I'm developing a RTS game which is set during the Napoleonic Wars and want to implement these artillery for the Prussian side:

  • 6 pound cannon
  • 7 pound howitzer
  • 12 pound cannon

Unfortunately, I have no Idea how much force the gunpowder created to accelerate the cannonball. Is there any historical reference for this?

In the best case I'd need the ammount of gunpowder used and/or the muzzle velocity to simulate it properly.

  • What are you actually looking for? The amount of gunpowder, the muzzle velocity, or something else? Commented Dec 2, 2016 at 22:17
  • @JohnDallman in the best case; both
    – pguetschow
    Commented Dec 2, 2016 at 22:17
  • 2
    "how much force the gunpowder created..." is going to be a tricky one to determine, as it's a function of the chamber shape, projectile weight, charge size, windage and the composition and quality of the gunpowder. While we're used to seeing gun performance in terms of muzzle velocity and range, comprehensive standardized tests simply weren't done on Naploeonic period smoothbores. Also Prussian artillery of the period was a real mix of old and new weapons, which would cause some variation in performance.
    – Steve Bird
    Commented Dec 2, 2016 at 23:47

1 Answer 1


I have the following figures to hand for weight of shot and charge, for a range of weapons that may have been used by the Prussian Artillery during the Napoleonic Wars.

              Shot (kg)    Charge (kg)

12-pdr M1761    5.93        2.30
12-pdr M1768    5.93        1.60
12-pdr M1809    5.93        1.60

 6-pdr M1762    3.0         1.40
 6-pdr M1768    3.0         1.40
 6-pdr M1787    3.0         0.89
 6-pdr M1809    3.0         0.89

 7-pdr M1762    6.54        0.90
 7-pdr M1790    6.08        0.69
 7-pdr M1809    6.95        0.69

I don't have the corresponding figures for range or muzzle velocity for these guns. However, given the intended use for the information, all of these weapons had sufficient range to cover a Napoleonic battle field.

[T]heoretical maximum ranges were usually unimportant. The Prussian General Monhaupt noted that 'a 12-pdr is able to fire its roundshot 460-600m further than a 6-pdr, but this has no influence on the outcome of the battle...a hit at such a distance is purely accidental'

It goes on to say that the theoretical advantages of the 12-pdr were 'often negated by its slower rate of fire'.

source: Napoleonic Artillery. A.L.Dawson, P.L.Dawson & S.Summerfield (Crowood Press, 2007)

  • Thank you for the information and the source :) Btw; I'm interested in the fact why the 7pndr has 6-7kg Shots, wouldn't be 7 pound about 3.5kg?
    – pguetschow
    Commented Dec 3, 2016 at 11:24
  • The Prussians seem to have followed the general German pattern of naming howitzers. They were named after the weight of stone roundshot that would fit the barrel. So in this case, the howitzer would have been able to fire a 7-pound stone cannonball. On the battlefield they fired shells, which usually included a wood or metal sabot attached to keep the shell (and, more importantly, the fuse) facing in the right direction. So the weight of the projectile was almost double the weight of the equivalent stone ball.
    – Steve Bird
    Commented Dec 3, 2016 at 11:51
  • Addidtional Question; I searched for some reference for these weapons and sodly found nothing about which one was the most popular one around 1813-1815. Does the given source include also the measures and images of the cannons?
    – pguetschow
    Commented Dec 5, 2016 at 7:34
  • The quoted source includes data on the cannon barrel length and weight but doesn't include any other dimensions. There are illustrations of the post-war M1816 6-pdr and 7-pdr howitzer (which were introduced in 1816-7 and based on the French Gribeauval system) with plan and side views. Also a M1768 6-pdr in plan and side view.
    – Steve Bird
    Commented Dec 5, 2016 at 17:19
  • Great, I'll search for a copy here
    – pguetschow
    Commented Dec 6, 2016 at 7:48

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