to detail my guns years ago, now I have a cheval compagnies in flight I shall do so again].

Without going too 'left field' "The modern illustration is of course from the Jouineau "Histoire and Collections" series"- only purchsed a couple but note they too take compromises in 'computer design' too far.

This same topic in their Artillery part 2 copy, uses the same illustrations for Griibeauval and other system while text clearly stating a differentiation in use/ impact of 'insufficient curvature' in the form of equipment.

Also they state that the 4pdr gun carriage/wheels and limber were 'incompatible' with all others, yet again they've shown identical design and size!

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