Hanoverian Artillery Organisation

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> Hanoverian Army >> Hanoverian Artillery Organisation

Introduction

The artillery of the army of the Electorate of Hanover was perhaps held in even higher esteem than its cavalry. The foundations of its reputation were principally laid by general Brückmann who virtually created the artillery in the 1730's and 40's.

In 1735, during von Brückmann's command, experiments were carried out with a breech-loading gun which had a wedge-shaped breech-block.

At the outbreak of the Seven Year's War, the Hanoverian artillery was subdivided into:

  • Field Artillery
  • Garrison Artillery

Field Artillery

The Field Artillery initially consisted of 6 companies and was responsible for the pieces of the park of artillery as well as for manning pieces of the line infantry. They were rapidly expanded to four brigades of two or three companies.

Organisation of a battery

Hanoverian field batteries had no formal organisation and did not necessarily correspond to the Park artillery brigades. They were organised on an ad hoc basis.

Organisation of a company of Field Artillery

Each Field Artillery company consisted of:

  • 3 officers
  • 15 NCOs
  • 1 drummer
  • 50 Konstablern (constables)
  • 18 Handlanger (assistants)

Line Infantry Artillery

As mentionned before, artillerymen from the Field Artillery Regiment provided the crews for the line infantry battalion guns.

Each infantry battalion had two 3-pdr cannon manned by an artillery detachment of:

  • 1 officer
  • 1 Stückjunker (officer cadet)
  • 2 Feuerwerker (bombardiers)
  • 12 Konstablern (constables)

Exceptionally, the converged grenadier battalion had only one 3-pdr until 1761, when this was increased to two.

Garrison Artillery

In 1762, the Garrison Artillery consisted of:

  • 26 officers
  • 152 NCOs
  • 143 Konstablern (constables)
  • 1,010 Handlanger (assistants)

Evolution throughout the War

In 1756, the Field Artillery was increased to 8 companies.

In 1758, the Field Artillery was increased to 10 companies.

As from June 17 1759, the infantry regiments Sachsen-Gotha and Bückeburg were permanently assigned to Hanoverian artillery protection duties.

In 1762, regimental artillery for the 6 grenadier and 28 musketeer battalions consisted of 68 x 3-pdr cannon and the park artillery consisted of 36 x 6-pdr, 12 x 12-pdr cannon and 8 x 30-pdr howitzers.

Other units

No information available yet

Ranks

No information available yet

Gun handling

Line Infantry Pieces

At the beginning of the war, the 3-pdr cannon were the standard battalion gun. Each battalion had two 3-pdr cannon. They were often crewed by Handlanger, grenadiers or musketeers.

The ammunition of each infantry battalion was carried in a 6-horse wagon with two drivers. Such a wagon held 21,000 cartridges.

In 1758, the ammunition wagon was replaced by two carts. Thus, the train of artillery of a single battalion consisted of:

  • 2 x 3-pdr cannon
  • 6 carts
  • 8 drivers
  • 24 horses
  • 1 officer
  • 1 officer cadet
  • 2 bombardiers
  • 12 constables
  • 1 mounted Schaffner (conductor), managing the horses and drivers

In 1762, the two ammunition carts were replaced by two 6-horse wagons and each piece was given a 4-horse team instead of the former 3-horse team. Finally, there two pack horses, each with a driver, for the tents for the gun crews.

Light Infantry Pieces

By 1762, each light infantry battalion each had two 1- pdr Amusettes.

Drill

Unlimbering

For pieces with an ammunition chest on the gun trails, this chest had to be removed prior to unlimbering. When the guns were being moved by manpower, the ammunition chests were left behind. When limbering up, the chest had to be replaced on the gun trails.

References

Pengel & Hurt, German States in the Seven Years War 1740 to 1762, Imperial Press

Rogge, Christian, The French & Allied Armies in Germany during the Seven Years War, Frankfurt, 2006

Schirmer, Friedrich: Nec Aspera Terrent: Eine Heereskunde der hannoverschen Armee von 1631 bis 1803, Niedersächische Hausbücherei, Hannover 1929

Acknowledgments

Digby Smith for the initial version of this article