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Maximum Artillery Ranges

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Jason
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Maximum Artillery Ranges

Post by Jason on Mon Jun 05, 2017 9:09 pm

I am sure its either in the rules or one of the supplements but I can't seem to find it...so...

What were the maximum ranges for artillery in the Glory period, both at sea and on land...and both maximum maximum and practical maximum (maximum range at which you could expect to be vaguely accurate in targeting)

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Re: Maximum Artillery Ranges

Post by J Flower on Tue Jun 06, 2017 10:41 am

I believe maximum range is around about 1,000 yds, when the round drops onto the first graze, ricochet fire is not a known skill, plus visibility of target is also a factor, I think we all fail to appreciate this, on a war games table it is all flat, but if you care to have a look at the countryside next time you take a walk, you will see it is not as flat as a Billiard table, there are various dips & hollows inclines etc, actually deploying a battery in a straight line could prove difficult, try finding a football size piece of flat ground without walls, dips or other obstacles.

so, although ranges above 1,000 yds are possible target acquisition & terrain will limit this.

Cannister can probably be expected to have range approximately half of Round shot, albeit historically there were still problems with the force & heat of the ignition in the barrel causing the balls to fuse together.

Howitzers firing shell at this period, initially had the fuse lit before loading. Making a gunners life"interesting"( eventually people realised that the firing also normally lit the fuse) Length of fuse dictating the point of detonation.It was possible to get in close to howitzers & get in under their arch of fire when they were using shell, but by that time they had normally changed to cannister as well.

It maybe possible to develop heavy cannister to extend the range of your artillery with this ammo type, but I don't think it is in the rule book.
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revvaughan
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Re: Maximum Artillery Ranges

Post by revvaughan on Tue Jun 06, 2017 4:17 pm

For some reason I remember reading the other day that the range was 1,000 to 1,200 yards unless the Beliodor Theory had been researched and was in use. In that case ranges approaching 2,000 yards were possible. I will have to go back at look at the supplements, but for some reason Carte Blanche comes to mind.

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Re: Maximum Artillery Ranges

Post by J Flower on Sat Jun 10, 2017 7:38 am

There is also the point of maximum range & battle range, many modern infantry battle field weapons have maximum ranges of 1000 yds or more, but battle range is usually 2-300 yds. would imagine in 1700s this would be similar for many weapons, with terrain, smoke etc meaning effective ranges were seldom achieved. Hard to duplicate on a war games table.
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Jason
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Re: Maximum Artillery Ranges

Post by Jason on Sat Jun 10, 2017 10:51 am

Thanks guys Smile

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Re: Maximum Artillery Ranges

Post by Stuart Bailey on Sat Jun 10, 2017 11:53 am

Tests of French Guns order by Minister of War Belle-Isleto see if using a reduction of powder charge to one third of shot weight made any difference to range (it did not) showed that the following ranges could be obtained using the reduced charge:

24 pdr at 15% elevation 3,340 yards at 45% elevation 4,600 yards

12 pdr at 15% elevation 3,100 yards at 45% elevation 3,600 yards

8 pdr at 15% elevation 2880 yards at 45% elevation 3360 yards

4 pdr at 15% elevation 2,600 yards at 45% elevation 2920 yards

However most contemporary (French) "experts" remained insistent as late as 1744 that "effective" cannon could not be more than 500 toises (1000 yards) as at greater ranges the aimer could not distinguish targets clearly or observe the fall of shot and gunners were advised not to fire at over 800 yards.

Marshal De Saxe greatest French Soldier of the period even if was a German and fully paid up member of the difficult squad however pointed out that at Fontenoy in 1745 a Dutch Attack was stopped by French Artillery fire at 800-900 toises (1600 to 1800 yards).  It should perhaps be noted that at Fontenoy the French were fighting over fairly flat prepared ground and the allies we attacking in large and dence formations so it was fairly idea conditons for field artillery.  Off the flat plans of Germany, Hungary and the low Countries effective ranges are almost certainly a lot less.

Issued French regulations seem to have been a compromise between the max potential range and trying to stop the waste of shot and powder due to shooting at very long range just because we can........1740's French Regulations limited maximium elevation to 8% which limited range to 2000 yards (1600 for 4 pounders).

Aside from field battles we also need to look at ranges sea and in sieges:

- At sea we have larger guns with clear fields of fire mounted fairly high up, with good obervation of shot fall & fairly large targets so in theorypotential ranges are longer.  In practice the problems of hitting one moving target from the deck of a ship which was not only moving along but also up and down resulted in the effective range in anything other than a dead flat calm being closer range than on land. A few hundred yards was usual but often sea fights could be at brutally close range.

- In sieges the defending artillery like at Fontenoy are shooting over flat, prepared and cleared ground which the defenders have been able to measure out and zero guns in on.  This means that effective range for fortress cannon can be 2000 yards if not more.  Apart from the  ditches and other obstacles this is one reason why fortified positions were rarely just stormed but the attackers sapped as close as possible and attempted to knock out defensive artillery first.  However, once under siege the defenders period they could hold out was  normally limited by the amount of powder in their magazines & food.  So it made sence not to just blast off powder at long rate.  What post defenders would do would be to keep up a slow fire with just a few guns to the attackers were forced to go through all the time and cost of a formal siege.

- As cities are large static targets mortar fire and bombardments ive designed to damage the town itself can be effective at max range but normally bombardments like that of Brussels by Louis XIV was not viewed as s much closer.  It seems that siege artillery could create a breach from as mach as 200-300 yards.  But to attack from this far out was asking for a bloody defeat so generally speaking you dug a lot closer than this before going over the top even if the guns were positioned further back.

The advantage of keeping guns back while you keep digging is that breaching fire starts earlier and guns are in less danager of getting over-run and spiked by a sallie or blown up by the defenders mines.  The problem it that the poor bloody Infantry and people doing the digging are now in a cross fire.  The famous French General (son of James II and newphew of John Churchill) - The Duke of Berwick was killed in such a siege operation when his head was taken off by a French cannon fired from behind his position. Not a report you want to write if you are commanding the Artillery! Bit like being the maid who threw out Lord Fong's pickle jar after finding his gerkins had gone off.

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Re: Maximum Artillery Ranges

Post by J Flower on Sun Jun 11, 2017 10:10 am

Believe in this period elevation was kept to a minimum, more of a sighting down the barrel at the target, shotgun style, so that whilst elevation was known to improve range it wasn't widely used, maybe the introduction of screw thread elevation later in period had an influence on more accurate elevation & range calculations.

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