16 June 2012

7YW Artillery – the Prussians are coming

I finally managed to get started with the Prussian ordnance fielded during the Seven Years' War. It is a most interesting subject to me, for there is so little image material found with the commercially available books on the Prussian army. Even with rare ones, long out of print. 
I'm so fond with the first results, that I thought of sharing it in advance.
The below first illustration, therefore, is a sort of sneak preview, as I worked off-scale my regular sheet format. More details are to follow with my next completed sheet.

More information on Prussian artillery will soon be available in English language published in the Smoothbore Ordnance Journal by Digby Smith and Stephen Summerfield. Digby Smith has also done a wonderful translation of a rare paper by Hans Bleckwenn focusing on Prussian 7YW artillery.

At this point I wish to thank all who have supplied me with this wealth of material. I have received great support from many countries ranging from the US, UK, Denmark, Italy, France, and Germany. I have also received the official permission of the Stockholm Army Museum to use their image material.
My initial decision, to do this project in English language rather then in German turned out to be a good one. The audience grows so much larger.
My special thanks to David Morfitt ("Not by Appointment" Blog at nba-sywtemplates.blogspot.de ), who has contributed the nice illustrations of the Prussian barrels and carriages insignia.
Regarding the 'source situation’ on Prussian artillery which enables me to reconstruct the 7YW period pieces, I will draw most heavily on the single most valuable 4 volume work by Malinowsky & Bonin, Geschichte der brandenburg–preussischen Artillerie, vol. II, Berlin 1841. It provides most detailed descriptions on the evolution on barrel and carriage design, but comes without images. Regarding images, most authors work with the same four of five illustrations again and again, which implies not much has survived WWII. The former Berlin Zeughaus Museum owed a large collection of scale models of which but few pieces survived. Also the Potsdam Heeresarchiv had loads of scale drafts of about all pieces ever fielded or designed in Prussia. All was lost with a devasting air raid April 1945, it seems. Some scale drawings did survive in Germany or other collections, such as Denmark. Most are post 7YW, but are of good help nevertheless. 
To make matters worse, some glaring errors are found with correctly identifying some of the images. None of the more recent Historians such as Dr. Hans Bleckwenn, Die fridrizianischen Uniformen, Osnabrück 1987; or Martin Guddat, Kanoniere Bombardiere, Pontoniere, Herford 1992 seem to have noticed. The flaws start with the 1911 published little booklet by Gohlke, Geschichte der gesamten Feuerwaffen bis 1850. Gohlke comes with 3 sample images of Prussian guns. Two of the three have false captions. Bleckwenn, at least, was more cautious with presenting his 12-pounder illustration "claimed" to be mounted on a M1762 carriage. Martin Guddat less so. He presents several images of a 12-pounder scale model, a black and white photo of another 12-pounder unlimbered and a 24-pounder limbered, and fails to notice that it is all different photographs of the same piece. It's a scale model of the "Austrian-type" 12-pounder designed by Dieskau in 1759, 18 shots long, and mounted on a M1774 carriage. Bleckwenn illustrated the piece in his book. The barrel design is equally the model for the casts of 1774 or later. The carriage is of similar design as with the heavy 12-pounder nicknamed "Growler" (German: Brummer) on display at the Paris Musée de l'Armée to the present day. A barrel 22 shots long and first cast in 1761. The famous "Growlers" first fielded at Leuthen in 1757 were heavy fortress or siege guns with 24 or 26 shots barrels, not the model on display in Paris. It's dimensions was rather close to the French Vallière 12-pounder found in my January 2012 post.

17 May 2012

7YW Artillery – part 5 – SAXE-POLAND

With the below, I will introduce another rare mid-18th century cannon of which–to my knowledge–very little information so far has ever been published, not to mention anyone has published an image of its general design and dimensions.

Original Saxon source could not be found, unfortunately. Instead, a set of original scale drawings can be found at the Torino / Italy Museo Storico Nazionale di Artiglieria illustrating a piece called ‘Canone alla Sassone’. The museum also has a scale model. All is dated approx. 1755. An original Sardinian–Piemontese 1757 cast 3–pounder barrel with near similar dimensions as my illustrated Saxon 3–pounder barrel is on display at the Vienna Heeresgeschichtliches Museum (HGM). The museum labels it as a 4-pounder. Its caliber is 77 mm. Shot diameter should have been approx. 72 mm, which clearly makes it a 3-pounder to my understanding. The barrel has a length of 1,44 m. This barrels mouldings in particular the muzzle design matches those of the scale model at the Torino museum but doesn’t match those of the scale drawings. Also the scale drawings carriage bears some deviations to the design of the model. I believe those scale drawings to be a copy of the original Saxon piece that served as master for the Piemontese pieces fielded till 1796.
Original scale drawing to be found with the collection of the
Torino Museo Storico Nazionale di Artiglieria, Italy
Next to this, there exists also an illustration of a Prussian prototype 3-pounder cast and assembled with its carriage in Berlin 1746 by the Saxon-Polish major Oettner (found in Gohlke, Geschichte der gesamten Feuerwaffen bis 1850, Leipzig 1911). The piece was tested but failed to attract the kings’ interest. Its illustrated barrel looks near similar to the Torino drawings. It also comes with the general Obmaus designed ‘Richt- und Lademaschine’ [Engl: ‘pointing & loading machine’]. Franz Karl Obmaus – elsewhere also Obenaus – was a Saxon-Polish lieutenant general †1735.
Illustration found in the Gohlke booklet. Note, Gohlke fails to identify it correctly and presents it as the original M1732 Saxon piece. It is with near certainty based on the draft of the Oettner M1746 piece proposed to the king of Prussia. Around 1900 part of the Berlin Arsenal Museum collection.
From other mostly scattered German language notice we know the Saxon M1744 3- and 6-pounder pieces were designed 20 shots or calibers long, had a conic chambered bore, and a weight of 380 and 530 pounds (180 and 250 kg), which makes them rather light. The barrel length/weight ratio implies they must have been proportioned with reduced metal strength. This detail makes a very good match to the Torino museum scale drawings which present a 20 calibers barrel with a conic chambered bore and  3/4 solid metal strength barrel walls (18/24 descending to 7/24 partes at the front of the muzzle). This makes for its rather slim silhouette compared to the much shorter, but heavier Austrian 6-pounder M1753 weighing up to 800 Vienna pounds (414-440 kg).
Barrel design of the original scale drawing found with the collection of the Torino Museo Storico Nazionale di Artiglieria, Italy
This Saxon cannon belongs to the class of the so entitled Einfallendes Geschütz [Engl. lit. ‘dropping cannon’]. This entitlement derives from this guns alternate method of loading, as well as laying it anew. For loading the piece when engaged in quick-firing canister, the gunner would place the ready cartridge round into the muzzle, and with the special design of the Obmaus ‘pointing & loading machine’ replacing the wedges and centre transoms of the carriage, the barrel would be unlocked from its horizontal position and drop down rearwards till it was stopped dead by the axletree. With the illustrated carriage design approx 65° position. The round would now place itself automatically without the need to employ a rammer. Thereafter the barrel was pulled upwards and latched into its previous horizontal position by means of a T-handle with a rope fixed at the barrel’s rear and the gun was ready for the next discharge.
Scale model of the Cannone alla Sassone  fielded by the Piedmontese army found with the collection of the Torino Museo Storico Nazionale di Artiglieria, Italy
Prussian sourced notice tells us the guns could fire at a rate matching ‘the rang of the church bell’ (see Gohlke, Geschichte der gesamten Feuerwaffen bis 1850, Leipzig 1911). However, the idea behind it was more for safety concerns rather then a further increase of the rate of fire. The term Geschwindstück [lit. ‘quick-fire piece’] alludes to a bataillon gun and its employment for quick or rapid canister fire under close range fire conditions first introduced by the Swedes sometime between 1700 and 1710, to my understanding. Conventional methods of loading bore the lethal risk of the new round accidently going off while ramming the charge down the barrel. For this reason, the crooked rammer was introduced which allowed the cannonier to ram home the cartridge while placed outside the firing line. In case the round did go off he would now only forfeit his rammer rather than his life. Apparently, this sort of unintended ignition happened all too often, which must have made some unknown Saxon philanthropist invent the concept of the ‘dropping barrel’ for loading.
M1766 post SYW 4-pdr ‘Quick-Firer' in loading position.
The barrel was 16 shots long and designed much similar to
Austrian pieces fielded then. Carriage and somewhat modified Obmaus machinery for aiming and loading continued to be in Saxon service up till approx. 1812
Source is the image archive of the Nurnberg Museum, kindly forwarded to me from Rome, Italy

The design is indeed said to be a Saxon invention. The date of first introduction could not be ascertained. By 1728 light 2-pounders were fielded. This we know because in that year king Augustus the Strong made a pair of these guns a present to the king of Prussia. It was the forerunner of the 1734 introduced 3-pounders fielded with the Obmaus machinery. The M1734 pieces had barrels with a length of 21 calibers or shot diameters. From a Prussian sourced paper on ammunition transport we also know the Saxon Geschwindstücke were drawn with limbers containing an ammunition box (German: Kastenprotze – see Archiv für die Officiere der Königlich Preußischen Artillerie und dem Ingenieur-Korps, vol. 11, Berlin 1840). It must have been among the first pieces with this new concept of ammunition transport.
Original Piedmontese barrel on display at the Vienna Heeresgeschichtliches Museum.
Cast by the famous founder G.B. Gabone in Torino 1757.
The Saxon ‘Quick-Firers’ first test in battle seems to have been a rearguard action known as the Combat of Radojovaz, Serbia, 28 Sept. 1737. The relation of the army’s commanding Feldmarschall Khevenhüller notes it was the Saxon Geschindstücke in particular,  that decided the action for the Imperials because of their sustained rapid [canister]-fire which had such devastate effect against the densely packed Ottoman hordes attacking and bent on capturing the Imperial army’s grand baggage (found in Streufflers Oesterreichische militätische Zeitschrift, vol. III, Vienna 1828, p. 347.) The same pieces were also fielded during the First Silesian War with the campaigns of 1741 and 1742. In 1744 new pieces were introduced with only 20 shots length. Now also a 6-pounder Geschindstück was designed. This is the piece I have reconstructed with my above illustrations. As the Prussian records of captured pieces imply, 3-pounders only were fielded in the battles of Hohenfriedberg, (4 June 1745), and Soor (30 Sept. 1745). With the battle of Kesseldorf (15 Dec. 1745) also the 6-pounders were fielded. With this battle the Prussians had a taste of their performance. A good number of 6-pounders along with heavy battery guns were deployed around the village of Kesseldorf, the objective of the Prussian right wing attack. The initial attack was repulsed because of the defenders murderous canister fire, it is noted. It was the mindless counter-attack of the defending Saxon grenadiers that gave the Prussians a chance for a second try. Also the attack of the Prussian left onto the Saxon held high grounds nearly ended in defeat once more because of the very deadly Saxon artillery fire.
By 1756, a total of 50 6-pounders were found with the Saxon army in its entrenched camp of Pirna. All fell into Prussian hands with the Saxon surrender. A total of 46 was found undamaged and these pieces were issued to the Saxon infantry regiments that were now incorporated into the Prussian army. It seems, too many of the original Saxon cannoniers preferred to leave Prussian service to enlist with the newly formed Saxon army in Hungary so that by the start of the 1757 campaign no gunners were found that knew how to serve the Quick-Firers. From Prussian source we know these pieces never took to the field, the former Saxon bataillons were equipped with Prussian 3-pounders instead.
To complete this article, I guess, one more word should be added to answer the question, likely to be raised - why did this apparently innovative and effective weapon not find wider introduction?
We know, this type of cannon was fielded only by Saxony and the Kingdom of Sardinia-Piemonte for any longer period. Also the Spanish National Archives have a scale drawing, dated 1760, illustrating a carriage of a much similar piece. As per its descriptions it was fielded by the Neapolitan army then. The entire construction was certainly more costly then a cannon fielded with the ordinary design. This may have been the reason why the large military powers of Europe rejected it. The fact that it was introduced in Saxony and Piemonte, two of Europes' most affluent countries, and both with only a smallish army would support this suggestion. In technical terms, it was said the machinery had the disadvantage that any light damage to the machinery suffered in action would disable the piece.

09 April 2012

7YW Artillery – part 4 – HESSE-CASSEL

I decided to turn my research to a Seven Years War army that played a major part in the conflict, but, as yet, has received but little attention to the artillery it fielded. For that reason, I believe, the below presented piece will be a ‘first-time’ ground breaking introduction, for I’m not aware anyone has made an attempt before to reconstruct or present an image of Hessian ordnance of this period. This is why I felt the need to expand somewhat more on what made me do what I did. The below will, thus, be somewhat more extensive.

My illustration of a Hesse-Kassel 3-pounder regimental cannon is for the most part based on the wonderful material provided with the digitalized exhibition of the Kassel Wilhelmshöher ‘Kriegskarten’ (‘war maps’) available from the Hessisches Staatsarchiv Marburg, Germany (DigAM) at www.digam.net/?str=177
It provides several drafts of barrels and carriages of around 1770 as per the Marburg archivist’s dating. Unfortunately, it has but few documents of the earlier period of between 1740-1763.
Of particular interest is document WHK 43/14 (folder 43, doc. 14). It’s explications are headed Affuitirung nach Schwedischer Manir wonach die Hessische eingerichtet ist,… [sic.] (Engl.: Carriage construction in Swedish manner as to which the Hessian is equipped…)
document WHK 43/14 (folder 43, doc. 14)

I decided to take this reference to Swedish carriage construction rather serious and point my research into this direction. One should be aware that earlier in the 18th century, Landgrave Friedrich I. of Hesse was also King of Sweden, reigning from 1720 to his death in 1751. It is therefore rather compelling to assume, some of the Swedish artillery know-how made it’s way to Cassel during this period.
We know the Hessian artillery was turned from its ancient semi-military guild footing to a regular militarized establishment only in 1741 with the raising of a so entitled standing Artillerie Corps. New pieces of a lightened design were introduced. In 1741 twelve light 3-pounders to serve as regimental pieces for the infantry battalions, along with some 6-pounders as a complement of heavy battery pieces were cast at the Cassel foundry. Some more 3-pounders would have been cast during the next yeas in order to supply the later raised regiments with cannons, replace losses, and to arrive at the regulation 2 pieces per bataillon by 1757. During the War of Austrian Succession (1741-1748) also a battery of 4 Hessian heavy 12-pounders was fielded (see: Rudolf Witzel, Hessen Kassels Regimenter in der Alliierten Armee 1762, Norderstedt 2007).
I’m near certain these M1741 pieces were likewise fielded with carriages adapted in Swedish manner and those drafts of the M1770 pieces illustrate material not so different from the earlier design. Really, for the period well after the 7YW, proportioning a barrel based on it’s caliber – i.e. diameter of the bore, instead of the shot diameter, and also specifying the dimensions of the carriage likewise by multiples of the caliber must be regarded as ‘old school’ and far from latest state of art in gunnery by 1770. A good number of details seen with these Hessian drafts can be found with Swedish scale drawings dating to the 1720’s.
Above image shows a contemporary draft of the Swedish 3-pounder Regementsstycke M1725 (source: Jakobsson, Th., Artilleriet under Karl XII:s-tiden, Armémusei Skrifter I, Stockholm 1943). Aside from this pieces unusual rounded trail, the Hessian draft (WHK 43/14) is very close to this earlier Swedish design. Of special concern are those distinctive ‘lids’ that serve to fasten the barrel to the carriage, which so far, I haven’t seen with any other nations artillery of this period.
The Swedish barrel of the M1725 3-pounder was 18 calibers long. The Hessian 1741 cast 3-pounders may have been also 18 caliber barrels  instead of the 20 calibers with the M1770 piece. We don’t know.
Also the way the straps around the wheel fellows are arranged is rather distinctive Swedish as much as it became distinctive Hessian likewise as the DigAM collection of scale drawings reveals.
Swedish gun carriage of 1698. (Source: Online archive of Stockholm Army Museum, Sweden)

Also of interest is the Swedish machinery driving the elevating screw, a design that comes in a wooden case, which is placed on the pointing transom. It looks much like grandmas’ old coffee mill. We know colonel Dide zu Fürstenstein introduced an elevating screw for the regimental cannons in 1742. The DigAM collection is missing any hint to its design, but as the centre transom of the Hessian piece is placed between the bracket cheeks the very same way as the with Swedish M1725 piece, we should assume the Hessian design wasn’t much different to the Swedish one. The distance between barrel and transom is too large for a horizontally placed screw driven wedge, employed by Prussians and Austrians for example. It must have been of a vertical design.
Source: Online archive of Stockholm Army Museum, Sweden

Here is an image of the real Swedish M1725 piece. Note the iron gears that serve to manhandle the piece in action. The Austrians introduced a much similar design in 1753 with their 3 and 6-pounder filed guns, along with the 7-pounder light howitzer. There is no indication that Hessian bataillon guns also had them. I believe the Hessian pieces were moved with ropes only. The above Swedish gears were designed to manhandle the piece the way illustrated below.
Source: Jakobsson, Th., Artilleriet under Karl XII:s-tiden, Armémusei Skrifter I, Stockholm 1943

Finally, some more words on the distinctive Hesse–Cassel colour furnish for its carriages. No word could be found with the sources available to me. I’m left with this single, albeit, reliable source: an oil painting attributed to Johann Heinrich Tischbein senior, in 1753 appointed court painter to Landgrave Wilhelm VIII. (1753-1760). It is titled the ‘Princes painting’ showing Wilhelms’ grandsons.
To the left we see Wilhelm (later IX), dressed in the officers’ uniform of his regiment Prinz Wilhelm Cuirassiers (K1). The Kassel museum does not date it, but the inducement for this painting was most certainly Wilhelms’ declaration as aspirant of the throne of Hesse Hanau, in 1754. Normally, the son of the reigning landgrave would receive the countship of Hanau, but Wilhelm VIII. son Friedrich had converted from Calvinist to Catholic religion sometime before. The Hanau Estates therefore refused to accept him as their sovereign. For that reason, his son Wilhelm was to become count of Hanau instead. The settling of affairs took a number of years. Wilhelm became count of Hanau only in 1760, it seems. The painting, nevertheless, should be dated earlier or around 1754.

Of particular interest is the collection of arms on the right fore and background. The pair of cavalry standards along with the kettle drums of K1 can be identified and have been regarded as authentic elsewhere before. The pair of infantry flags can be identified as those of the Hesse-Hanau Landregiment (IR 13 in 1763). Note the colouring of the mortar, and also note the pair of bataillon guns seen in the right background. I would identify them as the guns of the Hessian Garde Regiment (IR1), for Wilhelms’ two younger brothers are dressed in the officers’ uniform of this regiment. The painting was certainly done at Cassel and the arms would come from the Cassel arsenal rather than that of Hanau, with exception of the flags, whish should have been the new ones, bearing the arms of Wilhelm.

A close up view of the background cannons reveals both are likewise white with the wooden elements and the metal parts are furnished red. Also the spokes can be seen painted red. I decided to base my illustration of the details found with this oil painting. Red and white are the principal Hesse-Cassel colours. Painting the guns according to the arms colours wasn’t uncommon at all. Examples would include the early 18th century Prussian white wood / black metal, Austrian yellow wood / black metal, and Saxony vice versa – to name only a few.

18 March 2012

7YW Artillery – part 3 – FRANCE

I will try to give some insights as to what pieces were generally fielded in what quantities during the Seven Years War.
At the beginning of the 18th C., French military authors advised a ratio of 1 piece per 1.000 combatants. This ratio seemed to have remained rather consistent – more or less – till well into the Seven Years War. Only the introduction of the Swedish-style light 4-pdr bataillon guns as per the Royal Ordonnance of January 1757 increased the ratio of gun per combatants somewhat.

Detail from a series of paintings with scenes 
of the War of Austrian Succession by Nicolas van Blaremberghe
 painted between 1778 and 1790.

The field artillery of the 1748 royal French army of Flandres consisted of 14 16-pounders, 16 12-pdrs., 30 8-pdrs., 80 ’long’ 4-pdrs, and a reserve of 10 Swedish-style short 4-pdrs. (at that time not employed as bataillon guns) – or a total of 150 pieces for an army of approx. 114.000 men 
(See: Ernest Picard, L'Artillerie Française au XIIIe Siècle, Paris & Nancy, 1906; also Guillaume Le Blond, L‘Artillerie Raisonnée, Paris 1761).
The French army of the Weser in 1757 under maréchal d'Estrées' fielded some 100 pieces for approx. 100.000 men, not including the bataillon guns. A more detailed break down could not be found. However, the marquis de Valfons, chief of staff to general Chevert, gives a record of the heavy artillerie brought into action by general de Vallière on the heights of Hastenbeck a day before the battle as the French army was filing into its position. He notes Vallière managed to deploy 30 pieces of 16 and 12-pounders as well as 4 24-pounders for the bombardment of Cumberland's position on 25 July (see: Souveniers du marquis de Valfons, Paris 1860).
Really, different to other nations artillery organisation of the period, the French did not distinguish between siege and field artillery. If thought fit, the entire range including the heavy 16 and 24-pounders would serve as field artillery.
Maréchal Contades army of 1759 accounted for 14 12-pounders, 32 8-pdrs., 66 4-prds. longues, and 6 howitzers (8 inch) – or a total of 118 pieces, not including those of general Armentières Lower Rhine army. Source is an original schematic order of battle dated July 1759 found in prince Ferdinand's archive. No word here on any 16-pounders, but there is indeed fragmental evidence some had seen action at Minden. ‘14-pounders’ are said to have been captured that day and were incorporated into the Allied army's artillery train. Young lieutenant Hugh Montgomery of the English 12th Foot mentions in a letter to his mother his regiment came under fire of a battery of ‘18-pounders’. Possibly this has to read more rightly 16-pounders in both cases.
We have also record of maréchal Broglies' army of Hesse in 1760, thanks to the Allied army's efficient intelligence. Around 22 June with the commencement of the summer campaign, his heavy artillery consisted of 24 12-pdrs., 32 8-pdrs., and 6 ‘16-pdr’ howitzers (would equal approx. 6.5 to 7 inch class – possibly captured Hannoverian ordnance, for French only fielded 8 inch pieces during this period to my understanding ?!?). Total was 110 pieces for his army of approx. 138.000 men. No mention of 4-pounders here, but Broglies instructions for this campaign reveal each of his army's 6 columns or divisions (4 of infantry and 2 of cavalry) were to have each 8 pieces or a total of 48. Voilà, that adds charmingly to the afore mentioned 110 pieces (see: C.H.P.E. von Westphalen, Geschichte der Feldzüge des Herzogs Ferdinand von Braunschweig-Lüneburg, vol. IV, 1859-72). Again no word of any pieces of over 12-pdr weight, but we know 4 16-pounders were fielded at the battle of Kloster Kamp 16 Oct. 1760 as part of the French advance guard under general Chabo.
Summarising the above details, it can be said the greater part of the French position artillery was made up of long 4-pdrs. and a good number of 8-pdrs. during this period. 12-pdrs. would have been fielded in much fewer numbers, and also the heavy 16 and 24-pdr. cannon did see employment in battle.

24 January 2012

7YW Artillery Scale Drawings – part 2 - FRANCE

After more then a years interruption I finally managed to continue with my artillery project. Job has kept me too much occupied during the last year, but with the start of last years Christmas Holiday Season I managed to do several more illustrations.

As said before, my main intention is to draw the various cannons and howitzers from several 7YW period Armies all in same scale inorder to supply myself – and anyone else interested – with a ready idea on their dimensions. Overall as well as comparatively to another. An image sais more then a 1000 words, a German proverb goes. After all, most of us wargamers or miniature collectors spend much effort in getting the drummers lace of a particular regiment the right way, but when it comes to select the gun models for a particular army that would be most authentic, matters will soon become difficult. For most part because the available information on this subject I found to be so limited, really. Often, it includes a lot of errors. Result of it all is that most models for 7YW Prussians from German foundries more often supply models based on post 7YW data. For the Prussian 1759 onwards mainstay ‘Austrian-style’ 12-pdr. they simply forward an Austrian model with a ‘Prussian’ limber that would mount a munitions chest as opposed to the Austrian limber that comes without it. Now, that‘s all nonsense.
I started with what will likely be the biggest piece that will have to fit onto my selected sheet format.  It is the French Vallière 24-pounder heavy cannon M1732.

With the cannonier placed next to it, this cannon turns out to be a real biest. I found it irritating, initially, and checked scales oncemore to see wheather I got something wrong. But, no – there you are. Dimensions are correct. I have changed my mind and decided for a blue furnish, rather then red. The issue is discussed at Kronoskaf Seven Years War Project at http://www.kronoskaf.com/syw/index.php?title=French_Artillery_Equipment#Gun_Carriages 
I decided to follow this more recent French research.
My draft is based for most part on the wonderful material provided in the contemopray German book on gunnery by Struensee, Carl August; Anfangsgründe der Artillerie, Leipzig and Liegnitz, 1760. It provides detailed drafts of the 24-pounder carriage along with an elaborate explanation as to how the dimensions are found. It also provides a detailed table with the dimensions of all other carriages that are to mount the 16, the 12, 8, and 4-pounder of the Vallière ordnance. 

I do not know Struensee‘s source for these tables, but his dimensions roughly agree with the more general details provided in Guillaume Le Blond, L‘Artillerie Raisonnée, Paris 1761, and the principal French source on the subject by Surirey de Saint Remy, Mémoires d‘Artillerie, first published in 1697, and a revised edition in 1745 by Guillaume Le Blond. 
It should be noted that during this period no universal system for the construction of carriages existed. The artillery administration of France was divided into several districts among which that of French Flandres located at Douai and that of Germany located at Strasbourg would have been the most important ones. Each district would assemble its carriages according to its own accepted custom, resulting in somewhat varying dimensions for the overall length of the carriage as well as different heights for the wheels. We should also assume many variants with the metal fittings could be found. See below illustration of 24-pounders in action, found in the French Esquisse Historique de l‘Artillerie Française, by A. de Moltzheim, Strasbourg 1866. 

Not sure if we really see Vallière pieces here, for the artist skillfully placed a gunner in front of the two cannons cascabel sections, thus, refuses us an easy identification. But even if these 24-pounders are from the pre-1732 Vallière range, the dimensions were basically the same. Both were 10 foot barrels.

The Vallière cascabel of the 24-pdr. usually featured the face of Bacchus or Hercules. See below cascabel of an original barrel seen at the Paris Musée de l‘Armée with my recent visit November 2011. It served as model for my draft.

It is the barrel named L‘Eeclatant (should translate to ‘The Devastator’), cast at Strasbourg by the founder J. Berenger in 1757.
This museum is truely one of my most favorate places in the world. I love being there. For me, a visit turns into near paradise if it‘s combined with a lunch at trendy Café de l‘Esplanade. Really, this is damn close to my take of Paradise when you are enjoying a tasty Beef Tartar along with a bottle of Chambertin - Napoleon‘s preferred brand of whine - and all of this in combination with a perfect view on a giant battery of bronze barrels.

Now returning to the topic, here is my next sheet. The French short Swedish-style 4-pounder which served as French bataillon gun from 1757 on at a ratio of one piece per line bataillon, and the long Vallière 4-pounder field gun. 

The Brocard 4-pounder I have done anew and added some more detail. This pieces carriage initialy came with a vertical elevation screw beneath the barrels breech.
The Vallière 4-pounder was the mainstay of French position artillery during the 7YW amounting to more then 50% of the field artillery‘s total for most of the war and not including the bataillon guns here.

This illustration is based on the drafts in Memoires d‘Artillerie, 1745 edition. However sources say the machinery was found being vulnerable to damage, so that that later models returned to ordinary wedges for laying the piece.

Above 2 sheets are the illustration of the French Swedish-type 4-pounder from the original Mémoires d'Artillery, revised 1745 edition by Guillaume le Blond.
The images were forwarded to me from France only in August 2012, long after this article was edited.
Below find the two 4-pounder barrels examined in somewhat more detail.

The barrel of the Brocard 4-pounder should have featured the same insignia as those of the Vallière range. La Pie at the Paris Museum, though, comes with a cloud darting lightnig flashes instead of the arms of the Grand Maître d‘Artillerie. Not sure if this was an exception or the rule.
The Brocard piece saw first empolyment during the War of Austrian Succession. Maréchal Belle-Ille‘s army of 1741 fielded them in place of the long 4-pounders in an attempt to lighten the artillery train as it embarced from Strasbourg to Bohemia. A reserve of 20 or so pieces saw action at the battle of Fontenoy in 1745. It‘s designer/constructor, captain Brocard was killed in this battle.
Below see for an image of a Vallière 4-pounders cascabel on display at the Paris Museum. It served as model of my draft.
Below I have arranged a number of barrels to give an impression of their dimensions to another. They serve also to give a first taste on the distinctive looks of ordnance fielded by a particular nation. 

Note the rather massive muzzle design of the Austrian M1753 pieces as opposed to the somewhat less massive tulip or pear shaped muzzle of French ordnance. The Prussian barrel with it‘s distinctive griffins instead of dolphins and a muzzle that has an odd conic shape are distinctives for all Prussian cannons fielded during this period. It gives a good idea of all this talk about Prussian artillery being designed so much lighter then that of most other nations. The Saxon 3-pounder, however is a tentative and speculative reconstruction on my side. Will do an extra post on this piece within short. The monkey face sculptured cascabel of the Vallière 8-pounder was seen with an original barrel found at the Vienna Army Museum last November.

The other barrel in the centre is a Brocard 4-pounder. Note this barrel has a rather flat shaped base behind the barrels breech. The Douai cast La Pie is more rounded.
Unfortunately, I couldn't get any closer to the pieces in Vienna then this. The museum has a fantastic collection on display at the so entitled Artillery Halls section of the Museum. I visited on first Sunday in November and learned this section is closed for visitors from November through end of March. You can imagine how frustrating this felt. I will have another visit upcoming April for sure.

Below see the draft of a Vallière 8-pdr.

I should note that the tables of dimensions for French carriages in the afore mentioned book by Struensee advises 58 inches wheels for all of the Vallière system cannons. I decided to illustrate the 4 and 8-pounder with 54 inch wheels as per the Strasbourg arsenal figures provided in the 1697 published St. Remy book mentioned above. Just the 12 to 24-pounders have the larger diameter 58 inches wheels.
Next sheet illustrates the 12-pounder placed next to the 8-pounder for easier comparison of the dimensions.
Both pieces are of near similar dimensions to my surprise. I knew about the plain figures before, but you can only catch the dimensions if you actually see it or have some sort of visual reference.
The cascabel design of the Vallière 12-pounders featured a rooster or cockerel head. My draft is based on an original barrel seen at the Paris Museum. It is the piece named Le Harpie (the Greek mythological 'Harpy' – vulg.: 'The Snatcher'). Cast by the famous Swiss origin Jean Maritz founder at Strasbourg in 1743.
My initial learnings from it all can be summarized with the short conclusion: Size does matter. I need bigger gun models!
Now, only the 16-pounder and the 8 inch howitzer is missing to provide a complete illustration of the French ordnance fielded during the Seven Years' War. I hope to publish them within soon.

To complete the range of the Vallière M1732 cannons see below illustration of the 16-pounder cannon and photos of an original 16-pounder barrel on display at the Paris museum which serves as sample of my cascabel design.

I also placed the 12 and 24-pounder in scale to this piece and only now realized the overall dimensions of all 3 aren‘t particulary worlds apart. I must say, when starting the project, I was shackeled by the common prejudice long barrels belong to the early 18th C. period, while by the mid 18 hundreds barrels had mostly arrived at much shorter length. My so far research revealed, this is altogether a wrong assumtion. The French ordnance we have here wasn‘t so much different from that of it‘s most formidable Seven Years War opponent - the electorate of Hanover. This nation fielded 12-pounders with a length of 24 calibers and 6-pounders of 27 calibers as heavy position artillery during all of the 7YW. Also the Prussians had plenty of similar dimensioned pieces such as the famous 12-pounder Brummer (Engl.: Growler) and also heavy 6-pounders with 26 shots barrels from 1759 on. The only real difference was that these latter Prussian pieces were really siege guns, but as it turned out, did do good service also as field guns.
The Vallière system did not make a distinction between siege and field guns at that time. With my next article, I will try to provide some figures that allow to estimate the quantity of the various pieces fielded with a typical French army of the Seven Years War.