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Osprey Men-at-Arms 96 : Artillery Equipments of the Napoleonic Wars

In the first half of the 18th century the French had been the European leaders in artillery, possessing the only standardised range of pieces, known as the de Vallière system. These pieces, ranging from 4pdrs. to 24pdrs., were sturdy but extremely heavy. At the beginning of the Seven Years war, Austria seized the lead by introducing new light field pieces - the 3pdr., 6pdr., and 12pdr. guns - and some excellent light howitzers. Other powers adopted this new system [the French copied the field howitzer as late as 1803], though the Prussians, unable to afford a completely new range of artillery, adopted only the light 6pdr. and light 12pdr. No complete overarching methodology existed until the implementation of the Gribeauval system, which for the first time created a unified range of artillery; not just the pieces but their carriages, limbers, ammunition wagons, and the tools to serve them. Jean Baptiste de Gribeauval served with the Austrian artillery from 1756-62, and when he returned to France he was called upon to reorganise the French artillery. His proposed reforms were bitterly opposed for some years, the opposition being led by de Vallière's son, and could not be implemented until 1776; but from then until his death in 1789 he established a system which was to revolutionise the artillery of Europe and make possible the highly efficient field artillery of the Napoleonic Wars. Terence Wise examines in detail the artillery equipment of the Napoleonic Wars in a text accompanied by plenty of illustrations including eight full page colour plates by Richard Hook.

    Contents
  • The Equipments
  • The Teams
  • The Ammunition
  • The Method of Firing
  • Performance
  • Organization
  • The Plates

 

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