t the end of the 18th Century the Royal Artillery numbered ten Battalions with each Battalion having ten Companies
of approximately 100 gunners each. During campaign, when the Artillery were issued guns, teams and drivers, the whole
unit was referred to as an Artillery Brigade. Each Brigade was usually issued six pieces consisting of five guns and
one howitzer. In addition, a Brigade was allocated eight ammunition wagons, two to three baggage wagons, a spare parts
wagon and up to 200 horses and drivers. The artillery establishment of the British Army in North America was based on
the standard establishment of the field army used in Spain during the Peninsula campaign. Normal British Army issue
to the artillery was a mixture of 3pdr., 6pdr., and 12 pdr. field guns. These light, maneuverable field guns were
first introduced at the beginning of the Seven Years War.
Linear tactics predominated throughout the 18th century, and centered around the application of firepower. The first
was the deployment of the artillery.
Ordnance in use in North America during the 18th century consisted of four main types, guns, carronades, howitzers and
mortars. The 27th Company-2nd Battalion Royal Regiment of Artillery (as depicted today on Signal Hill)
illustrates the use of both the cannon and mortar.
During each performance the Gunners of the Royal Artillery wheel forward a 1797 John & Henri King 6Pdr Muzzle loader.
During this early period both the projectile and powder were rammed down
the muzzle to the rear of the bore with the
rammer. All guns were manufactured in either bronze or iron. Each gun sits on a carriage that was designed specifically
for its use. The field carriage was designed for mobility. Cannons mounted on carriages with large wheels allowed them
to be moved quickly
The variety of projectiles which were fired from cannons were usually of four different types: ball, shell, shot and
incendiary. The selection of projectile was based on the nature of the terrain and the composition of the enemy force.
Chain shot and bar shot for example were used against large bodies of men where the effect would be devastating.
Also in use are two 6pdr mortars. Mortars are shell guns suitable for high angle fire. The primary purpose of mortars
was to drop shells behind enemy fortifications or to route enemy troops using higher ground. Mortars shells were filled
with small shot, balls and other anti-personnel devices. A time fuse allowed the shell to explode just prior to impact.
Records indicate that the well-trained Royal Artillery gun crew could achieve a rate of fire of five to eight rounds
per minute. Each man on the gun crew learned all positions to fill spots vacated by the dead and wounded.
Unlike the regular British Army, which operated under the War Office, the Artillery was administered by the Board of
Ordnance, which issued all pertinent warrants and orders.
The Royal Artillery consisted of four fighting battalions, each comprised of eight companies of 116 men. The men were
often divided up and sent on detachment duty to man redoubts and to crew "Battalion Guns". A gun crew could consist of up to 16 men:
- a man to load
- a man to hook out, sponge and ram down cartridges
- a man to serve the vent
- a man to fire
- a man to aim
- a man to carry forward cartridges
- a man to serve cartridges
- an NCO to command the piece
- a man to carry the bucket and linstock
- and the remainder to hold the dragropes in preparation to move the gun