24 pdr Gribeauval siege gun
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The 24 pdr Gribeauval Siege gun
Dr Balliet J.M. Colmar (France) - 2003
Jean-Baptiste Vacquette de Gribeauval [1715-????] gained some experience in the Seven years war, as well on the Prussian as on the Austrian side, as to the use of lighter artillery material. In view of the poor state of the French artillery after the war and with the help of the Duke of Choiseul, secretary of War, de Gribeauval started to reform the French artillery. Until then, the French artillery used the Vallière gun system which, if sturdy, lacked of mobility especially when considering the field artillery. The Vallière
gun system, ranging from 4 to 24 pdrs, saw an extensive use in
a more static type of war in which siege craft was of a major
importance. In consequence, the ratio between firepower and
mobility was accented in favour of the first item and, in
consequence, featured heavy artillery pieces. In 1765, the reform
was introduced considering two type of artillery domains: the
siege and the field artillery. For the later, shorter guns and lighter
but more enduring carriages were developed introducing the
12-, 8- and 4-pounder guns as well as a 6 inches howitzer. The
siege artillery was much less innovative since it principally used
the original Vallière 16-pounder and also the 24-pounder. The
12- and 8-pounder “long barrelled” guns were also used in the
siege artillery with the original dimensions as defined in 1732. It was necessary as these
guns used in siege and fortifications had to fire without damaging the parapet. 8- and 12-inch mortars were maintained in service to be later replaced by a 10-inch mortar.
The most important part of the system was the introduction of industrial fabrication processes witch ensured the standardization and interchangeability of most of the artillery parts. De Gribeauval instructed that the wheels
of all the carriages, both for guns and limbers, should be constructed to a single pattern. Maintenance and especially field maintenance were much easier. Taking the example of the 12-pounder field gun, it was much lighter than the old cannon it replaced and could be drawn by a team of only six horses instead of ten. With its large wheels and iron axletree, this gun had until now unsurpassed cross-country
24 pdr siege gun — Balliet
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