SYW limber riders

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RMD
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Re: SYW limber riders

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Spanner wrote: Mon May 27, 2024 9:57 am
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.
No indeed, I doubt that the driver riding the gun-trail (if that's what he's doing - it's hard to tell) was an approved method, but it reminds me of pictures I've seen of civilian horse-carts, showing the driver sitting sideways on the cart or on top of the load.

I agree, Fred The Big was definitely not the first to come up with the idea. As you say, even he admitted he got the idea form the Russkis. However, was he perhaps the first to mass horse-guns as a 'brigade' (battery)? The Russki concept was a mounted form of battalion guns; a pair assigned to each regiment, rather than a massed battery of five or more guns under independent command.

Re postillons; Were they not a 'thing', then? I'd always assumed that teams of horses would have at least one mounted postillon controlling them.
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Re: SYW limber riders

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Spanner wrote: Mon May 27, 2024 9:57 am 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.
What???? Not the Blessed Baptiste Gribeauval? You may just have incurred the displeasure of the equally Blessed Colonel Wiley P. Kiley!!!
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Re: SYW limber riders

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Aha! I knew I'd seen that driver somewhere before...

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Re: SYW limber riders

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BaronVonWreckedoften wrote: Mon May 27, 2024 1:04 pm
Spanner wrote: Mon May 27, 2024 9:57 am 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.
What???? Not the Blessed Baptiste Gribeauval? You may just have incurred the displeasure of the equally Blessed Colonel Wiley P. Kiley!!!
That's a strange way to spell 'C**t'.
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Re: SYW limber riders

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RMD wrote: Mon May 27, 2024 6:36 am I agree, Fred The Big was definitely not the first to come up with the idea. As you say, even he admitted he got the idea form the Russkis. However, was he perhaps the first to mass horse-guns as a 'brigade' (battery)? The Russki concept was a mounted form of battalion guns; a pair assigned to each regiment, rather than a massed battery of five or more guns under independent command.

Re postillons; Were they not a 'thing', then? I'd always assumed that teams of horses would have at least one mounted postillon controlling them.
It wasn't a big step from two or three regimental pieces under a junior officer to a battery of six guns under a captain, mate. Postillions had been used on post coaches since the late 1600's, at least, and were also used on (some or all?) personal carriages. But I can't find a definite answer on whether a postillion was used for battery limbers and wagons. It seems, in the SYW and possibly up to the Revolutionary Wars, the horses were normally led by rein, with only the battery officers being mounted. Christian Rogge may know- he's forgotten more about the period artillery than I'll ever know. I'll post a question to him on the Kornoskaf board, tomorrow.
BaronVonWreckedoften wrote: Mon May 27, 2024 1:04 pm What???? Not the Blessed Baptiste Gribeauval? You may just have incurred the displeasure of the equally Blessed Colonel Wiley P. Kiley!!!
Colonel my arse! He retired on promotion to major. A colonel who served with him made a point of clearing that fact up on TMP and The Napoleon Series boards- for obvious reasons. *

*Disclaimer- Kiley and I are not friends. I feel Mark's opinion of him, expressed above, casts him in unbelievably favourable light.
If "The System" is the answer, who asked such a bloody stupid question?
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Re: SYW limber riders

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Spanner wrote: Mon May 27, 2024 1:37 pm *Disclaimer- Kiley and I are not friends. I feel Mark's opinion of him, expressed above, casts him in unbelievably favourable light.
Amen - testify, Brother Spanner!!!
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Re: SYW limber riders

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Posted to the Kronoskaf group. Hopefully I'll get an answer soon.

"In a discussion on a wargaming board someone has asked whether artillery limbers and wagons had anyone riding on the draught horses- in other words were some of the crew acting as postillions- in the early to mid 18th Century? As far as I know the gunners all walked, leading the limber teams by the reins, and only officers were mounted.

They also asked whether any crew rode on the gun limbers, or acted as drivers. A driver would be unnecessary if a gunner was leading the team by rein, or a postillion rode the lead horse of the team. But I haven't been able to find any definitive answer. The answer may be different for the different armies, too.

Does anyone have any information I could offer to the LaW members?"
If "The System" is the answer, who asked such a bloody stupid question?
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Re: SYW limber riders

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BaronVonWreckedoften wrote: Mon May 27, 2024 5:18 pm Amen - testify, Brother Spanner!!!
No, mate, I'm not re-visiting that midden heap.
If "The System" is the answer, who asked such a bloody stupid question?
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Re: SYW limber riders

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I had one answer, from Jean-Louis, concerning the French army practices. The French were still using contractors until 1800, so the troops walked. The contractors did use a postillion for the gun teams, though, riding the on-side wheel horse, and all the horses had small saddles. He sent me a couple of nice images and I'm awaiting permission to reproduce them here.

Nothing on the Prussian, Austrian, Russian or British armies as yet.
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Re: SYW limber riders

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Spanner wrote: Thu May 30, 2024 1:33 pm I had one answer, from Jean-Louis, concerning the French army practices. The French were still using contractors until 1800, so the troops walked. The contractors did use a postillion for the gun teams, though, riding the on-side wheel horse, and all the horses had small saddles. He sent me a couple of nice images and I'm awaiting permission to reproduce them here.

Nothing on the Prussian, Austrian, Russian or British armies as yet.
Nice one! Thanks for that.

And yes, Christian has definitely forgotten more about the period than we'll ever know! He helped me out a while back with the composition of Cavendish's Brigade of Chasseurs (a unit that turns up in a few of the later battles in western Germany); a deeply obscure subject indeed, but one in which he seems to be the leading (possibly ONLY) authority!
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