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Old November 28th, 2012, 10:30 AM   #11

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Originally Posted by funakison View Post
Nought wrong with Napoleon as a general, but i am far from convinced by his understudies. Form the little i know the likes of Soult, Grouchey and Ney leave much to be desired, although Bernadotte seems to have been OK. If you make war on 5 countries at once, it really is advisable to have more than one top rated commander.
Ney and Soult were not "bad" generals. They made some mistakes, but by no means were they ever "bad."
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Old November 28th, 2012, 10:57 AM   #12

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I am embarrased to admit i havent heard of any of them.
You should look into them. Davout and Lannes were the cream of the Napoleonic crop, while men like Ney were mostly just a result of Napoleon's habit of promoting men on bravery alone. For all his failings, no one has EVER challenged Ney's courage.
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Old November 28th, 2012, 11:07 AM   #13

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You guys pretty much nailed the rankings already but I'll throw in my 2cents


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1. Elite Infantry (Grenadiers}
French Imperial Guard, no doubts.
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2. Heavy Cavalry (including dragoons, curassiers, etc.)
French, again with no doubts.
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3. Land Artillery (cannons, gun-howitzers, howitzers, and mortars)
This is very close between the French and Russians. I will say when commanded by Napoleon the French artillery was better, otherwise I give this to the Russians.
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4. Skirmishers
5. Light Infantry
Really one and the same, no? I think this one goes to the Russian Jaegers, though all sides performed well in this category.
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6. Light Cavalry (including uhlans, hussars, etc.)
Like Mangekyou I will say the Polish followed very closely by the British.
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7. Line Infantry
British, no brainer.
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8. Ships of the Line (gun crews, sailors, and leadership)
see above
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9. Ships of the Line (construction)
haven't looked into this one very deeply, but from what I understand it would go to the Spanish or French.
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10. Officers
This is a difficult one. I'll go with the French, followed by the Prussians.
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11. Generals
Well obviously the French have a huge advantage because they have Napoleon himself. If we subtract him from the picture than it becomes nearly even across the board.
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Old November 28th, 2012, 11:11 AM   #14

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Originally Posted by Pacific_Victory View Post
You should look into them. Davout and Lannes were the cream of the Napoleonic crop, while men like Ney were mostly just a result of Napoleon's habit of promoting men on bravery alone. For all his failings, no one has EVER challenged Ney's courage.
Davout and Lannes were certainly amongst the bet of Napoleon's marshals, and Massena is another obvious choice.

Ney wasn't good enough for the very highest of commands, but he was no idiot, even with all his bravery taken into account. For example, during Massena's retreat, he was able to slightly outmaneouver and inflict a minor defeat on Wellington's forces at the battle of Pombal:

Battle_of_Pombal Battle_of_Pombal


He was also one of th only French commanders to come away from the Russian debacle with his reputation intact.
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Old November 28th, 2012, 11:21 AM   #15

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Originally Posted by Mangekyou View Post
Davout and Lannes were certainly amongst the bet of Napoleon's marshals, and Massena is another obvious choice.

Ney wasn't good enough for the very highest of commands, but he was no idiot, even with all his bravery taken into account. For example, during Massena's retreat, he was able to slightly outmaneouver and inflict a minor defeat on Wellington's forces at the battle of Pombal:

Battle of Pombal - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


He was also one of th only French commanders to come away from the Russian debacle with his reputation intact.
Indeed, if there was ever a man who was made for rearguard actions it was Ney. They require a lot of courage as it is easy to become surrounded or overwhelmed. Ney certainly wasn't dumb though, as you mentioned. He would have been perfect as a division commander perhaps, rather than a marshal.

By the way, speaking of Pombal, have you read any decent books on the Peninsular War or Spanish Ulcer? I have something like 30 books on the Napoleonic wars and not a single one which covers that period.
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Old November 28th, 2012, 11:33 AM   #16

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Originally Posted by Pacific_Victory View Post

By the way, speaking of Pombal, have you read any decent books on the Peninsular War or Spanish Ulcer? I have something like 30 books on the Napoleonic wars and not a single one which covers that period.
I have the collection by Sir Charles Oman, which is very detailed. Ideally that is the collection you want for that war..There is also the following companion guide to that series, which accounts why the British was successful in that war, and covers a good deal of it, too:

Wellington's Army, 1809-1814 (Classic Reprint): Amazon.co.uk: Sir Charles William Chadwick Oman: Books
Wellington's Army, 1809-1814 (Classic Reprint): Amazon.co.uk: Sir Charles William Chadwick Oman: Books



These two are also good:

To War with Wellington: From the Peninsula to Waterloo: Amazon.co.uk: Peter Snow: Books
To War with Wellington: From the Peninsula to Waterloo: Amazon.co.uk: Peter Snow: Books


Wellington's Peninsular War: Amazon.co.uk: Julian Paget: Books
Wellington's Peninsular War: Amazon.co.uk: Julian Paget: Books

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Old November 28th, 2012, 11:38 AM   #17

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Originally Posted by Mangekyou View Post
I have the collection by Sir Charles Oman, which is very detailed. Ideally that is the collection you want for that war..There is also the following companion guide to that series, which accounts why the British was successful in that war, and covers a good deal of it, too:

Wellington's Army, 1809-1814 (Classic Reprint): Amazon.co.uk: Sir Charles William Chadwick Oman: Books


These two are also good:

To War with Wellington: From the Peninsula to Waterloo: Amazon.co.uk: Peter Snow: Books

Wellington's Peninsular War: Amazon.co.uk: Julian Paget: Books
Thanks! I actually forgot that I already own "To War with Wellington" and I just haven't gotten around to reading it. I've been spending a lot of time on the Russian campaign lately. It's a huge subject.
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Old November 28th, 2012, 11:42 AM   #18

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Originally Posted by Duguesclin View Post
French Old Guard. Even though the Old Guard didn't fight much, when it came they were simply irresistible, except when surrounded by enemies like at Waterloo.



French Dragons of the Imperial Guard - also known as Emperess Dragons.
They were amazing during the Berezina cross.



French grande batterie. Better officers and servants than any other nation.



Here I'm less sure, I only know that dutch skirmishers have been instrumental at Waterloo and that english ones were also terrific.
Also if we consider insurgents as a form of skirmishers then I would add spanish insurgents.



Not sure to understand here, for me light infantry purpose was basically to be skirmishers.



Don Cossacks - can you imagine those guys went camping on the Champs-Elysees after crossing the Alps ?!



British !



British of course...



I've no idea...



Frenchs at the beginning of the Napoelonic wars. They came from being basic soldiers that stepped up, had a recent and big - and victorious ! - experience against all types of european armies following the wars of the Revolution, while in other armies these were rather nobles buying a rank.

Starting from 1813, Prussians officers - and Prussian army in general - became as good or even better.



Russians were really good, I would probably put them on top, even though some french Marshalls were excellent - Davout especially can be considered maybe as the best general overall, Lannes was amazing but died, guys like Murat and Ney were rather leaders than real generals - but as many other french generals were crap, I keep Russians as they are globally more reliable.
I would add that Russian Artillery was the best of Russian Army, it was considered among the best in Europe.
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Old November 28th, 2012, 11:48 AM   #19

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Originally Posted by Pacific_Victory View Post
Thanks! I actually forgot that I already own "To War with Wellington" and I just haven't gotten around to reading it. I've been spending a lot of time on the Russian campaign lately. It's a huge subject.
I think the Russian campaign is interesting, as it presents a couple of "what if's?"

For example, what if Napoleon commited his guard reservs at the battle of Borodino?

Would enough of the Russian army been annhilated (I certainly think so) that Napoleon may have been able to complete his strategic objectives and winter in Moscow?

This man certainly thought so; Laurent de Gouvion Saint-Cyr - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

(he was another excellent leader even before he became Marshal, imo.)
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Old November 28th, 2012, 11:55 AM   #20

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Originally Posted by Mangekyou View Post
I think the Russian campaign is interesting, as it presents a couple of "what if's?"

For example, what if Napoleon commited his guard reservs at the battle of Borodino?

Would enough of the Russian army been annhilated (I certainly think so) that Napoleon may have been able to complete his strategic objectives and winter in Moscow?

This man certainly thought so; Laurent de Gouvion Saint-Cyr - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

(he was another excellent leader even before he became Marshal, imo.)
Indeed, so many "what ifs". It is remarkable how close the Russians came to attacking Napoleon instead of retreating into deep Russia and scorching the earth as they went. There were some pretty substantial calls from many of the Russian generals to attack the Grandee Armee in a pitched battle before giving up another inch of Russian territory. Imagine if that view had won out!
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