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The Year XI system (French:"Système An XI", after of the 11th year of the French Republic, i.e. 1803) was a French artillery system developed during the rule of Napoleon. The Year XI system was original in that it brought various improvements to the highly successful Gribeauval system, on which many successes of the Napoleonic Wars relied. It especially consisted in streamlining the existing Gribeauval designs. The main proponent of the new system was General Marmont. It was superseded by the Valée system.
In light of the French Revolutionary Wars it appeared especially that the Gribeauval 4-pdr was too light, and that the 8-pdr was too heavy for medium field artillery. These two guns had not appeared adequate against enemy 6-pdr guns.
In order to define the new improved system, Napoleon formed a committee of Artillery on 29 December 1801, presided by general Augustin Gabriel d'Aboville, First Inspector of Artillery. The committee accomplished its research from 11 January 1802 to 21 July 1802. Napoleon himself participated in the proceedings:
"The artillery should have but 4 calibres, the 6, 12, 24 prs. and the 5½-in. howitzer. In this way we abolish 4 calibres. We should add 3 prs. for mountain equipment. In abolishing the [1-pdr] Rostaing guns, we get rid of stubborn beasts not worth the trouble they give. 3 prs. should be a minimum caliber."— Napoleon, on Gribeauval system.
The committee gave its results on 2 May 1803.
One of the main findings of the committee was as follows:
The Year XI system would be further improved with the Valée system in 1828.
Media related to Year XI system at Wikimedia Commons