Artillery Tables

Enakan

Cadet
Joined
May 24, 2019
I have located some tables in various books,

But I haven't found any with rates of fire for the various artillery pieces of the ACW. Both for the lighter Field Artillery and larger pieces in fortifications and on the coasts.

Ranges I can find with elevations, not all shell/shot weights are in the ones I've found too.

I'm sure I've missed some, if not a lot, could you gentlemen direct me to the right locations?

Thanks!
 

drezac

Sergeant
Forum Host
Joined
May 4, 2014
Location
Baltimore,Ohio
from the 1864 Field Artillery manual, pointing and ranges:

"...Now a piece can throw with sufficient deliberation for pointing two solid shot or three canisters per minute"
 

Belfoured

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
I have located some tables in various books,

But I haven't found any with rates of fire for the various artillery pieces of the ACW. Both for the lighter Field Artillery and larger pieces in fortifications and on the coasts.

Ranges I can find with elevations, not all shell/shot weights are in the ones I've found too.

I'm sure I've missed some, if not a lot, could you gentlemen direct me to the right locations?

Thanks!
I'd be surprised if you'll find any official "tables/documents" regarding "rates of fire", at least for field artillery. There are anecdotal references in the OR, correspondence, memoirs, etc regarding how often a trained crew could get off aimed shots and Henry Hunt - at least - directed his gunners to generally limit themselves to 1 round every 2 minutes but that was subject to change based on several factors. The Ordnance Dep't came up with "effective" maximum ranges for different pieces, usually at 5 degrees elevation and mixed use of solid/shell.
 

Belfoured

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
from the 1864 Field Artillery manual, pointing and ranges:

"...Now a piece can throw with sufficient deliberation for pointing two solid shot or three canisters per minute"
Good point. I've thought of that as an opinion of capacity (which is subject to crew, circumstances, etc). The interesting thing, of course, is that Hunt was one of the authors (and I'll bet that was in the 1861 edition, as well). The rate is a whole bunch faster than what's in his 1862 directions. Maybe French or Barry accessed his computer when he hit the men's room and edited the manuscript. 😎
 

Saphroneth

Major
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
Good point. I've thought of that as an opinion of capacity (which is subject to crew, circumstances, etc). The interesting thing, of course, is that Hunt was one of the authors (and I'll bet that was in the 1861 edition, as well). The rate is a whole bunch faster than what's in his 1862 directions. Maybe French or Barry accessed his computer when he hit the men's room and edited the manuscript. 😎
I think the difference isn't a difference at all - it's a matter of definitions.


The understanding I have is that the limiting factor in firing rate varies depending on the use you want to put it to.

If all you want is rounds downrange as fast as possible, then you can fire several times a minute (three rounds a minute is the usual number). This reflects how fast a well drilled crew can sponge out the gun and reload it, plus pushing it back into a rough battery position.

However, it is accuracy which introduces delays. This means:
- waiting for the smoke to clear before firing.
- lining up the piece in the right orientation.
- doing the numerical work for long range firing (computing the trajectory, plus range for a shell) and adjusting the aim and elevation accordingly.

The longer range you are aiming at, and the greater the accuracy you want, the longer it takes to do the solution. If you're firing at an enemy a hundred yards away with canister (i.e. good canister range) then you probably don't care about the elevation, because firing flat you'll hit the target, and you don't care about the angle either because a regiment a hundred yards away fills the entire target space.

If you're firing at an enemy 1200 yards away, you need the elevation to be quite good or you've wasted the time to fire entirely.


This is what I think is meant by "sufficient deliberation for pointing". It doesn't take long to point the gun in the right direction and the pointing doesn't need to be all that accurate, so the thinking time (deliberation) is low; if OTOH you're doing distant shelling then firing rapidly is both less effective than slow firing AND wastes ammunition to boot - you might get off four inaccurate shots in two minutes instead of one properly aimed accurate shot, but the chances are the one accurate shot will be more effective and of course you're not expending your limited ammunition.
 

drezac

Sergeant
Forum Host
Joined
May 4, 2014
Location
Baltimore,Ohio
@Belfoured - I agree, it's more of an opinion, it's used in the context of aiming at advancing troops. But at least it does give an idea of what they would have considered normal. It's the only official reference I have found so far as to rate of fire.
 

Enakan

Cadet
Joined
May 24, 2019
Thanks!

Smokeless powder really helped out artillery pieces when it finally came out. Hadn't thought about that aspect of being a gunner back in the 1860's.

Fog of War......was real!

I found some penetration articles, mainly for naval guns vs ironclad armor. Not too many of those either.
 

Belfoured

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
@Belfoured - I agree, it's more of an opinion, it's used in the context of aiming at advancing troops. But at least it does give an idea of what they would have considered normal. It's the only official reference I have found so far as to rate of fire.
@drezac - we agree. I was just trying to make the point that the War Department and the Ordnance Department didn't come up with tables such as they did for "effective ranges" based on test-firings.
 

Belfoured

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
I think the difference isn't a difference at all - it's a matter of definitions.


The understanding I have is that the limiting factor in firing rate varies depending on the use you want to put it to.

If all you want is rounds downrange as fast as possible, then you can fire several times a minute (three rounds a minute is the usual number). This reflects how fast a well drilled crew can sponge out the gun and reload it, plus pushing it back into a rough battery position.

However, it is accuracy which introduces delays. This means:
- waiting for the smoke to clear before firing.
- lining up the piece in the right orientation.
- doing the numerical work for long range firing (computing the trajectory, plus range for a shell) and adjusting the aim and elevation accordingly.

The longer range you are aiming at, and the greater the accuracy you want, the longer it takes to do the solution. If you're firing at an enemy a hundred yards away with canister (i.e. good canister range) then you probably don't care about the elevation, because firing flat you'll hit the target, and you don't care about the angle either because a regiment a hundred yards away fills the entire target space.

If you're firing at an enemy 1200 yards away, you need the elevation to be quite good or you've wasted the time to fire entirely.


This is what I think is meant by "sufficient deliberation for pointing". It doesn't take long to point the gun in the right direction and the pointing doesn't need to be all that accurate, so the thinking time (deliberation) is low; if OTOH you're doing distant shelling then firing rapidly is both less effective than slow firing AND wastes ammunition to boot - you might get off four inaccurate shots in two minutes instead of one properly aimed accurate shot, but the chances are the one accurate shot will be more effective and of course you're not expending your limited ammunition.
In other words, there were a lot of variables in play that would affect this - which is why there were no official tables or prescriptions. The statement in the Instructions really just reflects a result that you touch on - aiming/siting is less important for canister than it is for other rounds because its effective range is shorter and because due to its character the need for accuracy is less. In his directions Hunt recognized that without giving specific rates other than his general preference for "deliberate" fire at 1 round every 2 minutes.
 

Saphroneth

Major
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
Right. It's "in this specific situation, do this" and "in other circumstances, use the judgement we have hopefully trained into you".

Of course, the fact that they didn't have time to go through the full artillerist course for most gunners in the ACW probably affected that, which might well explain why Hunt then started giving directions which attempted to spell it out a little more.
 

Belfoured

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
Right. It's "in this specific situation, do this" and "in other circumstances, use the judgement we have hopefully trained into you".

Of course, the fact that they didn't have time to go through the full artillerist course for most gunners in the ACW probably affected that, which might well explain why Hunt then started giving directions which attempted to spell it out a little more.
Sure - and it's also inherently less objective than determining the "effective range" of solid shot in test firings. The ordnance, the gun, the powder charge, the elevating screw, and hitting a target on a firing range are all objective factors.
 

Saphroneth

Major
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
Sure - and it's also inherently less objective than determining the "effective range" of solid shot in test firings. The ordnance, the gun, the powder charge, the elevating screw, and hitting a target on a firing range are all objective factors.
The effective range at various elevations and charges does end up published, which is because it provides the basis for those calculations to be done. Artillerist's manuals also included rules of thumb, such as the British artillerist's manual of 1860 laying out a rule of thumb which was:

1632512076539.png


Obviously this is only a rule of thumb, but it provides a starting basis. For a 12 pounder firing solid shot at 900 yards the gunner could say that it is 260+640 yards, and thus that he should start with the gun pointed directly at the target and then elevate by 1 1/2 degrees.

For shell, meanwhile, a table such as this would be consulted:

1632512219497.png


And at 900 yards then by interpolation it would be a little over 1.5 degrees and expected to have a time of flight of about 2.6 to 2.7 seconds, with a deflection allowance of 6-7 minutes right.
Or this table could be consulted:

1632512309111.png

Which shows that at 900 yards it would be 1 degree 32 minutes of elevation, and a deflection of 8 minutes right.

These calculated figures form a basis for the gunner to adjust from.

1632512424781.png

As noted, the deflection is not significant at short range for the Armstrong gun (i.e. below 2000 yards). This makes sense because at 2000 yards the size of the 360 degree circle is 12,566 yards; this means 1 degree is 35 yards and one arc minute is about half a yard. So a deflection at 1000 yards of 8 arcminutes is about 2 yards, thus why the book describes it as negligible.


Similar tables for the Parrott, Ordnance or Napoleon would, of course, be fascinating.
 

redbob

Major
Regtl. Staff Shiloh 2020
Joined
Feb 18, 2013
Location
Hoover, Alabama
Sure - and it's also inherently less objective than determining the "effective range" of solid shot in test firings. The ordnance, the gun, the powder charge, the elevating screw, and hitting a target on a firing range are all objective factors.
And believe it or not weather also plays a part even today.
 

Belfoured

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
And believe it or not weather also plays a part even today.
Yep - that's why I was focused on testing/firing range conditions. No control over the "when and where" in action. For example only, the tendency of rifled projectiles to "drift" in direction of the twist could be enhanced or neutralized by a stiff cross wind.
 

Belfoured

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
The effective range at various elevations and charges does end up published, which is because it provides the basis for those calculations to be done. Artillerist's manuals also included rules of thumb, such as the British artillerist's manual of 1860 laying out a rule of thumb which was:

View attachment 415262

Obviously this is only a rule of thumb, but it provides a starting basis. For a 12 pounder firing solid shot at 900 yards the gunner could say that it is 260+640 yards, and thus that he should start with the gun pointed directly at the target and then elevate by 1 1/2 degrees.

For shell, meanwhile, a table such as this would be consulted:

View attachment 415263

And at 900 yards then by interpolation it would be a little over 1.5 degrees and expected to have a time of flight of about 2.6 to 2.7 seconds, with a deflection allowance of 6-7 minutes right.
Or this table could be consulted:

View attachment 415264
Which shows that at 900 yards it would be 1 degree 32 minutes of elevation, and a deflection of 8 minutes right.

These calculated figures form a basis for the gunner to adjust from.

View attachment 415265
As noted, the deflection is not significant at short range for the Armstrong gun (i.e. below 2000 yards). This makes sense because at 2000 yards the size of the 360 degree circle is 12,566 yards; this means 1 degree is 35 yards and one arc minute is about half a yard. So a deflection at 1000 yards of 8 arcminutes is about 2 yards, thus why the book describes it as negligible.


Similar tables for the Parrott, Ordnance or Napoleon would, of course, be fascinating.
The tables of fire printed and pasted on the undersides of lids in limbers and caissons were used to set time fuzes based on time of flight and range, just for example, and obviously were different for the 12 lb Napoleon and the rifles.
 

Saphroneth

Major
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
In the above-mentioned British handbook, there's mention of the allowance for wind in general though no specific numbers are given for flat trajectory firing. For mortar firing specific numbers are given as such:


1632517049273.png


This suggests to me that for a 32 pounder (which is a heavy ball) firing in flat trajectory then a moderate breeze would have significantly less than 1 foot of impact per 100 yards of distance.


The tables of fire printed and pasted on the undersides of lids in limbers and caissons were used to set time fuzes based on time of flight and range, just for example, and obviously were different for the 12 lb Napoleon and the rifles.
I'm thinking more of tables of deflection for long range fire. I've found something which may be my much-sought after accuracy data for US rifles on the testing range, which is data from test firing at Fort Monroe in 1859 of various rifles firing solid shot.

For a target 40 feet by 20 feet, at 2000 yards, the rifle* firing a 12 pound solid projectile scored 4 direct hits and 2 ricochet hits out of 18 rounds.
*a 1200 lb gun with a 1 1/2 lb service charge, according to the table.
 

Belfoured

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
In the above-mentioned British handbook, there's mention of the allowance for wind in general though no specific numbers are given for flat trajectory firing. For mortar firing specific numbers are given as such:


View attachment 415267

This suggests to me that for a 32 pounder (which is a heavy ball) firing in flat trajectory then a moderate breeze would have significantly less than 1 foot of impact per 100 yards of distance.



I'm thinking more of tables of deflection for long range fire. I've found something which may be my much-sought after accuracy data for US rifles on the testing range, which is data from test firing at Fort Monroe in 1859 of various rifles firing solid shot.

For a target 40 feet by 20 feet, at 2000 yards, the rifle* firing a 12 pound solid projectile scored 4 direct hits and 2 ricochet hits out of 18 rounds.
*a 1200 lb gun with a 1 1/2 lb service charge, according to the table.
By "tables" I think the discussion is focusing on such as were published by the Ordnance Department. We have what we have. I'm unaware of any published tables accounting for deflection based on testing. I'm also unaware of any current repository of WP Foundry's test-firing records for the various Parrotts used in the ACW. The Foundry's tests were conducted by firing from an elevated location across the Hudson River, which would seem to have presented some good opportunities for noting deflection that exacerbated - or countered - drift.
 
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