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
2nd Army Corps (General von Pirch)
Brigade Commander Colonel von Röhl
3rd Army Corps (Lieutenant General von Tielemann)
Brigade Commander Colonel von Mohnhaupt
4th Army Corps (Count von Bülow von Dennewitz)
Brigade Commander General von Braun (later Major von Bordeleben)
The theoretical complement of a horse artillery battery was:
These soldiers received 206 so-called “royal service horses”, which were distributed as follows:
In addition, each battery received 12 officer’s horses and 2 pack horses.
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
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