Accession Number:



The Maturation of Napoleon's Artillery Arm

Descriptive Note:

[Technical Report, Master's Thesis]

Corporate Author:

U.S. Army Command and General Staff College

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



Napoleon Bonaparte came of age as an artillery officer in the French ancien regime during a time of transition for the artillery arm. The French Valliere system of ordnance reigned supreme as Europes premier system of artillery in the first half of the eighteenth-century but became antiquated as a system that was primarily designed for siege warfare. A shift in the character of warfare to maneuver and emerging theory that prioritized mobile artillery drove the development of the French Gribeauval system following the Seven Years War, but the artillery arm continued to be viewed as an ancillary support branch, and its guns were distributed amongst the ranks. Napoleons education and experiences as an artillery officer, coupled with the influence of emerging theorists and improved materiel, enabled him to develop the Ordnance System of the Year XI that emphasized the massed effects of artillery at the decisive time and place, in contrast to the artillery systems of the ancien regime. Under Napoleons leadership, the artillery arm matured from an ancillary support branch into a decisive force to be employed on the battlefield.


Subject Categories:

  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

Distribution Statement:

[A, Approved For Public Release]