Book Review:
Napoleon's Guns,
1792-1815 (volume 1)

By Rene Chartrand
Artwork by
Ray Hutchins


Napoleonís Guns, 1792 to 1815. Rene Chartrand Ray Hutchins If you are interested in Napoleonís artillery, in particular the field guns, then youíll have a good read ahead of you with this title.

Rene Chartrandís Napoleonís Guns (I) looks at the reformation of Franceís artillery throughout the 18th Century and reveals there was quite a battle over which system to adopt.

Everyone will have heard of General Jean-Baptiste Gribeauval, but how about General Jean Valliere?

It was the later who began the much-needed revolution in the French artillery arm in the 1730s and for a while it did the trick by standardizing calibers and making them more mobile.

But the need for mobility became paramount during the Seven Years War, in which the French cannons were totally outclassed by its opponents. Enter Gribeauval and his plan to make his artillery the best organized and equipped in Europe.

The Gribeauval system was based on Austriaís Lichtenstein system Ė with improvements Ė but the doubling of firepower for the French army didnít stop Valliereís son from trying to throw it all out and reintroduce his dadís one.

Anyway, the political in-fighting is fascinating and so is Chartrandís overview of Napoleonís Guns.

The chapters include Field Ordnance, Standard Manufacture and Expert Service, Valliere Counterattacks, Artillery Units, The Year XI System, Regimental Guns, Paint and Trim, Mountain Artillery, Ammunitions and Imperial Campaigns.

Ray Hutchinsí artworks are nicely rendered images of a French 12-pounder, a 6-pound howitzer, caissons and other equipment, a Year XI field gun and carriage and a 4-pounder crew in action.

- Richard Moore


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