LIGHT ARTILLERY TACTICS
SCHOOL OF THE PIECE
633. Light artillerymen should, before receiving instruction in their duties at the peice, be familiar with the first part of the school of the soldier, as laid down in Infantry Tactics, and with the Manual of the Sabre, No. 440, and floowing. If intended for horse artillerymen, they should also be instructed in the duties of the trooper, No. 382, and floowing.
The drivers - one to every pair of horses - shoul have experience in the management of horses in harness.
634. The cannoneers of a piece, when united, constitute a gun detachment, which is composed ordinarily of nine men in mounted artillery, and eleven in horse artillery; two of whom - the gunner who commands the detachment and the chief of the caisson - should be corporals.
The detachment is formed by the gunner, who causes the cannoneers to form in two ranks, eighteen inches between them, elbows slightly touching. He tells the detachment off from the right, No. 1 being on the right of the rear rank, No. 2 on the right of the front rank, No. 3 on the left of No. 1, No. 4 on the left of No. 2, and so on, the even numbers being in the front, and the odd numbers in the rear rank. The chief of caisson is told off as No. 8. When the detachment is composed of more or less than eight men, the chief of caisson should be the highest even number. When the detachment, from any cause, consists of less than nine men, the higher numbers are left out, and additional duties are imposed upon the cannoneers present.
When the chief of the piece, who should be a sergeant, is present, and is not acting as the instructor, be performs the duties and takes the position of the gunner, who then takes post one yard in rear of the right file abnd acts as file-closer, except when the chief of piece is out of ranks, when he resumes his post.
For purposes of instruction, each detachment should be halted in front of and facing the piece, the latter being unlimbered*, and the different
*With the limber removed from the body, and carried to the rear, the trail resting upon the ground and the trail handspike in the rings, as shown in Fig. 14. The piece is then prepared for fitting or for action. The front in this case means in front of the muzzle.
numbers called upon successively to perform their respective duties in detail, while the rest of the detachment are required to attend to the instruction and to the manner in which the motions are performed.
Posts of the cannoneers. Piece unlimbered.
635. The gunner is at the end of the trailhandspike; Nos. 1 and 2 are about two feet outside the wheels, No. 1 on the right and No. 2 on the left; with howitzers, they are rather in rear of the muzzle; with guns, in line with the front part of the wheels. Nos. 3 nad 4 are in line with the knob of the cascabel, covering Nos. 1 and 2; No. 5 five yards in rear of the left wheel; No. 6 in rear of the limber, which is turned about so as to face toward the piece (see No. 29); and No. 7 on his left, covering No. 5; No. 8, the chief of the caisson, is four yards in rear of the limber and on its left; all face to the left, which is the direction in which the muzzle of the piece is pointing.
The chief of the piece is opposite the middle of the trail handspike, outside of and near the left cannoneers. In actual firing he places himself where he can best observe the effect of the wind.
Loading and firing.
636. The piece is supposed to be on the drill ground, unlimbered and ready for action; the limber is in position behind the piece and facing toward it, the end of the pole six yards from the end of the trail handspike; and the detachment in froint of and facing the piece.
Before commencing the individual instruction of the cannoneers the instructor should enter into an explanation of the different kinds of field guns, their names, and the names and uses of the different parts of the gun and carriage before them. This done, he commences the instruction with the gunner, who commands and points the piece in action.
637. Commanding and pointing - The gunner is responsible for the manner in which the numbers discharge their duty. He communicates the orders which he receives for the kind of ammunition to be fired; sending to No. 6 (who is charged with preparing the fuse) the time of flight or the distance for each round, when firing shells or spherical case-shot. He should, when the firing is slow, see that each fuse is properly prepared; and make such corrections as are necessary; for this purpose he, as well as No. 6, should be provided with a fuse-gouge.
On receiving the command or signal to commence firing, he gives the command load; takes hold of the handspike at the end with the right hand, and at the centre with the left; places his left knee against the left hand, bending over it, the right knee being slightly bent; looks over the top of the piece, and gives the direction. He then steps to the breech to give the elevation, which he does by planting the hausse (see No. 665) on its seat, taking hold of a handle of the elevating screw, drawing back his right foot, bending over his left knee, and sighting through the slit in the hausee.
When the piece is loaded and pointed he removes the hausse, gives the command ready, and, stepping clear of the wheel to that side where he can best observe the effect of his shot, gives the command fire. As soon as the piece has been fired, he causes it to be run up to its former place, if the recoil has made it necessary.
When the instructor, instead of giving the command commence firing, gives that of load, the gunner repeats it, and performs the same duties as before, except that he does not command fire until the firing is ordered to commence. After the command to commence firing is given, the action is continued by the gunner without further command from the instructor until the firing is ordered to cease. When the commands are all given by the instructor, as in loading by detail, the gunner performs the same duties, but without repeating the commands.
638. Sponging and ramming. - Until the command load No. 1 stands faced to the front, in line with the front of the wheels, holding the sponge about the middle of the staff in his right hand, and trailing it at an angle of 45*, sponge head up.
The instructor commands:
By detail -LOAD.
Three pauses and four motions.
First motion.At the command load, No. 1 faces to the left, steps obliquely to the right with his right foot, without moving his left, and at the same time brings the sponge to a perpendicular position by drawing his right hand up in line with the elbow. The sponge is grapsed firmly in the hand, the rammer head held over the right toe, and the elbow kept close to the side.
Second motion. He steps obliquely to the left with his left foot, planting it about half-way between the piece and the wheel and opposite the muzzle, bringing the sponge at the same time across his body to the left, so that his right hand may be opposite the middle of the body, the sponge staff being inclined at an agle of 45* across the front of it.
Third motion. He takes a side steo to the right of thirty inches with the right foot, and, bending the right knee, brings the sponge to a horizontal position, extending the hands to the ends of the staff, the sponge head to the left, the back of the right hand up, and that of the left down, the sponge head pressing against the face of the piece.
Fourth motion. He inserts the sponge head, drops his left hand behind his thigh, shoulders square, feet equally turned out, straightens the right knee, bends the left, and, leaning over it, forces the sponge home.
Three pauses and four motions.
First motion. At the command sponge, No. 1 fixes his eye on the vent to see that it is closed, gives two turns to the sponge, pressing it at the same time against the bottom of the bore.
Second motion. He draws out the sponge, at the same time straightening his left knee and bending his right, seizes the staff near the sponge head with his left hand, back of the hand down, and places the sponge against the face of the piece.
Third motion. He turns the sponge by bringing his hands together in the middle of the staff, giving a cant with each hand, throwing the sponge head over, at the same time turning his wrists, so as to bring the staff to a horizontal position; he then extends his hands to the ends of the staff, the back of the left up, that of the right down.
During the whole time of sponging No. 1 keeps his eye on the vent. If at any time it is not closed, he will discontinue the manoevre, and command stop vent.
Fourth motion. He introduces the rammer head into the muzzle as soon as No. 2 has inserted the charge, and joins his left hand to his right, casting his eyes to the front.
Two pauses and three motions.
First motion. At the command ram, No. 1 rams home, throwing the weight of his body with the rammer; bending over his left knee, and passing his left arm, with the elbow slightly bent, and back of the hand up, in a horizontal position oiver the knee, until it points in the direction of the left trunnion; the right shoulder thrown back, and the eyes cast toward the front until the cartridge is home.
Second motion. He jerks the sponge out with his right hand, allowing it to slide through the hand as far as the middle of the staff, when he grasps it firmly, and, seixing it close to the rammer head with the left hand, back of the hand up, places the rammer head against the face of the piece, straightens his left knee, and stands erect, eyes to his own front.
Third motion. He then draws the sponge close to his body, and immediately steps back outside the wheel, first with the right, then with the left foot; so that when the right foot is brought to it the right hip may be on a line with the front of the wheel. In drawing the right foot to the left, he gives the sponge a cant with hjis left hand, at the same time quitting it, and brings the sponge to a perpendicular position in the right hand, the rammer head resting on the right toe.
Ready. At this command, which is given as soon as the piece is loaded, or the firing about to commence, No. 1 breaks off well to the left with his left foot, bending the left knee and straightening the right leg, drops the end of the sponge staff into the left hand, back of the hand down, and fixes his eyes on the muzzle. The heels should be parallel with the wheel, the body erect on the haunches, and the sponge head to the left.
The pievce having been fired, No. 1 rises on his right knee, and returns to his position as in the thrid motion of ram.
At the command load, he steps in and performs his duties in teh same manner as before.
When the loading is not by detail No. 1 goes through all his duties as the command load, returns to his position outside the wheel, as given in the third motion of ram; breaks off at the command ready, and at the firing of the gun rises, steps in, and performs his duties as before. This he continues until the command cease firing is given, at which command he resumes the position he had before the first comman load. If the sponging has been commenced when the command cease firing is given, it is completed before No. 1 resumes his post.
In sponging and ramming, if the length of hte piece requires it, the sponge and rammer are to be pressed home in two motions, No. 1 extending his right hand toi the end of the staff as soon as it reaches the muzzle.
In sponging howitzers, No. 1 presses the sponge to the bottom of the chamber, which should be well sponged out; he wipes hte bore by rubbing its whole surface, without allowing the sponge to rutn in his hands.
639. Loading. - The instructor places No. 2 on the left of the piece, where he remains faced to the front until the command load. At this command he faces to the right, and by two oblique steps, correspoinding to those of No. 1, the first with his left foot, the second with his right, at the command two, he places himself near the muzzle of the piece. At the command three, he brings up his left foot to the side of the right and faces to the right, bringing his hands together to receive the ammunition from No. 5; the cartridge in the right, the shot in the left hand. As soon as the spoinge is withdawn by No. 1 he faces to the left and puts the ammunition into the muzzle, taking care that the seam of the cartridge does not come under the vent, and then steps back, commencing with his left foot, to his position outside the wheel, in the same manner that No. 1 does.
At the command ready, he breaks off well to the right with his right foot, bending the right knee and straightening the left knee; the body erect on the haunches, the eyes fixed on the muzzle.
The piece having been fired, No. 2 raises on his left leg, remains facing the piece until he hears the command load, or the firing of the gun, then steps in and performs his duty as before. At the command cease firing, he resumes his position outside the wheel and faces to the front.
With the howitzer, No. 2 puts in the charge so that the fuse may rest against the rammer head and No. 1 rams it home very carefully.
640. Serving the vent. - The instructor places No. 3 on the right of the piece, on a line with the knob of the cascabel and covering No. 1; he holds the priming wire in his right hand, thumb through the ring, the thumbstall on the left thumb, and the tube poiuch fasted to his waist.
At the command load, he steps to the left, wipes the vent field (or surface around the vent) with the thumbstall, which he then holds pressed upon the vent, keeping his elbow raised; his fingers on the left side of the piece, so as to allow the gunner to point over his thumb; the right hand on the tube pouch. When the piece is sponged, and the charge inserted by No. 2, he jumps to the end of the trail handspike, and, seizing it with both hands, prepares to move it to the right or left, on a signal from the gunner, who taps the right trail for a movement to the left, and the left of it for a movement ot the right. As soon as the piece is pointed the gunner raises both hands as a signal to No. 3, who then resumes his post.
At the command ready, he steps to the piece, pricks the cartridge, taking care not to move the charge, and covers the vent with his left hand as soon as the friction tube is inserted. At the command fire, he steps to his right, clear of the right wheel, and at the firing of the gun, or at the command load, serves the vent as before.
No. 3 must keep the vent closed from the time the sponge enters the muzzle until the charge is inserted by No. 2.
641. Firing. - The instructor places No. 4 on the left of the piece, opposite No. 3 and covering No. 2; he is equipped with a tube pouch and lanyard.
At the command load, No. 4 inserts the lanyard hook into the ring of a primer and stands fast.
At the command ready, he steps in with the right foot, drops the tube in the vent, takes the lanyard in his right hand, moves to the rear so far as to keep the lanyard slack, but capable of being stretched, without altering his position, which should be outside the wheel, the left foot broken to the left and rear.
As soon as No. 3 is clear of the wheel after the command fire is given No. 4 pulls the lanyard briskly and firmly, passing the hand, back up, in a downward direction to the rear, so as to keep the lanyard-hook from fl;ying back in the direction of the face. Should the tube fail to explode the charge, the gunner immediately commands don't advance, the primer has failed. Upon which No. 2 steps inside the wheel, close to the axle tree, receives a priming wire over the wheel from No. 3, and a prepared primer from No. 4, pricks, inserts the primer, and resumes his post. At the command cease firing, No. 4 secures his lanyard.
In the absence of No. 4, No. 3 discharges his duties; after pricking the cartridge he prepares and inserts a friction tube, steps to his post, faces the vent, breaks to the rear with his left foot, and at the command fire, disscharges the piece. He then resumes his post and tends the vent as before.
642. Serving ammunition. - The instructor stations No. 5 five yards on rear of the left wheel, and covering it, No. 7 in rear of and near the left limber wheel, and No. 6 in rear of the limber chest to issue ammunition. He is provided with a fuse-gouge, and prepares the shells or spherical case-shot, according to the distance or time ordered, before delivering them to No. 5.
School of the Battery
Composition of the battery, and the officers and men necessary
667. The battery is composed of four, six, or eight pieces; six pieces will
be supposed. It is divided into three sections of two pieces each, denominated
the right, centre, and left sections, according to their
position in line. The battery is commanded by a captain; each section is
commanded by a lieutenant, called the chief of section, and an additional
lieutenant is necessary to command the line of caissons. Each piece is commanded
by a sergeant, as chief of the piece, while the gunner and chief of
caisson are corporals. The officers and men necessary to man the battery
constitute a company, which is divided into as many platoons as
there are pieces. Each platoon is composed of the drivers and cannoneers of a
single piece; the cannoneers of a piece, as already stated in the school of hte
piece, constitute the gun detachment. When the drivers and cannoneers
form together, the drivers form on the left.
Two platoons constitute a section.
In addition to the platoons, there should be a first (or orderly) sergeant attached to the company; a quartermaster sergeant, two buglers or trumpeters, one guidon, and as many artificers as may be necessary to keep the guns,c arriages, harness, etc., in order.
When the company is formed, the platoons form in line in the order of their pieces.