Howitzer

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Rhea Cole

First Sergeant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
I have to disagree. While it was lighter than other guns of the time it wasn't a howitzer. It had a longer barrel, didn't have a chambered bore, and didn't have the same trajectory. The "light" 12 pounder gun is clearly not considered a howitzer in the 1864 manual (Instruction for Field Artillery by French, Barry, and Hunt; pp 5-6).
The whole point of the design of the Napoleon was to have a howitzer that would perform the function of a cannon, i.e., firing shells & direct fire. That way, as is seen in the U.S. Civil War, there was no need for a battery to have separate howitzers & cannon. Walking the gun line & explaining the design & function of the various pieces is regular part of our battery programs at Stones River. The evolution that involved melting down the 1841 howitzers & cannons in order to recast them as Napoleons is one of my things. The 1841 cannon could not fire shells because the bore was too small. The 1841 howitzer's chambered breech meant that it was underpowered for direct fire. Six Napoleons gun/howitzers packed an exponential increase of firepower over a mix of six cannons & two howitzers. I don't know anyway to explain it more clearly than that.
 

John Winn

Captain
Joined
Mar 13, 2014
Location
State of Jefferson
The whole point of the design of the Napoleon was to have a howitzer that would perform the function of a cannon, i.e., firing shells & direct fire. That way, as is seen in the U.S. Civil War, there was no need for a battery to have separate howitzers & cannon. Walking the gun line & explaining the design & function of the various pieces is regular part of our battery programs at Stones River. The evolution that involved melting down the 1841 howitzers & cannons in order to recast them as Napoleons is one of my things. The 1841 cannon could not fire shells because the bore was too small. The 1841 howitzer's chambered breech meant that it was underpowered for direct fire. Six Napoleons gun/howitzers packed an exponential increase of firepower over a mix of six cannons & two howitzers. I don't know anyway to explain it more clearly than that.
That's clear. I suppose it's just a semantic thing with me. The manuals make a distinction even if the Napoleon might have functioned similarly. The chambered bore is, to me, the major thing that distinguishes a howitzer from a cannon. Lets move on.
 

Belfoured

Sergeant
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
I have to disagree. While it was lighter than other guns of the time it wasn't a howitzer. It had a longer barrel, didn't have a chambered bore, and didn't have the same trajectory. The "light" 12 pounder gun is clearly not considered a howitzer in the 1864 manual (Instruction for Field Artillery by French, Barry, and Hunt; pp 5-6).
in the Artillerist's Manual Gibbon clearly does not consider the Napoleon a "howtizer" but, instead, sees it as a "gun".
 
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John Winn

Captain
Joined
Mar 13, 2014
Location
State of Jefferson
in the Artillerist's Manual Gibbon clearly does not consider the Napoleon a "howtizer" but, instead, sees it as a "gun".
Yes. I have Gibbon's manual. It's also a gun (and only a gun) in the 1864 manual (French et al). In the 1861 manual it is referred to as "the 12-pounder light gun, or, as it is sometimes called, gun-howitzer." A bit confusing but still clearly separating the Napoleon as a gun and not a howitzer (while recognizing that some may have called it a hybrid). I'm sticking with gun but have now tired of the debate.
 
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