An IX De Gendarmerie
During the year of 1809 Napoleon’s campaigns saw the opposing formations engaged on different battle lines, from the Portuguese and Spanish line to the Austrian one.
In Portugal the English troops of John Moore defeated the French troops of General Soult at Sahagun and Benavente as well as at La Coruna, where they were headed to sail and leave the country.
Around Madrid the Duke Intifado’s army was grouping at the order of the General Venegas, but the efforts to react to the French occupation were continuously unsuccessful like in the Uclés’ battle on the 13th of January, where the French General Victor’s army scattered the Spanish forces.
On the 20th of February the French troops of General Moncey concluded the Saragozza siege, that in spite of the long and brave defense made by the Spanish General Palafox, was reduced in fire plus the loss of thousands of Spanish fallen heroes.
In March Soult started the second invasion of Portugal and after being held up at the Miño river by the Portuguese militias, he succeeded conquering the towns of Chaves, Braga and Oporto.
In April Wellington returned to Portugal to reinforce his own army with reconstituted regiments and with English help Miguel Pereira Forjaz defeated Soult in the battles of Grijo and Oporto (May 10-11 and 12) and marched into Spain to join Gregorio Cuesta’s army intending to join with General Victor’s troops at Talavera. However the lack of proper communications between the two commandants enabled the French army to vanish intact. Cuesta tried again on the 26th of July, but nothing he could do was able to overcome the French army, which in the meantime had been reinforced by Giuseppe Bonaparte. On the 27th of July in the Talavera de la Reina’s battle the French army was turned back several times by the British infantry but still remained a strong fighting force. Before the end of the year the Spanish were defeated in the battles of Ocaña and Alba de Tormes. On April Napoleon gave the army command back to his marshals and returned to France following the news that the Austrians were re-arming. Charles of Austria, in fact, encouraged by the English and imposing new enrolments in Bavaria, Saxony, Holland and the Great Dukedom of Warsaw, formed the fifth Coalition against France.
The re-organisation of the Austrian army was intended to overturn the unfavourable situation which resulted after the defeat in the previous wars of the third Coalition (alliance in the 1805 with Great Britain, Russian Empire, Naples and Sweden reign) and of the fourth Coalition (1806-1807, Friedland battle and Tilsit treaty) during which the Russians and Prussians were not of much help to the Austrians, being inferior in numbers against the great French army.
Only a few days were enough to Napoleon to get hold of the situation and prepare his battle plans.
The military campaign of the fifth Coalition, started with a massive shift of the Austrian troops towards Bavaria and produced in a few months several clashes between the two forces at Ratisbona (April ) plus Aspern and Essling (May 20). The final action was set in motion when the Archduke Charles retreated back to the Danube grouping together his army in the Wagram flat land, while the French occupied the Lobau island whose entrenched area was used to treat and protect the wounded. The decisive battle, which has been defined as the greatest of the Napoleonic wars, occurred between the 5th and the 6th of July exactly around Lobau island and the Deutsch-Wagram village, 15 kilometres North-East from Wien. The employment of the French artillery in a superb manner and the infantry tactics seen in the surrounding actions resulted in determining the victorious conclusion for the French led by Napoleon himself and commanded by the Marshal Andrea Massena.
After the armistice signed in the Bohemian town of Znaim to which the Austrians were obliged to retreat, on the 14th of October, the delegates of both empires signed the Schönbrunn peace treaty (or Wien treaty). Austria had to recognize Giuseppe Bonaparte as sovereign of Spain, had to give important territories to the Italian reign and to France, had to pay a war indemnity and had to reduce the number of soldiers in its army.
The Schönbrunn’s treaty underlined how the 5th coalition against France failed and how Napoleon had reached his greatest military and political power.
On the two hundredth anniversary of those events, and in the sixth year of the “Ten years of collection” project, Davide Pedersoli has reproduced the gendarmerie pistol An IX model. As was the custom for the guns addressed to the cavalry, it was manufactured in pairs and until 1819 the imperial manufacture of Maubeuge produced 32,000 pairs.
Notwithstanding the denomination of the pistol to the gendarmerie, it was common to equip also the infantry officers with this little pistol. The gun is .15,2mm calibre, 128mm barrel’s length: the overall length is 250mm. On the grip it is encrusted with a medal that reproduces a medal coined to celebrate the Schönbrunn peace treaty: at the center is the heroes’ silhouette holding a lighted torch in the left hand pointing to a bunch of destroyed guns, while with the right hand is putting an olive branch on the peace altar.
The gun is supplied with an Authenticity Certificate on parchment paper for the limited edition of five hundred guns addressed to the French, Italian and German collectors.
The single or double pistol case is available upon request. The inside of the case is lined with fine cloth and fitted with a glass lid: an important accessory that will extol the beauty and elegance of the gun as well as providing storage protection.