Grand Battery
Grand Battery was a French
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

Originally applied to any group of infantry primarily armed with projectile weapons, artillery has over time become limited in meaning to refer only to those engines of war that operate by projection of munitions far beyond the range of effect of personal weapons...

 tactic of the Napoleonic wars
Napoleonic Wars
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars declared against Napoleon's French Empire by opposing coalitions that ran from 1803 to 1815. As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789, they revolutionised European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly due to...

. It involved massing all available batteries
Artillery battery
In military organizations, an artillery battery is a unit of guns, mortars, rockets or missiles so grouped in order to facilitate better battlefield communication and command and control, as well as to provide dispersion for its constituent gunnery crews and their systems...

 into a single large, temporary one, and concentrating the firepower of their guns at a single point in the enemy's lines.

Substituting volume of fire for accuracy, rate of fire and rapid movement, it was rarely used in the wars' early years. But as the quality of artillery crews and their horses declined, it was employed more frequently during later (post 1808) campaigns.

The Grand Battery was often concentrated against the enemy's center. An early example of this is at Austerlitz
Battle of Austerlitz
The Battle of Austerlitz, also known as the Battle of the Three Emperors, was one of Napoleon's greatest victories, where the French Empire effectively crushed the Third Coalition...

 in 1805, when Napoleon ordered a "roar of thunder" before the main assault upon the Pratzen Heights, which split the coalition's lines in half. Other notable uses of the tactic include: Alexandre-Antoine Hureau de Sénarmont
Alexandre-Antoine Hureau de Sénarmont
Alexandre-Antoine Hureau de Sénarmont was a French artillery general.He was born at Strasbourg, and educated at the Metz school for engineer and artillery cadets. In 1785 he was commissioned in the artillery, in which he served as a regimental officer for fifteen years...

's aggressive use of his guns at the battle of Friedland
Battle of Friedland
The Battle of Friedland saw Napoleon I's French army decisively defeat Count von Bennigsen's Russian army about twenty-seven miles southeast of Königsberg...

 (1807), which was a major factor that won the battle, or the battle of Wagram
Battle of Wagram
The Battle of Wagram was the decisive military engagement of the War of the Fifth Coalition. It took place on the Marchfeld plain, on the north bank of the Danube. An important site of the battle was the village of Deutsch-Wagram, 10 kilometres northeast of Vienna, which would give its name to the...

 in 1809, where a grand battery successfully halted an Austrian counterattack. At Borodino
Battle of Borodino
The Battle of Borodino , fought on September 7, 1812, was the largest and bloodiest single-day action of the French invasion of Russia and all Napoleonic Wars, involving more than 250,000 troops and resulting in at least 70,000 casualties...

 in 1812, it was again used to break a counterattack, but it failed to break the strong Russian positions and earthworks in the center along the Rayevski Redoubt. At the Battle of Lützen (1813)
Battle of Lützen (1813)
In the Battle of Lützen , Napoleon I of France lured a combined Prussian and Russian force into a trap, halting the advances of the Sixth Coalition after his devastating losses in Russia. The Russian commander, Prince Peter Wittgenstein, attempting to undo Napoleon's capture of Leipzig, attacked...

, it did succeed in breaking the Russo-Prussian center, ahead of the main assault by the Imperial guard
Imperial Guard
The Imperial Guard was originally a small group of elite soldiers of the French Army under the direct command of Napoleon I, but grew considerably over time. It acted as his bodyguard and tactical reserve, and he was careful of its use in battle...

. Finally, in 1815 at Waterloo
Battle of Waterloo
The Battle of Waterloo was fought on Sunday 18 June 1815 near Waterloo in present-day Belgium, then part of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands...

, the famous opening barrage of the Grande Batterie failed to break the center of Wellington's Anglo-allied army due to his judicious deployment of most of his forces behind the reverse slopes
Reverse slope defence
A reverse slope defence is a military tactic where a defending force is positioned on the slope of an elevated terrain feature such as a hill, ridge, or mountain, on the side opposite from the attacking force...

 of the rolling hillside and the fact that the ground was still wet and muddy, preventing the usual effects of the bouncing cannonballs.

Nearly half a century later, in 1863 on the third day of the Battle of Gettysburg, Robert E. Lee
Robert E. Lee
Robert Edward Lee was a career military officer who is best known for having commanded the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia in the American Civil War....

, formed a Grand Battery of his own in a desperate attempt to weaken the Union center in advance of Pickett's Charge
Pickett's Charge
Pickett's Charge was an infantry assault ordered by Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee against Maj. Gen. George G. Meade's Union positions on Cemetery Ridge on July 3, 1863, the last day of the Battle of Gettysburg during the American Civil War. Its futility was predicted by the charge's commander,...

. But the artillery overshot most of their targets and had to cease fire due to a lack of ammunition.

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