Military History |
Patriot Artillery in the 1817-18 Chilean Campaign
Posted 18 May 2008
It isn't clear from the various orders of battle for the Chilean 1817-18 Campaign which patriot artillery is Argentine and which Chilean. This the what I can figure out.
Fletcher (2005, 2006) says the patriots had 7 x 4lbrs. He doesn't specify but these have to be mountain guns the Argentine army brought over the Andes. In a private communication Fletcher confirmed Argentine gunners with mountain guns.
Fletcher (2005) lists 6 x 6lbrs. The nationality isn't given but I assume Chilean given the bulk of the force is Chilean and the Chileans fielded a lot of 6lbrs at Cancha Rayada but the Argentines didn't field any at other battles.
Fletcher (2005) lists 33 Patriot guns; the Right Division has 10 x 4lbrs, the Left has 11 x 4lbrs, and the reserve has 12 x 6lbrs. Alternate Orders of Battle for Cancha Rayada and Maipo says the Left division artillery is Argentine and that in the reserve is Chilean. The Order of battle in Alternate Orders of Battle for Cancha Rayada and Maipo doesn't show artillery in the Right Division, but the text mentions a third, Chilean battery, which must be with this division. Combining this information we get the Right Division has 10 x 4lbrs (Chilean), the Left has 11 x 4lbrs (Argentine), and the reserve has 12 x 6lbrs (Chilean).
Subsequently Fletcher (private communication decided that actually it is "doubtful that there were 6lbrs at Cancha Rayada". They would have been 4lbrs. He when on to say:
The Patriots had 33 guns in 3 batteries. The batteries are commonly listed having 10, 11 and 12 guns. I broke them into 2 batteries each just because, at the time I wrote the scenario, the listed organization made no sense to me. No one knows the exact caliber, or number of each caliber, of guns present. One source mentions the Royalists captured 2 howitzers from the Patriots, so there may have been some present. As I mentioned in the Yahoo message, I now think there were no Chilean 6lbrs present, in either Talcahuano or Cancha Rayada. At Talcahuano they were 4lbrs. Most likely the same at Cancha Rayada. Most sources say 2 of the batteries were Chilean, one was Argentine.
Regarding the possibility of patriot howitzers Fletcher mentioned:
On Cancha Rayada what I'm saying is that in my book OB I did not list ANY Patriot howitzers but that I have a source "Historia de la Artlleria de Argentina" to be exact, that lists 2 howitzers as captured by the Royalists. Where this book got this info from I do not know as it is not footnoted or sourced; it is simply stated as "the Royalists captured 24 cannons and 2 howitzers". This source would give you a justification if you felt like including some howitzers in a Patriot army. I'm not saying you should or should not, I'm just letting you know at least one source says they had at least 2 howitzers.
I assume the bulk of the patriot artillery losses were with the batteries in the front line. So I also assume any lost howizters would have been split between Argentine and Chilean. And it is worth mentioning that the source talks about how many howitzers the Royalists captured; the patriots might have had more.
Regarding the Royalists Fletcher (private communication) said:
The Royalists had the same artillery at both  battles [Cancha Rayada, Maipo]. They had 2 batteries, one foot and one "volante", the Spanish equivalent to horse artillery. At least one reliable source, "La Actividad Informativa de la Campaña de los Andes", lists them as having 14 guns instead of 12; 6 in the foot battery and 8 in the volante. The foot battery would be the 8lbrs, the horse battery 4lbrs. In any case, it seems the Royalists peeled the howitzers from the foot battery and attached them to the horse battery...this is how you get the numbers shown in Liberators.
For the patriots Fletcher (2005) lists 16 x 4lbrs (split evenly between Right and Left) and 4 x 8lbrs (in the Reserve). Alternate Order of Battle: Battle of Maipu, Apri 5, 1818 says the artillery in the Left and Right Divisions was Chilean and that in the Reserve Argentine. Combining this information we get 16 x 4lbrs (Chilean) and 4 x 8lbrs (Argentine).
Fletcher (private communication) said:
The Patriots again had 2 batteries of Chileans, 1 of Argentines (the 8lbrs). One source says there were so few Argentine guns that the Granaderos a Caballo had an ad hoc squadron of mounted artillerists attached to them! I don't know if I buy that but it goes to show the kind of info that shows up in the sources.
The Royalists had the same guns as at Cancha Rayada.
|Royalist||4lb||2||16||6||4 or 6||4 or 6|
|Royalists||8lb Field gun||4||4|
|Argentine||4lb||7 MG||7 MG||11|
|Argentine||8lb Field Gun||4|
|Chilean||3.5" Howitzer||0 or 2 or more|
Except where MG (for Mountain Gun) is mentioned the 4lbrs would be a mix of mountain guns and/or field guns.
Fletcher, J. (2005). Liberators! Volume 1: The War in the South. Grenadier Productions.
Fletcher, J. (2006). Liberators! Supplement 1: The War in the South. Grenadier Productions.
Grenadier Productions specifically:
Alternate Order of Battle: Battle of Maipu, Apri 5, 1818. Fletcher cites “Las Fuerzas Armadas de Chile” as the source for the data in these orders of battle.
Alternate Orders of Battle for Cancha Rayada and Maipo. Fletcher cites Soria (2004) as the source for the data in these orders of battle.