French Napoleonic artillery

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    East Norfolks

    Hi all – I am new to Black Powder but really enjoying playing it with my 15mm Napoleonics. Quick question that is bugging me though – how is the firepower of a French 8 gun 12 pdr artillery company reflected versus the firepower of a British 6 gun 9 pdr company? Surely there must be a difference but I can’t find it – sorry for the dumb newbie question. Comments would be much appreciated.


    the game isnt granular enough for that level.  so 3-4 guns is a half battery, 6-8 a standard and 10+ is a large (russian) one.  With the guns being classified as battalion, light /Horse, foot, and heavy/siege.

    Dont forget if you look in the Napoleonic supplements and the rulebook you’ll notice some units change which type of guns they have … also the difference is 12″ of range between light & normal foot.

    • This reply was modified 5 months, 1 week ago by Nat.
    Big Al

    Range. It is the different ranges that make the difference.

    East Norfolks

    Thanks for that.

    I think this means both are “standard” size but a British 9dr battery is classed as normal “foot” (with a range of 48″) and a French 8 gun 12 pdr battery can be classed as “heavy” (with a range of 60″, like siege).  I guess this would make sense as it gives the French an advantage of 2 dice from 30″ rather than at 24″.  Is this correct?


    The answers above are pretty straight forward… Black Powder is a “tool kit” that taken all together provides a set of rules to game in the Black Powder period.  To make the system work over more than a 200 year period the rules could not be so granular as to differentiate between guns other than to allow you the freedom to classify them as light, medium, heavy or siege guns.  All of this leads me to recommend you use the published Napoleonic supplements especially Clash of Eagles to provide the Napoleonic flavor you are searching for in the rules.  These are codified “house rules”, that are well tested and provide for a more Napoleonic feel to the basic rule set. There are a number of “tweaks” in the rules to account for half batteries and oversize ones, but nothing in them to designed to make differentiate artillery by poundage beyond the basic classes noted above.

    But also realize that “hits” do not correlate to casualties, but rather “stamina” (a vague term that integrates morale and casualties to determine when a unit approaches its “breaking point”.  So many variables go into this abstract concept that I don’t poundage really factors into the calculation.

    As an aside, several studies show that lighter guns were often as deadly as heavier guns at close range simply because their “rate of fire” offset the heavier guns “weight of fire”.  The big advantage of big guns was the additional range they offered.  This advantage is reflected in Black Powder.

    East Norfolks

    Thanks all for the useful comments.

    I think there are two aspects to this (i) size of each individual gun and (ii) number of pieces per battery.

    On point (i), I completely get the range point and agree with all the comments above i.e. the main advantage of a 12 pdr over a 9 pdr is range rather than weight of fire.

    On point (ii) I’m still a bit unconvinced.  The French battery has 8 pieces to the British 6, a third more.  As advised (thanks) I have looked at the Clash of Eagles supplement and see, for example, that a Russian battery is classed as heavy and large.  Accordingly they get the 60″ range and an improved shooting of 4-2-2 (rather than 3-2-1).

    Seems like the French having additional pieces versus the British is not really reflected and needs to be adjusted for in some other way.

    Dr Dave

    A devotee of the “Holy Boys” – nice one

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