Napoleon Series Archive 2009

Re: A Conundrum...
In Response To: Re: A Conundrum... ()

'I ask your indulgence in my commenting on your posting as noted above. I believe your statement in general terms, by 1800 all of Europes artillery was made virtually the same way, and operated the same way...is correct and I would further add, were fought with equal efficiency..'

'You concluding points hits the nail on the head succicntly about artillery effectiveness. No one nation had the superior edge technologically. The British, French, Austrian, Russian and I suspect Prussian and Saxon artillery as well as the smaller german states, all had good artillery education systems in place, the guns were made the same and used the same. Conditions of the day of action having more impact than any technological or educational edge.'

Both of these statements have elements of accuracy, but neither are generally correct for the following reasons:

While artillery was constructed and cast in 'virtually the same way' all of the nations involved did not have the same production standards nor did they have the same production tolerances, especially in the gun tubes. French production standards were very stringent and the tooling they used to check newly cast gun tubes were superior to the other nations involved.

Artillery pieces were all 'operated' in the same way, that is how the round was prepared, loaded, and fired. Crew drill was near identical for each nation, the British being a little different in that they fired the piece from the opposite side to the French and just about everyone else. However, the efficiency of the gun crews had a lot to do with institutional excellence, which the French, British, and Austrians, as well as the Wurttembergers and Bavarians had. I would argue that the Prussians and the Russians did not, though they were developing. The Russian system was new as of 1805 and their educational system was not up to the standards of the British, French, and Austrians. Neither were the Prussians. As late as 1806-1807 the Prussian artillery was still suffering under the neglect it had under Frederick the Great and they didn't have a unified artillery system until 1816. The Russians really didn't have one until 1805. Further the Prussians didn't open their first artillery school until 1791 and the Russian army as a whole had education problems, which are detailed very well in Duffy's Russia's Military Way to the West.

I would disagree that the guns of all nations were 'fought with equal efficiency.' They might have been fought with equal enthusiasm, but not efficiency. If training and education standards are not high or not as high as other nations, then the guns will not be served with 'equal efficiency.' At the higher levels, division, corps, and army, the French were vastly superior in artillery command and control as has been outlined earlier. Further, the French had the only artillery arm that had any written doctrine above the battery/company level. The aggressive use of French artillery was not matched on the battlefield by any other nation and the technical education in France was superior to that of any other nation in Europe, see Frederick Artz The Development of Technical Education in France 1500-1850. Every other nation copied France in technical education techniques and copied their schools, especially the artillery schools. Adye was an admirer of the Gribeauval System when the British had no unified artillery system. The Prussian and Russian technical education problems during the period have already been outlined, and the Austrians in the 1750s modeled their artillery school on that of France, the first of which had been established in 1679 in Douai.

All artillery arms and/or systems are not equal, nor is the efficiency of the respective artillery arms and it is very noticeable during the period 1792-1815. To state they were is to misjudge what actually happened and to ignore easily obtained information.

Sincerely,
K

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Forthcoming Book
Mémoires du capitaine de frégate Pierre Baste
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Marins, Marines, Matelots, et bric a brac...
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Forthcoming Book: Soldats ou Matelots?
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Russian unicorns
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Observations upon Russian Ordnance
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Russian ammunition and caissons
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Thank you for the clarification
Unicorns vs howitzers
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Quotes
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Memoirs
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L 'Armee Russe sous le Tsar Alexandre I 1805-15.
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DDS Napoleonic Artillery
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Let's not get ahead of ourselves
Of Possible Interest.
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A Conundrum...
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Ready, Fire, Aim...
Sidearms?
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The spelling should have been 'Adye' throughout.
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The spelling should have been 'Adye'
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Willett - two 't's.
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Some Familliia Adye Stuff.
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Re: Russian unicorns
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Of Possible Interest.
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Russian guns in French service????
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Horses, Artillery, Resupply, and Logistics
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Jack of all trades?
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Very nice - thank you :-)
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Very kind - thank you :-) *NM*
Shako
Many thanks: is the peak detachable?
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Re: Forthcoming Book: Soldats ou Matelots?
The point is: they were Soldats not Matelots :-) *NM*
Matelots and Soldats...
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Re: Forthcoming Book: Soldats ou Matelots?