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"Petite Gendarmerie D'espagne 1810 - 1814" Topic

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Tango0114 Aug 2021 9:18 p.m. PST

"Following the French occupation of Spain in 1808, Napoleon formed a Gendarmerie d'Espagne, nicknamed the "Little Gendarmerie", to guard and patrol main roads.

Except for the unexplained differences in the epaulets and sword knot, this is the traditional foot gendarme's uniform, including buff and white crossbelts. On occasion the breeches and leggings were replaced by blue trousers over short black or white leggings. Drummers seem to have worn this same uniform, ornamented only with broad white braid on the collar and cuffs…"
More here


SHaT198414 Aug 2021 10:35 p.m. PST

Still a rip off of a suspect source. So take your chances if you dare.
The nickname may apply to the corps, but it wasn't part of their title.
But don't expect plagiarists to bother with formality I guess.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP15 Aug 2021 2:10 a.m. PST

You raise an interesting point here.

The limited text freely admits, to quote;

"All of the above are from the book "Napoleonic Uniforms", Volume 2. Comments written by Col. John R. Elting (USA-Ret.), drawings by Herbert Knötel."

So there seems little added content.

Is this then a rip=off or of value in providing access to a book inacessible to most of us now, as long out of print? Personally I think neither, it is more an irrelevance but harmless. Let's face it, we do need some content here. It is quiet right now

Stoppage15 Aug 2021 4:41 a.m. PST

These gendarmeries appear to have been quite effective at bringing law and order to bandit-ridden places:

- French Gendarmerie
- Italian Carabinieri
- Spanish Guardia Civile (20thC)

Watching the news – I wonder if their good news could be rolled-out to various modern "countries" around the world?

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP15 Aug 2021 6:08 a.m. PST

An excellent reference for the French Gendarmerie in Spain is:

La Gendarmerie Francaise en Espagne et en Portugal (Campagnes de 1807-1814 by Capitaine Emm. Martin.

Another excellent reference for the Gendarmerie is:

Gendarmes and the State in Nineteenth-Century Europe by Clive Emsley, Parts I-III.

Chapter XX in Swords Around a Throne is also very useful for the Gendarmerie.

Stoppage15 Aug 2021 8:17 a.m. PST


Thanks for the Emsley reference.

Gendarmeries don't exist in common-law countries (US, UK, CA, AU, NZ, etc) – they are viewed as paramilitary bully-boys/girls for nasty totalitarian states (FR, IT, NL, ES, RU, etc) (Albeit FR and IT have good food)

I am now reading:

The Gendarmerie Alternative: Is There a Case for the Existence of Police Organisations with Military Status in the Twenty-First Century European Security Apparatus?
Pierre Gobinet

Nine pound round15 Aug 2021 9:58 a.m. PST

Of course, the Royal Irish Constabulary (and its descendent, the Royal Ulster Constabulary) were arguably examples of gendarmerie in the UK, and the Imperial Indian Police was another such organization (albeit one organized under a different government, India under British rule being a bit different from the UK).

DH, you're pointing out an issue that has irritated me for quite awhile: scanning and posting the Knotel plates from the Elting books is a copyright violation.

SHAT, are there errors in the Knotel plates at the link? Just curious- I have only a few sources for the gendarmerie uniforms in my library, which is unfortunately not handy, and IIRC, his gendarmerie uniforms are close to other renderings I have seen (my recollection is that the Detaille drawings for the gendarmes in L'Armee Francaise are in black and white).

SHaT198415 Aug 2021 2:54 p.m. PST

>>Personally I think neither, it is more an irrelevance but harmless.

Ok you win.
Thats what I meant.

>>are there errors in the Knotel plates at the link?
Frankly IMO the OP making comments about variations or whatever it was without detail is useless reporting. Refer Liam above.

The resolution of the illustrations being such I do not bother with them; I was pimarily referring to the now understood debacle with later Kn. named plates being 'enhanced' by unproven or suspect sources and leading inevitably to a lowering of what I may call their [R.Kn.] 'ethical purity' or accuracy.

I was mostly 'offended' by the casual use of a nickname in a regimental/ corps title. It further debases the issue, regardless of how true it may be- and yes I know such 'misguidance' is deliberately aimed at deceiving search tools and copyright claims against them.

Take care, d

Beeker16 Aug 2021 6:40 a.m. PST

Just an addition… in Canada the national police, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, are also officially known as the Gendarmerie royale du Canada. :)

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP16 Aug 2021 6:49 a.m. PST

Excellent point: +1

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP16 Aug 2021 6:50 a.m. PST

France is a 'nasty totalitarian state'?

Bill N16 Aug 2021 8:38 a.m. PST

Where did the nickname come from?

Lilian16 Aug 2021 1:48 p.m. PST

The Spanish Guardia Civil was raised in 1844

The "gendarmic" model was very far to be limited to the 3 latin european countries, it was a great French export product around the world since 1791

the British had also raised colonial "Gendarmes" and "Maréchaussée" units e.g. when they occupied Saint Domingue in 1793-1798

Gendarmerie(s) existed also (and even after 1815 for annexed countries) in
Pontifical State/State of Vatican
Netherlands [as "Maréchaussé" previous title of the French Gendarmerie before 1791, a provost corps with such name existed also in the United States]
several German States
Ottoman Empire Turkey
Serbia Yugoslavia
México (Rurales & Gendarmeria)
Chile (today as Carabineros)
as well as many others Latinoamerican countries with their gendarmeries named Guardias Civiles or as the Salvador's National Guard or Cuba's Rural Guard
almost, if not, all the french-speaking African States
Monaco company of Carabiniers traditionally recruited from former French Gendarmes
Portugal as "Republican National Guard"

Prince of Essling16 Aug 2021 2:38 p.m. PST

Apart from La gendarmerie française en Espagne et en Portugal (campagnes de 1807 à 1814) : avec un exposé des opérations militaires exécutées dans les provinces du nord de l'Espagne par nos armées, les troupes régulières ennemies et les guérillas espagnoles, d'après les archives du ministère de la guerre, les archives nationales et autres documents manuscrits ou imprimés
Author : Martin, Emmanuel (1852-1927).
Publisher : Léautey (Paris)
Publication date : 1898 link

see also
Historique de la gendarmerie française: origine, organisation, dénominations diverses, attributions services rendus
by Hippolyte Delattre
Publication date 1879
Publisher Léautey
PDF link

Historique de la gendarmerie: origines de cette arme, ses attributions et ses services aux differentes epoques de notre histoire
by Léon François Joseph Le Maitre
Publication date 1879
Publisher Imprimerie Laloux fils et Guillot PDF link

Tango0116 Aug 2021 3:37 p.m. PST



Stoppage17 Aug 2021 1:55 a.m. PST


I stand corrected on most points.

I now know a little more about "gendarmeries" – thanks!

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP17 Aug 2021 5:14 a.m. PST

From John Elting's Swords Around a Throne, 415-416:

'After the French occupation of Spain in 1808, increasing guerilla activity along their line of communications made it necessary to organize a special force to guard and patrol the main roads. Napoleon therefore created the Gendarmerie d'Espagne (frequently called the 'Little Gendarmerie'): twenty independent squadrons with cadres of veteran gendarmes, filled with select infantry and cavalrymen…In 1810 a separate legion was added for service in Catalonia. Also, mounted gendarmes being less efficient in the rugged north of Spain, and forage for their horses being in short supply, the best of them (unmarried men preferred) were withdrawn and formed into a new six-squadron legion with headquarters at Burgos…That unit became famous as the 'Legion of Burgos,' not only for its numerous victories over guerilla bands but also for its part in the defeat of Wellington's cavalry at Villadrigo in 1812. The remaining mounted gendarmes were provided with lances in addition to their other weapons and retitled 'gendarmes chvau-legers' or 'lanciers gendarmes. (The lance had more 'reach' than a saber, and the Spaniards feared it.)'

The casualties suffered by the gendarmerie in Spain was 831 killed and 1,077 wounded.

'In May 1811, Napoleon, having learned that many gendarmes in Spain were 'fathers of families,' asked for a report on whether he could recall some of them.'

Gazzola17 Aug 2021 7:03 a.m. PST

I am surprised that Osprey or another publisher, have not brought out a book on this topic, since there seems enough information and interest?

Gazzola17 Aug 2021 7:06 a.m. PST

I meant to add, also possibly enough interest and info to consider painting up some Legion figs. It has certainly got me thinking about it anyway.

dibble17 Aug 2021 10:42 a.m. PST

here's a link to Rigo's planche 106


I have it and its text too. Mind you! I have all his plates and text upto Planche 255

Prince of Essling17 Aug 2021 1:34 p.m. PST

LOS FRANCESES Y SUS ALIADOS 1808-1814 by D. Jose Mº Bueno





Bucquoy's "Petit gendarmerie d'Espagne a villodrigo 1812"


SHaT198417 Aug 2021 3:03 p.m. PST

You're writing about a 'police' force who's primary activity may have been 'security', but who's retribution on populace regardless of guilt, is akin to the worst atrocities of the 20th and indeed latterly the 21stC.

Whilst glorifying their role, remember they acted in penny packets usually, not even armies, and fought at the 'petit guerre' level mostly.

With all the rancour against Bonaparte for the Duc d'Enghien affair, the Vendean/ religious [un]civil war inside France was every bit as nasty.

Since someone else wants to bring 'science' into gaming, best we have full disclosure of the horrors that occur in war.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP17 Aug 2021 4:57 p.m. PST

What are you trying to say? Are you putting forth the argument that the Gendarmerie committed atrocities as bad as the worst of the 20th and 21st centuries?

Perhaps you could provide some source material and references…

SHaT198418 Aug 2021 4:37 a.m. PST

Actually I acquired some of these LLancier-Gendarmes as part of a larger group, nor knowing what I may end up doing with them, as I don't model post 1807.

As it turns out, the models wear a long tailed habit with revers etc. much the same as chasseurs.
As they wear sabres, one damaged wth a broken lance is a useful experimental piece to trim up and make an ADC or 'ordenance' out of.
Certainly the officer figures likewise can be used for this purpose, so all is not lost.

Gazzola19 Aug 2021 3:16 p.m. PST

Step forward any nation or army that not not commit any atrocities in way war!

But, concerning the Gendarmes, I think the fact they did not operate generally with the main army in field battles makes them interesting in that they are different. Different in their roles, actions etc, such as their involvement in the action at Villadrigo 1812 as well as any policing they undertook. War in the Vendee and the fight against the Spanish guerrillas were not pleasant affairs, not that any warfare is actually pleasant but they are attractive and interesting because they are different to conventional warfare and publications covering these areas are not that common.

There's got to be book forthcoming on the Legion of Burgos, surely?

Prince of Essling21 Aug 2021 2:33 a.m. PST


1810. — Formation et organisation de la légion.
1811. — Mouvements de la légion. — Affaires de Villalobar (2 mars) et de Bamba (27 juillet). —Charge de San-Dqmingo {11 août).— Opérations diverses. — Charge d'Aldea-Seca (18 septembre).—Jeune gendarme indélicat arrêté par ses camarades page 306
1812. •— La légion en colonne. — Défense de Sasamon (12 avril et 4 mai). Charge de Santa-Cruz-de-Campezo(28 mai). — Combat d'Acedo (8juin). — Charge d'Aguilar (14 août). — Mort du lieutenant Sauvai (19 septembre). Combat de Villodrigo (23 octobre); récompenses. — Combat d'Ameyugo (10 décembre); belle conduite des gendarmes Bcissein, Dufour et Robidet. — Attaque dans les gorges d'Arlaban (22 décembre). — La légion rentre en France. — Adieux du général Caffarclli. — Nouvellesrécompenses. — Dissolution de la légion (27 février) page 311
in the book below (but obviously need to be able to read and understand French):

La gendarmerie française en Espagne et en Portugal (campagnes de 1807 à 1814) : avec un exposé des opérations militaires exécutées dans les provinces du nord de l'Espagne par nos armées, les troupes régulières ennemies et les guérillas espagnoles, d'après les archives du ministère de la guerre, les archives nationales et autres documents manuscrits ou imprimés
Author : Martin, Emmanuel (1852-1927).
Publisher : Léautey (Paris)
Publication date : 1898 link

Gazzola21 Aug 2021 3:50 a.m. PST

Prince of Essling

Many thanks for info and link. I see it was published in 1898 and it looks very interesting. Hopefully, someone will consider bringing out an English language version or, as I mentioned before, someone will consider writing and publishing a new title on the subject. With it being different in content to the usual mass of Napoleonic titles, I am sure it would sell. Or am I hoping too much? LOL

Gazzola26 Aug 2021 3:13 a.m. PST

It's great that you can actually read this book online, if you are okay with reading books online. Sadly, I do not. And the time it would take to actually translate French to English would take far too long, although I am tempted. I've done it with other books in the past.

I would really like to own a copy of this title and I am sure others would too. As I said before, hopefully an English language version will become available in the not too distant future.

SHaT198427 Aug 2021 4:09 p.m. PST

>>There's got to be book forthcoming on the Legion of Burgos, surely?

Who the hellion is going to do that?
;-) troll

Gazzola30 Aug 2021 5:05 a.m. PST

Possibly but also Pen and Sword might be interested, who knows? We can but hope!

Delort30 Aug 2021 2:41 p.m. PST

Pen & Sword may well be interested, but someone will need to research and write it first!

Gazzola02 Sep 2021 2:20 p.m. PST

Or…bring out an English language version of the 1898 book! Perhaps I'm hoping too much?

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