‘The question is a courtesy. I don't want to blindside you.’
You didn’t answer the question that I put to you regarding what an artillery system is. I would have to conclude that you don’t which is obvious from the rest of this posting. As to a courtesy, you've got to be kidding. Among other things, you're playing semantics with no substance to your postings.
‘I am quite familiar with Zhmodikov and Zhmodikov. It's excellent. In fact, I reviewed that very passage before I posted.’
Then, again, you don’t understand what an artillery system is. What the Russians accomplished with the System of 1805 is very clearly explained in the Zhmodikovs’ text. For further clarification you might want to take a look at Russia Against Napoleon by Dominic Lieven which also explains the artillery system of 1805, what was accomplished, and who was largely responsible for it.
‘I think anyone reading them would understand that: 1) the Russian improved upon the system Paul I had installed 2) the equipment manufactured against the 1805 blueprints were known as System of 1805 pieces 3) improvements and blueprints were not, in any reasonable sense, a "new" system.’
You obviously don’t by your postings. Sorry to be blunt, but perhaps you should reread the artillery sections of the work and take a look at more material as I have suggested. If the System of 1805 was not ‘new’ then what was it. Arakcheev was largely responsible for it and had the work done. He was also a more-than-competent artillery officer, though probably something of a pedant. The system itself used older carriage designs and the older, less efficient screw quoin as al evevation device, but for the Russian artillery it was a great improvement. The new, improved optics were also a great advance for the Russians.
‘Your posts seem wedded to the idea that the Grand Armée was the best thing since spreadable fromage, and so was their artillery.’
I support with documentation what I put down on paper. I haven’t seen you do that yet. As for the French, I greatly admire the Grande Armee for many reasons, not the least was the ability to campaign year after year and more than likely be successful. No other army of the period fought against so many enemies in different conditions, winning so often, and producing the commanders that it did, for they came from the army. No other commander in history had the collected military talent that Napoleon had and the general officer casualties were very high to boot.
As for the French artillery arm, I have studied and compared it to the other artillery arms of the main belligerents and none of the others had the artillery system that the French did. British guns, limbers, and caissons were undoubtedly better designed than those of the French, the Austrian artillery was an excellent arm, but had no real horse artillery, the Russians fielded more guns on almost every occasion. But the French had an excellent education system, superior to the others in the long run and from which the others copied. Training and doctrine were superior to the other arms, except in training and education for the British and Austrians. The French had a doctrinal publication for artillery operations above the battery level which the other nations did not have. French artillery organization as well as command and control at the division, corps, and army level was superior to any of the other combatants. That doesn’t mean that the others did not produce excellent senior artillerymen-they did. Smola, Frazer, Dickson, Yermelov, Sievers, von Holtzendorf and others were all excellent artillerymen and commanders, but they did not have the organization and authority that French senior artillery officers had. I doubt you’ll find a better group of artillery generals than the French had for the period. And finally, the French employed their artillery as an offensive weapon after 1807 making the artillery arm equal to the infantry and cavalry on the battlefield. None of the others did. Now, if you have evidence to the contrary, please show it. I haven’t found any and I’ve studied the subject for years and have the privilege to be a school-trained artilleryman who has commanded artillery units and served in combat as an artilleryman. That is not a necessary prerequisite to study the arm in history, but it certainly helps to my mind. I do know that some people disagree with that argument, but they are wrong.
‘We can accept that Russian artillery was pretty good, and maybe the student surpassed the teacher, so long as we acknowledge that it was learned at the knee of the master. Therefore Russian artillery must have started bad and gotten better. Where? well the System of 1805 must be "new"... Same deal with the French artillery. Gribeauval is good. An XI is good. A mix of Gribeauval and XI must be double plus good, rather than a manufacturing and logistic headache...’
Besides an error or two here, what is your point?
‘It's as silly as the bricole debate, except that it's more important, and, unfortunately we can endless debate "new" without ever having something as definitive as a contemporary engraving of Austrians using a bricole.’
Actually, in my opinion, what is ‘silly’ here is your carrying on, making too many errors in your argument (I’m assuming that’s what it is) and we are continuing to disagree without coming to a resolution. Seems to me that should end the discussion, unless you have something concrete to add, which you haven’t done yet.