Question of the Week: 11/20-11/26/23

If you were building an artillery battery…would you rather have all the same style and caliber of cannon or different? Why?

6 Responses to Question of the Week: 11/20-11/26/23

  1. Same. Easier to acquire ammunition, and to thoroughly train a crew on the operational capacity of your weapons.

  2. Depending on if it is a four-gun or six-gun battery, I’d suggest two or three 12-pound Napoleons and two or three 3-Inch Ordnance Rifles. Both excel at what they are good at.

  3. Six 3″ Ordnance rifles or six M1857 Napoleon smooth bores, depending on your preferences. Uniform ordnance/projectiles/supply and uniform range/performance/tactics. A good example of one problem with mixed batteries is that of Battery I, 1st NY at Second Bull Run on August 30. They had four rifles and two M1841 12lb Field Howitzers. Ordered to respond to the Confederate assault on Chinn Ridge, they left the howitzers behind due to their significantly shorter range.

  4. The same. All you personnel can be trained in all aspects of the particular guns. Logistics and support for one weapon should, SHOULD, be more efficient.

  5. Comparing an artillery unit to an airline, Southwest Airlines uses Boeing 737 pretty much exclusively. Advantages – lots of efficiencies – saves on spare parts, mechanics training, uniform storage space, etc. Disadvantages – can’t fly as many people as larger jets when demand is high. But, imo, you have to consider the men manning the materiel. An experienced artillery crew with excellent leadership can make it work. I think of Edward Porter Alexander’s field experience at the Battle of Fredericksburg. He made an “AWS statistics less than 5%” shot that took out a room of Yankee sharpshooters. I recall a story of a guy walking the field of a western battle after something like Chickamauga. He saw a perfectly round artillery shot through the trunk of tree. When he got to the other side of the tree, he found a body sitting with it’s back against the tree, headless.

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