Hanoverian Artillery Equipment

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> Hanoverian Army >> Hanoverian Artillery Equipment

Introduction

The artillery of the army of the Electorate of Hanover was perhaps held in even higher esteem than its cavalry. The foundations of its reputation were principally laid by general Brückmann who virtually created the artillery in the 1730's and 40's. Up to the 7YW the design of ordnance had not changed and was rather heavy compared to the new short barrel ranges of Austria and Prussia. During the course of the war, the count regent of Bückeburg, appointed grand master of the Allied Army's artillery in 1759, had arranged for all guns being equipped with a munitions box carrying 20 rounds on the guns carriage the same year. From 1761 on, the munitions box was enlarged to hold a ready 40 rounds for the 3 and 6-pounder field guns. The introduction of lighter barrels in immitation of his celebrated Bückeburg 18 calibre 12 lbs failed to the conservative opposition among the Hanoveran officers. Hanoverian ordnance remained at a rather heavy and long barrel 21 to 27 calibres for its range of cannon, instead of his proposed 20 calibre length.

Artillery Pieces

The light infantry artillery consisted of 1-pounder Amusettes and the line infantry artillery consisted of 3-pounder guns. The Park Artillery consisted of 3–, 4- , 6- , 10- , 12 and 18-pounder cannon, 16- , 20- and 30-pounder howitzers and 50-pounder mortars. The latter model was a Prussian piece, supplied from the Magdeburg arsenal early in 1758 to sustain Ferdinand's winter offensive planed to recapture the French occupied territories of Hanover. Also the very heavy siege gun class 18-pounder was found with the artillery park in 1758, only. Thereafter it was removed from the Park Artillery of the army.

In 1758, the Park Artillery was divided into four brigades:

  1. 4 x 12-pounder cannon and 6 mortars
  2. 2 x 6-pdr cannon, 4 x 12-pdr cannon and 4 mortars
  3. 3 x 6-pdr cannon, 3 x 12-pdr cannon and 6 x 18-pdr cannon and 6 howitzers
  4. 5 x 6-pdr cannon and 3 x 12-pdr cannon

The following year, in 1759, the Park Artillery was reduced to 3 brigades:

  1. 5 x 6-pdr cannon, 2 x 12-pdr cannon, 1 x 16-pdr howitzer and 1 x 30-pdr howitzer
  2. 4 x 6-pdr cannon, 14 x 12-pdr cannon, 2 x 4-pdr howitzers, 4 x 6-pdr howitzers, 2 x 10-pdr howitzers and 2 x 12-pdr howitzers
  3. 5 x 6-pdr cannon, 2 x 12-pdr cannon, 1 x 10-pdr howitzer and 1 x 13-pdr howitzer

In 1762, the Park Artillery was again reorganized into four Divisions:

  • one of 8 x 30-pdr howitzers
  • one of 12 x 12-pdr cannon
  • one of 12 x 6-pdr cannon
  • one of 12 x 6-pdr cannon

In 1762, Prussian 7- pdr howitzers were introduced into service.

Cannon

1-pdr Amusette

This piece was mainly used by the light infantry. Each light infantry battalion had two Amusettes in 1762. This type of ordnance found introduction with the light troops only during the later stages of the war. By 1759, the light troops were furnished mostly with captured Reichsarmee or French 4-pounder battalion guns.

Characteristics:

  • Crew: no information found yet
  • Horses: none
  • Ammunition:
    • 1 four-horse (six-horse in 1762) ammunition wagon (180 solid shot, 20 grape rounds, 5,000 infantry cartridges; then 64 ball, 36 grape rounds, 10,500 infantry cartridges in 1762) for each pair of amusettes
    • 1 ammunition chest (35 ball and 5 grape rounds in 1761; 30 ball and 10 grape rounds in 1762) on the gun trails (since 1761)
    • 90 ball and 10 grape rounds in 1756; 32 ball in 1762 in the Reserve Ammunition Park
  • Technical Data: n/a

3-pdr Cannon

Two models were in use. Barrel weight was 800 or up to 950 Calenberg pounds. The first model had a barrel length of 24 calibres or shot diameters of 3 Calenberg Zoll / 7,3 cm (175 cm). The second model had a barrel length of 27 calibres (197 cm). The long barrel model served as the light field gun while the shorter model served as battalion gun. For a comparison, the British infantry's battalion gun was a rather light and short barrel 6-pdr with 14 calibres length or approx. 137 cm. However, the Hanoverian piece, despite its smaller calibre was found superior in its performance, as stated by Scharnhorst (see reference below). Its shot carried much further and more accurate. Hannover's artillery officers strongly objected the count regent of Bückeburg's attempts to replace it by the British light 6-pounder model in order to reduce the want of manpower and horse draught to serve the piece for these very reasons. The piece was mounted on an ordinary carriage with a 3 transom design. The centre transom being enlarged, similar to Swedish, Danish, or Hesse Kassel designs of the same period. A Swedish-style Schusswinde entitled vertical iron screw bar with a crank handle winder mechanism was employed to lay the piece (as per Hanoverian Artillerie-Handbuch of 1787 and Scharnhorst describing the forerunner model – see reference below).

Characteristics:

  • Crew:
    • 1 bombardier
    • 6 constables
    • 1 driver
  • Horses: 3 (4 in 1762)
  • Ammunition:
    • 2 three-horse ammunition carts, each with a driver
    • 1 ammunition chest on the gun trails (since 1759)
  • Technical Data: n/a

4-pdr Cannon

Several models were in use. Some pieces were captured from the French army or from the Reichsarmee. Captured pieces were almost exclusively used to furnish the light troops with battalion guns during the early campaigns of the war. But few were found with the line troops for any longer period. The light troops 4-pounders were gradually replaced by 1-pounder Amusettes from 1760 or 1761 on. Some 4-pounder pieces were also found with the artillery park. These were old Hannoverian cast models drawn from fortress stock in order to complement the field artillery.

  • Crew:
    • 1 bombardier
    • 8 men
  • Horses: 4
  • Ammunition:
    • 1 ammunition wagon (70 ball, 30 grape rounds)
  • Technical Data: n/a

6-pdr Cannon

Characteristics: this piece was a heavy position cannon, not to be confused with light 6-pdr battalion guns in other armies. Its barrel had a length of 27 calibres or approx. 250 cm and a weight of 1.900 pounds. Its dimensions equal that of a classic early 18th century German "falcon" type piece. It roughly resembled the French Vallière (M1732) 8-pdr employed during the war.

  • Crew:
    • 1 bombardier
    • 12 men
  • Horses: 6
  • Ammunition:
    • 1 ammunition wagon (70 ball, 30 grape rounds)
    • 1 ammunition chest (27 ball, 13 grape rounds) on the gun trails (since 1761)
  • Technical Data: n/a

10-pdr Cannon

Characteristics: these pieces are believed to be captured French 8-pdr pieces, entitled 10-pdr in the Hanoveian range as a result of the difference of weight and length between the Paris and Calenberg/Hanover scale.

  • Crew:
    • 2 bombardiers
    • 14 men
  • Horses: 10
  • Ammunition:
    • 2 x 6-horse ammunition wagons (100 rounds of ball and grape)
    • 27 ball and 2 grape rounds in the Reserve Ammunition Park
  • Technical Data: n/a

12-pdr Cannon

Characteristics: this heavy cannon had a barrel of 24 calibres length (approx. 275 cm) and a weight of around 3.400 pounds. Its dimensions must have roughly equaled that of the French Vallière 12-pdr (M1732) or the Prussian Brummer (see Prussian artillery).

  • Crew:
    • 2 bombardiers
    • 16 men
  • Horses: 12
  • Ammunition:
    • 2 x 6-horse ammunition wagons (100 rounds of ball and grape)
    • 27 ball and 2 grape rounds in the Reserve Ammunition Park
  • Technical Data: n/a

Mortars

No information available yet

Howitzers

The range of Hanovers howitzers included heavy class pieces only. According to Scharnhorst (see reference below) they were of little use in open battle or other moving engagements. All heavy class howitzers were rather cumbersome to load and fire and for that reason better suited in siege operations. The pieces small share of grape or canister is quite revealing here.

16-pdr Howitzer

Characteristics: This piece had a calibre of approx. 7,5 inch. Details are unknown. Basic scale, though, for dimensioning a howitzer barrel was a mans arm that had to be able to reach the powder chamber to place the powder charge. Usually 2 to 4 calibres down to the chamber.

  • Crew:
    • 2 bombardiers
    • 8 men
  • Horses: 6
  • Ammunition:
    • 2 x ammunition wagons (each holding 30 shells, 10 incendiaries, 5 flares, 10 grape rounds)
  • Technical Data: n/a

20-pdr Howitzer

Characteristics:

  • Crew:
    • 2 bombardiers
    • 8 men
  • Horses: 6
  • Ammunition:
    • 2 x ammunition wagons (each holding 30 shells, 10 incendiaries, 5 flares, 10 grape rounds)
  • Technical Data: n/a

30-pdr Howitzer

Characteristics: this piece had a calibre of approx. 9 inch. The bomb-shell had a weight of approx. 60 pounds. Note, as per the German system of gunnery, howitzers and mortars were scaled to the weight and dimensions of a stone ball, rather then the iron shell actually employed. Details are unknown, but Scharnhorst provides them for the post 7YW piece. Its dimensions shouldn't have changed so much. The 1780's piece had a length of 3 calibres down to the chamber and another 2 for the chamber section or approx. 115 cm. It's weight was around 1.900 pounds.

  • Crew:
    • 2 bombardiers
    • 8 men
  • Horses: 8
  • Ammunition:
    • 2 x ammunition wagons (each holding 30 shells, 10 incendiaries, 5 flares, 10 grape rounds)
  • Technical Data: n/a

Types of Shot

No information available yet

Firing Procedures

No information available yet

Piece Barrel

No information available yet

Gun Carriages

Hanoverian carriages, limbers, and ammunition wagon were all painted red and the metal fittings had a black furnish. We may assume the shade of red to be rather similar to that of the French guns. At that time, this colour was the most popular and most widely used to furnish wood. The dimensions of the gun carriages are unknown but Scharnhorst provides some detail on the 1780's ordnance. By that time the wheel diameter was the same for all pieces and measured a formidable Calenberg/Hanover scale 5' 10" or 172 cm. Rather tall wheels compared with the 7YW Austrian 134 cm diameter wheels employed (Calenberg foot is 29,64 cm, somewhat less then todays Brit./US foot).

References

Gerhard Johann David von Scharnhorst, Handbuch für Officiere, in den anwendbaren Theilen der Krieges-Wissenschaften vol. 1, On Artillery, Hannover 1787

Artillerie-Handbuch für die Canonier des Königlich- und Churfürstlichen Artillerie-Regiments, Hannover 1787

Schirmer, Friedrich: Nec Aspera Terrent: Eine Heereskunde der hannoverschen Armee von 1631 bis 1803, Niedersächische Hausbücherei, Hannover 1929

Pengel & Hurt, German States in the Seven Years War 1740 to 1762, Imperial Press

Rogge, Christian, The French & Allied Armies in Germany during the Seven Years War, Frankfurt, 2006

Acknowledgments

Digby Smith for the initial version of this article