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Old November 4th, 2013, 04:17 AM   #31

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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.
He didn't abandon his troops in Russia, he was forced to retreat. However, he most certainly abandoned his troops in Egypt, and left one of his better commanders stuck there to get assassinated.
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Old November 4th, 2013, 04:31 AM   #32
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He didn't abandon his troops in Russia, he was forced to retreat. However, he most certainly abandoned his troops in Egypt, and left one of his better commanders stuck there to get assassinated.
Yes he did depart Egypt, but what would you have done in the same situation? Wait until you get destroyed eventually or go back to France to fix the situation and from there try to arrange a deal for the troops still stuck in Egypt?

Also no one knew Kleber would get assasinated, you must see that right?
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Old November 4th, 2013, 04:48 AM   #33

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Yes he did depart Egypt, but what would you have done in the same situation? Wait until you get destroyed eventually or go back to France to fix the situation and from there try to arrange a deal for the troops still stuck in Egypt?
I think you are trying to put a positive spin on the situation here. He had a fully equipped army ready to fight, and as soon as Nelson destroyed his fleet at Aboukir bay, he panicked. Now, it may be thought of by some as a "smart move", but he went back to secure his power base after the Egyptian debacle. He definitely abandoned his army there, as there was almost no chance he would've been able to "secure releases" for them, and also taking into account the hostile local populations who were waiting to gut any Frenchman they could get their hand on.

The reason that it was such a poor decision from him is because the whole campaign was a debacle from the start, which makes his personal withdrawal even more highlighted. He isn't the only commander to have done that in history though, so he's not unique there.

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Also no one knew Kleber would get assasinated, you must see that right?
I'm not saying that Napoleon personally knew he was going to assassinated, but given the local conditions that should've always been a possibility on his and his other senior staff' minds.
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Old November 4th, 2013, 05:03 AM   #34
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I think you are trying to put a positive spin on the situation here. He had a fully equipped army ready to fight, and as soon as Nelson destroyed his fleet at Aboukir bay, he panicked. Now, it may be thought of by some as a "smart move", but he went back to secure his power base after the Egyptian debacle. He definitely abandoned his army there, as there was almost no chance he would've been able to "secure releases" for them, and also taking into account the hostile local populations who were waiting to gut any Frenchman they could get their hand on.
Someone has too . No, but serious what options did he have really? Can you Mangekyou give me a proposal?

You say he panicked when his fleet got destroyed, not necessarily. I think if he really panicked he wouldn't have launched a risky operation into Syria with the plague on his heels. He needed to find alternatives for the loss of his fleet, this was one of them. When the resistance proved to strong he was left with very few options. Either leave and take the best of his staff with him or stay and hope for a miracle.

It is all true what you say here, except that Egypt was a dissaster, for example if we look at the scientific benefits it brought but that aside. But a man with his talents would never have stayed and wait for his eventual downfall would he?

You also forget that the French expedition into Egypt was launched by the Directoire, it was a way to get rid of Bonaparte and a way to block the English. When a general is faced with defeat he retreats, simple logic. It's not Napoleon's fault that the directory failed to supply Napoleon further with resources, money and reinforcements.

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The reason that it was such a poor decision from him is because the whole campaign was a debacle from the start, which makes his personal withdrawal even more highlighted. He isn't the only commander to have done that in history though, so he's not unique there.
Except for Acre, Napoleon did not lose a single battle. If any it was a great way for Napoleon to show his brilliance, that is the reason why Napoleon was received as a hero when he arrived back in France and not as a loser.

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I'm not saying that Napoleon personally knew he was going to assassinated, but given the local conditions that should've always been a possibility on his and his other senior staff' minds.
True, but like I said what else should he have done?
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Old November 17th, 2016, 06:47 AM   #35

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It's an interesting question.

General Blücher should have been more soundly beaten at Ligney had D'Erlon's I Corps made a better fist of it. Then Wellington is unlikely to have stood at St Jean. You'd have to decide what Wellington would have done I guess, and what chance he had of escaping Napoleon after Q-Bas
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Old November 18th, 2016, 01:20 AM   #36

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He didn't abandon his troops in Russia, he was forced to retreat. However, he most certainly abandoned his troops in Egypt, and left one of his better commanders stuck there to get assassinated.
He got in his coach and went from Russia my friend. The soldiers don't know about intrigues in Paris. They just see him go.

Going by Paul Britten Austin's Moscow trilogy based on eye-witness and diary accounts anyway!
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Old November 18th, 2016, 01:34 AM   #37

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It's an interesting question.

General Blücher should have been more soundly beaten at Ligney had D'Erlon's I Corps made a better fist of it. Then Wellington is unlikely to have stood at St Jean. You'd have to decide what Wellington would have done I guess, and what chance he had of escaping Napoleon after Q-Bas
Wellington only stood because he was banking on the Prussians arrival. That's what made Grouchy's much-debated role so crucial. But let's face it if he had the Marshals available for the Waterloo campaign he had for Russia, neither D'Erlon nor Grouchy would be commanding such large forces, Soult would have been back in the field (not CoS) and so would Davout, instead of stuck in Paris. The Davout thing of course is a mystery - one can only assume it was because of his reliability and loyalty, as the only man to 'take charge at home'.

It's all a knock on effect, because Ney wouldn't have been in charge of the army when Napoleon was indisposed, Davout would, and wouldn't have wasted 10,000 heavy cavalry without infantry support.

From the days when I used to read about this, which is most of my earlier life, my personal question was 'what was his end game'? So he beats the allies at Waterloo, so what? Did he really want to go through it all again, fight Austria, invade Prussia, invade Russia? For someone who had the best diplomat of hie age - Talleyrand - he didn't really make the best of him!

It's a measure of his charisma over common sense that all the veterans flocked straight to his cause again in the 100 days - except for most of the Marshals who discreetly retired!
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Old November 18th, 2016, 02:14 AM   #38
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I wouldn't be so sure that given greater availability Napoleon would have made great choices in his sub ordinates, his was consistently spotty in his choices. He sidelined Davout in 1813. He constantly turned to Ney despite his repeated failures.
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Old November 18th, 2016, 04:47 AM   #39

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Wellington only stood because he was banking on the Prussians arrival. That's what made Grouchy's much-debated role so crucial. But let's face it if he had the Marshals available for the Waterloo campaign he had for Russia, neither D'Erlon nor Grouchy would be commanding such large forces, Soult would have been back in the field (not CoS) and so would Davout, instead of stuck in Paris. The Davout thing of course is a mystery - one can only assume it was because of his reliability and loyalty, as the only man to 'take charge at home'


Yes, absolutely but many people weren't there including Berthier.

I was wondering, what would Wellington have done if Blücher had been beaten more soundly at Ligney and not been available on the 18th?

The Austrians were still in the Upper Rhine and Italy, the Russians still out of site. All Napoleon had to do, I think, was take Brussels. The coalition would potentially collapse, sue for peace, leaving Napoleon in power.

That is what I assume anyway.

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Old November 18th, 2016, 06:01 AM   #40
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]The Austrians were still in the Upper Rhine and Italy, the Russians still out of site. All Napoleon had to do, I think, was take Brussels. The coalition would potentially collapse, sue for peace, leaving Napoleon in power.[
Hardly, The Russians and Prussians were fairly committed and with anymore troops on the move Napoleon would have perhaps dispatched the least of the armies massing against him. It would have perhaps weakened the ability of the British to shape the post- Napoleonic world but thats about it.
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