Tag Archive | fortifications

Guest Question: Fortress artillery

John Grenier (that’s GREN-ee-er or GREN-ee-ay, as you like it) asked a question in the comments, so I’ll move it here for greater visibility. I’ll give my answer in the comments, and others can chime in as well.

“OK, so I’m looking at the Oct 1756 intelligence reports from Rogers’s Rangers on the forts at Crown Point and Ticonderoga. One of RR’s prisoners reported that Ti held 33 guns (12 18#ers, 12 15#ers, and 9 8#ers) and Crown Point held 18 total, with 18#ers being the largest. I know that is miniscule compared to the numbers in most forts in Flanders, but then again, Crown Point and Ti were (are?) in the middle of nowhere. I wonder, is there some kind of ranking order (1st-rate thru 6th-rate, etc.) for forts, no? Where would a fort with 33 smallish guns, and another with 18, fall in the scheme of things? Of course, these were pretty much stand-alone operations — no mutually supporting forts (unless you consider Ti and CP), garrisons, and magazine systems to help in times of siege. It’s clear by the fall of ’56 that the earl of Loudoun (the Britrish CINC) knew he did not have the transporation system that would allow him to get enough men, guns, and materiel in front of the forts for a siege (yet Montcalm was able to do so the next summer, and had already done so at Oswego). Anyway, just looking for a little context, and I figure this is a good place to ask. Cheers”

Maps of Spanish Succession fortresses in Flanders

As you all know, you can search for images of EMEMH items in Google’s Image search. Another resource for images is (once again) available – a selection of maps from the 19C Vault and Pelet series Mémoires militaires, relating to the War of the Spanish Succession. Eons ago in grad school on one of my trips up to the University of Michigan libraries the staff there were kind enough to scan in a number of these huge maps from the Atlas in the series. For awhile they had them up online, then they seemed to disappear. But as I am preparing to update my old website, I just noticed that they are back. Go to the Miscellaneous collection search page here and search under “ostwald” to find two dozen detailed scans of fortresses and sieges from the war (in the Low Countries). These are 19C maps, and I’m not sure how exactly these plans were made (other than by France’s Dépôt de la Guerre), but they seem relatively accurate from what I can tell.

A sample (detail from the larger map):

Detail from map of Rheinberg in Mémoires militaires