Friday, October 18, 2013

The Danish Army of the Napoleonic Wars, Part 8: Artillery

Organization of the Danish Artillery

The Danish artillery was drawn from the following sub-units

Foot Batteries
Horse Batteries
Danish Artillery  Brigade
Holstein Artillery   Brigade
Danish Artillery Battalion *
Holstein Artillery Battalion *

* The Danish and Holstein Artillery Battalions were added in 1808, when the militia were disbanded. they evidently initially manned only coastal defense guns.

Each artillery company (battery) had 160 men and manned eight field guns and two howitzers. The types of batteries were distributed roughly as follows in 1813:

2 Heavy Batteries:  12 pounder field guns and 36 lb howitzers
20 Field Batteries:    6 pounder field guns and 10 lb howitzers
13 Light Batteries:    3 pounder field guns and 6 lb howitzers
 2 Horse Batteries:   3 pounder field guns and 6 lb howitzers

Evidently 2 Rocket batteries were also formed in 1813, but saw no combat.

Uniforms of the Danish Artillery

Foot Artillery

Short red jacket of the usual Danish pattern, with dark blue collar, cuffs, shoulder straps, and frontal turnbacks. Yellow metal buttons. Dark blue pants. Black shoes and gaiters. White belts. Brass buttons. Officers as usual had the long tailed coats with conventional turnbacks and the red and yellow striped sash; gold epaulets.

Headgear was a hat similar to the infantry from 1801 - 1807, with a white plume. here is a picture of this uniform in the NYPL collection here. Artillery Officers wore a black bicorne with a white plume; gold tassels at both ends of the bicorne. In 1808, a black shako was adopted, without cords or plaque. There was a dark blue short plume on the shako, however. Black chin strap.

Horse Artillery

The uniforms of the Horse Artillery were essentially the same as that of the Foot Artillery with the following minor differences: The dark blue pants had a double red stripe down the outside seams. White or buff gloves were worn. From 1808 on, a black shako was worn. This had a white plume, a brass plate bearing the letters "RA" (for Ridende Artilleri) on the front, and red mixed with yellow cords (crimson mixed with gold for officers).

Artillery Equipment

I have read elsewhere that the Danish field artillery had grey carriages. However, the Tojhus Museet lists them as red with the metal fittings painted yellow. It is possible that may only apply to the Fortress artillery, however T. Snorasson also states red carriages with the metal fittings painted yellow in his article in Tradition #53. So, I personally went with the more colorful option... but of course!

On to some pictures:

Danish Horse Artillery. Note the red mixed with yellow cords on the shakos - classy! Both the crew and gun models s are 25mm Minifigs.  

The bright colors wouldn't be too out of place at Tivoli gardens in Copenhagen. Even if the famous amusement park didn't open until 1843, it was the second in the world (the first was also located in Denmark!). Recent surveys have placed the Danes among the happiest people in the world... despite the very, very short daylight hours in winter.

I have assumed, perhaps incorrectly, the same pattern and colors of saddle cloths as for the Light Cavalry.

Danish Foot Artillery - the red and yellow gun carriages do dazzle the eyes!

The minor change to a plain black shako with dark blue plumes makes these fellows look more somber than their mounted fellows!

If the carriages really were painted red, it may have been  much darker "Iron Oxide" shade, as is commonly seen on barn siding and Renaissance era artillery carriages.

The next post in this series will cover the uniforms of Danish generals.



  1. Wow, those are flashy artillery uniforms. You're just going to insist on continuing to tempt me with this army...

    1. Right, Mike. A nice contingent to support the French in North Germany, 1813... say 4 line battalions, a Light Battalion, a couple of Cavalry units and a couple of batteries - not too much! :-)

  2. Yep, we find those snazzy red carraiges good targets! ;-)

    1. At a several hundred yards or more, it's probably a moot point, eh?


  3. Great colors, very nice looking artillery...

  4. Wow what snazzy arty colours. Thanks again for this ongoing series!

    1. The carriages are a bit over the top, eh? :-)

  5. If the Danish artillery were not so dashingly painted, they sure ought to have been! You would think the notion would have caught on! Napoleon might have decided his favorite arm could use a little more chromatic elan on the field... Still. the Austrians had their yellow gun carriages with black metal fittings...

  6. They grey would certainly be quite boring by comparison, although in keeping with the many similarities between British and Danish army distinctions.

    French guns with tricolor stripes on the wheels, hmmm....

    Red with yellow is a bit similar to the Austrian concept. Yellow and black were the colors of the House of Hapsburg, while red and yellow were the colors of the House of Oldenburg, the ruling family of Denmark.

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