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The Development of Tactics & Training In The Russian Army: Artillery Regulations and Instructions

The Development of Tactics & Training In The Russian Army: Artillery Regulations and Instructions

A Century of The Russian Ministry of War


General Staff Historical Department

(Translated into English from the original Russian by Peter Phillips)

The Development of Tactics & Training In The Russian Army, 1801 to 1814.

Artillery Regulations and Instructions.



Regulations and instructions on artillery: when we compare the history of the development of infantry and cavalry regulations, then, initially, a significant backwardness in the historical course of the development of artillery is clear. While the infantry saw through five successive regulations, starting with Peter the Great (1716, 1755, 1763, 1796 and 1809, not including those of 1730 and 1762), and the cavalry had almost the same number, moreover, both in the infantry and in the cavalry, they managed to change the main concept two, three times on the relative importance in battle of one or other of the combat arms and of the aims of their training; The artillery had yet to have a single set of dedicated regulations developed by us.[1] As for the method of employing artillery in combat, our views on this issue were not established for a long time and did not find expression in any general instructions. Such backwardness in the development of artillery concepts could be explained by the comparative novelty of the combat arm itself or the imperfection of the techniques for manufacturing guns, which, with their poor accuracy and low rate of fire, with the weight and lack of mobility of the entire weapon system, diminished their significance in combat and thereby the attention of military leaders was distracted from the artillery even in peacetime, as reforms were being made in the infantry and cavalry. But this explanation is contradicted by the fact that under Peter the Great, when the techniques for manufacturing artillery pieces were no more advanced than later, the artillery was recognised as of outstanding importance in combat, and such recognition found expression in the Military Regulations of 1716, specifically in the section on active wartime service. It is true that the Military Regulations of 1716 did not include instructions on artillery drills; but they also did not have instructions on cavalry drills, only for the infantry alone, moreover, very elementary ones. Judging by the importance that the military regulations of 1716 attached to artillery in combat, it can be said with confidence that although there were no actual artillery regulations at that time, then there were some sort of uniform principles in place of regulations for the artillery. This assessment of the matter should be considered sufficient initially.

Thus, we can conclude that under Peter the Great, our artillery was in no worse a situation than the infantry and cavalry with regard to its further development in general and for the development of artillery combat regulations in particular. Our task is not to include a detailed presentation of the reasons for the halt in the development of artillery combat regulations, as was mentioned above: these reasons were, presumably, the lack of independence in the organisation of field artillery. The foundations for this independence were laid in the reign of Emperor Paul I through the establishment on 9 [20] November, 1796 of the Lifeguard Artillery Battalion from the artillery sub-units of the Preobrazhensky, Semenovsky and Izmailovsky regiments.[2] By Supreme order date 6 [18] March, 1800, it was decided to extend the same measures to the artillery, integral to all the grenadier and musketeer regiments, as has already been mentioned.[3] Count Arakcheev took a prominent part in the work of the transformation of artillery that followed in the new reign. Summoned (from retirement) in 1802 to St. Petersburg to attend the commission established in 1801 under the chairmanship of the Tsarevich, Count Arakcheev was appointed inspector of all artillery on 14 [26] May 1803. His activity in terms of the transformation of artillery was significant only for the first four and a half years before his appointment as Minister of War on 13 [25] January 1808. Count Arakcheev had a lot of work to do, both in carrying out the above-mentioned Supreme order dated 6 [18] March 1800, and in new reforms, while also drawing up principles for artillery training. How little had been done before him on this latter issue may be judged by the fact that our artillery did not even have common words of command for gun drills: everything had to be established from scratch. The long-standing attachment of regimental artillery to infantry regiments not only affected the lack of proper order in artillery training by the beginning of the 19th century, but it also resulted in the deep entrenching in our minds of foot artillery as a form of infantry. In doing justice to the great work that Count Arakcheev did for the benefit of our artillery, it should be said, however, that neither Count Arakcheev, nor even much later, the compilers of our artillery regulations of 1824, were free from such a mind-set. Yet we had broadly educated gunners who understood the combat significance of their weapons well. Among them, an exceptionally fortunate military talent shone in the personality of Count Kutuzov.

Before proceeding to instructions on the training of artillery, we will present some general information on its reorganisation.

Changes in the organisation of the artillery, 19 [31] March 1803.

According to the Most Humble Report by the commission, dated 19 [31] March 1803, the following establishments were approved: the Independent Lifeguard Artillery Battalion, 18 field and two horse battalions, as well as the siege artillery. “A field battalion is to consist of four companies,[4] of which two are to contain heavy guns for battery work, while the other two are to have light guns for regimental support; in the former, each company is to have four half-pud [18-pounder] licorns [gun-howitzers], four 12-pounder medium cannon and four more of smaller size, and in addition, two three-pounder licorns, which, if necessary, are to be attached to jäger regiments, with all the accessories, crew and horses from the same company; while in the latter there are to be four 12-pounder licorns and eight six-pounder smaller size cannon; such that each company has 12 guns, while the light companies, without interfering with the heavy ones, on the first call for them by the regiments, are immediately detached from the artillery battalion, on a scale of six per regiment, or a half artillery company, and are to go to the appointed place, thus not hindering the swift movement of the troops with heavy artillery, which, meanwhile, can proceed behind them with equally great convenience.

Two foot artillery battalions form an artillery regiment, and each is to be stationed in appropriate locations.

The siege artillery is intended to have 180 guns: 30 36-pounder licorns, 60 24-pounder cannon, 50 18-pounder and 12-pounder heavy cannon, 20 five-pud [180-pound] mortars and 20 more two-pud [72-pound]; and, until such time as they are required, these guns are to be kept in the arsenals at St. Petersburg, Riga, Kiev and Kherson.

The horse artillery is to consist of two battalions each of five companies, while each company is to have 12 guns, i.e. six quarter-pud [nine-pounder] or 12-pounder licorns, and six six-pounder light cannon. According to this schedule, the entire stock of guns is to come to 1,288, including 432 light regimental pieces, 432 battery pieces, 72 three-pounder licorns for the jägers, 120 guns for the horse artillery battalions, 180 siege guns, 50 guns and two three-pounder licorns for the Lifeguard.

Consequently, according to the present plans for the number of grenadier and musketeer regiments, although there is a shortfall of light artillery for regimental support to the tune of 18 regiments, nevertheless, due to the extent of our borders and the locations of these troops, it cannot be expected that all regiments would simultaneously need to be supported by their artillery.

As for manoeuvres, all regiments will have sufficient artillery from the designated places for each location, with the added convenience that after a regimental exercise, the artillery inspector can, for his part, carry out all the practice that it is necessary to observe in order to keep the artillery at the desired battle-worthy state…

The commission’s report goes on to say that Colonels-in-Chiefs should be responsible for ensuring that, if necessary, they have the number of horses to hand that are required for the artillery.

The Most Humble Report by Count Arakcheev dated 18 [30] June 1803.

On 18 [30] June, the observations drafted by Count Arakcheev on the implementation of the recently presented report dated 19 [31] March, were submitted for Supreme Approval,[5] where Count Arakcheev, among other things, recommended: “That a total of 192 guns are to be cast in the arsenals of St. Petersburg and Bryansk, as the number of regimental light artillery deficient, is: 38 six-pounder light cannon, 78 12-pounder licorns and 76 three-pounder licorns for the jägers,… The completion of each of these observations and of bringing the regiments into a perfect state of practical skills is entrusted to the special care and activity of the inspector of all artillery…

The abolition of regimental artillery: thus, regimental artillery was abolished in our country in the form in which it had existed for a lengthy period, specifically in the dedicated direct support role to an infantry or cavalry regiment, being, moreover, under the exclusive jurisdiction of the regimental commander. But the designation ‘regimental artillery’ continued to be used in the sense of artillery attached to regiments during joint exercises.

The Supreme Approval of Establishments dated 25 August [6 September] 1806.

The formation of artillery brigades: through a ruling dated 25 August [6 September], 1806, it was decided:[6]

1. The designation of foot artillery, pontoon regiments and horse artillery battalions (excluding the Lifeguard battalion) is to be by numbered company…

  1. In each division, all artillery companies collectively are to be designated an artillery brigade adopting the designation number of the division…
  2. In each division there should be one artillery colonel, commanding the artillery brigade designated by this number…
  3. Artillery generals are to be assigned one to each corps, having as many artillery brigades under their command as there are divisions in their corps.
  4. These generals also already have dedicated inspectors for these artillery brigades.

Supreme Decree addressed to Count Arakcheev dated 1 [13] July 1807.[7]

… 1. Every artillery brigade is to be composed of the same number of companies, namely: two battery, two light, one horse and one pontoon, including three reserve brigades in this establishment…

Instructions from Count Arakcheev to Maj Gen Berg, dated 19 [31] August 1803.

Following the withdrawal of regimental artillery from infantry regiments, Count Arakcheev took care to issue instructions to artillery commanders regarding the positioning of regimental artillery when manoeuvring in close support of their regiments. These instructions were issued on 19 [31] August 1803 (Serial No. 776) in instructions addressed to Maj Gen Berg. The positioning of regimental artillery is clarified therein:

  1. When the infantry battalions are in platoon column: 1st gun is to be on the right flank of 1st platoon, 1st battalion; 2nd gun is to be on the left flank of the rearmost platoon of 1st battalion; 3rd gun is to be on the right flank of the rearmost [sic] platoon of 2nd battalion; 4th gun is to be on the left flank of the rearmost platoon of 2nd battalion, and, “in general, the guns should always be with their platoons on these same flanks, both on the march and in combat formation.
  2. Once divisional [two-company frontage] column had been formed from the previous one: the guns, in accordance with the foregoing, should also be on the flanks of their former platoons, and consequently on the flanks of divisions [pairs of companies].
  3. In closed column, formed from this arrangement of battalions: the artillery pieces, on the command ‘first division stand by,’ are immediately to advance ahead of the column for 30 paces and, having formed battery [taken up fire positions], open a bombardment, and in the meantime the battalions extend the heads of their columns. Once the battalions begin to move into line, then the guns are to move by files to the left, limbered up and, until the line has halted, to fire from the right guns, or when forming line to the right – from the left guns, thus each gun continuing its movement until such time as their battalion has deployed into line. Thereafter, once the guns are already emplaced, having taken up positions opposite the battalion intervals 30 paces ahead of the line, meanwhile the limbers are to pass through these intervals and remain behind the line, covering off the intervals.”
  4. In a combat formation of six battalions: advancing or retiring: on an advance by the entire line, the guns are to be 30 paces in front of the line, ready to move, covering off the intervals, having limbers behind the line. In order to facilitate platoon volley fire along the length of the entire line, the guns are to enter the intervals. On retiring: the guns remain 10 paces behind the line and during the continuation of the movement, if ordered, return fire, observing only that the fire from each of the guns does not strike the line.

Conclusions: The cited extracts are not quite clear in places, due to the very technical language. However, they are of great interest in two respects: firstly, as the first detailed explanation of joint manoeuvring by regimental artillery alongside the infantry regiment, and secondly, as convincing evidence that the removal of regimental artillery from regiments was a measure of an exclusively administrative nature, which, in the opinion of Count Arakcheev, did not change the previous role of regimental artillery as a form of close support for the infantry battalion, assigned simply to enhance the firepower of the infantry. In this regard, that during a withdrawal, the above expression, “observing only that the fire from each of the guns does not strike the line.” one can say that it literally repeats the requirements of both Elisabeth’s and Catherine’s regulations for platoon volley fire by infantry during the withdrawal. The same conclusion can be drawn from the above instruction for the positioning of regimental artillery during an offensive movement by the entire line: and this instruction is reminiscent of the principles from the same former regulations on so-called offensive volley fire.

The Most Humble Report by Count Arakcheev, dated 9 [21] April 1804.

On 9 [21] April 1804, the report by Count Arakcheev on the procedure for conducting practical artillery exercises was granted Supreme approval. This report testifies both to the disorder that existed previously with regard to practical training in the artillery, and to the diligence with which Count Arakcheev set about the reintroduction of good order. “The inspector of all artillery, considering in all rigour the order in which practical artillery exercises have been carried out for six weeks annually, up to the present;[8] moreover, also taking into consideration the principles on which these should always be based by scientists, he finds that due to the multiplicity of weapons at these camps, combined with the shortness of the training time mentioned, it becomes absolutely impossible to perform the operations from each gun type with the utmost observance of such mathematical laws with all the necessary precision, and through this very schooling in artillery practice, which should in theory have borne the fruit of skills, emerges through their execution into lessons in the good fortune of mere blind chance and remain quite unsuccessful in reaching the desired level of attainment: this reason prompts me now to dare to present most humbly the following regarding this subject to Your Imperial Majesty.” The report went on to state that the practical exercise of artillery should consist of:

  1. Training in theoretical skills.
  2. Training in the skills of operating artillery pieces in all possible situations.

Moreover, both types of training should always be performed by companies in turn. The same six-week period was assigned for all such training, of which two weeks were to be devoted to theoretical skills and a month to studies in the field. “According to the mentioned scheduling of camp time, the months of August and September are to remain completely free. Artillery regiments during these months may be inspected by formation artillery inspectors and may also enter into encampments with the army. Light artillery companies, having regimental artillery duties, after the end of their camp time, on 1 [13] July, remain for operations with army regiments and are to keep the entire month of July free.

As for horse artillery companies, since they are always separated from one another, therefore, their entry into camp, which will be equal to the foot artillery in duration, remains dependent on the inspector of all artillery, but not earlier than 15 [27] May and not later than 1 [13] July, such that by 1 [13] August these companies should have finished their camp and six weeks of fresh forage for their horses.

In general, the period set aside for practical training was set between 1 [13] May to 1 [13] August, at different times for each company, and classes were scheduled to be performed in the mornings between 6 o’clock and 10 o’clock and in the afternoons from 4 o’clock until 8 o’clock. After two weeks of theoretical classes, 3rd company went to camp and remained in camp from 15 [27] May to 15 [27] June, 2nd company from 1 [13] June to 1 [13] July, 4th company from 15 [27] June to 15 [27] July and 1st company from 1 [13] July to 1 [13] August; the rest of the time, also a total of six weeks, was assigned to the companies for rest.

The Operation of Guns (Artillery Training in Camp of 1804): as expressed by Count Arakcheev, was divided into two elements:

  1. On “operations in place, assuming that the objective is the achievement of perfection in the skills of plunging, ricochet, and point-blank fire, at known ranges, based on rigorous theoretical laws.
  2. On operations… during various movements on the attack and withdrawal, having as its objective the achievement of particular skill and dexterity, both in the movement of battery artillery as a whole, and in their movements individually in support of line regiments.

It cannot be said that this classification, expressed, moreover, in very cumbersome Arakcheev language, was especially clear or successful, since from the above explanation it can be understood that artillery was accustomed to consider itself as positional, as if doomed to immobility, while when moving, considered their mission not moving from position to position in order to prepare infantry attacks, but the actual execution of attack and withdrawal movements, like infantry.

In The Operation of Guns, the company was divided into two sub-units: while one was engaged in operations in place, the other half-company was engaged in operations with various movements.

Application of fire: operations in place meant, as shown above, firing on a target. “Three prepared target boards for the company are placed in such a way that each officer has his own particular target for his operations at long-range, that is: at 400 sazhen [840 metres] from the firing point for battery guns, and at 300 sazhen [630 metres] from the firing point for light guns; from these ranges the officers also start their initial operations. The field officer commanding the company is given the opportunity to supervise practical exercises in place, such that the first third of all camp training time is in performing operations with guns from the aforementioned long ranges; the second third – at ranges 50 sazhen [105 metres] shorter than the first, while the remaining third is spent at ranges a further 50 sazhen shorter than the second.

Since in this practical training it is not intended to have any platforms at all, then before starting the practice, each officer is obliged to apply his knowledge to the most accurate levelling of the piece, the amount of elevation or depression onto the location on which his target board is placed, which is which he is also to note down in his journal, which he must invariably maintain during his practical training camp.

This practical occupation in the operation of guns in place begins, initially, with an exercise in plunging and ricochet fire.

In any event, only through the skill, activity and special diligence of the artillery officer, who makes a true application of theory to practice in all things, will the men in the unit entrusted to him be enriched, to the best of their strength and skill, with all practical observations which could serve as sufficient principles or aids for them to achieve, as far as possible, precision in aimed fire under any unanticipated circumstances that have a strong influence on the operations of the guns, which are: the essential state of the atmosphere, relative sensitivity to aridity or humidity in the air, calm or windy weather, uneven force from explosive charges, varying amounts of windage, and so on.

Thus, each of the feuerwerkers, bombardiers and gunners is obliged, through following each of the most relevant comments passed on to him from the officer, to lay his own gun in turn and fire. Success or failure in the effect on the target board for each shot is indicated by the officer in the journal, explaining exactly who fired the shot, on which part of the shield it had effect, or under what circumstances he missed the target board.

It is mostly left to the officer to engage the feuerwerkers, bombardiers and gunners in the operation of the guns…

On this exact basis, the company is to engage in practical exercises in place at other ranges closer to the target boards than the above indicated ranges, adding to this the exercise in point blank fire.” Later on, but no longer in the section on shooting, it states (this passage will be given below in its original phraseology) that in the final days of camp time, the officer in charge of practical artillery exercises is allowed to do several exercises, firing on target boards at random ranges.

The quoted part of the report dated 9 [21] April, 1804 shows how low the level of development was in our field of training artillery shooting skills by the beginning of the reign of Emperor Alexander I, and, even in the report by Count Arakcheev, how little the awareness of the immediate practical aims was expressed, which one should and could, even with smooth-bore artillery, strive for with such training. Practical exercises in artillery shooting were actually reduced to a simple test, as Count Arakcheev expressed it, of the strict application of theory, and great importance was attached to ensuring that everyone laid their gun and fired in turn; that after each shot an explanation of the reasons for deviation from the aiming point is given, and the results of each shoot were recorded in a special journal. Of course, such studies were nonetheless more useful than the previous ones, when, according to Count Arakcheev, “this very schooling in artillery practicebecame lessons in the good fortune of mere blind chance;” however, it was still not enough: in the report by Count Arakcheev there is not even a hint of the possibility of learning to adjust for fall-of-shot.

Plunging fire: “In each artillery battalion that remains completely free after the completion of its company field training, that is, which is not required either for joint exercises with the army, or for dedicated operations in support of line regiments, it is expected, in addition to the mentioned company training, that the Colonel-in-Chief of this battalion, after the departure of the first company on 1 [13] August (as is mentioned above, the first company was the last to complete field training), is to assign the feuerwerkers and bombardiers for continuation training in the operation of the guns, engaging them mostly in the skills of firing shells from licorns; and wherever mortars are located in garrisons, also from mortars, continuing such exercises until 16 [28] August.

The handling of guns in various movements: this training is to be carried out throughout the entire camp time through the use of horses.

Each of the officers is to train his sub-unit individually, initially with only a single simple movement, such as: movement by bricole, limbered, etc., with the most precise observation of the principles known for that; and after a satisfactory improvement by the men in the precision, agility and dexterity of the mentioned movements, the field officer in command of the company, brings these sub-units together, having already taught both one and the other half-companies in turn all the various manoeuvres of attack and withdrawal, both in the movement of battery artillery as a whole, and in the movement of those supporting line regiments; which training is entirely to be carried out with blank or live ammunition, according to his own will and discretion.

In the final days of camp time, the field officer is to be allowed to make several such exercises including with the entire company also using ammunition caissons, firing on the target boards with round-shot and canister, at random ranges and meanwhile busying himself with the carrying out of aimed fire with canister rounds, which exercises he is even to carry out in the presence of his Colonel-in-Chief or battalion commander and with all other field officers and subalterns in the battalion or regiment.

All artillery company camp training is to conclude with these exercises.

Summary of All Artillery Words of Command to be Used by Officers,

dated 9 [21] April 1804.

In 1803, in a letter dated 17 [29] October to Meller-Zakomelsky, Count Arakcheev wrote:[9] “… As for the artillery exercises, there are no major changes, but I am busy drafting artillery regulations for you…”

In the following year, 1804, “a Brief Summary of All Artillery Words of Command received Supreme approval, to be used, as necessary, until such times as the general artillery regulations are issued.” [10] This was the first attempt to establish a uniform order of execution in those above-mentioned exercises, where until then much had been left to the discretion of individual commanders. The great need for such standardisation was amply demonstrated by the following comments by Count Arakcheev in the most humble report, under cover of which the above-mentioned Summary was submitted: “Having inspected the Lifeguard Artillery Battalion and the exercises with guns by 1st Regimental Company, I found that even in these places there is not only a great difference in the manner of operating and movement of the gun, but also a difference and obscurity even in the use of the actual words of command.

These instructions were drawn up in relation to a battery or a half-company. The battery was to be trained in techniques with guns, movement on limbers and on bricole. When moving limbered up, the battery was trained in slow and quick march, wheeling by pairs of guns, by half-battery, by battery, turning to the right and to the right about.

Orders for the Deployment of Ammunition Caissons During the Training of an

Artillery Company in Their Use,

Assuming One Per Gun, dated 22 September (4 October) 1804

Following the Summary of Words of Command, orders were issued for the Deployment of Ammunition Caissons.[11] We will confine ourselves here to just one directive from the contents of these orders.

Ammunition caissons were to be positioned in a single line 30 paces behind the guns and limbers, each caisson covering off behind its respective gun.

Count Arakcheev’s report dated 26 October [7 November], 1804.

Artillery training camps: on 26 October [7 November], Count Arakcheev submitted a report to the Minister for Military Land Forces,[12] in which there is a reference to a Supreme Command, “such that artillery regiments, battalions and horse companies, should always have places allotted to them at their permanent quarters, dedicated and without any other use, both for camps and for  practical exercises, where there should be permanent batteries and earthen ramparts for firing at targets…” Areas of the following dimensions were indicated for these camps: 580 by 250 sazhen [1,220 by 525 metres] for a regiment; 580 by 100 sazhen [1,220 by 210 metres] for a battalion; 480 by 60 sazhen [1,010 by 130 metres] for an horse artillery company, in total, of the nine regiments and nine horse companies, only against one regiment located in St. Petersburg, is there a mark made by the hand of Count Arakcheev that “this regiment has a place.

The Most Humble Report by Count Arakcheev, dated 22 March [3 April], 1805.

Joint exercises: on 22 March [3 April] 1805, a report by Count Arakcheev, On Artillery Manoeuvres, received Supreme approval.[13] Among other things, it stated: “Upon arrival at an infantry camp, the half-company of artillery is to be located in accordance with its confirmed plan, depending on the location, on the right or on the left flank of the regiment… For combined operations between artillery and the regiment, one week is sufficient from the day of their entry into the camp, after which the half-company is to depart from the camp and return to their permanent quarters. Horse artillery companies are equally intended to join cavalry regiments in the vicinity of their location, by half-company, on the same basis as each of the Supreme written rules…

Conclusions: the above documents covering the period from 1803 to 1807 show the great and fruitful activity by Count Arakcheev for the benefit of our artillery. It is true that the instructions from Count Arakcheev on the procedure for carrying out practical artillery firing and on the immediate training objectives for troops in manoeuvring were insufficient against our current concepts; but this shortfall was small in comparison with the enormous advantage that our artillery received from a lighter gun system and from familiarisation with manoeuvring in harness. Gifted commanders, such as Count Kutaisov in the battle of Preußisch Eylau, were able to derive enormous benefit from these two reforms, created through the preliminary work by Count Arakcheev. The success of the actions by Count Kutaisov in this battle led to a clarification of the combat role of artillery. This clarification was of great benefit to us in the Patriotic War, at the very beginning of which Count Kutaisov compiled the following instructions.

General Principles for Artillery on the Battlefield, compiled by Count Kutaisov, 1812.

Just before the opening of the Patriotic War, General Principles for Artillery on the Battlefield, compiled by Maj Gen Kutaisov received Supreme approval. Information on the distribution of these principles to divisional commanders is available in the orders from the Commander-in-Chief of Second Western Army, Gen of Inf, Prince Bagration dated 8 [20] July 1812, to the commander of VIII Corps Lt Gen Borozdin.[14] These principles are shown below, verbatim:

Without mentioning the capabilities of our guns and without going into details thereof, which should be known to every qualified artilleryman, I have in mind only the general effect of artillery during a battle, and for this its employment should be subject to the following principles.

  1. On the field of battle, engagements at 500 sazhen [1,050 metres] are questionable, relatively accurate at 300 [630 metres], but deadly at 200 [420 metres] and at 100 [210 metres]; at the latter three ranges, our new canister may also be used. Consequently, when the enemy is still at long range, then fire at them, but rarely, in order to have chance to more accurately correct your aim while your fire will make it awkward for them to move; increase your rate of fire at the second range, in order to halt or at least delay their approach, and eventually, strike with all possible speed in order to drive them off or destroy them.
  2. From the beginning of the battle, conceal the strength of your artillery, but increase it throughout the duration of the action, through which the focus of your attack will be hidden from the enemy, and if they are attacking, they would encounter artillery where they might not have expected it.
  3. Before the true intentions of the enemy have been discerned, then the batteries should consist of a small number of guns and, having been scattered in various locations in the position, you present a small target, and you yourself have more means of harming them with indirect fire and crossfire and frustrating them in their operations.
  4. Batteries with a larger number of guns should be placed in those cases when it is necessary to make a breach in the enemy’s line or to halt their powerful striving for a particular objective, or when it is necessary to drive them out of some position.
  5. Avoid placing batteries atop very elevated, steep hills; in contrast, batteries of licorns may be placed to great advantage behind low folds in the ground which only just conceal them, as almost all of their fire, with the exception of canister fire, is plunging.
  6. It may be taken as a rule, almost without exception, that when we intend to attack, the greater part of our artillery should fire upon the enemy artillery; when we are under attack, the greater part of our artillery must fire on the enemy cavalry and infantry.
  7. Moreover, it is essential to engage their batteries if they are greatly hindering you from taking any position or are harming you in defilade.
  8. Engage columns and masses with round shot at full-charge and with shell, sometimes with a reduced charge, such that they ricochet and burst down the length of the column itself; engage columns with canister only at such times as they have come to close range, because the effect of round shot on them is much more deadly.

9.Engage troops in line, who are at a favourable range from you, mainly with canister, but when firing round shot or shell, try to position your batteries in such a way as to rake along the line, or at least obliquely.

  1. When facing a powerful attack, when you are intending to withdraw, the artillery covering the withdrawal should place batteries in two echelons, such that, in defence, the front one could pass through the rear one, which should already be prepared to engage the enemy.
  2. Artillery, in any case, should protect the movements of troops and defence should be mutual, therefore, their commander, having reconnoitred a position and having been notified of the intention, are to arrange themselves such that they contribute to the enterprise through their cooperation in accordance with the ground.
  3. Your main deployments should be along the flanks of the line, in the intervals and in reserve; but this deployment must not prevent you from moving about as much as possible in accordance with the ground and direction of the enemy force, as it is very harmful during your attack to remain in the same position for any length of time.
  4. The artillery reserve, located behind the second or third echelon, should be composed mainly of horse artillery, which, with their speed and lightness, can be transferred to various points with great speed, while battery companies, in order to increase their speed of movement, may put some of the men on any handy horses or on the gun carriages.
  5. The commander of the artillery reserve, at the behest of his superiors or by himself, on seeing the need to reinforce somewhere, is to dispose of the batteries with all possible speed, because from his activity the battle might easily take a change of course.
  6. Space permitting, place batteries such that the axle of one gun is no closer than 15 paces from the axle of another, as a result of which, movement and handling will be more amenable, and enemy fire is less harmful.
  7. Foot artillery when in action should not have more than one ammunition caisson per gun in the battery itself, while the rest should be left behind the lines. The horse artillery may have even fewer caissons for themselves, observing only that the limbers are always fully loaded with charges.
  8. The men should be trained in advance to quickly and deftly transfer gun barrels from one gun carriage to another.
  9. At detached outposts during the night, the guns should always be set at point blank range and loaded with canister to which a lanyard has been attached, such that when day breaks and it is no longer needed, it would be possible to unload the guns.
  10. Every battery commander is to ensure that they have spare horses and spare harness during combat, while these horses are to be fitted with common simple harness.
  11. When movement is anticipated across muddy or swampy terrain, in an attempt to keep their equipment dry, the artillerymen must then stock up with fascines, which may be conveniently hung from the sides of caissons and guns.
  12. In conclusion, I will say that, knowing how difficult it is to prepare and deliver ammunition, there is nothing more shameful for an artilleryman and more harmful to the army than the waste of rounds, which one should try to use in such a way that each one harms the enemy.”

Conclusions: the Supreme approved General Principles for Artillery on the Battlefield, 1812 explain the positioning of artillery in the combat formation of the army and require the allocation of an artillery reserve; show both the objectives of action against enemy troops in column and in line, and on enemy artillery; draw the attention of commanders to the importance of manoeuvring artillery on the battlefield and to the importance of coordination between artillery and other arms; finally, they recognise the great importance of artillery in combat and its potential to influence the outcome of a battle.

All these concepts, quite advanced for that time, reveal an independent reassessment of the importance of artillery in battle, on the basis of course of our own experiences in the wars with Napoleon. These marvellous instructions, compiled by Count Kutaisov, are an example of the rise of confidence that we generally observe in all matters in the era of the Patriotic War.

[1]    The regulations of 1730 were universal; the regulations of 1756 will be discussed in due course.

[2]    P.P. Pototsky, History of the Lifeguard Artillery, 1896, p. 1.

[3] Military Training in The Reign of Tsar Paul I (Part Six): Artillery

[4]    Complete Collection of Laws, Vol XXVII, No. 20672.

[5]    Complete Collection of Laws, Vol. XXVII, No. 20804.

[6]    Complete Collection of Laws, Vol XXIX, No. 22249

[7]    Complete Collection of Laws, Vol. XXIX, No. 22545.

[8]    Complete Collection of Laws, Vol XXVIII, No. 21247.

[9]    St Petersburg Artillery Museum, Department of Inspections, No. 331.

[10]  St Petersburg Artillery Museum, Department of Inspections, No. 405.

[11]  A printed copy is held in the St Petersburg Artillery Museum, Department of Inspections, No. 405, registry No. 189.

[12]  The original is held in the Archive of the Ministry of the Interior, No. 119.

[13]  Complete Collection of Laws, Vol. XXVIII, No. 21676.

[14]  Moscow Independent Miscellaneous Archive of the General Staff, Op. 209, sv. 14, l. 143 & 144.