The History of Battle: Maneuver, Part 5
I knew little of Napoleon's battle skills before reading this article. Thoroughly enjoyed the dissection of military tactics and now have a lot more respect for the French Leader.
"This elucidates a fairly straightforward principle of warfare: make your plans before you assume an aggressive posture and march your main field army out into the open country"
Is this a comment on the SMO?
thank you for this - it made me finally understand how napoleon worked. nice reading.
Amazing analysis, I knew intimately well the history of Bonaparte, but never have I read this detailed an account of his strategic genius, greatly appreciated
I have read biographies of Napoleon (including at least one outstanding one) with descriptions of battle, yet this is the first account which has made clear to me just how Napoleon's battle thinking worked. Excellent work, thank you. Your early point that it is very difficult to compare earlier and later commanders is very well made, too. Great work.
Being a general in the US military has become mainly an apprenticeship program for defense industry lobbyists.
Thank you for an excellent writeup.
For all of Napoleon's genius at set piece battles, however, it is not stressed enough that he failed to realize that even winning every battle could result in ultimately losing the wars. Even a modicum of analysis would have shown him that the combined populations of the rest of Europe, plus Russia, plus Britain was greater than the ratio of casualties in Napoleon's favor in said set piece battles.
It doesn't matter if you inflict 1.5 or 2 to 1 casualties if your opponent outnumbers you 5 to 1.
An engaging read.
Thanks for the writeup.
Rokosovsky actually did commando scout stuff during ww1, and participated in cavalry charges in the Russian civil war.
Very interesting look at Napoleon's generalship and the French Army in general, although it is even more interesting that the picture chosen for the formation 'square' is that of the British squares at Waterloo. It's perhaps noteworthy in that context that D'Erlon did not manage to form his columns into squares when the British cavalry attacked to devastating effect. Someone who did have some experience fighting the French and beat them again and again said after that Battle at Waterloo that: “They came on in the same old way (in columns) and we defeated them in the same old way" (with the line).
I can understand that Napoleon still throws a long shadow over European military thinking, given the decades of warfare he inflicted on the continent, that thus his military genius is taken as indisputable.
However, a study of the Peninsular war might be of interest, given that the leader of said war ultimately beat Napoleon, the Prussian help under Bluecher notwithstanding.
Thank you. Thoroughly enjoyed the article. The only thing I knew about Napoleon: short.
It’s said that we never been taught this part of napoleon, we focused on Waterloo and ofc he was the only bad guy in the room.
But when reading I get the strong sense the more I know, the less I actually know. Kind of frustrating ☹️, also because I don’t have a photographic memory
Napoleon needed to chill out after 1807. The British couldn't keep blockading him for 30 years. The Continental system was a mess. Nearly all the boots Napoleon marched into Russia with in 1812 were smuggled in past the continental system.
P.S. I highly recommend the podcast "Age of Napoleon" if you want to learn more.
This YouTube channel also has some good Napoleon content.
"it is a testament to his [Napoleon's] reasonableness that his enemies left most of his reforms in place after his defeat"
This lies at the root of Russia's tragic history of the last two centuries: by not having been conquered, and reformed, by Napoleon, Russia continued to be ruled by ever more authoritarian and inept dictators and failed to develop civil institutions that allowed its citizens to flourish.
Extraordinary article, as one can always expect from Big Serge Thought.
Apparently Russia is doing exactly opposite to what any sensible General do. Probably Russia never learns
Not annihilating English pirate turned shopkeepers race in 1895 and instead pursuing the Austrians costed world two centuries of exploitation and despondency.
england is harbouring an ambition of proxy empire(with american help_If it could do on its own then it owuld not have cared for america). tHAT ABITION OF enGLAND MUST BE CRUSHED.
eUROPE SHOULD DEMAND NOT ONLY MONEY BACK ABUT IF POSSIBLE SHOULD KICK ENGLAND OUT OF E.U.
eNGLAND IS ENNEMY OF NOT ONLY EUROPE BUT ALOS THE ALL OF THIRLD WORLD AND EVEN AMEIRCA. LOOK HOW RUBBISH ENGLISH PLUMBERS AND FOOTBALERSLAND UP SUSHY JOB IN HOLLYWOOD WHILE THE REST OF WORLD HAS TO GET VISA TO ENTER AMERICA AND WHILE MOST OF AMERICANS(WHO ARE NOT DESCENENDETS OF ANGLOSAXONS) HAVE TO FACE DISCRIMINATION.).
tHE SOONER THE WORLD REALIZE THIS AXIS OF EVIL(ENGLAND AND ANGLOSAXONS RACE) THAT SOONER IT CAN THWART THE EVIL DESIGN OF THIS ENGLISH-PIRATE TURNED SHOPKEEPRES TURNES PLUMBERS RACE).