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  • Soldier horse Artillery

    horse Artillery

    The Napoleonic artillery was a product of the change in French military theory that followed humiliations of the Seven Years War. Especially painful was the defeat at Rossbach where 42.000 French and their Allies were trashed by 21,000 Prussians under Fredrick the Great. The French artillery in that time was according to the "system" of de Vallerie. The cannons were strongly built, very powerful, but very ornate and far too heavy to handle in the field.

    The old system was gradually replaced by so-called Gribeauval System. The new guns were designed for more rapid movements, on and off the roads. Gribeauval stressed mobility, hitting power and accuracy. His important innovation was the elevating screw used to adjust the range of the cannon by raising or lowering its breech. Another innovation was the prolong. It was a heavy rope 30 feet long and used to connect the gun and its limber when it was necessary to fire while retiring or to unlimber the gun while crossing some difficult obstacle.

    Napoleon expected excellence and competence from his gunners and he got it. The French artillery became superior to every artillery of Europe. The artillery enjoyed an unprecedented popularity among young men in France seeking career in the army. The infantrymen and cavalrymen complained that the gunners gave themselves airs because their First Consul and then Emperor himself had been a gunner.


    Horse Artillery (artillerie à cheval). In 1805 were 6 regiments of horse artillery.

    The horse gunner wore uniform resembling the light cavalry's outfit (hussar's) until 1812. The new uniform was elegant but simpler. The fur cap (or shako with red cords) was replaced with shako with red bands and shevrons. He also wore red epaulettes, similar to those worn by the elite companies of cavalry and infantry.



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  • Soldier foot-artillery


    The foot gunner was armed with musket of dragoon model, bayonet, and a short infantry saber.

    Foot artillery companies, or batteries, consisted of 100 to 120 men with 6 cannons and 2 six-inch howitzers. During a longer campaign the company would be reduced to 3 or 4 guns as there were losses among the gunners. Fewer gunners were able to serve fewer guns. Gunter Janoschke of Germany writes: "The main problems with fielding the standard number of guns was the shortage of horses, the capture of guns or the inability to repair them. The crew was not the problem, because guns didn't needed crews full of well-trained artillerymen. A few of them plus additional untrained men were enough. I can only speak for the Prussians, as they were used to fill the crew by the reserve men of the battery, placed somewhere in the rear. They get reinforcements from the depots, and if that wasn't possible, men from the infantry and cavalry were transferred to artillery service. The result was, that the batteries could field still a lot of guns even after a long campaing, apart from material losses. It´s known, that the French started sometimes war with leaving guns behind due to a shortage of horses.

    The French foot gunners wore dark blue coats, with dark blue lapels, collars and red cuffs. In some aspects it was similar to light infantry uniform. The greatcoat was also dark-blue. The foot gunner wore, in addition to two white leather crossbelts for cartridge box and short saber called a bricole. It was a shoulder belt (not white) with an attached long drag rope.The bricole had a hook that could be inserted at the ends of the gun's axles and along the sides of the carriage.
    Until 1812 the drummers of foot artillery customarily wore red coats with dark blue lapels.

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