Monday, January 28, 2013

Napoleon's Queen of the Battlefield

Batteries (normally six cannon and two howitzers plus caissons and crews) of Light (a relative term as this piece weighs just under 2000 lbs) field pieces like this 12 pdr Foot Artillery cannon were the Queens of the battlefield to a master of artillery like Napoleon.

Firing a 12 pd ball or the deadly grapeshot (a mass of smaller iron balls that in action made the cannon a giant shotgun), field artillery was used to deadly effect throughout the 17th to 19th centuries. 

Howitzers such as this 5.7 inch (muzzle diameter) example were used to lob shells in a high arc over intervening terrain, fortifications and friendly troops.  Howitzers were used in smaller numbers than field cannons but were no less deadly when place under the command of an expert such at Napoleon.

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