Dated: January 10, 2001.
Napoleonic French Line Horse Artillery
French: Artillerie de Ligne Française à Cheval
German: Französische Linienartillerie zu Pferd
Spanish: Artillería de Línea a Caballo Francesa
Italian: Artiglieria Francese di linea a cavallo
Dutch: Franse Bereden Artillerie van de Linie
#8039 Napoleonic French Line Horse Artillery
Created in 1792, the horse artillery numbered 6 regiments, each of 180 pieces (30 companies with 6 pieces of ordnance each) for an impressive total of 1080 pieces. However, if the use of grande batterie, massing dozens of guns to soften the enemy front line before assault was Napoleon major tactical contribution, the use of demi-batterie (2 or 3 pieces) was far more common. Thorough training, great skill and courage was required to maneuver under fire and give close support to cavalry or infantry. Enemy action, however, could be a minor part of an artilleryman's hardships and dangers. Physical strength, endurance and ingenuity was also required to bring pieces to the battlefield through the mountains of Spain or the mud of Poland. Moreover, being both cannoneers and horsemen, soldiers of the horse artillery had to take care first of theirs guns and horses before taking care of themselves. It was no wonder that they considered themselves as an elite troop.
Up to 1812 the soldiers of the horse artillery wore a hussar style uniform which fitted very much their daring and dashing attitude. The illustration shows the 1812 pattern uniform which started to be put to use for the new levies of 1813. Those soldiers were not the veteran gunners which had departed for Russia however artillery was given priority over other arms when rebuilding the army and displayed ardor and efficiency. Horse artillery proved decisive at Dresden, its murderous fire from across the Elbe putting a halt to Austrian advance against the town.
The set shows the gunners in action, in 6 lively poses. The NCO is particularly interesting, a simple change in painting allowing to transform him into an officer or NCO of the light infantry or even of the young guard tirailleurs complementing nicely the young guard set. It can even be painted as an officer or elite company trooper of the chasseurs à cheval on foot to complement a diorama.
Philippe Dasté - France
Copyright 2001. HaT Industrie, Inc. All rights reserved. The HaT logo is a registered trademark of HaT Industrie, Inc. Any unauthorized use of content or images are violations of applicable laws and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.