Prussian Siege Artillery Equipment
Prussia kept 2 parks of siege artillery in store. One in the Silesian fortress of Neisse for a possible siege of the strongly fortified town of Olmütz in Moravia. Another one was stored in Berlin intended for laying siege to Prague in Bohemia. By the Seven Years' War, these were the only fortified places in the path of a potential invasion of Austrian territory. All pieces had metal cast barrels – i.e. cast bronze to that times gunnery terms – iron cast pieces along with metal cast ones were only employed as defence guns within Prussian fortified places.
The Neisse siege park had a total of 92 pieces consisting of:
- 20 x 24-pdr cannon
- 20 x 12-pdr heavy cannon
- 20 x 10-pdr howitzers
- 20 x 50-pdr mortars
- 12 x 140-pdr stone-mortars.
The stone mortars were used for night time bombardment. Their incoming shots (a charge of cobble stones of between 6 to 12 pound a piece) could not be heard so that it could scare the defenders repairing teams away from their positions – or at least delay their work. During this period, however, these pieces were more often used by the defenders against the attackers sappers in a similar way and with similar intention (Tempelhof).
The Berlin siege park is estimated to be of an equal or slightly smaller size. Only 30 heavy cannon and 20 50-pdr mortars were brought up on the Elbe for the blockade of Prague in May/June 1757.
Großer Generalstab, Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung II (commissioner). ie Kriege Friedrichs des Großen, Dritter Teil: Der Siebenjährige Krieg 1756-1763. Berlin 1901-1914, vols. I to IX
Guddat, Martin, Kanoniere Bombardiere Pontoniere - Die Artillerie Friedrichs des Großen, Herford 1992
Hüttemann, Bernd, Das Erscheinungsbild und die Gefechtsformen der preußischen Artillerie im 7-jährigen Krieg, Paderborn 1993
Jany, Curt, Geschichte der Preußischen Armee vom 15. Jahrhundert bis 1914 Volume II, Die Armee Friedrichs des Großen 1740 - 1763. Reprint Osnabrück 1967 of the 1928-1937 edition
Scharnhorst, G. J. D. v.; Militairisches Taschenbuch, zum Gebrauch im Felde, Hannover, 1793
Tempelhof, Georg Friedrich von, Geschichte des siebenjährigen Krieges in Deutschland zwischen dem Könige von Preussen und der Kaiserin Königin mit ihren Alliirten als eine Fortsetzung der Geschichte Lloyd, J. F. Unger, Berlin, 1783-1801
Christian Rogge for the initial version of this article