- 01/06/2015 at 22:11 #25457CerdicParticipant
I came across an interesting passage today, written by a Julius Hartwich. He was an officer with the Prussian Corps that formed part of Napoleon’s army during the invasion of Russia in 1812.
Just before the action at Ruenthal in Latvia on 29th September he says: “We were set to work, rolling the larger cannonballs out in front of the guns, in random fashion, to disrupt any cavalry charges.”
This is a new one to me! Has anyone else heard of ‘cannonball caltrops’ before?02/06/2015 at 02:38 #25473paintpigParticipant
It may well work, seems the inverse to digging small shallow (about 30cm inevery direction) ditches to break up cavalry attack. Nice find.
I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel
Slowly Over A Low Flame02/06/2015 at 06:59 #25484Iain FullerParticipant
I remember my dad telling me that when he was a copper he saw marbles deployed in such a manner at a demo once, he said that the horses were all over the place and many of the mounted police fell off – for some reason he thought this was hilarious, apparently he didn’t like the mounted branch too much (and having been on quite a few demo’s and to many football matches I tend to agree!).
So, it seems like a logical tactic but the ground would have to be quite firm for it to work maybe?02/06/2015 at 14:08 #25518CerdicParticipant
The writer doesn’t make it clear how it was supposed to work. I would guess that, rather than rolling around, the round shape of the balls prevented the horses hoof from getting a firm footing?
Mind you, if the ground was frozen the marbles idea would work. How cold is Latvia in September…?02/06/2015 at 14:18 #25519MikeKeymaster
The writer doesn’t make it clear how it was supposed to work. I would guess that, rather than rolling around, the round shape of the balls prevented the horses hoof from getting a firm footing?…
makes sense, plus I suppose any rider would think twice about charging if he knew his horse may throw him…02/06/2015 at 16:09 #25527jannerParticipant
I can imagine that a haphazard spread of a large number of cannon balls could cause a body of horse some difficulty, much like longbowmen digging numerous small pits in front of their position at Crécy.
http://jannersjaunt.blogspot.dk02/06/2015 at 22:19 #25562grizzlymcParticipant
Just trying to walk a horse on ground with loose cobbl sized rocks (64-256mm) is damned difficult. A few horses sprawling on the cannon balls would severely disrupt a stirrup to stirrup charge.02/06/2015 at 23:16 #25567PatriceParticipant
I never thought of this, but it makes sense. Horses don’t like uneven ground, or stones etc. They can pass it at low speed but not in a charge.
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