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"Late Napoleonic Prussian Artillery" Topic

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Comments or corrections?

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP17 Jun 2022 3:38 a.m. PST

Does anyone actually KNOW that the Prussian army used block-trail guns in the Liberation Wars?
Yeah, it's not an unreasonable guess--but not all reasonable guesses are true. Do we have any eye-witness account or contemporary drawing showing Prussian gunners with single-trail guns?
Alternatively, do we have anything from the British end which says how the gun carriages sent to Prussia were constructed?

I've watched the debate for a very long time, and it always seem to be "would have" or "ought to have" which really doesn't settle things.

14Bore17 Jun 2022 11:06 a.m. PST

Yes, some units got British guns and by 1815 a couple had block trail.
I have done best I can on exact make-up of my Prussian batteries and have #11 &12 Horse batteries in block trail guns.

d88mm194017 Jun 2022 12:45 p.m. PST

From this site I found a tiny clue:

"The guns supplied by Great Britain arrived with sufficient ammunition, but I don't know if there was sufficient ammunition for the captured French pieces. In 1815 the ammunition wagons – at least for the 18th and 19th Horse Battery – were French."

(He does go into great detail on deployment and recruitment.)

d88mm194017 Jun 2022 12:52 p.m. PST

Here is another article that I found from here:

Prussian Horse Artillery in the Campaign of 1815 – Part 1
By: Uwe Ehmke and Edmund Wagner

Translator: Justin Howard

This article previously appeared in Issue 1 of the German-language magazine Depesche, which is published by our partner, Napoleon Online. We appreciate the kindness of the editor, Markus Stein, for giving us permission to publish the translation.

Situation in 1815

In May 1815, the Prussian army had twelve batteries of horse artillery available for the impending campaign, Batteries number 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 10, 11, 12, 14, 18, 19 and 20. However instead of Batteries number 1 and 2, some sources erroneously list number 21 and 22, which were actually first mustered in September 1815 – after the campaign had ended. Batteries 4 and 15 were then placed in the top position, i.e. became number 1 and 2, while the former Batteries 1 and 2 became numbers 21 and 22 respectively.

For the campaign, the batteries were distributed among the individual corps as follows:

1st Army Corps (Lieutenant General von Zieten)

Brigade Commander Colonel von Lehmann

Horse Battery No. 2 (Captain von Borowski)
Horse Battery No. 7 (Captain von Schäffer)
Horse Battery No. 10 (Captain von Richter)

2nd Army Corps (General von Pirch)

Brigade Commander Colonel von Röhl

Horse Battery No. 5 (Second Lieutenant von Roll)
Horse Battery No. 6 (Captain von Jenichen)
Horse Battery No. 14 (Captain von Fritz)

3rd Army Corps (Lieutenant General von Tielemann)

Brigade Commander Colonel von Mohnhaupt

Horse Battery No. 18 (Captain von Hoyer)
Horse Battery No. 19 (Captain von Dellen)
Horse Battery No. 20 (Captain von Vollmer)

4th Army Corps (Count von Bülow von Dennewitz)

Brigade Commander General von Braun (later Major von Bordeleben)

Horse Battery No. 1
Horse Battery No. 11
Horse Battery No. 12


The theoretical complement of a horse artillery battery was:

1 First Captain, 1 First Lieutenant, 3 Second Lieutenants, 1 Surgeon, 13 Non-Commissioned Officers, 2 Trumpeters, 20 Bombardiers, 112 Privates, 4 Artisans and 15 Train soldiers (8 soldiers and 7 labourers), in total 172 men.

These soldiers received 206 so-called "royal service horses", which were distributed as follows:

109 riding horses, 1 nag for the surgeon, 4 nags for the artisans, 36 pole horses and 56 lead horses.

In addition, each battery received 12 officer's horses and 2 pack horses.

Artillery Park

Each battery had 6 x 6-pounder cannon, 2 x 7-pounder howitzers, 4 x 6-pounder ammunition wagons, 2 x 7-pounder shell wagons and 2 hay carts, making in total 16 cannon and 16 wagons available.

Each gun was pulled by a six-horse team and each wagon by a 4-horse team, with an outrider allocated to each pair of horses in a team. The train soldiers were responsible for the hay carts.

Both types of gun – 6-pounder cannon and 7-pounder howitzer – are shown in two drawings by Edmund Wagner. The barrel of the gun was cast from bronze and bored after cooling. The barrel had a sight of undefined height and only a sighting groove on the base. This meant that the sighting angle varied from gun to gun. For the 6-pounder cannon it measured about 45 minutes of a degree.

The wooden carriage was painted in cornflower blue and had iron strapping. The trail of the carriage was rounded like a sled.

Axles were usually iron, but wooden axles were also used – these of course broke more often. In both cases, wood was used for the axle lining.

The wheels were after the French Gribeauval system.


The caisson of the 6-pound cannon contained: 45 round shot, 10 x large case shot and 5 x small case shot, in total therefore 60 projectiles, as well as 66 priming tubes, 1.25 pounds of powder, 25 portfires and 1 coil of fuse.

The 6-pounder ammunition wagon transported 90 round shot, 17 x large case shot and 8 x small case shot (in total 115 projectiles), 2.5 pounds of powder, 127 priming tubes, 25 portfires and 1 coil of fuse.

The 7-pounder shell wagon could hold 49 normal shells, 16 shrapnel shells, 3 incendiary shells and 2 flare shells – in total therefore 70 projectiles – as well as 77 priming tubes, 3 pounds of powder, 25 portfires and 1 coil of fuse.

Placed on the Napoleon Series: March 2010



Oliver Schmidt20 Jun 2022 12:07 a.m. PST

In 1813-1815, there were several Prussian batteries equipped with British guns.

Unfortunately, I haven't come accross any detailed description by contemporarians of these guns, they are usually just refered to as "English guns". A block trail, which would have been unusual on the continent, is never mentioned.

So yes, "do we have anything from the British end which says how the gun carriages sent to Prussia were constructed" ?

Oliver Schmidt20 Jun 2022 1:07 a.m. PST

Found a notice in: J. L. Vogel, Theilnahme der Königl. Preuss. Artillerie an dem Kampfe des Befreiungskrieges, Berlin 1846, p. 333.

The 6pfündge Fuß-Batterie No. 27 (became Reitende Batterie No. 16 on 15 April 1815, in VI army corps) received in summer 1813 six British 6pounder "light guns" and two 5,5 inch British howitzers.

The guns were the known ones […] with block trail carriages [Blocklaffeten], which had on both sides boxes [Achskasten] on the axis, with high limber wheels and two shafts [Gabeldeichseln]

14Bore22 Jun 2022 3:56 p.m. PST

From P.H's booklet Prussian Landwehr and Landsturm 1813-15
In OOB (which built my Prussians to the letter)

Nr 1 12pdr had 10 12pdrs, 2 x pdrs10
Nr 2 has 8 x 12pdrs
Nr 4 and 5 had French 12pdrs
Nr 8 6pdr had 6 heavy 6pdrs
Nr 11 6pdr has 8 6pdrs
Nr 19 6pdr has 7 heavy 6pdrs, 1 7pdr
Nr 21 6pdr has 6 heavy 6pdrs
Nr 24 6prd has 8 6pdrs
Nr 11 Horse has 8 English 6 pdrs

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