17/05/2016 at 19:19 #42095
The internet is a great boon to our hobby. Mostly. But sometimes blather fills the dead space between things to say. I see the boys over on TMP are heading towards 200 posts to determine that a canister round contains grapeshot, but is not a grapeshot round. At least strictly speaking in anachronistic terms. Something which if pointed out early in gentlemanly measure would have cut the conversation short.
Kevin Kiley is quite insistent that the French only used grapeshot rounds in naval warfare. Now it seems unwise to assert a negative, since a single counter-example will prove you wrong. But I suppose Marine ethos might find it cowardly to duck a question simply because you are uncertain of the answer. “Why” is another matter altogether. As noted, grapeshot could chew up a brass barrel, while ships used iron guns (for ballast?). Not yet noted, these guns tended to be much larger than field pieces. So presumably there was some economy in producing grapeshot rounds, perhaps the corrosive effects of the sea disadvantaged canister, or perhaps some other consideration yet to be raised accounts of this all.
Of course, there is still the OP’s original query – did artillery get into canister range of enemy artillery?17/05/2016 at 21:05 #42102
As you say, ship’s guns, especially those on Ships of the Line, were heavier than field pieces. The Victory for instance had 30x 32pdr, 30x 24pdr and 45x 12 pdr.
The guns could be charged with a heavier load of powder and thus their throw weight and range would be greater. The balls in grapeshot were larger, less tightly packed than in canister and would burst from the muzzle so their spread would be wider. Being larger and heavier they would damage the ships as well as their crews – the effect of a broadside of grape on a smaller vessel must have been devastating. Canister wouldn’t have the same effect, so therein lies the answer. Probably.
Everything else is semantics.
Obvious contrarian and passive aggressive old prat, who is taken far too seriously by some and not seriously enough by others.18/05/2016 at 04:58 #42109paintpigParticipant
Multiple headed post ol’boy, which one do I address first or indeed which order…
Because my interest and knowledge of Napoeonics is limited I should start there but the subject of the internet on our hobby is much more important than pages of discussion about balls on what is at it’s very very best an abstracted stimulation, but such is war gaming (to borrow from Ned Kelly).
So reading between the lines ( and the lines themselves) we are discussing the pro’s and con’s of “teh internetz” and it’s ability to gather like minded enthusiasts of a particular hobby, attitude, enthusiasm, interest etc etc etc….. not really Napoleonic period artillery at all…. and why some people are complete arseholes, dickheads, know it all’s, helpful, sharing and all the other states that anonymity and human nature provide?
OK this is the only way I can explain my position on the internet re war gaming
I love cooking, the internet has expanded my arsenal of dishes in a way I could not have imagined with real, authentic recipes written and posted by the people that grew up in the food culture I might be looking at that particular day, recipes that are handed down from generation to generation. Cooking forums are full of passionate people who love to share, they are just lovely people.
I love painting miniatures, the internet is full of really helpful people who love sharing their tips, techniques and product/tool discoveries. With practice I have been able to incorporate new techniques, paints and tips to improve my miniature painting. “Painting” forums are full of passionate and encouraging people, post a picture with a question and someone is always prepared to offer advice.
I used to love war gaming, I still enjoy it but in a limited fashion. The “war gaming” internet is a mixed grab bag of people all passionate about their opinion on what is right or wrong with any war gaming subject you care to raise, I like to think (hopefully rightly) that the majority are supportive of ideas and offer their advice in a positive manner. Unfortunately historical war gaming, by definition, is full of amateur historians…. historians love to argue (in a debating sense), it is necessary to come to a generally accepted conclusion. A large chunk of war game historians love to argue to prove that they have a greater and more exact knowledge than their peers, interestingly the further back, in historical terms, you go the less dogmatic and frequent the arguments are with the late 18th early 19th century seemingly being the zenith. It is also worth pointing out that war gaming is a competitive hobby, competition is known to attract, or convert normal people to, dickheads…. most of us can play a game cheering our little toys on and finish a game with a friendly beer and bullshit, some just cant let go. Finally, certain war gaming sites are a magnet for the type of people who, with the cloak of anonymity, are wankers…. solution? Change polarity.
Well, that is my way of explaining the internet re hobbies, interest etc. Yes, it is a positive and wonderful tool, if you come across knob ends move on…. dont engage them, there are plenty of war game forums and discussion groups out there.
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 Flame19/05/2016 at 01:18 #42163
I’ll have to send you my wife’s recipe for three cup chicken…
I think I’m mostly scratching an itch. It’s sure hard to read that thread without wanting to log in anonomously and explain what a bunch of tools they all are…
I’m not sure it’s wargaming, as I’ve seen rancor in all sorts of forums: bicycles, cameras, soccer, you name it. But even unmoderated forums seem to manage to repress the boorishness to some extent. Well I guess you all better read between the lines, so I don’t violate the rules here.
The TMP Napoleonic forums has so much potential. Charles Esdaile just made an appearance. (To flame an old protege however) It’s a shame it’s ruined by so many 200 post threads of rubbish.19/05/2016 at 07:47 #42166
Ah, you didn’t want to discuss artillery rounds at all. My bad.
Why are you posting your complaints about TMP here? Post them at TMP.
Obvious contrarian and passive aggressive old prat, who is taken far too seriously by some and not seriously enough by others.19/05/2016 at 08:06 #42167Angel BarracksModerator
Ah, you didn’t want to discuss artillery rounds at all. My bad. Why are you posting your complaints about TMP here? Post them at TMP. Or Frothers.
This.21/05/2016 at 21:30 #42290William JonesParticipant
Indeed, this. This site remains a wargames site. Let’s keep it that way.
That is all.21/05/2016 at 21:44 #42291
Some years ago I’ve been discussing many interesting subjects (mostly medieval in my case) on TMP. I’m not in there any more (although the threads remain, and I don’t regret having been in them).
It ‘s not very useful to mention it again too often on other forums where we are talking about more interesting things now. Some forums still have some old threads about these TMP disagreements (there’s one still alive on FU!UK I think; and there’s one buried long ago on my French-language forum An Argader; etc…) Nobody needs to be involved again in this. How do lawyers call it? “prescription”? I don’t even hold a grudge against anyone there.
https://www.anargader.net/22/05/2016 at 02:34 #42296
I’m happy to discuss artillery rounds.
Do the three of you have any wisdom to impart?
Well, I did ask the wife how she cooks 3 cup chicken on the commute yesterday…22/05/2016 at 09:08 #42304
Thought I had. Is this thing on?
Obvious contrarian and passive aggressive old prat, who is taken far too seriously by some and not seriously enough by others.22/05/2016 at 13:25 #42313paintpigParticipant
I was learnt pretty much the same as NCS. Grape was a predominately naval round and packed for large bore cannon with canister rounds coming packed for smaller bore field guns. I wouldn’t swear that grape was not used by land artillery as I’m sure there may be cases this was so, albeit my remembering was earlier than the Nap period.
If your asking about artillery coming in effective range of artillery (and I imagine we are talking the more mobile horse artillery), yes it must have. Once again I’m relying on less than perfect remembering, let me put a hypothetical to you.
An artillery battery laying effective fire on a target, cav, inf, BUA take your pick why would it not be possible to imagine horse artillery battery to set up and put pressure on the opposing battery. Whether that would be in canister range or not I cannot say but I’m sure that those that read Nap battle history would be able to cite an example without much difficulty. I can find examples for Frederick the Greats 12pdr Brummers (field artillery) in the 7yw closing to effective range with ball…. so?
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 Flame22/05/2016 at 21:07 #42316
You did Not Conrad Sage, which is why I edited my post and changed four to three
Look, the OP addresses a particular interaction that plagues Napoleonic discussions. It’s not unique to any one site, but it is handled better or worse according to site. TWW is not an island. Many of the players here are players elsewhere, and I don’t anticipate Esdaile making an appearance here anytime soon. That said I understand this is not a path Mike would like to trod (and I alluded to that already), so I will leave it.
Not Conrad Sage your speculation that canister spread less than a grapeshot round is a reasonable hypothesis, but I don’t think there is any evidence. There was some contemporary experimentation, like the Mueller(?) tests, and it was understood that lead shot was not a suitable canister ingredient, as the heat of the combustion fused it together. So if there was a performance difference, one might expect to find it in the technical training of the time. The late Paddy Griffith suggested that canister spread out in a fairly narrow pattern and did not penetrate, so that the expected casualties against a dense target were actually less than round shot. I was surprised to find (I cannot remember where) that an early analysis of the Battle of Arcole suggested just this about Austrian artillery firing down the bridge. Anyway, I am rather dubious of Paddy’s analysis. His description, approximately “most of the shot was concentrated on 2-3 files with a couple of lethal strays” isn’t exactly a statistical analysis. If you think about, much of the scatter will be over or under the target, so there is a diminishing return with too much spread. It’s also unclear that a grape shot would not have enough power to penetrate a second rank of bodies.
As the the question of counter-battery fire in canister range, all that comes to mind is an anecdote in Zhmodikov and Zhmodikov describing the Russian Horse Artillery at Borodino getting decimated as they deployed, one battery at a time against a French bombardment, but the range is not clear.22/05/2016 at 22:14 #42319
Okay – reluctant to enter into these lists – but as its TWW and all friendly like – a quick thought:
The only one I could think of was in Nosworthy’s ‘Battle Tactics of Napoleon and his Enemies’ where he quotes de la Pierre in ‘Simples Elements d’art Militaire’ commenting on Jena where a French battery found itself at 600 metres from a Prussian 12lber battery in canister range (p.396 in Nosworthy, p.78 in de la Pierre) . Serruzier the officer in charge of the French 4lb battery apparently ordered half his guns to fire and make lots of smoke while the other half advanced even closer and took the Prussians unawares, destroying them.
It appears that if they were firing canister the Prussians didn’t do a lot of damage – reading the story it makes much of the fact the Prussians couldn’t see the half battery move and were firing blind at an incorrect range – would that make a lot of difference if the canister had a good spread? (maybe it didn’t – see Griffith!) so maybe they were firing roundshot.
If you read de la Pierre it is not clear that the Prussians ever actually fired canister or indeed what the advanced French 4lb ers fired. Just to add fuel to the grape/canister translation row elsewhere – Nosworthy confidently says ‘canister range’ while de la Pierre actually says that at that range ‘le douze pouvant faire usage de mitraille’ – so they were able to use – you tell me what mitraille translates as in 1847 (the date of dlP’s publication) I can find ‘grape’ or ‘canister’. (or machine gun in a later dictionary) but he doesn’t actually say they did fire it, whatever it was.
A bit of heretical thinking – does any of it make much difference in wargame terms? I suppose if you are using the Grant canister cone you may need to rethink the shape a bit – but at a higher level of resolution (and abstraction) I doubt the distinction makes a difference in game terms.22/05/2016 at 22:52 #42320
Mitraille is grapeshot, according to my Collins-Robert dictionary, while boite a mitraille is canister or case shot. So, as I said, semantics.
Mitraille decharge has the sense of ‘a volley of shots’. Mitrailleuese – machinegun, is one of those words that the Academie Francaise despise, a neologism, derived from the above.. 🙂
I’d translate ‘le douze pouvant faire usage de mitraille’ as ‘the twelve [pounder?] was able to fire grapeshot’.22/05/2016 at 23:29 #42321
Mitraille – sorry – I meant to say ‘gunfire’ not machine gun – oh the power of familiarity in the Franco Prussian war context and not being able to read the small print in Harrap’s mini french dictionary! Ah well.
Re the grape-shot/canister bit – I found both – (actually I have to admit I don’t really care-horrors!)
Out of interest Jonathan, where did Paddy say he thought the spread was narrow? Not doubting – just interested.
As for gaming this effect – the French carried both grape and canister in their caissons (10 and 20 respectively according to Paddy G in his ‘The Art of War in Revolutionary France’ – p.240) so I am happy to make a compromise for gaming purposes. I know I have read somewhere that gunners in the period liked to continue firing roundshot at column even at canister range but I can’t remember where (poor old soul). So as long as rules allow you choose, or as long as it is abstracted at a higher level I am quite happy to remain moderately ignorant.
Re the translation – yes, as I said de la Pierre doesn’t actually say anyone fired canister/grape just they could – presumably meaning at that range – actually it would be nice to know de la Pierre’s source – which I haven’t followed up, even if he acknowledges it – which I am not sure he does offhand.23/05/2016 at 00:58 #42326BanditParticipant
This thread seems to have a couple of topics.
1) A side topic: The 24×7 internet cycle, people talking past each other, and feeling a need to post conjecture rather than remain silent when they don’t know.
2) The main topic: Artillery munitions.
On #1 different websites have different cultures, though in general internet culture encourages blind posting where people post to say their peace rather than to advance the discourse. I’m happy that TWW does what it can to encourage discourse over blind posting.
The TMP Napoleonic forums has so much potential.
Well, the Napoleonic forum here has a lot of potential and I’ll say I encourage you to keep contributing, your [John’s] updates on your uniform work for the Russians are a fantastic example of the kind of useful things that communities can put together and offer to each other.
So on to munitions… I am interested in #2 but don’t have anything to contribute, so rather than commit #1, I’ll just watch and hope there is something I can learn.
The Bandit23/05/2016 at 10:19 #42340
Absolutely agree with the positive tone here and with the work Jonathan is making available – exceptionally interesting.23/05/2016 at 11:07 #42343
Semantics can be confusing. “Mitraille” is not a precise term it means a load of tiny metal bits, nails, bullets, etc in any proportions. In popular language it also means small coins – still heard (and I say it sometimes) when you dig into your pocket to buy something and you find a handful of copper € cents and you want to pay with them.
“Prononc. et Orth.: [mitʀ ɑ:j], [-aj]. Att. ds Ac. dep. 1694. Étymol. et Hist. I. 1. a) 1375 mistraille «morceau de métal» (Arch. KK 350, fo276 vods Gdf., s.v. mitaille); b) 1667 mitraille «sorte de ferraille dont on charge les canons» (Fournier, Hydrographie); 1765 «balles de fer mêlées de ferraille, dont on charge les canons» (Encyclop.); c) 1872 boîte à mitraille (Hugo, Année terr., p.106); 1908 obus à mitraille (Alvin, Artill., Matér., p.215); 2. 1872 «décharge collective d’artillerie» (Fondateurs 3eRépubl., loc. cit.). II. 1701 pop. «menue monnaie de cuivre» (Trév.). Altération de l’a. fr. mitaille attesté au sens de «morceau de métal» en 1295 (doc. ds Gdf.) et de «petite monnaie» au xives. (Gdf.), lui-même dér., à l’aide du suff. -aille*, de l’a. fr. mite «monnaie de cuivre de Flandre» (1288, Jacquemard Gielée, Renart le Nouvel, éd. H. Roussel, 7350), lequel est empr. du m. néerl. mite «id.», dér. de la racine germ. mit- «couper en morceaux».”
https://www.anargader.net/23/05/2016 at 12:00 #42348
More thoughts –
As “mitraille” is a so broad term, you can find “boîte à mitraille” for canister; “paquet de mitraille” (or sometimes “grappe, grappe de raisin”) for grapeshot; and “obus de mitraille” (or “obus à balles”) for shrapnel. Of course it depends on the period when it was written.
One example in this book on the artillery of the French navy, 1845, pages 185-191:
“Essai sur le matériel de l’artillerie de nos navires de guerre. François Emmanuel Alexandre Charpentier”
(find it on Google books I can’t share the link properly)
https://www.anargader.net/23/05/2016 at 14:43 #42361
My father used to call his loose change ‘shrapnel’ – I think it is/was a fairly common term in the UK.
That broadness of meaning was what I was trying to get across – probably badly. I wouldn’t say there is no point in attempting to be precise in a conversation like the one ‘in another place’ but it seems to generate a lot more heat than light when in the end, for wargame purposes I am not sure it makes a huge amount of difference.
If you were making a game at the level of the individual battery, or even section of guns then, yes, perhaps such precision would be useful – if only for ‘colour’ as you run out of the relevant load in your ready limber and have send off to the caisson for more. But in most Napoleonic games there would seem to be so many other variables which we either ignore or group up into a general ‘uncertainty’ dice roll, that bothering about the nomenclature for bits of metal fired from a cannon seems, just a tad, anal in approach?24/05/2016 at 01:55 #42404
Where is Paddy on artillery? – I was hoping one of you guys would remember.
Might have been in a Empires, Eagles & Lions article.24/05/2016 at 13:41 #42427
I was sort of presuming it would be in ‘French Artillery’ from the Nation in Arms series 1976 but I haven’t read it for about thirty years and no longer have my copy.
I wondered because later he seemed to ‘snippet’ other suggestions that case/canister/grape was not as effective at close range as one might think – in Rally Once Again he quotes a Confederate officer who believed that the noise of a solid shot being discharged broke a charging line better than the more physically destructive canister. (p.172) That would fit in well with his thoughts on morale effects vice shooting in the horse and musket period.24/05/2016 at 13:46 #42428
in Rally Once Again he quotes a Confederate officer who believed that the noise of a solid shot being discharged broke a charging line better than the more physically destructive canister. (p.172) That would fit in well with his thoughts on morale effects vice shooting in the horse and musket period.
I reckon if you were close enough to enemy artillery to hear it being fired over the general din of battle then it was the gunners who ought to be bricking it, not vice versa 😉
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