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How to deal with the captured guns in Nappy time?

Posted by chen on 22 Feb 2009, 10:16

Hi, I'm wondering if the French or the Russian ever used captured guns to arm itself during 1812 in Russia. It seems to me that all of the armies in war (including Prussians and Austrians) suffered high losses among their artillery. So could it be possible that some captured enemy's guns have been used in the French army and in the Russian army (even in the militia units)?

Any information on this is welcome. Thank you in advance for your replys!

cheers
chen
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chen  China
 
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Posted by Peter on 22 Feb 2009, 21:11

I think this is possible. Maybe a little example. After the battle of Waterloo they told us that the cannons of the French were used for making the lion on the hill. But the lion is made of iron that came from Liege Belgium. What I have heard is that the British shipped the captured cannons over the water.
I think most of the time they moulded the guns to make other ones suitable for their own ammo.

Greetings Peter
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Peter  Belgium

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Posted by chen on 23 Feb 2009, 18:38

Thank you Peter
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Posted by je_touche on 23 Feb 2009, 19:54

One well known example are Austrian guns captured during the 1809 campaign and put into use as regimental artillery by the French.

I do not know if the French used captured Russian guns in 1812, or the other way round. This sounds likely, but there may have been problems with ammo not fitting different calibres etc. I would have to do some reading to find out exactly. As far as I remember, the Russians succeeded in hauling away all of their cannon in most of the battles of that campaign.

If you wish to research into that subject matter more thoroughly, I recommend this book:

Dawson, Anthony L., Paul L. Dawson, and Stephen Summerfield: Napoleonic Artillery, Ramsbury: Crowood Press 2007

As I said, I have to find out if anything is in there about captured cannon.
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Posted by chen on 26 Feb 2009, 12:48

Thank you Monsieur je_touche! This is exactly what I want! I'll look for that book you've recommended. BTW, do you have a bit more informations on that well known example with captured Austrian guns used as French regimental artillery? What type of guns they are? They were used in infantry regiments or in cavalry regs? Many thanks to you in advance!

chen
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Posted by nybot on 26 Feb 2009, 13:47

Hi Chen,

I think that je_touche has answered your question but I wanted to reply to Peter.

Yes the British did bring back some of the captured French guns with them.
There are a couple of them at The Royal Hospital Chelsea. As guns were considered Colours it was a huge thing to capture them. In the main banqueting hall there are lots of Colours on display that were captured on various campaigns.

The Royal Hospital is one of my favorite place and I was lucky enough to work there for a month last year so I got lots of oral history on the place as well.

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Posted by Siegfried on 26 Feb 2009, 14:11

In the 1813-1814 campaign several german states used captured french guns. but most often guns would be nailed, for the lack of time and transport to take the captured guns.

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Christiaan
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Posted by dykio on 26 Feb 2009, 14:42

Hi Gentlemen,

although this is really not my period ( :oops: :oops: ) i always follow this kind of topics just out of curiousity. and i'm always amazed about how much you guys know about this period.

So this is just to give you al a :thumbup: for al the info you are sharing with us

Dykio
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dykio  Netherlands
 
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Posted by je_touche on 26 Feb 2009, 21:42

As to your question concerning regimental artillery, as said it was (re-)introduced by Bonaparte in 1809 as a means of close infantry fire support. Austrian 3- and 4-pounders were distributed among the infantry regiments.

Most of the regimental artillery was lost in Russia, and it was not re-introduced again in 1813.

I had a look into Dawson et al., but they do not mention anything about the usage of captured guns in any Napoleonic army. As others mentioned before, their use was quite widespread though.

During battle, guns were nailed as an expedience so the enemy could not turn them round and use them against their own troops. When captured or retrieved the nails could be removed in a mobile artillery workshop, so nailing a gun did not mean destroying its barrel beyond repair.
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Posted by nybot on 27 Feb 2009, 15:15

Hi je_touche,

You are right of course when you say that the "Spiking" of the guns with nails was the common practice as it was a temporary way of disabling the guns during the battle. And it is this that make exceptions to this rule so interesting.

At Balaclava it was the Russians attempting to limber up the captured British guns and take them away that led to the ill-fated Charge of the Light Brigade. But the Russians must have had plenty of time to even attempt such a feat.

And at Waterloo both the British and the French made huge mistakes by not spiking the enemies guns when they had the chance. The Brits failed to make the most of their opportunity after the Union Brigade's charge and the French missed their chance when the Allied Army was forced to form Squares and most of the guns were abandoned by their crews for long periods.

I know this is slightly off-topic for Chen but it seems to me that anything goes with captured guns. If need must for a particular army they probably did use captured guns on campaign. But because of the Guns dual role as both a weapon and the unit's Colours, many would have been sent back to the Regiment as proof of their honor and bravery.

Nybot
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Posted by Peter on 27 Feb 2009, 21:19

Hey Chen, I found another example what happened with captured guns:

Image

the colonne on Place Vendôme, at Paris, made from captured guns by Napoleon with the Egypt campain.

Greetings Peter
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