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The Siege of Ciudad Rodrigo, 1812

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The Siege of Ciudad Rodrigo, 1812

Postby Mark » May 22nd, 2011, 10:17 pm

Does anyone have any information/pics of British artillery used during the siege of Ciudad Rodrigo in 1812? In particular I am interested in what type of cannons were used, what they looked like and whether any of them still exist today?

Mark
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Re: The Siege of Ciudad Rodrigo, 1812

Postby DavidB » May 24th, 2011, 12:40 pm

I must admit Mark that the sieges are probably my favourite topic of interest in the Peninsular War.

- The standard British siege gun of the war was the 24-pounder of 7.12in calibre. Barrel length varied from 7 to 9 feet, weight varying accordingly from 40 to 50 hundredweight. The longer ones were preferred in the siege train. Muzzle velocity was about 1600ft/sec, but this halved in the first hundred yards and halved again over 1500 yards. The gun was still powerful and fairly accurate over this distance however.
- In addition, the 18-pounder of 5.29in calibre was also used, this being 9 ft long and weighing up to 40 hundredweight. This was still a formidable weapon, but the smaller shot meant it was less effective at breaching walls than its heavier cousin.

- A secondary ordnance weapon was the brass 10in howitzer which fired 92-pound shells but weighed only 26 hundredweight. Lighter 5.5in iron howitzers (sometimes referred to as carronades) firing 24-pound shells were also used. Howitzers were of limited use against masonry but came into their own as anti-personnel pieces, eg keeping a partly-made breach under fire at night to prevent the garrison repairing the damage or laying obstructions.
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Re: The Siege of Ciudad Rodrigo, 1812

Postby DavidB » May 24th, 2011, 12:58 pm

At Ciudad Rodrigo specifically:
No1 battery eventually contained just 2 18-pounders to bombard the Convent of San Francisco and hopefully make it untenable.
No2 battery to its right had 2 18-pounders and 7 24-pounders
No3 battery had no less than 16 24-pounders, some originally intended for No1. (No1 battery found its field of fire screened by the Redoubt Renaud due to bad siting. An understandable error perhaps when digging saps and parallels under fire in the dark, but the error wasted much time).
No4 battery, east and forward of No1, contained another 7 24-pounders tasked with effecting a rapid second breach east of the first.
No5 battery was the furthest forward, created at the end of a second parallel at a range of barely 300 yards. This was armed with one 5.5in howitzer and one 6-pounder from a field brigade to prevent the garrison working on interior defences prior to the assault.
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Re: The Siege of Ciudad Rodrigo, 1812

Postby Mark » May 24th, 2011, 4:02 pm

Hi David

I have to say it is rather fascinating so thank you for the detailed replies! It must have been a frightening spectacle for those present at these sieges - on both sides of the fortresses walls! Do you know of any books that focus/specialise in Napoleonic siege warfare as I think it is fast becoming one of my favorite areas too?!

As a slight aside I have a medal to a soldier in the 38th Foot who took part in the siege of Badajoz so I will be looking at researching him and his regiment's part in it next.

Mark
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Re: The Siege of Ciudad Rodrigo, 1812

Postby DavidB » May 24th, 2011, 4:25 pm

Mark wrote: Do you know of any books that focus/specialise in Napoleonic siege warfare as I think it is fast becoming one of my favorite areas too?!

In terms of the British in the Peninsular War, this is a nice little intro:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/British-Sieges- ... 209&sr=1-1

Was referencing from it in my last answer
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Re: The Siege of Ciudad Rodrigo, 1812

Postby Mark » May 24th, 2011, 4:27 pm

DavidB wrote:
Mark wrote: Do you know of any books that focus/specialise in Napoleonic siege warfare as I think it is fast becoming one of my favorite areas too?!

In terms of the British in the Peninsular War, this is a nice little intro:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/British-Sieges- ... 209&sr=1-1

Was referencing from it in my last answer


Lovely, I will add it to my list of books to buy! :)

Thanks again!

Mark
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Re: The Siege of Ciudad Rodrigo, 1812

Postby OXFORDMON » June 5th, 2011, 6:27 pm

I thought members might like to see this, Ciudad Rodrigo cathedral taken last Sept, the cannonball damage is still plainly evident on the walls (accident or target practice?!!), the balustrade at the top was only repaired a few years ago.

Andy
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Re: The Siege of Ciudad Rodrigo, 1812

Postby Mark » June 5th, 2011, 6:31 pm

Hi Andy

Lovely photo! I take it you have had the pleasure of visiting the site? Is there much there left for the visitor to see?

Mark
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Re: The Siege of Ciudad Rodrigo, 1812

Postby OXFORDMON » June 5th, 2011, 6:45 pm

Hi Mark

I have been fortunate to visit several times, it really is a most beautiful city in real 'Light Division' country, you can feel the presence of Wellingtons army on a still hot day!
The memorial to Gen Craufurd is a few hundred yards from the Cathedral at the site of the lesser breach where he is buried, you ccould spend a week happily exploring the place.

Andy.
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Re: The Siege of Ciudad Rodrigo, 1812

Postby Mark » June 5th, 2011, 6:55 pm

Thanks, Andy! It is certainly on my list of places to visit. I am hoping to visit Brussels and Waterloo at some point next year after which I will turn my attention to Spain.

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