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Old December 5th, 2012, 05:28 AM   #111
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Originally Posted by harbinger View Post
The horse was a different breed,and armour was very expensive.Plus it was useful only for charging .Shortage of horses happened after russia and before 1806.From 1806 to 1812 french cavalry was superbly mounted.The cuirassier horse was primarily the boulanais horse from flanders,though there were never enough of this big horses.The very sought after horse was holsteiner german horse...
And yet there were occasions before 1812 when divisions of foot dragoons were formed

Did those big horses require higher maintenance and yes I can see that armor is more expensive that clothing but is it necessarily more expensive to maintain?

Marshal de Saxe argued it was not

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...without the armour try going up against lancers or uhlans,and even other hevy cavalry with straight swords and u'll be chewed up like kebabs.
The elite horse carabiners were without armour and suffered heavily in 1809 campaign vs austrian uhlans.Napoleon incensed gave them breasplates.

Also thrusting is best done by stronger men with greater thrust power and usually longer arms
But British cavalry did exactly that

British "heavy" cavalry (the household regiments excepted) wore no armor and whereas after Waterloo British cavalry converted some cavalry regiments into lancers, no cavalry regiments adopted armor

There is no doubt that the thrust is the more lethal blow but British cavalry also claimed that the saber "slash" was of value inflicting hideous wounds that served to damage morale

I would think that most cavalrymen would be strong enough to execute a killer blow with a thrusting sword...there's a story of a British dragoon officer who was shaken at seeing his sergeant run through the head

Skin and bone make for poor armor
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Old December 5th, 2012, 05:53 AM   #112
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Originally Posted by Mangekyou View Post
Not a defeat within the context and framework you tried to present it.
Which framework ? What is wrong in saying that Revolutionary armies won against all armies in Europe including the ones led by Suvorov ?

You over-interpreted my post, by pointing out that Suvorov didn't lost any battle which wasn't my original point, then you recognized that he lost strategically, so I thought the point was closed.

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Then could you kindly explain to me how it was a euphemism? Suvorov was not defeated by Massena in battle, his colleague was.
Suvorov has been unable to join Korsakov, has lost a big amount of his troops in the process, which eventually led to the defeat of the whole Russian army and the dismissal of Russia from the war - at least for some time.

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I could understand this argument and it would be more valid, if, he had been defeated first, and then retreated.
You agreed that Suvorov was defeated strategically and still keep on pointing out he's not been defeated tactically, but I have no point against this. That whole discussion becomes pointless.


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He suffered heavy casualties, yes, but he escaped with a sizable proportion of his army, nonetheless.
He for sure lost a sizable proportion of his army !

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Massena had strategic momentum after defeating Korsakov at Zurich. So again, where was Suvorov defeated? He was checked, but not defeated.
See above. Once again - see also the Campaign of Russia - you don't always win by direct confrontation, sometimes it is enough moving your army faster or more intelligently than your opponent to win a battle and there was sometimes no casualty at all. Does this mean this is not a victory because the oppoent was nor routed and utterly destroyed ? Of course not, in fact it is even more brilliant.

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Now, ill ask how you can you call my argument a euphemism, when you display your argument like this?

Not because of Russia's military strength? Im sorry, thats rubbish. I dont often call peoples points of view tthis, because everyone has an opinion defined their views, but this is simply incorrect.

When Napoleon refused to commit his guard to battle at Borodino, he lost any initiative he may have had at all. The fact that the Russians still had had an army in the field after inflicting heavy casualties on Napoleon at Borodino, meant that Naopleons position in Russia was completely untenable, because of the danger to his supply lines.
Nonsense, Napoleon had to leave because he could not stay in a destroyed Moskow town any longer with winter approaching and being unable to find some supplies. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers were established all along the road and in the two other armies marching on a more or less parallel road (north and south) protecting also the lines, so the issue was certainly not supply lines. Why do you think Napoleon arrive to Moskow with barely 100,000 men while he had originally more than 600,000 ?

The Russians could replenish their forces extremely faster, whatever were their losses, Napoleon could not, this was the main issue. Implying the Guard may have saved a few french lives (?) but would certainly not have brought any russian capitulation.
The whole plan of Napoleon was to reach Moskow where he thought the Tsar would capitulate. His error has been one of strategy, he anticipated the "moves" (decisions) of the Russians wrongly.

And as I said, tactically he has never been defeated during the whole march to Moskow (unlike the two other armies flamking him).

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There is a major difference. Suvorov escaped with most of his army, Napoleon lost almost the entirety of his.
Here also this is a pointless remark, I've only pointed out the similarity between the way Suvorov and Napoleon have been beaten - without being really militarily defeated, but strategically defeated.
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Old December 5th, 2012, 06:09 AM   #113
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A Cuirassier carries a little more weight but is his saber really that much longer than those carried by horse Chasseurs ?
Definitely. They don't have a curved blade but a straight one and are longer to enlarge the perimeter of attack. BTW this is not specific to the Cuirassiers but to heavy cavalry in general.

The straight blade is also useful to pierce the body during a charge: the technique consisted in putting the blade horizontally so that it could not be blocked by the ribs of the victim. It is more difficult with a curved blade which is originally not designed to pierce but to cut.
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Old December 5th, 2012, 07:40 AM   #114
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Originally Posted by Duguesclin View Post
Definitely. They don't have a curved blade but a straight one and are longer to enlarge the perimeter of attack. BTW this is not specific to the Cuirassiers but to heavy cavalry in general.

The straight blade is also useful to pierce the body during a charge: the technique consisted in putting the blade horizontally so that it could not be blocked by the ribs of the victim. It is more difficult with a curved blade which is originally not designed to pierce but to cut.
But sabers can be used to thrust with and their curved blades mean you can go around an opponents defense. Anyway, interesting video:

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Old December 5th, 2012, 10:32 AM   #115

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Originally Posted by Duguesclin View Post
Which framework ? What is wrong in saying that Revolutionary armies won against all armies in Europe including the ones led by Suvorov ?
There is nothing wong with saying that, however they suffered there fair share of defeats, and Suvorov was not one of those defeated in a set piece battle.

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You over-interpreted my post, by pointing out that Suvorov didn't lost any battle which wasn't my original point, then you recognized that he lost strategically, so I thought the point was closed.
If I misinterpreted it, then it's my apologies. However from the source you posted, which indicated casualty figures, it seemed to me that you were saying he suffered a personal defeat, which he did not.

I already explained in another post, that there are many types of victories and many types of defeats. It was a strategic/operational defeat for Russia, but not a personal defeat for Suvorov.



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Suvorov has been unable to join Korsakov, has lost a big amount of his troops in the process, which eventually led to the defeat of the whole Russian army and the dismissal of Russia from the war - at least for some time.
Yes, he was unable to join Korsakov. That is why I stated he was checked. Suvrorov was in Switzerland to support Korsakovs army, but he was not the theatre commander. The defeat of the Russian army was Korsakov's, not Suvorov's. Which explains what I stated in the quote above.



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You agreed that Suvorov was defeated strategically and still keep on pointing out he's not been defeated tactically, but I have no point against this. That whole discussion becomes pointless.
Yes, it is pointless, but not for the reasons you stated.




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He for sure lost a sizable proportion of his army
Quote me the figures of the army he started off with and the army he had on the other side of the alps. Then quote me the figures for Napoleon's starting army and what numbers survived after the retreat. Please don't use the International napoleonic website.

Thanks in advance!



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See above. Once again - see also the Campaign of Russia - you don't always win by direct confrontation, sometimes it is enough moving your army faster or more intelligently than your opponent to win a battle and there was sometimes no casualty at all. Does this mean this is not a victory because the oppoent was nor routed and utterly destroyed ? Of course not, in fact it is even more brilliant.
This is a straw man fallacy.

In context of the Ulm campaign, Napoleons movements were brilliant, but, he took the surrender of General Mack's army., so their was a tangible benefit at the end of the movements. Suvorovs army was neither captured nor destroyed. Big difference.



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Nonsense, Napoleon had to leave because he could not stay in a destroyed Moskow town any longer with winter approaching and being unable to find some supplies. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers were established all along the road and in the two other armies marching on a more or less parallel road (north and south) protecting also the lines, so the issue was certainly not supply lines. Why do you think Napoleon arrive to Moskow with barely 100,000 men while he had originally more than 600,000 ?
No, not nonsense at all. The threat of being besieged was as much of a threat as the weather. The fact that there was no clear victory in sight was also a factor. Napoleon did not leave the city right away, as he expected an envoy to greet him. He was rather dissapointed when none arrived. When Napoleon left in October, the Raspisuta (Mud season) had started.

Im not going to get into this issue in this thread, it needs bigger scope. When I have time to contribute the information I want to, I will make a thread, and we can have it there.

Suffice to say, I do not agree with your viewpoint. If you want to convince me that bad weather was the only detriment to Napoleon, you will have to do alot of explaining, im afraid.

It was a combination of three things as far as im concerned:

1) Bad weather.
2) Insufficient planning
3) Russian military harrasment.

Quote:
The Russians could replenish their forces extremely faster, whatever were their losses, Napoleon could not, this was the main issue. Implying the Guard may have saved a few french lives (?) but would certainly not have brought any russian capitulation.
Yes, they had better lines of supply, but without an army in the field, a surrender would have more likely in the long run. The Russian army got a few victories over the French, during the retreat from Moscow.

Quote:
The whole plan of Napoleon was to reach Moskow where he thought the Tsar would capitulate. His error has been one of strategy, he anticipated the "moves" (decisions) of the Russians wrongly.
Which fits in with my second point on the three reasons I listed above. He erred in assumptions. However this may have been more likely, if he was able to destroy the Russian ability to fight back, like he did at Friedland.

Instead, he failed, and the Russians decentralised and carried on pressing him, and defeating his army.

Aslo, just to point out, that Napoleons original objective was St Petersburg, which was the capital then, not Moscow, but that was halted when Oudinet fought an indecisive battle at the 1st Polotsk.

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And as I said, tactically he has never been defeated during the whole march to Moskow (unlike the two other armies flamking him).
Did he win any decisive battles? Point them out to me, please. Also, even though Oudinot had indecisive battles on the flank, he is still a part of Napoleons forces, as Napoleon is the theatre commander.

Also, yes, the Russians did win a tactical victory over the French, prior to the decided march to Moscow (battle of the Mir *) and many more during the retreat; including the huge casualties he took at the battle of Berezina, a costly pyrrhic victory for him.

Quote:
* The Battle of Mir took place on 9 and 10 July 1812 during Napoleon's invasion of Russia. Three Polish Lancers divisions battled against Russian cavalry, ending in the first major Russian victory in the French invasion of Russia. Russian general Matvei Platov had eight Cossack regiments and two Don batteries deployed south of the village of Mir, when one brigade of the Polish Fourth Light Cavalry attacked his advance posts, numbering about 100 men. These advance posts had the dual job of both observation and sentry duty, and to entice the enemy to attack; ambushes of a hundred men each were set up farther down the road to Mir, on either side of it. The Polish general Alexander Rosniecki's forces clashed with Russian Alexander Vasilchikov's cavalry, resulting in hand-to-hand combat with fairly even losses. Followed by Uhlans, they swept through the village, attacking Platov's main force. A third Polish brigade attempting to join the fight was encircled and broken by Cossacks, after which the entire Polish force gave ground, driven back with the aid of Russian Hussars. After the arrival of Vasilchikov's Akhtyrka Hussars, Dragoons, and other reinforcements, the battle raged for six hours, shifting to the nearby village of Simiakovo. Platov defeated the enemy there, and moved on to Mir, where he inflicted further losses on the enemy before tactically withdrawing. A complete rout was only averted by Tyszkiewicz's brigade, which covered the Polish retreat. After retreating from Mir, the castle there was destroyed with gunpowder. The town of Mir and fort ruins were used as a headquarters by Jérôme Bonaparte, on his way to Moscow.

Source: http://dbpedia.openlinksw.com/page/Battle_of_Mir_(1812)


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Here also this is a pointless remark, I've only pointed out the similarity between the way Suvorov and Napoleon have been beaten - without being really militarily defeated, but strategically defeated.
And I explained why that line of reasoning is fallacious.

Last edited by Mangekyou; December 5th, 2012 at 12:22 PM.
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Old December 5th, 2012, 03:35 PM   #116

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Originally Posted by Mangekyou View Post
Also, yes, the Russians did win a tactical victory over the French, prior to the decided march to Moscow (battle of the Mir *)
It wasnt really important battle. Polish cavalry division (3000 men) attacked Russian corps (9000). Polish general didnt know that he attack the enemy who outnumbers him 3:1 and was defeated.
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Old December 5th, 2012, 03:47 PM   #117

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Originally Posted by Mosquito View Post
It wasnt really important battle. Polish cavalry division (3000 men) attacked Russian corps (9000). Polish general didnt know that he attack the enemy who outnumbers him 3:1 and was defeated.
Well yes, in the scheme of things it wasn't, but to the Russians it was their first major victory of the French invasion; casualties (including captured), reaching nearly 1000 men.

Also, I was just demonstrating that a tactical defeat was suffered, rather than the severity of it
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Old December 5th, 2012, 06:01 PM   #118

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duguesclin View Post

Suvorov has been unable to join Korsakov, has lost a big amount of his troops in the process, which eventually led to the defeat of the whole Russian army and the dismissal of Russia from the war - at least for some time.
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Originally Posted by Mangekyou View Post

Yes, he was unable to join Korsakov. That is why I stated he was checked. Suvrorov was in Switzerland to support Korsakovs army, but he was not the theatre commander. The defeat of the Russian army was Korsakov's, not Suvorov's. Which explains what I stated in the quote above.

Just to expand a little more on my reply here. We both agreed, quite rightfully that Suvorov was stopped from reaching Korsakovs army in time, but these were delaying actions only, , and the Russians were able to outflank the French, eahc time, albeit the French achieved what they wanted in delaying Suvorov:

Quote:
At Taverna, Suvorov found the ammunition and supplies promised by his Austrian allies had not been delivered and five days were lost gathering what was available. On 19 September, Suvorov's troops attacked LeCourbe (8,500) holding the St Gotthard Pass, the quickest though most difficult route to Switzerland.

Suvorov sent General Rosenberg to outflank the French position as he attacked it directly and on 24 September, after three attacks, the Russians broke through when General Bagration's Russian yegers attacked the French rear.

The next day, 25 September, Russian light troops again outflanked the French positions as the latter tried to hold the Lucerne-Lach tunnel and the Devil's Bridge. As Bagration's men struck the flank, Suvorov stepped on to the bridge, under fire, calling to his army, "See how an old Field Marshal faces the enemy!"

Source: Suvorov - Russia's Eagle Over the Alps

I mentioned in an earlier post that Suvorov had no choice to withdraw from Switzerland; it was that or be destroyed. The reason? Because with the defeat of Korsakov, his army was severely outnumbered and in a position of starvation:

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That left Suvorov's force of 18,000 Russian regulars and 5,000 Cossacks, exhausted and short of provisions, to face Masséna's 80,000 victorious French troops. The only alternative to annihilation was to undertake a historically unparalleled withdrawal over the Alps.

Source: Aleksandr Suvorov: Count of Rymniksky and Prince of Italy

Also, what is clear, is that he was able to outmanouver and escape Massena's attempted encirclements and traps during his withdrawal:

Quote:
On September 27, the Russians began making their way through Pragel Pass to Glarus. The French reached Glarus first, but Suvorov evaded the trap by redirecting his troops through the village of Elm. Then, on October 6, Suvorov commenced a trek through the deep snows of Panixer Pass and into the 9,000-foot mountains of the Bundner Oberland

Source: Ibid - Aleksandr Suvorov: Count of Rymniksky and Prince of Italy
Quote:
At Altsdorf, on 26 September, Suvorov learned of the Russian defeat at Zurich. With no roads nor boats to ferry them across the lake there, the Russians appeared trapped and the French were closing in.

However, despite his own age and illness, Suvorov decided to force a way through to Glarus. Bagration's advance guard again threw back the French (Molitor) while Rosenberg's rear guard held off Massena, before rejoining Suvorov at Glarus on 4 October.

Again, Suvorov found no Austrian army nor supplies. He decided that to evade the French forces awaiting him, he would march into the 9,000 foot high mountains of the Panikh range towards Ilants. After a difficult march, the Russian army reached Ilants on October 8, finally beyond the reach of the French.

Source: Ibid - Suvorov - Russia's Eagle Over the Alps
Your viewpoint is that he was forced into this route, mine was that he decided upon that route. We are just arguing semantics though. What is important, is that he traversed a dangerous route, whereby Massena thought he would surely become extinct. We both agree that he suffered heavy casualties (probably one third of his army), but I stated that the bulk of his forces reached safety, as opposed to the majority dying, during Napoleons Russian campaign:

Quote:
Thousands of Russians slipped from the cliffs or succumbed to cold and hunger, but Suvorov, never admitting that he was retreating, eventually escaped encirclement and reached Chur on the Rhine with the bulk of his army–16,000 men–intact

Source: Ibid Aleksandr Suvorov: Count of Rymniksky and Prince of Italy
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Old December 6th, 2012, 07:50 AM   #119
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Quote me the figures of the army he started off with and the army he had on the other side of the alps. Then quote me the figures for Napoleon's starting army and what numbers survived after the retreat. Please don't use the International napoleonic website.
I should use the international napoleonic website, there's no reason not to use it. Showing positive aspects of Napoleon's reign does not mean that the content is wrong (as they plaid themselves their writings are supported by sources and facts).
Figures as for every historical event varies a lot, but we could assume that Suvorov had around 18,000 troops, to which were added 5,000 irregular ones (mainly Cossacks). Overall he lost around 5,000 men as already said.

Napoleon had around 690,000 men originally, around 200,000 died, 150,000 were prisoners and around 130,000 deserted, which lets him with barely half of his army crossing the Berezina.

But anyways losing around 20% of his army cannot be a success when you failed to reach your objective. Moreover it is not the same thing to escape the Alps than to escape the Russian continent, especially with much more men. Suvorov's escape lasts 4 days (4th october-8th october) !

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In context of the Ulm campaign, Napoleons movements were brilliant, but, he took the surrender of General Mack's army., so their was a tangible benefit at the end of the movements. Suvorovs army was neither captured nor destroyed. Big difference.
But it had to withdraw and ensure France's success against the Coalition. Not such a big difference in the end. Once again you direct the discussion on the tactical ground, ignoring the strategical consequences.

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The threat of being besieged was as much of a threat as the weather.
Besieged ? When ? By which army ? Kutuzov's one ? Napoleon himself said that, would he have left Moskow two weeks before he would have beat this army that he knew was around Taroutino, and that this was the only threat to his army, being te only concentrated one. In other terms there was other force in position of "besieging" Napoleon while he was in Moskow.

Quote:
Napoleon did not leave the city right away, as he expected an envoy to greet him. He was rather dissapointed when none arrived. When Napoleon left in October, the Raspisuta (Mud season) had started.
Yes, this is exactly what I said. He understimated Russians's will to beat him at all costs, and to not capitulate. He based his whole strategy on a false assumption (but this was customary to usually capitulate at that time when the capital was seized by the enemy).

Quote:
Suffice to say, I do not agree with your viewpoint. If you want to convince me that bad weather was the only detriment to Napoleon, you will have to do alot of explaining, im afraid.
Please point out where I say that "weather was the only detriment to Napoleon". Still ,the winter undoubtedly took a lot of french lives, but even more were due to diseases and lack of food. Few casualties were actually due to battles, even during the retreat.
Kutuzov try to trap the french army using the third russian army to threaten the french communication lines around Brest-Litovsk, but he failed. Son once again comparing with Kutuzov's retreat makes sense.

Quote:
Yes, they had better lines of supply, but without an army in the field, a surrender would have more likely in the long run. The Russian army got a few victories over the French, during the retreat from Moscow.
You're speculating. What would be the "long run" if not crossing the whole Russian country backwards ? The Berezin'as crossing is actually the only real battle that occured, and has been a tactical victory for Napoleon.

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Which fits in with my second point on the three reasons I listed above. He erred in assumptions. However this may have been more likely, if he was able to destroy the Russian ability to fight back, like he did at Friedland.
As I said before he could have done it earlier when he was in Moskow: another strategical error. Tactically once the retreat started he had no more mean to fight a decisive battle, being deprived of logistic support. How do you win a battle when almost all your horses - carrying guns especially - are dead ?

Quote:
Did he win any decisive battles? Point them out to me, please.
Depends on what you call "decisive". Moreover with an enemy escaping almost all the time it is difficult to search for a decisive battle. Smolensk is a clear victory for Napoleon - but not decisive of course - , Borodino from my point of view is also a victory because this was the first time that the Russians did intend to stop Napoleon and they couldn't reach their objective. Now I know that there is a lot of controversy around that battle, so to conclude I would say: no decisive victory. But I still don't see your point.

Quote:
Also, yes, the Russians did win a tactical victory over the French, prior to the decided march to Moscow (battle of the Mir *) and many more during the retreat; including the huge casualties he took at the battle of Berezina, a costly pyrrhic victory for him.
Mir ? Napoleon wasn't there ! This was a battle between let's say the Duchy of Warsaw (as a few Polish lancers only contributed) and some Cossacks. Polish lancers were outnumbered and had almost no artillery. As for the Berezina, as said this is maybe one of the greatest exploit of the french Grande Armee considering the conditions.
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Old December 6th, 2012, 07:51 AM   #120
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Originally Posted by Poly View Post
But sabers can be used to thrust with and their curved blades mean you can go around an opponents defense. Anyway, interesting video:

A point about sabres - YouTube
Very intersting indeed.
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