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Old January 3rd, 2017, 03:46 AM   #31

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He made the choice to be aggressive and expansive. A different general strategy, more balanced may be [may be] would have ensured to his France a less imperial, but more lasting existence. Already in Napoleon's age to conquer all Europe and keep it was impossible. But probably about this he was a man of his time, while Hitler, to make a comparison, remained a man of 19th century.
He had no choice. It was either knock the reactionary Princes of Europe out of the war one by one or face them all in a Grand Coalition immediately. That France lasted 15 years under Boney's rule at all bears testimony to the man's skill and genius. Even though the Russians never offered battle to Charles XIV, he must have thought things would change once he was able to pose an immediate threat to Moscow. Don't forget that he had hung around in Lobau Island for 6 weeks in 1809 in the shadow of defeat- he could not have been expected to anticipate that the Grand Coalition would be ready for him by 1812 (I speak principally of vom Stein and Bernadotte).
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Old January 3rd, 2017, 05:02 AM   #32
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The Russian Campaign was a geopolitical mistake. Once the decision was taken ... the military disaster was unavoidable, also for Napoleon. An impressive general, not a great statesman.
This an easy out, a dismissal. While the changes of the campaign might have been immense and a positive result unlikely the level and scale of the disaster rests with Napoleon. His inability to be objective and get over his colossal ego killed many of his troops. Don't you think a prime requirement of being a great General is the ability to adapt to circumstances. Napoleon was unable to do so, unable to objectively analysis what was happening and respond. Under pressure he crumbled. It's appalling laspe.

Napoleon failed in his strategic understanding of the campaign - His strategic vision for the campaign was wrong, he failed to understand his opponents and despite real warnings of what they were do.

Napoleon failed in the operational organisation of the campaign, - it was not like things went wrong later, the logistical systems where failing from the start. He failed to anticipate just how huge a task it was, his organisation of the army failed badly. Bringing too many troops, concentrating a vast cavalry corps that was a massive logistical problem.

Napoleon failed in his man management. He never delegated well. But his appointments of men for roles was often wrong. Murat was incredibly poor corps commander and wasted men and horses. leaving Murat in charge when he left was just incredibly stupid.

Nap[oloen failed to adapt- when the plan went wrong, he just stuck to a fairly mindless plunge into Russia, without ever really coming up with a real plan B. Once his strategic vision failed he failed to adapt and refused to face basic reality.

These faults were systematic. At Leipzig, his failure to acknowledge he was beaten after the first day and plan a withdrawal cost him many more losses. in 1813 he repeated chose the wrong general for the wrong role.

This isn't small criticisms, Napoleon was poor at several key areas in Generalship, and repeatedly show up when the he was under pressure. His reputation rests of campaigns when he had most of the advantages.
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Old January 3rd, 2017, 07:53 AM   #33

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Suvorov fought 60ish too- not that I'm comparing him to Boney.
Don't see where this figure comes from,i can only see 13 battles and sieges as a commander,he may have fought more as a cadet or junior officer in seven years war.
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Old January 3rd, 2017, 07:57 AM   #34

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What are your sources? I don't mean only you but also others who give strict numbers.

I believe that nobody really knows what exactly was Hannibal doing in Iberia and Caesar in Gaul while all Boney's encounters are doccumented to a mule and a cannon on a field.
True there are not clear accounts of hannibal's campaigning in iberia,but he fought one great battle at tagus river,one siege at saguntum and one lightning campaign with 3 columns that conquered catalonia before crossing the pyranees and he led one of the columns.So thats 3 major engagements at least
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Old January 3rd, 2017, 07:57 AM   #35

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Napoleon was a great battlefield commander. He sucked at politics though.

Blucher had to lead cavalry charges as he was fairly mediocre as a general. His value was in his single minded determination and charasimatic leadership. Napoleon was indespensibke. If he gets killed the whole army falls apart. If Blucher dies it sad but his more talented subordinates could still fil his void. Indeed he spent most of the evening after Ligny trapped under his horse. Gneisenau was more than capable of assuming his duties. If Napoleon went missing and presumed dead then no one can replace him.
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Old January 3rd, 2017, 08:07 AM   #36

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Don't see where this figure comes from,i can only see 13 battles and sieges as a commander,he may have fought more as a cadet or junior officer in seven years war.
Ahh. I think that's where I messed up. My bad
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Old January 3rd, 2017, 08:22 AM   #37

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True there are not clear accounts of hannibal's campaigning in iberia,but he fought one great battle at tagus river,one siege at saguntum and one lightning campaign with 3 columns that conquered catalonia before crossing the pyranees and he led one of the columns.So thats 3 major engagements at least
We also know prior to the River Tagus he conducted campaigns against the Olcades and Vaccaei in 221 and 220 BC, storming the strongholds of Alithia, Helmantice and Arbucala.
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Old January 3rd, 2017, 10:01 AM   #38

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Napoleon was a great battlefield commander. He sucked at politics though.

Blucher had to lead cavalry charges as he was fairly mediocre as a general. His value was in his single minded determination and charasimatic leadership. Napoleon was indespensibke. If he gets killed the whole army falls apart. If Blucher dies it sad but his more talented subordinates could still fil his void. Indeed he spent most of the evening after Ligny trapped under his horse. Gneisenau was more than capable of assuming his duties. If Napoleon went missing and presumed dead then no one can replace him.
Blucher was irreplaceable precisely because of his energy, charisma, and ability to cooperate with others. Without him, it's unlikely the Army of Silesia would have gotten to Leipzig. As Pugsville already said, Blucher's stroke is arguably what saved Napoleon at Laon. Most conspicuously, Blucher, against the advice of his subordinates, pressed for supporting Wellington at Waterloo, therefore marching west rather than east. He made too important of a difference on a number of occasions to be replaceable by simply a more tactically skilled subordinate.
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Old January 3rd, 2017, 11:41 AM   #39

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Blah, someone beat me to Subutai?
Pompey the Great fought quite a few pitched battles. More than Julius Caesar I think.
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Old January 3rd, 2017, 02:53 PM   #40

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Blah, someone beat me to Subutai?
Pompey the Great fought quite a few pitched battles. More than Julius Caesar I think.
That can't be right. even if it was true that he somehow fought more, we have virtually no details on most them whatsoever, perhaps not even a decent number of the names. Nearly the opposite is true of Caesar's battles.
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