20 November 2013

My SYW gun models – Reviewing new Black Hussar and Fife&Drum Miniatures gun models

My Artillery Research is taking a Holiday Season Break for a while. I thought of returning to my core business – that is painting miniatures.

I received the first sample gun models by US based Fife & Drum Miniatures (FDM), as well as from Berlin based Black Hussar Miniatures (BHM). 
This got me rather excited and I thought of sharing my first closer look at the fruit of all my earlier research – for all these new range models claim to be sculptured based on my drafts.
Below are the three Prussian beauties, we'll now have a closer look at. All are 28 mm or 1:56 scale.
Left is the Prussian Holtzmann M1740 3-pdr by FDM, centre is the much longer barrel Beauvryé M1746 3-pdr by BHM, and right we have the Dieskau M1754 light 6-pdr by FDM. BHM also sent me their set of 5 Cannoniers along with the limber. You see the Cannoniers dressed in grey primer. The limber, I haven't painted so far. You'll see it on the first image upper left background. The Cannoniers are fantastic in detail. You cannot get a Prussian gun crew more authentic then this one. Gunner No.1 with the rammer of course works with battalion guns only. His gorgeous crocked rammer was used for the light pieces only.
Now, back to the hardware and talking pure cannon issues: All have done a wonderful job. The models are dead on scale, niclely sculptured in detail, and should be about the most authentic Prussian SYW models money can buy.
The two 3-pdrs at somewhat close view. The wheels of the BHM piece could be 2 mm or so taller to my taste, while those of the FDM could be a tad less massy. The FDM pieces are also missing the trail rings. Possibly for production matters. I added my own scratch made ones to the FDM models. The track width of the FDM 6-pdr is clearly too generous. The barrel of the BHM piece is the most pretty sculptured barrel I have ever seen. Very detailed, and all very accurately done. But, honestly, comparing the two we are comparing Ferrari's with Maserati's.


The BHM 3-pdr barrel in close-up view. I was told, late 3D printer technology was employed for the accurate end-product.



Close-up of the FDM 6-pdr. Very nicely done. The muzzle swell is greater then it should be, but it does no harm to its visual presence. This way, the barrel's silhouette won't fail to look Prussian by its first glance if seen from some distance.

And while I was at it, I also assembled & painted a Prussian 12-pdr from Austrian based Diez foundry. Its supposed to be a medium M1758 ‘Austrian-type’ piece, as the barrel has the same length as this foundries ‘real’ Austrian 12-pdr (seen laying in the foreground). 

Some minor corrections had to be done here. I removed the trail rings, which did not come with this heavy position gun. Also the two Centre and Base Transoms are placed too low. 



I had to add another wedge serving as base to its  Richtmaschine. The carriage really is M1761 or 1766. A very similar forerunner may have been introduced in 1759 and may have been the carriage to the M1759 ‘Austrian-type’ 12-pdr. This model, though, had a barrel which was about a muzzle length longer.
Here is another piece I just finished. Foundry is unknown. 
Originally, it seems to be a battery culverine for the period 1600-1700, but it makes a perfect heavy 6-pdr with a barrel 27 calibres long. The barrel could be a tad slimmer, but its length is near on scale. A mm less would be dead on. Fine enough. I made it a Hannoverian piece, as they fielded such long barrel 6-pdrs in great numbers. For a Hannoverian 12-pdr the barrel would be too short, as well as the wheels would have to be taller. It makes a nice heavy field gun 6-pdr. I also labeled it with the makings of King George II on the bracket cheeks. I know all of the ammo-wagons bore the crowned GR initials, so I would believe, the gun carriages had them as well.
Another view of all five pieces being discussed.

23 July 2013

Prussian SYW Artillery scale drawings – part 3

Let us return to the Prussian 12-pounders fielded. This particular calibre saw the widest range of models designed and fielded during the Seven Years' War. Of my earlier presented Holtzmann M1738/40 piece, but few saw service, really, for lighter models had been designed and cast from 1743 on. For the campaigns of 1756 and 1757, the two below models formed the core of Prussia's 12-pounder field guns. The two next sheets will present the guns in an increased scale– and with French headlines. The latter is meant to be a salute to my Blogs considerable French reading audience.
The first is the Linger M1744 light construction. I have decided to entitle it the Linger model, though I'm not a 100% sure here. The design may well be the Holtzmann light construction designed and cast in 1743. See also my earlier sheet of the Holtzmann M1738/40 12-pounder. Both pieces should have been much similar and had a slimmer appearance as the original heavier M1738 Hotzmann construction.
The above contemporary drawing, belonging to the Collection of the Copenhagen Arsenal Museum served as the template of my “Linger 12-pounder”. The light design is the centre barrel with the original. The sheet is French headlined: Anciens canons prussiens de 12, à chambres coniques et cylindriques, coulée à Berlin de 1738 à 1744. The adjective "Anciens" (i.e. "former") implies, the copy was done after the Seven Years' War, illustrating constructions "formally" in use with the Prussian artillery. From 1759 on, no chambered bore guns were cast anymore, as the Prussians returned to the more massive common bore designs. The top and bottom barrel can be identified as Holtzmann designs of 1738. The slim centre barrel may either be the lighter Linger or Holtzmann piece. No other designs are recorded for this period in M&B. The drawings concentrate on the principle dimensions, only. The holds have been omitted by the artist, to my understanding, for all Prussian guns had sculptured holds in the shape of griffins or eagles during this period until the Dieskau designed 3 and 6-pounders of 1768. Also most barrel designs by around 1756 would still have the astragal of the vent, while some were already missing the astragal of the chase. Only with new designs during the Seven Years' War – and after – the astragals were omitted as can be seen with the many original barrels of post 1770 casts on display in several museums to the present day.
I have not taken the effort to do a mass calculation based on the given dimensions, for the poor image resolution does not serve to give reliable figures. I'm left with informed guess approximation. I have done mass calculations for the next piece presented, and its attached discussion will give an insight to the sort of figure-wise embarrassments you are likely to be confronted with. This method of approach to find, or at least verify, the true dimensions is furthermore offset by the fact that recorded draft based volume or mass figures of a given barrel often fail to match with cast originals found in todays museum collections. Deviations of 50 or 100 and more pounds, even with lighter 4 or 6-pounders, seem to be the rule, rather then the exception. And it is not false or confused ancient weight figures employed, that make for the funny results, but it should be common deviations found with this periods method of manufacturing in general. In short – mass calculations will serve for some way, but unfortunately not all the way, as I found out with my extensive research. Don't be unsettled by conflicting weight figures, but be on your guard when faced with conflicting general dimensions. The latter should make a close match in any case. A told 16 shot barrel should be 16 shot barrel, and from my numerous measurements done at a good number of original barrels, I can say it holds true – by accepting deviations of plus/minus 1 cm or 0.5 inch.
The next, and rather important design, is the Dieskau M1754 light 12-pounder. It was the lightest – and latest – construction fielded with this branch of position guns at the beginning of the Seven Years' War.
It formed the mainstay of 12-pounders of Frederick's army of Saxony in 1756. The piece's testing complied to the demands. Its shot carried over 2.000 paces. As per the Royal Ordonnance of 25 Nov 1754 (Jany, vol ii, p. 257) it was to become Prussia's single future 12-pounder design. Serial casts commenced during Spring 1755 at the Berlin foundry, replacing the same number of 1740's cast 16 shot length cylindrical chamber bore 12-pounders. 30 pieces to Dieskau's 1754 design plus ten more of the older Holtzmann design contributed by Ferdinand of Brunswick's right wing army group joining with the Magdebourg district regiments were with the Royal Army invading Saxony in 1756. Feld-maréchal Schwerin's Army of Silesia had the older 1740' cast 16 shot length Holtzmann and Linger model 12-pounders, only.
The design of this 14 shot barrel, I investigated in somewhat more detail, for the sources are confusing the known total of 3 different designs, that are all based on the initial 1754 Dieskau construction.
The remaining pieces forming Prussia's heavy position artillery in 1756 were the light 24-pounders and few 10/11-pounder howitzers and gun-howitzers.
The two next images are the Copenhagen Museum Collection's draft of the post Seven Years' War model fielded during the 1770's.

Above plan view illustrates the manpower required when retiring the piece.
The so far presented models formed the Prussian artillery in the campaigns of 1756 and all through 1757 until the battle of Leuthen, 5 December. With this battle, the Prussian's dropped all of  their innovations of the past two decades. Contrary to her adopted doctrine, which relied on very light field guns only,  they reanimated a collosal ‘biest’ from the old ages of gunnery. It is illustrated with the below sheet. The reason was the alarming shortage of heavy guns. Most had been lost during the retreat from Bohemia during the Summer and the further losses with the Prussian reverses suffered at Moys and Breslau. It was sheer desperation, that caused the Prussians to add these obsolete ordnance to the artillery parc.

The piece is really a design based on 17th Century state of the art. It was thought impossible, that guns of this weight could keep up with the pace of the advancing line in a given moving engagement, but on the day of Leuthen, it seemed to have worked fine. The time of season may have helped to provide for the required firm ground. From recorded correspondence, Dieskau as well as Frederick confirm the enormous difficulties of moving the pieces in action. More often they served for no other than an initial preliminary bombardment of the enemy positions and ceased to take any part in the further action once the line started to advance.
However, with Frederick's instructions 30 June 1758 concerning the management of the artillery in case of a battle, directed at his artillery commanders Dieskau and Möller, he intended to have 20 such pieces forming part of a giant 40 cannon grand battery sustaining the attack and keep the pace with the attacking wing of infantry. The original French text is included at the end of this article.
The below sheet shows a similar weight 12-pounder of the Royal Danish ordnance of 1706. Its dimensions are nearly the same.
This sheet is headlined: "Proportion einer 12# Canon mit Laffuite undt Vorstellung [sic.]". Source: original draft found in the archive of the Norwegian Artillery School / Oslo, supplied by Trond Johannessen at www.arkeliet.no . It is part of a 1706 dated German language manuscript titled "Praxis Artilleriae", for the Royal Danish Artillery.
The Danish artillery had adopted the odd conic shaped muzzle design somewhat earlier then the Prussians. It is likewise a 24 shot barrel. The foot scale employed with Danish gun construction was also the Rhenish or Cologne foot scale from the 1680's on, and as a result, Danish calibre scales should have equalled the Prussian ones. The wheels have a height of 58 Zoll, the carriage's bracket cheek front face has a height of 3.5 shot and a length of 35.25 shot or approx. 400 cm (barrel length plus approx. 11 shot) – i.e. very similar to the Prussian M1717 carriage figures. It is just minor details that are different – most obviously the style of the metal fittings. Even the design of the wedges may have been not so different from the Prussian M1717 ones, though, the manuscript does not include any information on Danish wedge designs at all.
I took the effort to also illustrate a Brummer of the later design, of which an original piece with its original carriage is on display at the Paris Musée de l'Armée to the present day.
It has often been falsely identified. The English Wiki-Entry to the French Gribeauval artillery system even makes it a French 12-pounder! It is of course a Prussian cannon, very prominently displayed at the entrance of the museum. Having the opportunity to compare the two models, allows for a better separation and a true identification.

Here are a few pictures of the Paris original I took during my visit of the museum.
The piece has received the French olive green furnish at some stage after it had been captured. It may have seen service with the French army during the Revolutionay Wars or later. Or, it may have been simply the odd decision of a silly curator of the museum in later times. To my observation, some of the original – very weathered Prussian blue furnish – can be detected at the upper part of the naves.
 The front view. Note the metal sheets on top of the naves linking with the axletree. They were termed in German Kotbleche – in English something like ‘dirt sheets’ [?]. This item is found illustrated with the M1774 carriages. Earlier drafts ignore this detail. I cannot say at what date they have been introduced.

Here is a nice detail view to the design of the wedges. The original should have had a twin handle. Part of the machinery must have been lost. The horizontal iron bolt behind the lower face of the transom is clearly visible. On top the transom we see the placement of the lower wedge onto which the upper triangle shaped top wedge is fitted.

Original of Frederick's instructions directed to his artillery commanders, issued in the camp of Prosnitz / Moravia 30 June 1758. [[Transcript in original orthography from Schöning, "Historisch biographische Nachrichten zur Geschichte der Brandenburg–Preußischen Artillerie", vol. ii, Berlin 1844, pp. 113 ff.]]
Les colonels de Dieskau et Moller sont instruit par ceci, ce qu'ils auront à faire en cas de bataille. L'armée n'attaquera qu'avec une aile, comme près de Leuthen, dix bataillons auront l'attaque devant l'armée; si c'est l'aile droite qui attaque, les deux principale batteries seront formées de cette façon:
[order from right to left]: 40 canons de 12 et de 24 livres – 9 bataillons – 7 haubitz de 10 livres – 1 bataillon
Si c'est l'aile gauche qui attaque, on n'a qu'à placer à la gauche ce qu'il y a ici sur la droite et la grande batterie sera toujours placée devant l'armée. Sur l'aile qui n'attaque pas, on transportera les autres canons.
NB. Les 7 haubitz seront reparties dans les 10 bataillons qui forment l'attaque.
Il faut que les canons tirent toujours pour démonter les canons de l'ennemi et lorsqu'il auront éteint leur feu, il faut qu'ils tirent en écharpe, tant sur l'infanterie que sur la cavalerie, qui sera attaquée.
Les batteries seront toujours avancées comme à Leuthen et pourra surtout celle de 40 pièces faire un grand effet si les canoniers tirent bien et qu'ils commencement à tirer à cartouches [read: grape and/or canister] à 800 pas.
Les 20 canons qui sont sur l'aile qui n'attaque pas, y pourront 'a la fin aussi être ajoutés et faire un bon effet, pour mettre l'ennemi en confusion et pour faciliter le choc à nos gens.
Il faudra faire cet arrangement que cette quantité de canons soit tenu ensemble afin que Messieurs les colonels en puissent d'abord disposer.
Ils pendront six pièces de 12 livres avec eux et viendront ici avec les artilleurs pour arriver plus vite et pouvoir faire toutes les dispositions à temps à cheval et ils donneront leurs ordres aux officiers et aux soldats d'avance en conséquence de ceci.
Ces Messieurs ne partiront avec leurs gens que lorsque Mr. le Maréchal [Keith] le leur ordonnera.
Du camp près de Prosnitz [en Moravie] ce 30 Juin 1758.
Frédéric ’’



01 May 2013

7YW Artillery – FRANCE continued

After having started to study howitzer design of the period with my first illustrated Prussian samples, I now have a better understanding which now enables me to also present the single genuine French howitzer piece fielded during the Seven Years' War.
Source regarding this design are scarce. Once more numerous bits from various records had been brought together.
Next image shows an original 1:3 scale model of the barrel. It is attributed to the famous Swiss/French founder Jean Maritz, hand made in 1748. The piece is made of gold-plated bronze and richly decorated. The barrel comes with the button and cascabel sculpted quite similar as the Vallière 8-pounder. My draft just reproduces the non sculpted button variant.
Source: copyright restricted
Image Collection of the Paris Musée de l'Armée, France.
It is published here for purely academic use without any commercial intention.


Source: copyright restricted
Image Collection of the Paris Musée de l'Armée, France.
It is published here for purely academic use without any commercial intention.

Below contemporary draft of the carriage from Struensee's book served as general guide for my scale drawing, including its associated tutorial for dimensioning a howitzer carriage. Struensee designs a 6 shots barrel, that is longer then the French 4.5 shots piece, which, in consequence  results in slightly altered figures with my draft. He accounts for 12 inches of space from the top front edge of the bracket cheek to the front of the trunnion cut-out, while mine accounts or only 8 inches or 1 shot, for the muzzle swell of the true shorter French barrel would otherwise get jammed between the bracket cheeks. Struensee's original illustration also includes a rather major flaw as it does ignore the true angle of the carriage's trail. With his illustrated angle, the carriage would have been fitted with absurdly low wheels, since the trails lower face was in any case meant to be level with the horizon line. But apart from this, all other figures do make a good fit with other drafts for howitzers of the period. Also his illustrated carriage of the French 24-pounder cannon includes an albeit minor figure-wise deviation to its associated tutorial.
I should note that there are also other takes regarding the design of the carriage. See below illustration found in the French Esquisse Historique de l‘Artillerie Française, by A. de Moltzheim, Strasbourg 1866. 
I don't know if his illustration is based on thorough research at all. Again, we cannot see the barrel. The visible bits seem to be based on a Gribeauval M1765 6-inch howitzer, really. The carriage seems to be designed with straight bracket cheeks, omitting the otherwise custom angle. Not sure here. The English contemporary John Muller, director of the London/Woolwhich arsenal and foundries, had the following to say – quoting: "It is true St. Remy, a French author, published in 1723 [sic. – read 1693], the most complete and extensive Treatise of Artillery, in two volumes in quarto, that is extant; which has since been much improved in the last Paris edition, in three volumes, published in 1745, containing all the improvements made in the artillery since the first edition… … All the authors that wrote since have done no more than copied his works in an imperfect manner, even the German authors follow him; though it is plain that the French have chiefly copied [the German] Dilichius: for their field carriages are exactly the same to this day as he has delineated them in his first work…" (John Muller, A Treatise of Artillery, London 1768, introduction pp. iii ff.).
With this German ‘Dilichius’, Muller refers to the classic work by Wilhelm Dillich or the latinized Wilhelmi Dilichii, Hochvernünfftig gegründet- und aufgerichtete, in gewisse Classen eingetheilte, bisher verschlossen gelegen, nunmehr aber eröffnete Krieges-Schule [sic.], Frankfurt 1646 (more widely read, it seems, was the 2nd edition of 1689). Dillich describes the standardized carriages first introduced by Maurice of Nassau's  Dutch at around 1620. The design was soon universally adopted across Europe and remained basically unaltered till well into the 19 hundreds.
Really, all contemporary publications concerning French artillery I know of would repeat presenting St. Remy's 1693 coppers, even the 1755 first volumes of the Encyclopédie do so. As a result, we do not know if anything essential had changed meanwhile. I have the single fragmental evidence, from the Malinowsky & Bonin source on Prussian artillery, who state Prussians introduced straight carriages from 1759 on "based on a design so much favoured by the French at this time". Two pages later, they aren't so sure anymore by stating it may have been only in 1761 or even 1766. Further information on French designs for this period should be the general direction of any further research. Possibly with period between 1760-1765 such models may have been found. Initiated by marshal Broglie, the French really undertook some measures in the attempt to lighten her cannons in order to reduce the ever growing want of draught horses. The Vallière 8- and 12-pounders were re-bored to 12- and 16-pounders, all insignia as well as the figure sculpted buttons were omitted. Also a lightened carriage was introduced for at least these converted pieces, which seem to have seen first service with the campaign of 1761 - not before this year. Oddly enough, Gribeauval's 1765 introduced new ordnance continued to be mounted on carriages with a considerable angle.

06 April 2013

The 2nd Battle of Bergen – Easter Friday, WWIII Central Front 1985

Here are a selection of shots taken from our Easter Fridays Game. Odd purists may object the scenario won't fit in this dedicated Seven Years War Blog, but, I must say it does bear a compelling connection, really. That's why I chose to share it anyway.
Soviet T-80's attacking


To me and our group in Frankfurt/Germany, Easter Friday has been the anniversary day of the SYW April 1759 fought battle of Bergen for years. This year, I made it a "Cold War turned Hot" scenario settled in around 1985-86. 
A Soviet reinforced tank regt (T-80's & BMP-2's) supported by 4 flight's of Mi-24 Attack-helos under the command of colonel “Brunswickov“ launched a deliberate attack on a NATO W-German battle group under overall command of a W-German general-major named "Breugler", drawn from 15th Armoured Brig/5th Armour Div with Leopard II & Marder IFV's (each 1 reinforced battalion plus 1 AT coy Jaguar II HOT and a battalion of 155 mm SP howitzers). NATO defended the high grounds to the east of Frankfurt - in fact the historic grounds of the 7YW battle of Bergen in 1759. Recon and AA platoons were also included on both sides. 
A great battleground to the present day, as it turned out. Google maps provided the basic layout for the terrain. Worked excellent. An embarrassing lot of build-up-areas, rally. I need more buildings, I guess.
The Terrain (table size 2 x 1.9 m)
View shows end result with initial FEBA outlined red


For my scenario, I used the original set of Frank Chadwick's Combined Arms rules (long out of print) which I haven't played for years. Yes, it's still alive. I wonder if anyone else is still using this set of rules?

My Scenario Planning
We were 4 players. Two on each side. I played on the WarPac side. 
NATO mission: Hold and defend
Part of the W-Germans were supposed to start in prepared positions, while a reserve of armour was to reinforce only later entering from NW direction of Nieder-Erlenbach.
Bergen-Enkheim and Bad Vilbel surroundings seen from the South

WarPac Mission: seize Bergen and Lohrberg heights
The Soviets approached from E on two axes. Most armour plus 2 Mot-Rifle coys approached from Schöneck while a Mot-Rifle bataillon approached along the A 66 Interstate tasked to seize Bischofsheim and attack NATO positions along A 66. 1st Bn/28 Armour following behind and tasked to assault Bergen from front the minute the northern group started its assault across the heights just S of Gronau. A single massed simultaneous strike was planned. That should do it, I thought. Part of NATO positions to the W of Bischofsheim were to be blinded by smoke to reduce defensive fire, to be delivered from the Regt Arty group of 3 battalions deployed behind the Hohen Stein high ground (each 1 bn SP 122 mm and 152 mm howitzers and 1 bn BM-21 missile launchers).
Soviet 3 bn Arty Group deployed to support the attack

Forward Edge of Battle Area (FEBA) was found by a pre assault recon action by all players operating with a company sized force to get a feel for the rules. The positions gained here could then serve to place forward elements onto the table. This, I did for the first time. To my feeling not so bad an idea to play out a prior mini game simulating the pre main action recon part, and then start the real game anew. It helps to avoid having an entire Arty battalion gang up on a single unsuspecting BRDM recon platoon the moment it comes into sight. I had all this in other games before.

How did it all work out?
Very different to my initial planning. The W-German reinforcing armour elements choosed to be already in position instead of coming in later. I somehow missed to tell this bit right after issuing the troops to my opponents. Soon later, while I was busy explaining our force to my partner, they had all deployed & I didn't bother to interfere. The heck. Won't make much of a difference, I thought. While the Soviet were deploying for the assault, W-Germans launched a smallish spoiling attack on Gronau, held by only a single BRDM recon platoon. Soviet plans remained unchanged, nevertheless, except Gronau was now also to be regained, which absorbed about 2 coys strength. Gronau now became the scene of a murderous close combat with both sides arty elements also joining in.
The fighting in Gronau
Soon later, 3 Soviet tank bataillons started the assault head on the Bergen position. I failed to fire the planned smoke mission, but instead decided to attack several spotted enemy with regular HE. Not a good decision, as it turned out, for it did little damage. Now basically all W-German elements in  position opened fire on Soviet tanks. The result was an outright massacre.
Too many tanks now received hit into their flank armour from the direction of Gronau and South positions in the woods behind Bischofsheim (the area that was to be blinded by smoke). This brought the game to a soon end with the Soviets taking a decisive defeat. Our Mi-24 Helos now could do no more then cover our retreat.
Finale seen from the South
W-German positions in Bergen. Most being 2/152 PzGrenBtl. – the unit I served in between 1984-1986. It suffered no casualties. I must have survived the day, I guess :-) 
W-German M-113G A2 artillery Forward Observer. The model being a self-made conversion

10 January 2013

Prussian SYW Artillery scale drawings – part 2


In order to illustrate Prussian ordnance of the Seven Years' War with its true distinctive features and dimensions, it is necessary to have a look at the 1717 designed ‘new range’ of ordnance, which laid out most of the basic characteristics of all that can be entitled distinctive Prussian in relation to other nations ordnance for the decades to come. The below two sheets have been arranged to give an insight here.
I took the effort to also illustrate the 3-pounder field gun, for it is believed some pieces to this design did see service during the Seven Years’ War, despite being obsolete ‘old school’ by that time. The next sheet will give some insights to the general design of the carriages. I am particularly happy to have unearthed an illustration of the M1717 wedges (Schusskeile). The design is explained in Malinowsky & Bonin, but only with another rare paper authored by Malinowsky, the so much needed illustration could be found. The written description, only, with its many outdated technical terms was found impossible to understand. Source is the periodical Archiv für die Officiere der Königlich Preußischen Artillerie- und Ingenieur-Corps, vol. 8, Berlin 1839. The Darmstadt State- and University Library keeps a copy including the appendix foldouts that are missing with the Google library copy. I hope my English wording is ok. Any corrections and improving suggestions to English wording of the technical terms are highly welcomed. I’m no engineer.

This carriage design remained in use till well into the Seven Years' War. The carriages were furnished blue, and the metal fittings were painted black. The tools and other equipment, such as rammers, wedges, etc. were instead furnished odd grey. Constructors and cartwrights kept modelling about with minor details throughout the period, but in general, this is how the guns looked like. The paired spokes arrangement was found with the 3- and 6-pounders. The heavy guns had wheels with spokes in ordinary arrangement. Only during the course of the Seven Years’ War, a new carriage design seemed to have been introduced. I will get back to this issue with the sheets to come. For the period up to 1759 and beyond, Prussian carriages looked as illustrated. Below, I added a contemporary illustration of the M1717/1722 3-pounder, found in a gunners’ manual dated approx. 1745 (source is the collection of the Rastatt Army Museum/Germany).

This carriage is of the M1717 design, but with bracket cheeks overall 5 D longer than my above illustration (+1 for the trail and +4 for the centre section [Z]). My illustration is based entirely on the details from Malinowsky & Bonin.
The below photo shows – to my understanding – the single original Seven Years’ War carriage that survived to the present day.

Its a 2-pounder piece of 1758 and belongs to the collection of the Stockholm Army Museum / Sweden. From Hans Bleckwenn’s, Die friderizianischen Uniformen 1756 - 1786, we learn only this single piece was fielded – i.e. a solitaire non-royal ordnance design. The barrel was cast and its carriage assembled in Stettin. It was the private effort of a captain von Seebach in an attempt to equip his militia bataillon with a cannon. Apparently, the king refused to give Seebach’s unit a piece of his own royal ordnance. It was soon lost in a combat against the Swedes. Bleckwenn also provides the scale drawing to this piece. I don’t know the origin of Bleckwenn’s sketch, so that I cannot tell the hen from the egg. The sketch, at least, does give us the dimensions.

Most details of the carriage make a good fit with afore described M1717 carriages. Just the non-rounded trail and the use of only a single horizontal bolt near the centre transom deviate from the regulations. Also the wedge design is somewhat special.

From 1738 on, a significant transformation in Prussian gun construction took place. Prussian field cannons became much lighter, thus, more mobile than the M1717 heavy ordnance. This was contrived by reducing the charges, overall barrel length, and metal strength of the gun tubes. 


The Holtzmann 24-pounder served as master-design to which all other calibre pieces were to be proportioned. Several variants seem to have been cast and tested between 1738 and 1744, for the records give several different overall barrel weights for the pieces actually fielded. The below image from the Gohlke booklet served as the template for my illustration.  

It took me a while to realize its caption is complete nonsense. The drawing is absolutely fine, and accepting it is really the 16 shots 24-pounder all dimensions start to make a lot of sense. The signifficant reduction of weight is quite obvious compared to the older early 18th century European standard ordnance illustrated with the two sample barrels. The new design was based on the widespread believe a chambered bore design created much more gas pressure to the round then an ordinary bore design. Based on this observation, Prussians concluded one could arrive at the same power with less charge. Less gunpowder also allowed for the reduction of the barrels metal strength. This way, the same number of guns could be fielded at much less cost, or alternatively, the number of guns could be increased at same cost. Indeed, a best price arrangement hard to resist, for it so much suited the only now evolving Prussian battle tactics. Prussian infantry drill had arrived at outstanding battlefield mobility. All that was missing was a numerous and equally mobile artillery for best close support. Frederick was so enthusiastic about these light pieces, that within a decade, all of the old heavy ordnance was rigorously melted to provide the gunmetal for new casts, or expelled to the arsenals to serve as fortress or siege cannon. By 1756 all Prussian field guns were chambered bore pieces of mostly 16 shots length, a new 12-pounder 14 shots long, and a super light 24-pounder only 12 shots long. The Beauvrye 3-pounder (see below) was the single ordinary bore design remaining, and it can be considered the master design of yet the next transformation of ordnance to come.
The below sheet examines such a light chamber bore barrel design in somewhat more detail. I felt the need to have a closer look, do a very close reading and recreate the true dimensions. The date of introduction varies with the sources. Apparently, the guns were designed in 1738, but first serial casts commenced only in 1740.


Bataillon Guns


I will try to focus on those guns that were most important either for their design or because they were fielded in larger numbers. No less than six different models of 3-pounders were fielded during the course of the war, including the old M1717 piece as well as around 38 Saxon "Quick-Firer" barrels captured at Hohenfriedberg (1745) and adapted to Prussian style by end of 1750. Captured Austrian models are not included here. For easier identification, all pieces – i.e. more precisely the barrels – are commonly named after their designer/constructor along with the date of construction and/or its first serial casts.

On the eve of the war, summer 1756, Prussians mobilized 240 bataillon guns for a total of 126 bataillons (incl. Pionniers and some bataillons tasked for garrison duty not issued any pieces). 62 were newly cast 6-pounders replacing the same number of Holtzmann 3-pounders with a cylindrical chamber bore. The remainder were all 3-pounders. In terms of numbers, the Holtzmann M1740 conic chamber piece was the most common, amounting to near 100 out of the 178 total. Its new and particular light construction replaced the heavy M1717 long barrel pieces from 1740 on. The construction was indeed found to be too light as the campaigns of 1744/1745 revealed. Its' shot hardly carried 1.000 paces. With the widening of the chamber in order to take a larger powder charge, its shot now carried up to 1.500 paces. Nevertheless, after 1745/47, no new pieces were cast to this model, it seems. New designs were given the preference instead. One such new design was the Beauvrye M1746 piece, which seems to have been designed in response to the shortcomings of the Holtzmann M1740 piece. It had a longer barrel, but was still much lighter then the old M1717 piece. From this model, only 18 casts at the Berlin foundry are documented. Some more pieces may well have been cast, for these tables are incomplete, but this model was fielded in much fewer numbers as the Holtzmann piece. Also in 1746, general Linger designed a conic chamber barrel 20 shots long and somewhat lighter then the Beauvrye piece. Apparently, now this new Linger model was given the preference, as around 60 pieces are believed being cast up till 1756. The light barrels seemed to have been mounted on an equally lightened carriage. Bracket cheeks were shorter, and also the wheels were scaled less high. The illustrated 42 inches wheel is based on the Beauvrye piece illustration found in Gohlke, Geschichte der gesamten Feuerwaffen bis 1850. The Holtzmann 24-pounder had 51 inches wheels. Therefore the 2 remaining 6 and 12-pounder calibres must have had wheels scaled between these two extremes. See also below near contemporary painting “Seydlitz at Rossbach”.

The gun seen here can be identified either as the Beauvrye or the Linger 3-pounder. The uniform details look all rather authentic. The cannon may well be just as authentic. Note the gunners ‘flail-rammer’ as well as the bricoles slung around the gunners’ shoulders. This gun also comes with rather small wheels.
The Beauvrye piece is of interest because according to a paper by Hans Bleckwenn it is quite certain that it was attached to the Berlin region infantry regiments Prinz Heinrich (IR 35), Münchow (IR 36), Fredericks' own Praetorians ( IR 15/I. Leibgarde), and possibly also the other Guards bataillons in 1756. They had them with all their Potsdam exercises during the early 1750’s, as it is recorded in a diary of the Guards officer von Scheelen (see: Hans Bleckwenn / Engl. translation by Digby Smith: Prussian Field Gun Models in Relation to General Tactics. Original articles in the Zeitschrift für Heereskunde, 1957, Numbers 154, 155, 156, 157. 1958/1 Jan-Feb.)
Above we see another battalion gun from the period of approx. 1700. Also with rather low wheels. It's an original Bavarian 1-pounder (caliber approx. 5 cm). It is in the current exhibition of the Bavarian Army Museum at Inglostadt. I haven't bothered to make elaborate measurements. The wheels have a height of less then 90 cm. My friend A*** is serving as ambulant scale reference. He is 184 cm tall (including his missing head:-)) The barrel should be a 27 or 30 shot class barrel or approx. 135 or 150 cm long. A very popular length for 1 or 2-pounder pieces of this period.
As I am discussing the Prussian range of early Seven Years’ War bataillon guns, this chapter can be completed with also presenting the M1754 light 6-pounder by Dieskau.




Holtzmann’s M1740 range also included a 16 shots 6-pounder, but only few have been fielded during the campaigns of 1741 and 1742. It was only little more effective then the 3-pounder but requiered more horses for it’s draught. For this reason it was removed from the field inventory. The remaining Linger 3-pounder had a 20 shots barrel (144 cm) and should have looked much like the Beauvrye piece.

The sole type of bataillon gun not disscused being a 1-pounder Amusette. Such a piece was initially allocated to the Prussian Frei-Bataillons raised during the Seven Years’ War at a ratio of 1 piece per bataillon. From 1759 or 1760 on, they all received 3-pounders instead. Moreoften captured Austrian pieces. Little information could be found here. The first pieces used were really captured Saxon models found in the arsenals of Dresden and Freiberg. With near certainty, the carriage was a `wheelbarrow` type, in which a horse could be harnessed between the shafts. This type of carriage was known all across Europe and fielded with many armies. In Britain it was entitled Galloper gun.

Also of interest may be the innovative limbers, that came with the Prussian bataillon guns. A combination of limber and ammunition cart.


Position Guns

In 1756, and all through 1757, Prussian heavy or ‘Position Artillery’ consisted of chamber bore 12-pounders, either 16 or 14 shots long, and a super light 24-pounder. Furthermore several 10/11-pounder howitzer models. The first sheet presents the 16 shot barrel 12-pounders.

Once more an image of the ‘real pieces’. Above image shows a number of barrels on display at the Vienna Heeresgeschichtliches Museum (HGM). No 1 is a Dieskau M1759 ‘Austrian-type’ 12-pounder, 18 shots long. A cast of 1781 it seems, as per the little information I was able to aquire from the museum. This would be confirmed by the shape of the rounded button which started to appear with casts of 1774 and later. No 2 could be identified as the M1758 ‘Austrian-type’ 12-pounder. A 16 shots barrel (182 cm) Apparently a cast of 1758. It's weight, as per the barrel's engraving is 1,680 pounds (785.4 kg). No 3 behind is a Dieskau 6-pounder M1768/71, 18 shots long (or more preceisely 18.2). Again a cast of after 1774 because of it’s rounded button. This piece came without holds/griffins. And to the rear No 4 we have a mighty 24-pounder. As per it’s mouldings, the piece should be either M1754 or the earlier M1717. Both were quite similar. No 5 is an Austrian 6-pounder. The non sculpted holds and the rounded button would also make it as a 1770 or later cast. The barrel in the left foreground is a Russian Unicorn (date of cast unknown). the bore is larger then the Prussian 12-pdr next to it. Should be a 15 cm class calibre, roughly equalling a 24-pdr bore. As one can see with this rather random arrangement of barrels, the Prussian barrels do have a presence of their own, and do stand out from the crowd by the sheer size of the sculpted griffins. In particular the 24-pounder looks awesome.
The next piece I like to introduce is the rather special design ‘super-light’ 24-pounder M1744.

With the available written record I was able to recreate it‘s true dimensions, for not a single image could be found so far. The principle dimensions of the barrel as well as the carriage should be all rather authentic, and about as close as you can get it. Just some of the minor issues are speculative. Do not pin me down to the exact height or width of applied iron metal sheets, nor the actual number of nails, recommended to fit all to the carriage. Next to the 12-pounders, this piece, along with the equally eccentric 10/11-pounder ‘howitzer-gun’ designed the same year were meant to be the mainstay of the Prussian ‘heavy’ field artillery with the early Seven Years‘ War campaigns, all through 1758. Both were fielded for the first time with the Prussian invasion of Bohemia in 1744.
The 24-pounder is said to have done particular good service at the battles of Hohenfriedberg (1745) and Roßbach (1757). From 1758 on, it gradually became out of use, as it was replaced by the introduction of a new range of more powerful 12-pounders. Next is the 10/11-pounder ‘howitzer-gun’. Both pieces just belong together. They have been designed the same year, and their special construction, along with Holtzmann‘s Klemmkartätschen entitled grape rounds – especially designed for these two pieces – can be deduced only from an understanding of their intended tactical employment. 
Frederick was a great promoter of cannister and grape, in favour of ordinary shot, to be employed with the guns in a given action. To his observation, with the early Silesian Wars‘ battles, cannister and grape did far more damage as roundshot. But cavalry could not really be harmed with conventional cannister rounds at medium ranges. It was the Austrian cavalry, that had been the biggest threat to the Prussians in the battles of Mollwitz 1741, and Chotusitz, 1742. This shortcoming of Prussian 1740 ordnance must have been the inspiration to create a range of ordnance capable of firng destructive grape rounds out to longer distances. The naked figures expressed with the two illustrated barrels leave no doubt to the intention of their design. Frederick‘s 1749 tactical instructions gives the most evident hintsight. He advised to place a battery of 4 24-pounders and 4 10/11-pounder howitzers on the wings of the infantry line. From this position they were tasked to aim at the oposing cavalry in particular by employing Holtzmann‘s Klemmkartätschen.
In addition to the long barreled 10/11-pounder howitzer, also shorter barrels of approx. 6.5 D length were designed.





Above image shows a Prussian 10-pounder howitzer barrel on display at the Vienna Heeresgeschichtliches Museum (HGM). It should be the 'heavy' M1766 for the siege artillery, which is revealed by the rather massive dimensions of the first reinforce. The barrel was approx. 6.5D long (108 cm).


Of less importance is below 18-pounder. The principal howitzer piece of the pre-1740 period. The last 10 pieces to this design were cast at the Berlin foundry in 1744, it seems. A few were mobilized during the SYW. However, the mainstay of howitzers was the 10 or 11-pounder during the early campaigns and the light 7-pounders fielded in growing numbers from 1758 on.


I needed to do the piece in order to understand the method of proportioning a howitzer carriage in relation to it‘s barrel. Most turorials of the period simply state they were quite similar to the proportioning of a cannon carriage, and that would be about all that is said. Also below illustration is part of this research work. It is based on the single draft of a Prussian howitzer, I was able to find. In fact, 2 such pieces must have been part of Feld-Maréchal Lehwaldt‘s East-Prussian Corps of 1757 – after the battle of Groß-Jägersdorf – as replacement of the 10-pounder howitzer pieces lost in this battle.


more pieces to follow …