SYW limber riders

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ochoin
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SYW limber riders

Post by ochoin »

Did gunners ride on limber horses during the SYW?

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Re: SYW limber riders

Post by RMD »

ochoin wrote: Sat May 25, 2024 12:34 am Did gunners ride on limber horses during the SYW?

donald
I'm 99% sure they didn't ride limbers until the introduction of the British single-trailed artillery system and box-limbers (with seats) at the end of the century. However, never say never... If you zoom into the painting at the top of this article, it does look like a driver is riding a limber in the background and there are no horse-riders, which is odd:

http://www.jemimafawr.co.uk/2022/05/30/ ... artillery/
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Re: SYW limber riders

Post by Essex Boy »

I've no idea......but like that ever stopped me.......

Wouldn't the gunners either walk or find themselves a relatively comfy seat on one of the accompanying wagons? A lot nicer than sitting astride a horse, even if it happened to have a saddle.
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Re: SYW limber riders

Post by Jamanicus »

I wonder whether they'd sit on connection point between the gun trace and limber, just to add some weight and that the artillery piece doesn't bounce off the limber on slightly bumpier ground etc?? Did they have a 'locking mechanism'?
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Re: SYW limber riders

Post by BaronVonWreckedoften »

Yes, there was - I do recall reading orders telling the gunners not to place their kit on the gun trail and/or limber whilst on the march. Given the lack of seats, I think it safe to day that any man concerned for the "family jewels" would not have risked riding on the limber or the gun trail (even with dedicated seating, it can't have been a "fun" ride).
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Re: SYW limber riders

Post by BaronVonWreckedoften »

Essex Boy wrote: Sat May 25, 2024 9:35 am Wouldn't the gunners either walk or find themselves a relatively comfy seat on one of the accompanying wagons? A lot nicer than sitting astride a horse, even if it happened to have a saddle.
Remember that these were draught horses, not riding horses (postillions were for carriages and artillery "drivers" generally walked beside the guns) and would not have been happy pulling a gun and limber, never mind having some hairy-arsed gunners hitching a free ride. I do recall that Phillips, who was Burgoyne's 2-i-C at Saratoga, had earned his reputation as a gunner by bringing his artillery into action at Minden "at the gallop" which suggests that at least some of the draught horses were being ridden by that time.
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Re: SYW limber riders

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BaronVonWreckedoften wrote: Sun May 26, 2024 6:54 pm
Essex Boy wrote: Sat May 25, 2024 9:35 am Wouldn't the gunners either walk or find themselves a relatively comfy seat on one of the accompanying wagons? A lot nicer than sitting astride a horse, even if it happened to have a saddle.
Remember that these were draught horses, not riding horses (postillions were for carriages and artillery "drivers" generally walked beside the guns) and would not have been happy pulling a gun and limber, never mind having some hairy-arsed gunners hitching a free ride. I do recall that Phillips, who was Burgoyne's 2-i-C at Saratoga, had earned his reputation as a gunner by bringing his artillery into action at Minden "at the gallop" which suggests that at least some of the draught horses were being ridden by that time.
Yes, that's what I was thinking. And I suspect 'at the gallop' was a reference to speed rather than method.

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Re: SYW limber riders

Post by Spanner »

ochoin wrote: Sat May 25, 2024 12:34 am Did gunners ride on limber horses during the SYW?

donald
There's some good answers above. I can't be sure, mate, but the Russian mounted gunners (whom Fred 2 saw at Zorndorf, and which sparked his idea about horse artillery) used to lead their teams, which implies that the teams didn't have a driver nor postillions. Draught horses are generally "cold blooded" (refers to temperament rather than temperature), so wouldn't object too much to a rider, but it would be an unnecessary burden and could injure the horse. So I doubt it, unless a man was sick, injured or wounded, perhaps? Even the he'd probably be put on/in a wagon (or made to hobble/crawl), not on a team horse.

That's not to say that someone didn't experiment with it, because by the Napoleonic Wars it was commonplace.

Riding on limbers is another matter. You'd have to hate your kidneys and vertebrae if you wanted to try that.
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Re: SYW limber riders

Post by RMD »

Spanner wrote: Sun May 26, 2024 10:15 pm
ochoin wrote: Sat May 25, 2024 12:34 am Did gunners ride on limber horses during the SYW?

donald
There's some good answers above. I can't be sure, mate, but the Russian mounted gunners (whom Fred 2 saw at Zorndorf, and which sparked his idea about horse artillery) used to lead their teams, which implies that the teams didn't have a driver nor postillions. Draught horses are generally "cold blooded" (refers to temperament rather than temperature), so wouldn't object too much to a rider, but it would be an unnecessary burden and could injure the horse. So I doubt it, unless a man was sick, injured or wounded, perhaps? Even the he'd probably be put on/in a wagon (or made to hobble/crawl), not on a team horse.

That's not to say that someone didn't experiment with it, because by the Napoleonic Wars it was commonplace.

Riding on limbers is another matter. You'd have to hate your kidneys and vertebrae if you wanted to try that.
The 'Galloper Guns' seen by Fred The Big at Zorndorf were almost certainly the regimental artillery assigned to Russian Dragoon, Horse Grenadier and 'New' Cuirassier Regiments.

There is also the example of Prince William of Schaumburg-Lippe forming two batteries of British 6pdrs into 'flying batteries' at Warburg; leading them forward 'at the gallop' and 'astonishing all who saw it'.

Here's the hi-res version of that David Morier painting of the Royal Artillery in the Low Countries during the 1740s. If you zoom in to that gun-team in the background (four horses in single file, pulling what appears to be a 6pdr), the driver has a long crop in his hand and appears to be sitting sideways on the gun-trail itself, rather than the limber. On the right of the picture you can see a civilian driver (in a grey coat) riding one of the draught-horses. It's also worth noting that the royal carriage in the foreground has a postillon riding one of the first pair of horses in the team.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/ ... ection.jpg
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Re: SYW limber riders

Post by Spanner »

RMD wrote: Mon May 27, 2024 6:36 am
The 'Galloper Guns' seen by Fred The Big at Zorndorf were almost certainly the regimental artillery assigned to Russian Dragoon, Horse Grenadier and 'New' Cuirassier Regiments.

There is also the example of Prince William of Schaumburg-Lippe forming two batteries of British 6pdrs into 'flying batteries' at Warburg; leading them forward 'at the gallop' and 'astonishing all who saw it'.

Here's the hi-res version of that David Morier painting of the Royal Artillery in the Low Countries during the 1740s. If you zoom in to that gun-team in the background (four horses in single file, pulling what appears to be a 6pdr), the driver has a long crop in his hand and appears to be sitting sideways on the gun-trail itself, rather than the limber. On the right of the picture you can see a civilian driver (in a grey coat) riding one of the draught-horses. It's also worth noting that the royal carriage in the foreground has a postillon riding one of the first pair of horses in the team.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/ ... ection.jpg
Thanks for that link, Mark. I hadn't seen that painting in a decent size and resolution before. The bloke riding the trail is a surprise. It's certainly not the most stable place from which to control the team (nor unlikely to be comfortable). Postillions on the lead carriage horse were an old convention. His job was to help control the team, if necessary, and to tell lesser people (ie those who didn't ride in carriages) to get out of the bloody way. He'd also go for help if the carriage broke down. Most carriage horses were warm bloods, not draught horses, as the carriages were much lighter than the gun and limber combo. Heavy carriages, like the really fugly one below, were basically town cars and rarely taken for long jaunts.

I feel that the Russians can claim to have invented the idea of mounted gunners, unless they in turn copied someone else (possibly the Swedes?), so I'm sceptical about claims that Fred2 "invented" horse artillery. He just further refined someone else's idea- and not very well, considering what happened to the batteries he raised. It's like Edison claiming to have invented the light globe- which would be news to Volta, Davy and Staite.
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Really fugly, bad taste carriage.
Really fugly, bad taste carriage.
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If "The System" is the answer, who asked such a bloody stupid question?
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