16 December 2010

Mr Krupp's guns at war

I commend to your attention Dennis Showalter's book Railroads and Rifles.  Showalter goes into fascinating detail on the development of railways for war, the needle rifle, and the Krupp gun from roughly the 1820s through to the war of 1866, and at the employment of each in that war.  Long out of print, but I found a copy at the local university libary.

 Anyway a couple of points of application here:
  • In one corner of Konnigratz, in a gun duel with Saxon and Austrian gun at 3,000m "the adversaries bombarded each other with virtually no result"  over several hours.  One Prussian battery lost two men and two horses over the whole engagement.
  • Austrian rifled muzzle-loaders, and experimental Prussian bronze muzzle loaders used in 1870, were not particularly at a disadvantage compared to breach-loaders.  This suggests that the French guns themselves were not the real problem of the French artillery in 1870.
  • Just before the FPW, in 1869, the Prussian technique for ranging a battery was to estimate the range (say 1500m) then "straddle" the target by ranging individual guns to 14, 15, and 1600m and adjust fire from there.
  • According to Prussian analysis, a six gun battery was thirty times as effective than a company of infantry at 1000m range.

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