6 pounder field cannon C / 61 (variant from 1867) - 6-Pfünder-Feldkanone C/61 (Variante von 1867)

The Prussian 6-pounder field cannon C / 61 (official spelling: drawn cast steel 6pfdr. With piston lock [1] ) in the variant from 1867 [2] was the successor to the Prussian 6-pounder field cannon C / 64 (official spelling: Drawn cast steel 6pfdr. with forged piston lock for wedge lock ). After the switch to the metric system in 1871, it was called a 9 cm steel cannon with a piston lock . It was the main gun of the foot and moving batteries of the Prussian artillery in the Franco-German War of 1870/71. [3]


The gun was built in 1867 as the successor to the 6-pounder field cannon C / 64. The reason was the failure of some cast steel 4-pounder field guns C / 64, but without any defects in the material. This fact led to heated discussions in Prussia about the reliability of cast steel. After the Krupp company , as the supplier of the corresponding pipes, was able to prove that the defect was not to be found in the material, but in the non-material pipe construction of the artillery inspection commission, a new series of 4 and 6 was launched in Prussia -Pounder field cannons. Based on the fact that this failure only occurred with the 4-pounder field cannons, the pipe construction of the old one was adopted in Prussia6-pounder field cannon C / 61 using the newly developed mounts and Protzen C / 64 to combine them into one gun. This gun was also considered drawn in official correspondence . Cast steel 6pfdr. marked with piston lock . This resulted in the situation that there were two different versions of a 6 pounder field cannon with a piston lock . After the Franco-Prussian War of 1870/71, the entire field artillery of Prussia and the allied states was exchanged and replaced by the field artillery material C / 73 . [4]

technical description

The gun consists of the main parts barrel , breech , mount and limber.


The tube is the tried and tested construction from 1861. The tube was cylindrical at the rear, about a third of the length and then tapered conically towards the front. It had a floor frieze at the back and a mouth frieze at the front, which connected to the pipe body with a groove. At the point where the transverse hole for the piston closure was drilled through the tubular body, it had a cylindrical extension on each side. In addition, the trunnion wheels with were on the tube body on each side as a further approach trunnion. The diameter of the trunnion was 3.5 inches (about 91.5 mm). There were additional attachments to the tube: the hinge piece for the lock door on the bottom surface and an eyelet with a chain and locking hook on the right-hand attachment for the transverse cylinder. The ignition hole, with a diameter of 6.55 to max. 10.45 mm, was in contrast to the version C / 61 in a copper ignition hole lining. It stood with its axis approx. 4.2 cm in front of the front edge of the sealing piston when closed. On the front of the mouth frieze was the grain. At the back of the tube in front of the ignition hole there was a flattening for the dragonfly quadrant, the so-called quadrant plane, and in the floor frieze a sight cut, the so-called rear sight. In addition, there was another flattening in the floor frieze with a screwed-on slide-on plate for attaching the nickel-silver attachment. On the pipe was the royal name with the inscription "Ultima ratio regis" (The king's last remedy) and the Prussian eagleEngraved with crown and the inscription "Pro Gloria et patria" (For fame and honor). The train system corresponded to the version of 1861. It consisted of 18 parallel trains, width of trains 1 cm, depth of trains 0.13 cm, width of fields 0.5 cm. The twist length was 4.7 m. [5]


The lock, here again the Wahrendorff piston lock, was essentially the same as the design from 1861, with the following changes:

  1. At its rear end, instead of the threaded pin, on which two lock nuts were screwed, the locking piston in the newer version had a smooth pin with a through hole into which a so-called split pin was now inserted. The function of the lock nut or the split pin was to prevent unintentional unscrewing of the crank and with the help of these components the insertion length of the locking piston could be adjusted so that the bores for the cross piston were exactly aligned when the locking piston was pushed into the tube. While the setting could be made individually in the older version, it could no longer be changed in the newer version. It was already specified when the pipe was manufactured.
  2. The crank now had a ball at the end of one arm, which had to be a little below the center on the right when the lock was tightened. In order to achieve this status, a precisely fitting leather washer was inserted between the lock door and the crank. To obturator with this variant were also reused the pressboard shelves. [6]


The material C / 64 was now used as the mount. With the development of the 4-pounder field cannon C / 64, new mounts and limbs were also constructed. The principles applied here were intended to give this field gun, here the 4-pounder, the greatest possible impact, ease of operation and maneuverability, which led to the consideration of transferring these principles to the 6-pounder as well. As a result of these considerations, the following changes were made to the mounts:
In contrast to the version from 1861, the carriage walls were straight at the top and bottom. They did not have any cutouts for the axle bearings or the straightening shaft bearings. There was only a recess for the trunnion bearing. In this version, the axle was made of cast steel. The omission of the axle chuck was compensated for by two laterally attached drivers. The original wooden wheels were replaced by so-called Thonet wheels. The so-called Richter straightening machine was used as the straightening machine. Contrary to the original arrangement of 1861, the directional shaft bearings were not arranged on the carriage walls, but in the free space between them. In addition, two so-called axle seats were installed and the last major change was the replacement of the axle box with a carriage box.[7] An additional grape holder was attached to the mount in a so-called grape sheath.


The original limber C / 56/61 was still used as limber. It was a box body. Cast steel axles and Thonet wheels were now also used. The Protzkasten was adapted to the changed needs as early as 1864 with the introduction of the 6-pounder field cannon C / 64. Another change took place in 1866/67 with the elimination of field shrapnel and with the reintroduction of field shrapnel in 1870, the limber box was changed again. With the changes in the ammunition equipment, the equipment of the limber was changed every time.

Equipping the limber for the period
1866 and 1870 [8]
after 1870 [9]
Grenade with bolt capsule
and mouth screw
Grenade with bolt capsule,
mouth screw, needle bolt
Incendiary grenade 3
Shrapnel with detonator module
without bolt
Grapeshot 3 3
1.2 pound cartridge
with pressboard bottom
36 36
0.5 pound cartridge
with no particle board bottom
0.5 pound cartridge
with no particle board bottom
Pressspanboden 12
Ignition screw (Az) 50 32
Pin (Az) 50 32
Nadelbolzen (Az) 33
Bolzenkapsel (Az) 3
Mouth screw (Az) 3
Stud screw (Bz) 8

Three gunners were able to take a seat on the limber by the moving battery. The connection between the mount and the limber was made using the balancing system. [10] The steering angle was 87 °. [11]

Technical specifications

  • 1 Prussian foot (symbol ′) = 12 inches = 31.385 cm.
  • 1 Prussian inch (symbol ″) = 100/100 = 2.6154 cm
  • 1 pound = 30 lot = 500 g


  • Caliber: 3.5 ″ = 9.15 cm
  • Pipe length: 78 ″ = 2.04 m
  • Length of the drawn part :. 59 "= 154.30 cm
  • Length of the transition cone: 2 "= 5.25 cm
  • Length of the cargo space: 7.7 "= 20.15 cm
  • Diameter of the soul in the cargo space: 3.66 ″ = 9.6 cm
  • Weight without lock approx. 409 kg
  • Weight including lock approx. 433 kg


  • Clear distance between the carriage walls: 9.05 ″ = 23.67 cm
  • Storage height: 3 ′ 7.20 ″ = 113 cm [13]
  • Höhenrichtbereich: -7/14°
  • Wheel diameter with wheel tires: 59.2 ″ = 154.8 cm
  • Weight of the carriage wheels: approx. 187 kg
  • Track width: 153 cm
  • Weight of the blanket Lafette: approx. 520 kg
  • Weight of the equipped carriage: approx. 1015 kg


  • Wheel diameter with wheel tires: 47.2 ″ = 123.5 cm
  • Weight of the sport bikes: 156.5 kg
  • Track width: 153 cm
  • Weight of the empty limber: approx. 460 kg
  • Weight of the equipped limber with 33 rounds of ammunition: approx. 820 kg


  • Gun weight: approx. 1835 kg
  • Weight of the gun with mounted crew approx. 2210 kg
  • Personnel requirements:
    • 1 gun leader (was mounted)
    • 6 field gunners (5 rode the gun, 1 field gunner followed the gun on foot).
    • 2 driving gunners (rode on the saddle horses)
  • Covering:
    • 6 horses


In the case of ammunition, a distinction must be made between two periods. One for the period between 1867 and 1870 and the other for the period after 1870. The differentiation is due to the reintroduction of shrapnel in the Prussian field artillery around 1870.

  • Grenade : Weight: 6.9 kg; Consisting of the iron core, length approx. 18.3 cm and a weight of approx. 3.75 kg, the thick soft sheet metal jacket, weight approx. 3.75 kg, the explosive charge of 15 solder (approx. 250 g ) and the percussion fuse C. / 61 (Neumann percussion detonator). The detonator consisted of the following individual parts: the bolt cap, the needle bolt, the mouth screw, the ignition screw and the linch pin. A detailed description can be found in the article 6-pounder field cannon C / 61. Of the above-mentioned components, the bolt cap and the mouth screw were already installed during the grenade production. The needle bolts were only removed from the Protze's inventory and inserted into the grenades when they were mobilized. Only immediately before the grenades were inserted into the barrel, they were armed by inserting the clip and then screwing in the ignition screws by the gun leader. In 1870 the production process was changed and the needle bolts were also installed during production.
  • Incendiary grenade: weight: 7.0 kg; Consists of the iron core with a thick soft sheet metal jacket, the explosive charge of 12 solder (approx. 200 g) as well as 6 firers and the percussion fuse C / 61.
  • Kartätsche (Spielraum-Kartätsche [16] weight: 5.25 kg; consisting of a sleeve made of 0.8 mm thick tin-plated iron sheet, length 21 cm and a diameter of 8.93 cm, which is attached at the top and bottom by a so-called sabot, Thickness 1.6 cm. It was filled with 41 tin balls, ball weight 5 solder (approx. 83.5 g). A centering bead with a diameter of 9.3 cm was attached in the middle of the casing of the can.
  • Shrapnel (tubular shrapnel C / 70 [17]): Weight approx. 7.4 kg, consisting of an iron core, length approx. 16.7 cm with a thin, soldered-on soft sheet metal jacket, weight approx. 3.05 kg. This was filled with 180 cavalry bullets (lead bullets), bullet weight 1 lot (approx. 16.7 g). The bullets were fixed in the bullet by a sulfur sprue so that a tubular chamber was created in the bullet axis, in which the explosive charge located in a brass case, weight: 1 lot = 16.7 g, could be introduced. The field shrapnel fuse C / 70 was used as the detonator. The detonator consisted of the detonator module and the bolt. The fuse module (base body) was already inserted into the shrapnel during manufacture.

Note: Due to the poor transportability of the fire igniter ( time detonator ) constructed by Richter in 1861, the shrapnel in Prussia was equipped with the percussion detonator C / 61 at that time (1861). Since this solution was unsatisfactory in practice, the use of shrapnel in the Prussian field artillery was discontinued in 1866. It was only with a model of the Richter ring fuse improved by the Art.-Hauptmann Lancelle, called field shrapnel fuse C / 70, that shrapnel was made available to the field artillery in 1870. They did not yet play a major role in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870/71.

  • Charge: The usual utility charge consisted of 0.6 kg of Prussian gun powder in a crop cartridge with the glued-on pressboard base. Additional cartridges weighing 0.5 and 0.3 pounds were available for the archery shot. However, these were made without a pressboard floor. After the reintroduction of shrapnel in 1870, the use of the high bow shot was discontinued and these two cartridges were eliminated from the field artillery.
  • Ignition: Over-ignition by a beater
  • Initial speed Vo [18]
    • With the grenade: 322 m / s
    • With the shrapnel C / 70: 313 m / s

Range (working range) [19]

  • Grenade shot: The area of ​​effect was assumed to be up to 3800 m for the 6-pounder. As a rule, the use of the grenade shot was to be avoided at distances of over 1500 m. One could generally get a reasonable effect:
    • Against villages filled with troops up to 3800 m.
    • Against large troops up to 2500 m.
    • Against smaller, closed units, staggered in depth, not over 2000 m.
    • In the fight battery against battery up to approx. 1200 m.
    • The so-called bow shot was used to fight covert troops [20] . With the 0.5 pound charge at a distance of 1000 to 2000 paces (approximately 750-1500 m) and the 0.3 pound charge at a distance of approximately 600-1200 paces (450-900 m).
  • Shrapnel: The range of action of the shrapnel was limited by the burning time of the ring igniter and lay between approx. 200 and 2000 m. [21] The shrapnel was generally used.
    • Against very large, densely positioned troops up to 2000 m.
    • Against individual battalions in columns up to approx. 12–1500 m.
  • Cartashing: Was only used successfully in close combat at a distance of up to approx. 600 paces (approx. 450 m).


  • W. Witte: The rifled field guns according to their setup, equipment etc. along with some rules for handling the material. 3. Edition. Verlag Ernst Siegfried Mittler and Son, Berlin 1867. Reprinted by J. Olmes, Krefeld 1971. Title: The rifled field guns C / 61, C / 64 and C / 64/67, 1870-71. on-line
  • Hoffmann (captain a la suite of Magdeburg's fortress artillery regiment No. 4.): The field gunner - A manual for the gunner of the field artillery. 3. Edition. Vossi'sche Buchhandlung publishing house, Berlin 1869.
  • W. Witte: The field artillery according to equipment, equipment and use, along with some rules for handling the material. 5th edition. Verlag Ernst Siegfried Mittler and Son, Berlin 1872.
  • H. von Müller: The development of the field artillery in relation to material, organization and technology from 1815 to 1870. Publishing house by Robert Oppenheim. Berlin 1873. Reprint: Salzwasser Verlag GmbH, Paderborn, 1st edition ISBN 978-3-84603-766-9 .

Individual evidence

  1. The names mentioned as official spelling were taken from: Army Ordinance Sheet No. 18 of August 14, 1871; Ed .: War Ministry Berlin, Mittler und Sohn publishing house, Berlin. P. 195. taken. [1]
  2. ^ W. Witte, 5th edition v. 1872, p. 21.
  3. The military strength of the German Empire in February 1872. Verlag von LW Seidel & Sohn in Vienna, Vienna 1872, p. 91/92 [2]
  4. Krupp 1812-1912. Publishing house by Gustav Fischer. Jena 1912. pp. 226-228.
  5. ^ W. Witte, 5th edition v. 1872, p. 23; P. 25.
  6. ^ W. Witte, 5th edition v. 1872, pp. 29-30.
  7. ^ W. Witte, 5th edition v. 1872, pp. 45-53.
  8. W. Witte, 3rd edition v. 1872. p. 53.
  9. ^ W. Witte, 5th edition v. 1872. p. 201.
  10. ^ J. Schott: Outline of the weapon theory for officers and officer aspirants of the North German Federal Army. Eduard Zernin, Darmstadt & Leipzig 1868, p. 88.
  11. ^ W. Witte, 5th edition v. 1872, pp. 53–58 and Appendix A.
  12. Hoffmann, 3rd edition v. 1869, p. 98.
  13. Schott, S. 100.
  14. W. Witte, 3rd edition v. 1872, pp. 13-16.
  15. ^ W. Witte, 5th edition v. 1872, pp. 32-37.
  16. ^ H. von Müller: The development of the field artillery in relation to material, organization and tactics, from 1815 to 1870. Verlag von Robert Opperheim, Berlin 1873. P. 227. Reprint: Salzwasser Verlag GmbH, Paderborn 1st edition ISBN 978 -3-84603-766-9 .
  17. von Berlin: Handbuch der Waffenlehre. Ernst Siegfried Mittler and Son, Berlin 1908. p. 220. Reprint: Unikum Verlag, Barsinghausen 2013. ISBN 9783845702063 .
  18. von Berlin: Handbuch der Waffenlehre. Ernst Siegfried Mittler and Son, Berlin 1908. p. 220. Reprint: Unikum Verlag, Barsinghausen 2013. ISBN 9783845702063 .
  19. W. Witte 5th edition v. 1872, pp. 123-133.
  20. ^ W. Witte, 3rd edition from 1867, p. 81.
  21. ^ W. Witte, 5th edition from 1872, p. 36.