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"Artillery of the American Revolution ?" Topic

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Paskal Supporting Member of TMP12 May 2022 10:21 a.m. PST

Hello everyone ,

What are the types of artillery guns and limbers used by
he American, British, German and French belligerents of the AWI?

Those of the Seven Years' War or those that will be used during the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars?

And what colors were they?

Thank you

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP12 May 2022 1:16 p.m. PST

Both, plus some really odd ones. People left guns in North America when the SYW/FIW ended, and they got taken up again in 1775. See Fort Ticonderoga for the most spectacular example. The Americans cast very few, and to British patterns. Guns get captured back and forth over the whole war. The British ship over new artillery units, but they haven't redone their artillery since the last war. This is also true of the small number of guns associated with German units. The French ARE in the middle of changing from La Vallerie to Gribeauval. The smart money seems to be that their "foreign aid" to the Americans was La Vallerie, and any guns actually manned by French gunners would have been Gribeauval. Siege guns are often a little out of date anyway.

But these are all--except for ship's cannon and fortress artillery--double-trail guns. What scale are you building in that you could tell them apart?

Oddities. You find a few "grasshopper" and possibly a "galloper" gun or so--very small caliber, never more than two at a time, and associated with light units.

Colors. Lots of argument. MAYBE British in gray or dull red, Americans in dull red or possibly light/medium blue, French possibly in a darker blue and the small German states imitating Prussia. Not by any means certain that captured guns were immediately repainted, that anyone was enforcing a paint color, or that colors were consistent over space and time. If we were sure what color Burgoyne's guns were at Saratoga, we still couldn't be certain Cornwallis' were the same color at Guilford.

A couple of suggestions. Anything CAST in North America would be iron, and so the barrel probably painted black as a rust preventative. As for painted woodwork, I suspect there was a lot of "barn red." You can make it on the spot with surplus milk and rusty iron, and everyone was at the end of long and uncertain supply lines.

I would, purely for wargaming purposes, pick a gun color for the Americans and one for the British and stick with it. (You have to look for German guns, and the French only do sieges, which I find deadly dull.) But within those broad limits, people will be hard-pressed to prove you wrong.

And if anyone has something definitive, please say so. I'd probably repaint some guns to match.

14Bore12 May 2022 1:31 p.m. PST

I take it from local spots, field artillery was just 3 & 4 pdrs, the guns taken in Trenton, guns at Valley Forge and Paoli Massacre that's what it's appears.

Personal logo Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP12 May 2022 3:55 p.m. PST

I would, purely for wargaming purposes, pick a gun color for the Americans and one for the British and stick with it.
That's precisely what I did barn red for American guns, light blue-gray for British guns. I also have a stash of guns which came painted in brown. I doubt gun carriages were brown (they were much more likely painted than varnished), but I decided to leave that way as "generic" guns that will serve either side.

If I ever get my hands on actual German gun models in 15mm, I'll research the various German gun carriage colors and paint them appropriately. For now, my Hessians use British gun models.

- Ix

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP13 May 2022 3:23 a.m. PST

@14Bore. Yes, mostly. You'll find the odd 6-pd gun and "baby" howitzers, but everyone's hauling guns over roads which are little more than footpaths. Siege artillery is full-scale, but except for Knox's epic, it's travelling by sea, and never going inland.

And I failed to point out that "German" is not even an administrative unit in 1775. No reason to believe that guns from Hesse-Kassel and Anhalt-Zerbst were painted according to the same regulations. The Prussian influence was strong--but not equally strong everywhere.

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP13 May 2022 5:59 a.m. PST

@ all, thank you

Brian of the Ville13 May 2022 8:30 a.m. PST

One of the best things about this site is the info you get from such a smart group of gamers.

14Bore13 May 2022 12:30 p.m. PST


Paoli Massacre site.

42flanker13 May 2022 4:53 p.m. PST

"For the want of a nail…."

14Bore14 May 2022 6:40 a.m. PST

Some nice day soon going past Valley Forge will stop and get a picture

Gus Fring15 May 2022 3:38 p.m. PST

It's a complicated subject, and one should not be too dogmatic.
Captured guns could be, and were used by both sides.
Cannon were cast in America. That was partially the reason for the British march on Concord. There were rumored home cast iron cannon. The purpose was not to capture them, but to smash the trunions to render them inoperable.
The cannon that Knox famously hauled to Boston from Ticonderoga were mostly siege cannons and mortars. But there were enough left to spread in the Continental army.
The Hessians at Trenton had 2 battalion guns apiece. They were French designed "Swedish" types. They were rather heavy, which was one of the faults of the old French system. They were heavy and sturdy enough that Knox was able to re-bore them into the more useful 6 pdr class.
Guns captured at Saratoga were similarly re-purposed. The cannon used by the Hesse Hanau unit may have used guns captured from the French in 1759 at Quebec.
Carriage colors were not uniform. They may have started out that way, but carriages often needed repair and replacement. That's a job for a competent carpenter, of which the Colonies and the British army had plenty.
What color to paint? Whatever was handy. Barn red has been mentioned. It's as good as anything else for a new carriage, and available.

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP16 May 2022 10:09 a.m. PST

Thank you all.

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