Befreiungskriege 1813-14

Painting and modelling 28mm Napoleonic wargaming miniatures

Flying artillery

Posted by Martin on March 20, 2010

Horse artillery work begins.

Horse artillery work begins.

Prussia can’t claim the credit for the innovaton of “flying” horse artillery (that honour goes to Russia) but it was Fredrick The Great’s Prussian army that demonstrated the true worth of this arm during the Seven Years War. So much so that other nations were quick to follow and by the Napoleonic Wars horse artillery was well established.

By 1813, the Prussian army had set up reserve cavalry elements attached to each corps. Each such cavalry force was provided with horse artillery batteries. In the case of Bulow’s III Corps, there were three cavalry brigades supported by two horse artillery batteries. My long term plans include modelling one of the cavalry brigades with one horse artillery battery. So, just because I fancied a change, I’ve embarked on the first steps for my horse artillery battery.

So far, I’ve just primed a gun crew black (along with a gratuitous casualty figure and done most of the face-painting work. These Calpe figures model the horse artillery in campaign dress which was typified by the wearing of a dark blue litewka and grey cavalry overalls. The litewka has a black collar with red piping along the bottom and front edges (not the top edge) and probably red piping round the cuff. In 1813, shoulder straps were different colours for each of the three horse artillery brigades – scarlet for the Brandenburg brigade, white for the Prussian brigade and yellow for the Silesian brigade (in 1814 all three brigades changed to scarlet shoulder straps). I’m modelling battery number five, which was in the Brandenburg brigade so painting the shouder straps scarlet will handily make this battery correct for the whole 1813-15 period.

So wielding the red shades is the next job for me.


8 Responses to “Flying artillery”

  1. Neil said

    Love the faces, so full of character.

  2. Phil said

    Nice to see you painting again.

  3. John M. said

    what are you using for the priming these days Martin, looks a lot better than my humbrol black matt


    • Martin said

      It’s actually a mix of Vallejo MC acrylic black paint and Daler-Rowney FW black acrylic ink. The paint component gives me good coverage while the ink component ensures that it flows into all the crevices without obscuring the details of the sculpting.

  4. Dear Martin
    That is certainly an intersting statement as I am writing a book on Russian Artillery. It all depends on what you mean. There were cavalry galloper guns in the English Civil War and those with Gustaphus Adolphus.

    Certainly the Russian light guns with the Dragoons were probably the inspiration for Frederick the Great. Their operation was a reaction to the Ottoman Turks with their irregular cavalry.


    • Martin said

      Yes, Stephen, it’s a question of what one thinks constitutes genuine horse artillery.

      Gustavus Adolphus was probably the first commander to introduce genuinely light, and therefore mobile, artillery with barrels made from leather. But whether that made it horse artillery depends on what other criteria you wish to apply.

      I think I’d be tempted to apply additional criteria that conveys the sense that for artillery to merit the title “horse” it has to be capable of keeping up with light cavalry. And that might mean that the gunners, caissons and limbers should be as light and mobile as the ordnance itself.

      When France introduced horse artillery, for example, it decided that all gunners should be mounted and reaped the benefits of this mobility.

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