Pounder Gun Howitzer Model 1857 Napoleon

The 12-pounder gun-howitzer was the work-horse cannon for both sides throughout the conflict, but it is indicative of its obsolete design that it was popularly known as the "Napoleon." Indeed, despite being designated the "Model 1857" there does not appear to have been a single technological advance over the weapons used by Napoleon and Wellington at the Battle of Waterloo on June 18, 1815. This light, durable, smooth-bore weapon had a range of 2,000 yards (1,830m), was served a by a crew which officially numbered seven gunners (although it was frequently one or two fewer), and hurled more solid shot, case shot, grape shot and canister than all the other ordnance of the war combined.

It was a simple piece, the barrel being cast in bronze or iron, with integral trunnions which rested in grooves on the cheeks of the iron-bound wooden carriage. The barrel was raised or lowered by the elevating screw and the piece was trained (i.e., pointed) by moving the weapon laterally with the hand-spike. The gun carried its own rammer, sponge, leather grease bucket, and rope for hauling. Every gun had a limber, which was simply an ammunition chest on wheels; in action the limber stood immediately behind the gun, while on the move the gun was towed behind the limber, which also carried several members of the gun-crew. Both limber and gun were towed by a six-horse team. There was also a 6-pounder version, which was identical in every respect, except for the caliber of the barrel and the ammunition.

Lunette Tail handle

Lunette Tail handle

Model 1857 Napoleon

Handle of chest


Splinter bar

Grease bucket

Trunnion cap

I Trunnion

Pendulum sight




Sponge bucket

Sponge chain

Lock chain

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