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Old November 1st, 2013, 07:24 PM   #21

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But even if Napoleon won, how much time does that buy him in the long-run?
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Old November 1st, 2013, 08:31 PM   #22

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Originally Posted by jeroenrottgering View Post
I think the British would think twice when their best field commander was defeated, the army with it, Prussia on the run and the Dutch back under the French wings. Without the possibility of linking up anywhere with allied troops and with Napoleon being able to muster more troops to the front I think what you call wishful thinking I call a possible reality.
As pointed out several time Wellington's army was only a makeshift one till the main force arrives, never expected to stand alone. As for linking up, the Royal Navy could land an army anywhere in Europe to link up with the Spanish, Austrians, Prussians, Swedes and Russians.


Also the only one who had the defeatist mentality was Napoleon, he cut and run from Egypt, he cut and run from Syria, he cut and run from Russia and he gave up after Waterloo. He had a history of quitting when the going got tough, whereas Wellington never quit in his life.
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Old November 2nd, 2013, 05:56 AM   #23
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As pointed out several time Wellington's army was only a makeshift one till the main force arrives, never expected to stand alone. As for linking up, the Royal Navy could land an army anywhere in Europe to link up with the Spanish, Austrians, Prussians, Swedes and Russians.


Also the only one who had the defeatist mentality was Napoleon, he cut and run from Egypt, he cut and run from Syria, he cut and run from Russia and he gave up after Waterloo. He had a history of quitting when the going got tough, whereas Wellington never quit in his life.
That's low, you know very well Napoleon carried a much bigger responsibility.

ALso you did not respond on my entire post on what the reactions in Britain would have been.

Egypt and Syria are the same campaign, and it was the best option for him to retire to France after no other solution was possible. And Russia, well should he have marched on St Petersburg then?

Wellington quitted at Quatre Bras.
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Old November 2nd, 2013, 06:57 AM   #24

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That's low, you know very well Napoleon carried a much bigger responsibility.

ALso you did not respond on my entire post on what the reactions in Britain would have been.

Egypt and Syria are the same campaign, and it was the best option for him to retire to France after no other solution was possible. And Russia, well should he have marched on St Petersburg then?

Wellington quitted at Quatre Bras.
Wellington retreated at Quatra Bras after stopping Napoleon's attempt at falling on the flank of the Prussian Army. Napoleon left his troops to die in Russia as he headed for Paris.
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Old November 2nd, 2013, 07:27 AM   #25
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Wellington retreated at Quatra Bras after stopping Napoleon's attempt at falling on the flank of the Prussian Army. Napoleon left his troops to die in Russia as he headed for Paris.
You are one of those it seems. Some people still think here that Napoleon abandoned his troops in Russia. The thing is though Napoleon only departed for Paris when his army had already crossed the last barrier 'the Berezina'. Since then his army was near allied territory and did not face a real threat anymore, at least nothing that his Marshals couldn't handel.

You forget as well that Napoleon was ruler of a large Empire next to the fact that he was commander in chief. A coup was attempted in Paris and he needed to return to restore order, same situation in Egypt in fact when France was losing territories to the Austrians once again.

The moment the situation was restored in Paris and Napoleon managed to get more troops to the front again he rejoined the army. Because let's be honest what could Napoleon really achieve with the skeleton that was left of his army after Russia. He needed troops simple as that.

We can say morally it may have looked bad that Napoleon headed for Paris, but rationally it was the wisest move he could have made.
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Old November 2nd, 2013, 08:04 AM   #26

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Also the only one who had the defeatist mentality was Napoleon, he cut and run from Egypt, he cut and run from Syria, he cut and run from Russia and he gave up after Waterloo. He had a history of quitting when the going got tough, whereas Wellington never quit in his life.
He didn't just "cut and run" from Russia, he was forced to retreat. Kutuzov's army had maneuvered south of Moscow, from there they were capable of cutting off the French from their supply line and mode of escape, starving them out and trapping them. To bite the bullet and escape from entrapment is a much better option than stubbornly refusing to go when doing so will be the end of you and many more men.

As for napoleon leaving his troops, he did so because there was an attempted coup against him in Paris, and he needed to begin reraising an army. His act of leaving his troops early was one of the main reasons why the French could still put up a fight in 1813, because they had raised another army, however much smaller and lower of quality it was to the grand armée of 1812.


Napoleon had been in many tough spots before and bore them with stride, in Italy he had taken a disorganized army and managed to fight his way all the way to Klagenfurt, in 1805 he took an outnumbered and overextended army in Moravia and won his most famous victory, and in 1809 when the Austrians attacked him while he was busy in Spain, he turned around and beat them again. He did throw in the towel several times, but that does not make him a defeatist coward in the slightest.
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Old November 2nd, 2013, 09:03 AM   #27

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As for napoleon leaving his troops, he did so because there was an attempted coup against him in Paris,
Yes I know I made the point specifically to elicit this argument against it. As raising this point completely contradicts the claim it's different for Wellington and Napoleon because Napoleon is France and France is Napoleon so he has no concerns about losing as made in post 20.
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Old November 2nd, 2013, 09:57 AM   #28

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Napoleon was France and France was Napoleon, he wasn't a general sent out by the government to deal with the enemy like Wellington. If Napoleon wanted to continue then France wanted to continue, that's the benefit of being the ruler


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Yes I know I made the point specifically to elicit this argument against it. As raising this point completely contradicts the claim it's different for Wellington and Napoleon because Napoleon is France and France is Napoleon so he has no concerns about losing as made in post 20.
The difference is that France could not continue after the battle, unlike in 1813 where she still could have salvaged something. The defeatist air he had after the battle was justified because he legitimately couldn't win the war anymore (not that I think he really stood a chance in the long run anyway). The allies were revived from their 1809 low, had an additional 500,000 men waiting elsewhere, knew that napoleon was beatable, and now napoleon had lost a battle before engaging the main, gigantic enemy force. What's the point in fighting if you know its not going to make a difference for you?

France was just France again, not an empire with numerous puppet states to draw additional troops and money from, and facing territorially reduced enemies like he did in 1813. He was commanding a France that had been at war for about a quarter of a century, which was restored to its old borders, which had lost completely once before, and saw all of Europe at her doors once more, but this time with the troops knowledge and knowhow to do what they couldn't in 1792.
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Old November 3rd, 2013, 05:27 AM   #29
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Wellington said it was a damn close-run thing!

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Old November 4th, 2013, 04:06 AM   #30
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This is largely my take on it too. When reading of Napoleon's later campaigns im always struck by how often authors(and Napoleon himself) suggest he was thwarted by the weather, muddy roads, illness, poor communications, incompetent commanders and so on. These types of things never seemed to thwart him at Austerlitz or any other of his other great victories. I dont believe Napoleon became a poor or unlucky general as time went on. What in fact had changed was the professionalism(and strength) of his opponents.
I think this was not the case, as the battles of Bautzen, Dresden, Lutzen and the campaign of 1814 had shown we actually see Napoleon performing as well as he had done in his early years in Italy. Even with impossible odds the coalition did not manage to bring down this Corsican upstart. In the Waterloo campaign it was the same case, Napoleon was close to out maneaovring Wellington and managed to give Blücher as severe beating. Yes the coalition had learned a lot, but still made the same mistakes and still had to face a giant like Napoleon in the end.
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