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Old May 8th, 2012, 10:48 AM   #1
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Prussian dissaster of 1806: Napoleon's brilliance or Prussian incompitence?


As history has showed us the campaing of 1806 was a complete dissaster for the Prussian army. The once mighty Prussian army who defeated countless enemies under Frederick and some victories in the early period of the revolutonary wars was almost completly annhialated when it faced Napoleon in 1806. The question is why? Was it just not good enough to face the military mastermind Napoleon or were it lacks on the side of the Prussians or perhaps a combination of both? If the second one is the reason then the question is why? What happened that the Prussian army is such a short period of time went from a proud victorious army into a humiliated broken army?

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[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-c2ow-m7JI"]The Battle of Jena-Auerstädt, 1806 - YouTube[/ame]

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Old May 8th, 2012, 02:42 PM   #2
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This is often forgotten fact but when Prussians had to gather forces against Napoleon we Poles in the same time started armed uprising and cleared the region from remaining prusian forces. So in their rear behind their lines Prussians had enemy insurgent army under general Dąbrowski who was sent by Napoleon to command it. There was also big number of Prussian soldiers who were Poles what greatly inflicted the morale of Prussian army and officers who couldnt trust their soldiers.


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Old May 8th, 2012, 02:44 PM   #3

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bit of both really, the prussians were very arrogant from the start and their military was no longer in the pristine condition it had been under Fredrick the great.
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Old May 8th, 2012, 02:47 PM   #4

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mosquito View Post
That is often forgotten but when Prussians had to gather forces against Napoleon we Poles in the same time started armed uprising and cleared the region from remaining prusian forces. So in their rear behind their lines Prussians had enemy insurgent army under general Dąbrowski who was sent by Napoleon to command it.


Greater Poland Uprising (1806) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
i wondered about how poland came about in this campaign, was the uprising spontaneous or had it been planned in advance. does the 1807 campaign count with the 1806 or were they separate?
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Old May 8th, 2012, 02:57 PM   #5

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Difficult issue, since we're talking about pre-unification Germany.
While I'm no expert on the period in regards to Prussia, I daresay Prussia's frecuent differences with Austria made them both prey to Napoleon's armies. This is merely a suggestion, however, and perhaps a pro can answer with more certainty.
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Old May 8th, 2012, 03:14 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by irishcrusader95 View Post
i wondered about how poland came about in this campaign, was the uprising spontaneous or had it been planned in advance. does the 1807 campaign count with the 1806 or were they separate?

I belive that the idea of uprising on the Prussian rear came from Napoleon or was suggested to him by one of Polish officers, hard to say.

The uprising of 1806, which began September 20-22, was to be according to the plans of Napoleon the series of actions of sabotage in the rear of the Prussian army. Dąbrowski was supposed to gather Polish deserters of Prussian army and to block supply lines and to get into action as much of Prussian forces as possible. But soon so many volunteers joined the rebellion that the whole Polish divisions were formed and Prussian garrisons found themselves to be stationed on the enemy territory, often completely encircled.
I think that campaign of 1807 can be considered as continuation of campaign from year 1806, at least from Polish point of viev, our armies were just continuing their offensive. They also did stop many Prussian troops from joining with Russians.
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Old May 8th, 2012, 03:15 PM   #7

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In the biography of Napoleon by Max Gallo it is stated that the 1806 campaign went exactly as Napoleon forecast.
Surely Prussians were arrogant and undervalued Napoleon's (the famous Queen Louise), but Napoleon deserves the merit for one of his most extraordinary campaign.
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Old May 9th, 2012, 01:29 AM   #8

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Both.
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Old May 9th, 2012, 03:17 AM   #9
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Both.
A nice tautology indeed.
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Old May 9th, 2012, 08:31 AM   #10

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Quote:
Originally Posted by irishcrusader95 View Post
bit of both really, the prussians were very arrogant from the start and their military was no longer in the pristine condition it had been under Fredrick the great.
That's how it is in most big battles or major campaigns.
I'll go with your assessment.
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