04 January 2011

7YW Artillery Scale Drawings

Recently I have turned my attention to the research of 7YW artillery.
I decided to turn my past and future findings into a series of scale drawings that are meant to serve as reference to any sculptor for creating new models. Certain ranges of ordnance are fairly well known and good  models are out already, but for others, it seems, not much had ever been published. I already received 2 requests from sculptors for support during the last year. The entire subject is very interesting and illustrating the guns is a great pleasure.
I decided to start with the French artillery as I have most information on it. It will be a good start for learning and pushing deeper into the subject. Austria will follow. Thereafter I will turn to Prussian ordnance of the period. This will be somewhat more challanging as only few original scale drawings could be found. A lot more written details are around, though.

Above image shows my work-in-progress illustration of the French M1732 Vallière 4-pdr. The upper finished barrel is the Brocard ‘Swedish-type’ 4-pdr that served as bataillon gun of the French line infantry during the 7YW. More on it further below. The altogether more formidable dimensions of the standard Vallière 4-pdr are obvious. With 7YW period sources it is often referred to as the ‘long’ 4-pdr with a barrel of Paris 6' 9'' or 27 calibres as opposed to the ‘short’ Paris 4'6'' or 18 calibres French bataillon gun. Note, as a general rule, for specifying the length of a barrel only the tube was scaled, the rear cascable and button being omitted. Furthermore, also the strength of the barrel walls were different. The Vallière barrel follows the ‘classic’ system of around 1700. That is to say, the strength of the barrel walls at the rear of the 1st Renfort equalled 1 calibre or 12/12 and decending to 5.5/12 at the front of the muzzle. This was called "vollgütig" (solid cast) in German gunners jargon. The 1st half of the 18th century in particular saw a great deal of experimenting and modeling to find the best length of a barrel and the best strength of metal from base to muzzle. Result was that a 4-pdr could end up arriving at very different dimensions, despite all being referred to as 4-pdr cannon. Prussians pushed affairs here to the limit - and beyond. In short, a 12-pdr wasn't a 12-pdr - i.e. they were not necessarily all alike. My research intends to add some clarification here.

This is the first of my Ordnance Data-Sheets. The French bataillon gun of the 7YW complete with carriage.
Nigel Billington was a tad faster with publishing on his blog. I noticed that with his image, the red furnish of the carriage comes out much like the stanard NYC fire department red. Not particulary the shade of red I had in mind with my illustration. To this end, I added a colour key to the sheet.


  1. Fascinating!
    Thanks for sharing your discoveries and work - looking forward for the next instalment.

    Best wishes,

  2. Wonderful illustrations and research. Well done.

  3. I need to let you know that I have nominated you for the "Stylish Blogger Award".

    All the best, Kronoskaf friend!


  4. Hi – Really interesting post – look forward to your further info on the 18th Century Artillery. I don’t suppose you have discovered much on the earlier WSS & GNW era artillery – i.e. before the French 1732 Vallière system and such like? I’m building WSS armies and have purchased Front Rank Figurines guns – the 3pdr & 6pdr models come with 2 different barrels (see EQ1 & EQ8 in the link) and I’m assuming the longer one is for the early WSS/GNW era (and perhaps later ‘heavy’ SYW versions of the 3pdr/4pdr & 6pdr) while the short barrel is for the newer model SYW ‘field’ guns (such as your French 4pdr Battalion Gun above)? Or is it just a case there were so many variations from as early as 1700 (or before) that either barrel might be appropriate for any era from WSS & GNW, through WAS and SYW right up to the French Revolutionary Wars of the 1790’s? Anyway if you can shed any light it’d be much appreciated…


  5. Hi John,

    Sorry I missed your comment/query, having only looked at my blog the other day as I prepare to post some new artillery illustrations.
    I don't know what models you have there and what ordnance they are supposed to represent (whether that of a particular nation or rather more generic). Here is what I can give you – meant to serve as a rough guide for general orientation.
    According to a 1760 published tutorial on gunnery, the classic dimensions for German ordnance fielded by around 1700 were as per the below:
    (dimensions given in multiples of shot diameters - often called calibres - this being the widely accepted method of proportioning barrels then. Length measured from barrels breech end to face of muzzle - i.e. cascable and button cast onto rear of barrel omitted)
    The 24-pdr half cannon (Halbe Karthaune) barrel length 21 shots (calculate approx. 14,5 cm for shot diameter)
    The 12-pdr quarter cannon (Viertel Karthaune) barrel length 24 shots (approx. 11,5 cm)
    The 6-pdr Falkaune barrel length 27 shots (approx. 9,1 cm) Before 1700 also longer ones around up to 36 shots, I would assume, but not included in this book
    The 3-pdr Regimental cannon recommended at between 14, 16 or up to 18 shots (approx. 7,2 cm)
    Here also longer ones fielded. Often 24 shots.
    As to 3-pdr battery guns, I also know of pieces of 30 shots such as the M1717 Austrian one and certainly also even longer ones up to 36 shots should have been found fielded. The 30 shots M1717 Austrian barrel was still fielded in the early WAS campaigns at battles of 1741 Mollwitz and 1742 Chotusitz.
    As to French ordnance, the so entitled New Invention ordnance from around 1690 did all come with 10 foot barrels (24, 16, 12, 8, 4-pdrs)
    The lighter 4 and 8-pdrs also in a shorter version of 8 foot length.
    Calculating with 3'' per shot for the 4-pdr that makes the 8 foot piece a 30 shots barrel and the 10 foot piece a 38 shots barrel. Not so much different from the German system, really. However, the Paris Army Museum has a large collection of scale models that also include many pre 1690 pieces. Among them a 1685 Douai type 4-pdr with a 24 shots barrel.
    All the above does not include the culverines but applies for cannons only. I also omitted all ordnance of less then 3 or 4 pounds shot.

    Hope this helps.