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Smoothbore Ordnance Journal

Issue 2: December 2010

i3 gribeauval

Chairman of the Editorial Board

Digby Smith

Dr. Stephen Summerfield
Loughborough University









Issue 2: December 2010

Welcome to the second issue of the Smoothbore Ordnance Journal published by Ken Trotman Ltd in association with the Napoleon-Series.

Stephen Summerfield, editor (Aug 2010) Smoothbore Ordnance Journal, Issue 1, Ken Trotman Publishing. [ISBN 978-1-907417-13-9]

Stephen Summerfield, editor (Dec 2010) Smoothbore Ordnance Journal, Issue 2, Ken Trotman Publishing. [ISBN 978-1-907417-14-6]

The online version at the Napoleon Series does not have the additional six colour plates of the printed version including elevations of the Austrian M1762 version of the Gribeauval Garrison Carriage, Saxon M1810 8-pdr Howitzer and Württemberg M1811 Wurst Ammunition Wagons by Norman Swales at 1:24 scale.

Plate 1: French bronze 24-pdrs on Gribeauval M1765 Garrison Carriages at a Batterie de Place, c1772. The M1765 gun tubes were little different to those of M1732 Valliere except that the decoration was removed. In 1775, the dolphins became square rather than sculptured.

Plate 2: Elevation of the Austrian M1762 Hohe Wall-Lafette mounting a M1753 24-pdr Batteriestück at 1:24 scale.

Plate 3: Portraits of generals and politicians important in the Gribeauval story.

Plate 4: Elevation of the Württemberg M1811 Wurst Ammunition Wagen at 1:24 scale.

Plate 5: Major (left) and NCO (right) in the Saxon Horse Artillery (1810-15).

Plate 6: Elevation of the Saxon M1810 8-pdr Howitzer at 1:24 scale.

The importance of the technical subjects of ordnance, science and engineering has been shown over the years by discussion on the Napoleon Series Forum and elsewhere. It is hoped that the journal will make such discussion more informed and productive. Contributions of translations and academic papers are welcomed on subjects connected to artillery or military engineering in the 18th to mid 19th century.

This issue has two main themes.

Theme One – Gribeauval

Jean-Baptiste Vacquette de Gribeauval (1715-89) is an interesting man who survived the Salon politics of France despite his background of being a poor non-noble birth through the patronage of a number of powerful men.

1.      Chronology of Gribeauval gives a timeline view of his life. [Stephen Summerfield (Dec 2010) SOJ 2(01)]

2.      A short biography of Gribeauval in German can be seen in Issue one of this journal translated by Digby Smith.

3.      The Piccard (1816) and Hennebert (1896) are both important biographies of Gribeauval that are among the supporting material for the journal.

4.      He had trained at the Artillery School at La Fère before serving in the French Corps-Royal de l’Artillerie then the Corps des Mineurs[See Stephen Summerfield (Dec 2010) SOJ 2(02)]

5.      In 1748, he designed the Gribeauval Garrison Carriage that was tested and rejected by the French Artillery. A modified form was used by the Austrians in their defence of Schweidnitz in 1762. [See Stephen Summerfield (Dec 2010) SOJ 2(04)]

6.      Before he joined Austrian service in 1758, Gribeauval strongly objected to the regiment artillery. [Digby Smith, translator (Dec 2010) SOJ 2(05)]

7.      In 1758, he was seconded to the Corps of Engineers in the Austrian armies. [See Stephen Summerfield (Dec 2010) SOJ 2(03)]

8.      In March 1762, Gribeauval while still serving with the Austrian Army wrote a short report in response to the 18 questions from the French Secretary of State for War. These as can be seen in the original French [See Hennebert (1896)] and the translation by Digby Smith shows clearly that they were very general in nature. [Digby Smith, translator (Dec 2010) SOJ 2(06)]

9.      His work from 1763 until his death in 1789 when he returned to France will no doubt be for the future. He is best known to modern readers for overseeing the modernisation of French ordnance and artillery organisation from 1765. Much of his active service was in artillery administration, engineering and mining. There being no distinction made between the branches of technical services at this time.

Theme Two – Confederation of the Rhine Artillery

This is the first of a series of papers on European artillery systems that encompass the 18th to the mid 19th century. It is important to look at the extent equipment as well as the written word. The artillery of the Lesser German States that fought for Napoleon in the Confederation of the Rhine had a number of very innovative artillery systems that were derived from and often copied by the great powers of Austria, Britain, France, Prussia and Russia. This has been mostly overlooked. The three papers presented here show the organisation, equipment and some of the history of the artillery of Wurttemberg and Saxony.

·       Digby Smith translation of the History of Württemberg Artillery 1757-1815 shows the innovation in the artillery arm by this small country. [Digby Smith (Dec 2010) SOJ 2(07)]

·       We are fortunate that John Cook has provided his photos of the Württemberg Ordnance that illustrate the translation by Digby Smith. These photos are by permission of [John Cook and Stephen Summerfield (Dec 2010) SOJ 2(08)]

·       Gerard Cronin and Stephen Summerfield outline the ordnance, uniform and the drill of the Saxon Horse Artillery. [Gerard Cronin and Stephen Summerfield  (Dec 2010) SOJ 2(09)]


The editor wishes to thank Richard Brown of Ken Trotman Ltd, Norman Swales, and NGA Archive for permission to reproduce many of the illustrations. The comments and advice from John Cook, Gerard Cronin of GJM Figurines, Donald Graves, David Hollins, David McCracken, Christian Rogge and Digby Smith have made this a pleasure to put journal together. The support of Robert Burnham of the Napoleon-Series, Patrick Ehresmann, Philip Magrath of the Royal Armouries at Fort Nelson, Steven H. Smith, Matthew Switlik and Hans Karl Weiss for the Smoothbore Ordnance Journal from early beginnings has been greatly appreciated.

Dr Stephen Summerfield
30 November 2010

Section 1: Gribeauval’s Early Work 

“Part 1: Summary of Gribeauval’s Life,”
Dr Stephen Summerfield
Smoothbore Ordnance Journal, Issue 2 (01)

“Part 2: Gribeauval in France before the Seven Years War (1715-56),”
Dr Stephen Summerfield
Smoothbore Ordnance Journal, Issue 2 (02),

“Part 3: Gribeauval in Austrian Service (1758-62),”
Dr Stephen Summerfield
Smoothbore Ordnance Journal, Issue 2 (03),

“Chapter V: Siege of Schweidnitz: Seventh Campaign Ends”
Carlyle, Thomas (1865), 
History of Friedrich II of Prussia, Chapman and Hall, Volume VI, pp300-321

“Précis sur M. de Gribeauval, Premier Inspecteur de L’Artillerie de France,”
Passac, Chevalier de (1816)
In (May 1889), Revue D’Artillerie, pp96-120.

“Gribeauval: premier inspecteur général du corps de l’artillerie. Quelques pages inedites relatives a son se jour en autriche,
Hennebert (1896)
Revue d’Artillerie, 47, pp598-623.

Section 2: Gribeauval and French Ordnance 

 “Part 4: Gribeauval Garrison Carriage,”
Dr Stephen Summerfield

With Supporting Material in Appendix

Muller (1811) The Elements of the Science of War, Volume I: pp110-112
Dollezcek (1887) Geschichte der Östereichischen Artillerie, pp333-338
Tousard (1809) American Artillerist’s Companion, Volume I: pp312-15
Fave (1863) Etudes sur le Passe et l’Avenir de l’Artillerie, Paris, Volume IV, pp144-145
Smoothbore Ordnance Journal, Issue 2 (04)

“Gribeauval’s Objection toward Regimental Artillery,” 
Translation by Digby Smith
Extract from Susane (1875) Histoire de l’Artillerie, pp179-180
Smoothbore Ordnance Journal, Issue 2 (05)

Section 3: Gribeauval on Austrian Artillery

“The 18 Questions on Austrian Artillery that Gribeauval Answered in his Report Dated March 1762,”
Translated by Digby Smith

See Hennebert (1896) for the French version.
Smoothbore Ordnance Journal, Issue 2 (06)

Section 4: German State Ordnance 

“Weissenbach’s History of the Royal Württemberg Artillery – Organisation and Equipment 1734-1815,”
Smoothbore Ordnance Journal, Issue 2 (07) [Translated by Digby Smith]

“Scale Models of Wurttemberg M1809 Field Ordnance,”
Smoothbore Ordnance Journal, Issue 2 (08), [John Cook and Stephen Summerfield]

“Saxon Horse Artillery 1810-15,” 
Smoothbore Ordnance Journal, Issue 2 (09) [Gerard Cronin and Stephen Summerfield]

Section 5: Reviews 

“Review of Waterloo Netherlands Correspondence by John Franklin”
Smoothbore Ordnance Journal, Issue 2 (10) [Reviewed by Dr Stephen Summerfield]

“Review of Waterloo Hanoverian Correspondence by John Franklin”
Smoothbore Ordnance Journal, Issue 2 (10), [Reviewed by Dr Stephen Summerfield]

“Glover, Gareth (editor) (2010) The Waterloo Archive Volume I: British Sources”
[Reviewed By Robert Burnham]

“Glover, Gareth (editor) (2010) The Waterloo Archive Volume II: German Sources”
[Reviewed By Robert Burnham]

“Noël, Jean-Nicolas-Auguste. (Translated by Rosemary Brindle). With Napoleon's Guns: The Military Memoirs of an Officer of the First Empire.”
[Reviewed by David McCracken]

Section 6: Dispatches

This is a readers’ section offering correspondence, inquiries and discussion on Ordnance. The editors of the Smoothbore Ordnance Journal invite queries but please note that we cannot answer questions relating to genealogy. Those interested in such matters are directed to the many websites that specialise in this type of research. Please send your inquiries to the Editor. There are no “Dispatches” for this Issue.