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War and Military History War and Military History Forum - Warfare, Tactics, and Military Technology over the centuries


View Poll Results: Who was the best general?
Napoleon Bonaparte 67 33.84%
Julius Caesar 54 27.27%
Alexander the Great 77 38.89%
Voters: 198. You may not vote on this poll

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Old July 12th, 2009, 10:14 AM   #41

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Re: Julius Caesar vs. Napoleon vs. Alexander


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Originally Posted by Hoplite View Post
The reason Darius relied on levies is that most of his real soldiers were killed in previous battles - granicuas, Issus etc. Even if they were untrained they still posed a problem with their numbers. With the battlefiled so wide they could envelope the macedonians. In fact even after Darius fled the battlefiled his cavalry flanked the macedonians but fortunately Alexander placed a second phalanx behind the first to avoid being envelope. testament to Alexander's tactical genius.

Also its wise to amass practically everything you've got when your empires existence is at stake. So Darius did pretty well in quickly forming a large army. While Alexander was busy besieging Tyre Darius could easily force Alexander to fight a war on two fronts. Again thanks to Alexander's brilliance and sheer speed in taking Tyre he avoided this. The time it took was 7 months which is pretty damn quick considering Tyre is most probably the most formidabale fortified city in the known-world A

And Napoleon is partly to blame for his broken nation. Even Marshal Ney's cavalry charge blunder could well be indirectly blamed on Napoleon. His insistence on pushing on towards Russia caused his best general and his troops trauma.



Actually they are all basically the same. With little difference in tactics and weaponry. You can call them all sorts of names but overall they did not vary majorly.

unimaginative really? haven't heard of the macedonian war elephants? or the diverse army he put up against Porus? how about the unbelievable way in which he took Aornos? or how he used propaganda, myths and legends to cement his grip on egypt? siege towers mounted on ships? don't call that imaginative?


Ok let me rephrase my "fighting word". Amazing how Alexander can cause so much emotion on even great ones huh.


As for your statement on Alexander being to blame for his death, that can also be said of caesar. You'll call him too lenient but I think its foolishness and carelessness to not use bodyguards
I'll answer the ones that are adressed to me, as I'm sure Jebusrocks would like to defend his own arguments.

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Actually they are all basically the same. With little difference in tactics and weaponry. You can call them all sorts of names but overall they did not vary majorly.
Wrong. The Gauls, Germans, and Britons were distinguished from each other very differently by all of the above. The Gauls were of all the three a cavalry nation (the Germans lacked quallity horses), and had inifitely superior metallurgy. The Germans went in for unique tactics over the Gauls - making use of Phalanxes and combined-arms approaches. The Britons were distinguished by a heavy reliance on chariot-warfare and again great differences between the other two. Comparing these three to each other is like comparing them to the Spaniards of the period. All "barbarians", but of very different types.

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unimaginative really? haven't heard of the macedonian war elephants? or the diverse army he put up against Porus? how about the unbelievable way in which he took Aornos? or how he used propaganda, myths and legends to cement his grip on egypt? siege towers mounted on ships? don't call that imaginative?
The first two are about operational tactics, not grand tactics, and it was in grand tactics that I accused Alexander of being inflexible.

For siege tactics I give Alexander more credit that I give him for his other battles, but not as much as I give Caesar. For all of his sieges Alexander owes a heavy debt to his chief engineer Diades, who IMO deserve far more credit for the siege of Tyre than Alexander does.

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As for your statement on Alexander being to blame for his death, that can also be said of caesar. You'll call him too lenient but I think its foolishness and carelessness to not use bodyguards
Not quite. All of Caesar's actions were very much part of a great game of political reconciliation that by and large was very successful. Out of a Senate of almost 1000 only 60 were in on the plot to kill him, and very few others signed on afterwards, not bad at all considering at the begining of the war pretty much the entire Senate was against Caesar.

And Caesar had of course, made preparations for his death, Far more than Alexander can ever claim to have done.

And I don;t see any reply to the assertion that Alexander cannot contend as a strategist?
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Old July 12th, 2009, 10:25 AM   #42

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Re: Julius Caesar vs. Napoleon vs. Alexander


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Actually at Issus Darius was a formidable opponent. He and his ten thousand immortals were much more elite than the Home Companion Cavalry; and Darius was an exceptional commander, as noted in his rise to become the King. Darius and his Immortals fought head-on against the companion cavalry stood on, and was on the verge of victory when Darius' chariot moved straight towards Macedonian lines and forced Darius to retreat. Alexander's charge into Darius, and continuing to fight on despite receiving injuries is quite stalwart, and in many cases very arrogant.
The Persians also had a much superior cavalry force, and not to mention the several thousands of Greeks who came to serve under Persia (yes.... my god.. they really must've hated Alexander, to join Persia...) at Granicus and at Gaugamela. Though the majority of the Persian forces were inexperienced, the core of the army (which alone outnumbered Alexander's army) were not so inexperienced.
Yes, Darius was a decent commander. Doesn't really convince me though that you've answered my assertion. Pompey the Great was a commander of genius whose tactics were superb and who as a strategist I'd say matches Alexander. Labienus in Gaul with Caesar demonstrated a brilliant grasp of military affairs. Vercingetorix in his own way matched them. Alexander never had to face opponents of this calibre.

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The Rhine Conrfederation and the Neapolitians were forced into subjugating back to their former selves because, as I've stated many times, to have such unified states not under monarchs threatened Monarchs. Also, he did have a party; the Bonapartes who owned half of Europe . Caesar did not have the same difficulties that Napoleon held. As I've said many times, as soon as he became dictator, the entire world (like literally) swarmed in on him; to the point where he chose to go to Russia in order to end it all. Caesar had to deal with barbaric rebellions while Napoleon had the most formidable armies to go up against him. Though his Civil War forced him to fight Roman legions, it was, by no standards, the same to a total war between France and the rest of Europe.
Again, not quite sure you've answered my assertion. Napoleon never succeeded in creating a party whose interest were tied to his own, as can be seen some of his brothers betraying him.

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First off... Alesia was more of a strategic victory than a tactical one. It was a siege.... and Napoleon did so against a much more organized army that his own.
Alesia was a siege and then a battle at the end of the siege.

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Alright smarty, what was Napoleon supposed to do? the Duke of Wellington was holding a firm position in high ground, creating within his army an impregnable barrier of men to overcome. How was he gonna tactically try and flank/outmaneuver, etc. etc. an army that basically stood still and held their ground; not to mention in such a good position that French artillery could not damage them? Wellington was not an idiot, no he was a genius, and he knew that all he had to do was inflict enough damage or hold them to win, while Napoleon had to decimate his army if he wanted to survive the oncoming armies. IF Napoleon had more time, than yes, he could have done otherwise; however, the Coalitions were gathering, and though Blucher was defeated (another great victory by Napoleon), he began returning; Napoleon knew he had short time. Under these circumstances, Napoleon had no chance but to meet the Allied army head-on and attempt to spot any weaknesses (though highly unlikely as this is Wellington we're talking about) or just breaking them through sheer strength. He almost succeeded in defeating Wellington to, but Prussian reinforcements were now hours away, and if Napoleon didn't do something, he would have been outflanked and his entire army decimated. Given the circumstances, he did extraordinarily well too, not only moving his troops in enough time to meet Blucher's army, but holding on to the British army. However, his entire army was too overstretched, and he eventually had to give up.
As I've stated many times, warfare has drastically changed since Caesar's times, and not just in terms of technology, but methods such as total war and massive conscription became much more frequent (in the Third Coalition alone, Napoleon had to deal with a profession army of 800 000 at least) and the patriotism that was beginning to soar in Napoleon's time.
It should be noted that at Eylau, Napoleon barely did anything. He believed the war to be over (which was quite true) and gave the command to Soult, his General-Marshall.
I am well aware that warfare had changed considerably by Napoleon's time, and so I am judging by the standards of Napoleon's day. By any resonable judgement he bungled Waterloo.

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They never battled on the field, but they battled alright. At Egypt it was a battle between who will outlast the other, Nelson and his fleet, or Napoleon and his army. In the end, Napoleon abandoned what remained of his army and fled to France. Had any other general tried to do this (well.. maybe not Cuthbert), they would have failed.
I've already explained his loss to Wellington. He defeated Archduke Charles on many occasions, THE Archduke Charles whose strategic and tactical abilities are at least on par with Wellingtons. I don't see how any of the men you've mentioned will compare to any of the men Napoleon fought.
By the standards of their times the men I bring out I think stood out far, far more than did Archduke Charles (who I actually rate as considerably less skilled than Wellington).

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And Plz, I'd rather not compare "Gaul" with the factions Napoleon had to put up with.
Indeed, Gaul was a much harder challenge. Napoleon had to deal with established factions, Caesar had to deal with literally thousands of tribes who had been fighting for centuries and he had to unify them into a province. He succeeded. Napoleon did not.
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Old July 12th, 2009, 05:09 PM   #43
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Re: Julius Caesar vs. Napoleon vs. Alexander


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Yes, Darius was a decent commander. Doesn't really convince me though that you've answered my assertion. Pompey the Great was a commander of genius whose tactics were superb and who as a strategist I'd say matches Alexander. Labienus in Gaul with Caesar demonstrated a brilliant grasp of military affairs. Vercingetorix in his own way matched them. Alexander never had to face opponents of this calibre.
I was merely pointing out that the Persians weren't just garbage (as you seem to have inferred)

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Again, not quite sure you've answered my assertion. Napoleon never succeeded in creating a party whose interest were tied to his own, as can be seen some of his brothers betraying him.
Again... his Marshals and Chief of staff? He is the only Frenchmen to have created more than two marshals to my recollection...
Quote:
I am well aware that warfare had changed considerably by Napoleon's time, and so I am judging by the standards of Napoleon's day. By any resonable judgement he bungled Waterloo.
And I am asking HOW he bungled Waterloo. You can say that he made mistakes at Aspen-Essling and Borodino; but not in Waterloo or Leipzig.
Quote:
By the standards of their times the men I bring out I think stood out far, far more than did Archduke Charles (who I actually rate as considerably less skilled than Wellington).
Howso? Archduke Charles is, and still is, one of the best Austrian marshals to date, along with Prince of Schwarsberg (another general Napoleon beat and was defeated to) and Eugene of Savoy. Wellington never fought under Charles circumstances. No general has ever faced more formidable opponents in Europe than Napoleon; maybe Hannibal; but definately not Caesar.

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Indeed, Gaul was a much harder challenge. Napoleon had to deal with established factions, Caesar had to deal with literally thousands of tribes who had been fighting for centuries and he had to unify them into a province. He succeeded. Napoleon did not.
That doesn't make any sense at all. An established state is a much formidable power than a barbaric force (i.e. Mongolians after Temujin in comparison to Mongolians prior to Temujin). Europe has been at war for centuries, and not only that but mass-conscription with well-training had allowed every armies numbering even millions to be trained and ready for battle in mere months. What is more, while Caesar had the Roman legions under the Marian reforms, Napoleon virtually had nothing. Other than several thousand soldiers under his command, most of the French armies were decimated and not a lot of Frenchmen were willing to fight any longer (hence the use of German and Italian soldiers). In a couple of years, he created the Grandee Armee out of the weakened Ancienne armies and wreaked havoc everywhere he went.
The Confederation of Rhine... was a success... Prior to his era, the German states were always constantly at war, and once in a lifetime, an 'emperor' (who by this time held no power) would be elected to do bagshit. The ideas of a unification in these times in Germany were more improbable than in Caesar's time (who united when met with the threat of Caesar under Vercin.) I suggest you actually read up on it. It crumbled because the Allied went in and destroyed the confederation in fear of Napoleon as well as Italy (Neapolitan wars).
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Old July 12th, 2009, 08:19 PM   #44

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Re: Julius Caesar vs. Napoleon vs. Alexander


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Originally Posted by Hoplite View Post
Alexander haters apparently got tired of hearing all the "He conquered almost the entire known world before 33 at such speed no man would ever conquer more" and got annoyed.

They got so sick of hearing the same thing that they forgot how amazing this feat that was.

Anyways back to the topic.

Caesar had some spectuclar achievements but his enemies were not as diverse as Alexander's. Gauls, gauls, britons, gauls, romans under pompeii and more gauls. Alexander faced persians, indians, scythians, kambojas, parthians, bactrians etc. Alexander onviously is more adaptable.

Napoleon learned little from his enemies. In the end his enemies were making his tactics, formations, weapons obsolete while Napoleon still relied on his tried-and-tested ways. At Waterloo he was so confident in his elite troops and still used the column formation which would be outmachted by the english line. As a result the famed Napoleon's guard embarrasingly retreated with their butts getting shot at and bayoneted.

Compare that to Alexander. Whenever he sees something new he incorporates them in his army. War elephants, horse archers etc. He constantly made changes and hence was never defeated.


Tried and Tested Elite?
All of Napoleons best battles he didnt send in the Guard, infact they were unused from 1805 to 1812, so he didnt "Rely on Guard in coloum"


His Coloums was NOT out matched by English Line, Coruonna anyone? Where the British were sent running to there ships?


Even at La Haye Saint..
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Old July 12th, 2009, 08:40 PM   #45

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Re: Julius Caesar vs. Napoleon vs. Alexander


Napoleon fought super powers, all of them and beat them all, only losing 2 significant battles, only when he was outnumbered 2 to 1.

On the other hand, he won 7 significant battles, led the most incredible campaigns, Six Days, Italian, Ulm, The Retreat in France, In Spain when he chased Moore off the Penisula.

He fought Campaigns, 30,000 vs 500,000 and won.

He led a mutinous, broken army against the Best of Austria and won.

He fought at Leipzig outnumbered 1 to 2.5 and infliceted more causalties on the allies then they did on him.

He fought the only adversary close to him and beat him (Archduke Charles).


He fought Wars against enemies equal or better.

This is like Alexander fighting a Macedonian army equal to his, or Caeser fighting the Legions! (which he on the other hand proved he could do).


He brought peace to Revolutionary France, transformed the Early Modren Period into the Modren one!

He has a bloody era named after him!

IT AINT THE ALEXANDRIC ERA, ITS THE HELLENISTIC.

For Alexander to pull off what Napoleon did, he would have to be fighting the Romans, Carthage, Persia, Gaul, Germania, Iberia and GCS at the same time.

For 15 years straight, could he pull it off?

I really just dont think so.



Had Grouchy kept up Napoleon would have had insane momentum.

People say that "Oh Austria and Russia had two armies comeing up anyway, Napoleon was doomed"

Except Napoleon has been in that situation before!

Even at Austerlitz he was in the same position, had Waterloo been won Napoleon would have excepted peace (as he wanted when he returned) and that would have been the end of it for a couple years.


They were all at the breaking point.



Napoleon was almost routinely in a position where Alexander would have just fell on his sword.
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Old July 13th, 2009, 12:45 AM   #46

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Re: Julius Caesar vs. Napoleon vs. Alexander


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For siege tactics I give Alexander more credit that I give him for his other battles, but not as much as I give Caesar. For all of his sieges Alexander owes a heavy debt to his chief engineer Diades, who IMO deserve far more credit for the siege of Tyre than Alexander does.
I don't think you can give full crediit to any commander for his use of new machines. Of course they needs engineers. Atleast Alexander pushed his engineers to create innovative equipments. How about Caesar? He used ballistas that were invented years before him.

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And I don;t see any reply to the assertion that Alexander cannot contend as a strategist?
Alexander is nothing short of excellent in strategy. He was all too aware that winning a battle don't always create a lasting hold on those he conquered. He often left garrisons on conquered lands to maintain order. Yes there were rebellions and some of them took months to quell but overall he maintained lasting peace and none of these rebellions ever threatened his empire as a whole. This is because of Alexander preventing his troops to plunder, allowing religion to flourish and exploitation(not the cruel exploitaion thing. It's more of taking persain treasures and absorbing their culture to serve the empire)

Alexander's aim maybe more on personal glory but you should not forget that he wanted lasting prosperous empire. The rebellions in his empire soon deterioreted simply because the people he conquered accepted the peace and prosperity that Alexander offered them.



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Even at La Haye Saint..
Well of course the French would win in that tiny farm house. Only a few hundred english defenders and they still managed to give the french a hard time thanks to their better weapons and superiority as marksman.
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Old July 13th, 2009, 01:02 PM   #47

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Re: Julius Caesar vs. Napoleon vs. Alexander


To Jebusrocks -

Oh the Persians weren't just garbage. I'm not saying that. But what I am saying is that the Gauls were a greater challenge. And that Caesar definitely had to face tougher leadership than Alexander.

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Again... his Marshals and Chief of staff? He is the only Frenchmen to have created more than two marshals to my recollection...
Again, that's very different from ensuring that a controlling party has its interests tied to your own. This is once again an excellent example of Napoleon's brilliant administrative abilities. What he didn't do was create a lasting peace; the "Glorious Peace" that he desired. To do that he would have had to ensure that the leadership of other nations was tied to his own. His Continental System is an excellent example of this. The Continental System was most definitely not in the interests of other countries to follow - it was just hurting them, and so they did not run with it. Napoleon's great fault was that he asked too much of people and entities, and he didn't recognize this until it was far too late.

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And I am asking HOW he bungled Waterloo. You can say that he made mistakes at Aspen-Essling and Borodino; but not in Waterloo or Leipzig.
Leipzig was indeed a very fine battle on Napoleon's part, but Waterloo was not. Strategically the Waterloo Campaign was another Napoleonic masterpiece, but tactically he became very sloppy. He issued comparatively few orders at Waterloo and they did little to improve upon matters.

Entire books have been written about Waterloo, and there is still a lot of contention about exactly what happened at the battle. Suffice to say that I have read a number of those books, and they are in agreeance that Napoleon's performance at Waterloo considering his position ranged from the merely competent (and this is the best that the writers who deeply admire Napoleon can say) to those who say outright that he acted incompetently.

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Howso? Archduke Charles is, and still is, one of the best Austrian marshals to date...
I must disagree with your opinion of Wellington. I think that he is truly one of the Great Captains. He was not the equal of Napoleon, but he was not too far down the lists either. He displayed in his career a mastery of defensive startegy and showed clearly that he was a brilliant tactician. Archduke Charles was a very good tactician, but certainly not a great one. He made a number of apt blunders that lower my estimation of him considerably andd as far as strategic sophistication goes he falls to the Iron Duke.

In terms of opposing leadership faced, Hannibal is a very good comparison for Napoleon in that he too faced a Great Captain and went down hard. The difference is that Zama was a very good battle for Hannibal in which he did everything he could with what he had and cannot be faulted overmuch, as opposed to Waterloo for Napoleon. Caesar (along with Scipio) alone faced down a Great Captain (Pompey) at a heavy disadvantage and could claim to have won a decisive victory through superior generalship. Continuing with the leadership tack for the three Hannibal had to face opponents who were certainly worthy of him in Fabius, Marcellus, and Nero. It is debatable whether the last one should really be counted as a great opponent since he only had one battle where he shone,and in the others was reduced to mere competency, and Marcellus is somewhat overrated as a commander by the Roman Historians (his main attribute was his tireless energy), but Fabius was certainly an insightful strategist in his way. Equateable with them in skill are the likes of Ariovistus, Cassivellaunus, Ambiorix, Afranius and Petreius, Bibulous, Ganymedes, Juba, Scipio, and the Pompeius brothers - Caesar's list of highly competent opponents to match those of Hannibal and Napoleon. But Caesar, as said, also faced Pompey, Labienus, and Vercingetorix. Of these Pompey was the greatest. Rome's foremost general until Caesar stole his thunder by conquering Gaul was an organizer and planner of genius whose stratgy was the match of an Alexander the Great. He was also most clearly a tactical genius. It is true that at all of his great victories he posessed a massive advantage in numbers, but then, Scpio was also set to win right from the start at the Great Plains. In neither case should the fact that they posessed the advantage right from the start detract from the fact that their victories displayed high tactical sophistication. During the Civil War Pompey proved himself a worthy opponent of Caesar. At Brunidisium and Dyrrachium he distinguished himself highly, and at Pharsalus his plan was both brilliant and innovative.

If Pompey was the greatest of Caesar's Great Opponents, Labienus perhaps was the most skillful. In Gaul as Caesar's lieutenant the latter trusted him with a number of independant battles and even command over entire areas of Gaul while he himself was engaged in other places (most notably during the Vercingetorix campaign). Labienus was most definitely a great tactician, and a strategist of genius. When he defected to join Caesar's enemies during the Civil War many Roman writers maintain that he did so out of jealousy: he believed himself to be Caesar's equal as a general and did not feel he had gotten enough credit as such. True or not, he opposed Caesar with zeal in Greece, Africa, and Spain.

Vercingetorix in his way was also a Great Captain for the ages. In his greatest accomplishment he showed himself to be the equal of a Marius or a Phillip - he made the Gauls a force that could face the Romans with far more confidence than before. Prior to Vercingetorix there had been a great deal of willingness amongst the Gauls to learn from their foes, but little organization to it. Vercingetorix used the Provincial Administration that Caesar had put in place to properly organize and unite the Gauls for the first time. Under him the Gallic Warriors were made to march and drill as the Romans did, and adopt Roman practices such as building an armed camp wherever they went. Under leaders such as Ambiorix the Gauls had learned to build field fortifications, and Vercingetorix expanded upon this. He showed himself to be a brilliant and flexible strategist who knew how to change his plans when things weren't working out. When Caesar appeared to be retreating from Gaul he posessed the strategic touch that let him realize that he had to inflict a defeat upon the Romans as they left if he wanted his victory to be decisive. Unfortunatly the Roman "retreat" turned out to be a feint and Vercingetorix found himself forced to retreat to Alesia. In the siege that followed he still aquitted himself most admirably.

All in all, in terms of enemy leadership no other general in the Ancient World was tried as hard as Caesar.

The Gauls as soldiers were inferior to the Romans, but Caesar had to face Roman legions that were just as much a match for his armies as anything Napoleon had to face.

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That doesn't make any sense at all. An established state is a much formidable power than a barbaric force...

The Confederation of Rhine...
I wouldn't confuse the Gauls with the Germans. The Gauls were divided into thousands of mini-states that were just as sophisticated as the more "civilized" peoples around the Mediterranean. Caesar's genius was to draw them into a unified province that would last for centuries. No small feat at all, and quite comparable with the one that Napoleon failed to accomplish. It almost backfired on Caesar as the Gauls did in fact use, as said above, the provincial unity that he had imposed on them to unite properly, but having achieved military victory he was able to manipulate the tribes into a settlement to maintain lasting peace.

Napoleon showed the brilliant administrative side of the necessary Empire-building skills required, but lacked the political accumen to bring about the lasting peace. The fact is that he did not build it upon the solid political foundation that was needed. It was what happened in all areas of his Empire. He lacked the foresight that is necessary for politics, and ended up working at cross purposes with Talleyrand, the greatest politician of the day. The fact that the Confederation of Rhine Crumbled owed to what was lacking in Napoleon's settlement. It is the difference between permanency and temperancy.

Napoleon inherited the reformed armies of the Revolution. His task was to organize them in a brilliant manner. As said, Napoleon was a brilliant organizer and administrator. He just lacked some political traits which Caesar posessed.
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Old July 13th, 2009, 01:59 PM   #48

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Re: Julius Caesar vs. Napoleon vs. Alexander


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I don't think you can give full crediit to any commander for his use of new machines. Of course they needs engineers. Atleast Alexander pushed his engineers to create innovative equipments. How about Caesar? He used ballistas that were invented years before him.
Caesar made use of far more than Ballistae friend. A short rundown on his innovations in engineering:

- At the Axona river Caesar perfected the technique of using trenches to shield his flanks. He combined this with innovative use of redoubts packed with artillery that effortlessly put to shame Sulla's innovations years before.

- In besieging Venetian fortresses Caesar built huge dykes that literally had to hold back the ocean.

- For his naval battle against the Veneti Caesar invented a new type of weapon that was effectively a long scythe crossed with a pike that his men used to play havoc with the Venetian rigging.

- Against the Morini and Manapi Caesar came up on the spot with a double-rampart running inland as a method over attacking through woodland. In boldness and technique it was a match for anything Diades came up with at Tyre.

- For his campaigns in Britain Caesar designed a new type of ship altogether. He had discovered in his Veneti campaign that Roman ships simply could not function well away from the Mare Internum, so he completely reconfigured the bow and sail design of the ships and implemented superior Gallic construction methods. He also added in the things that normal Roman ships had that were superior - banks of oars, onboard artillery, etc. The result was a hybrid between Roman and Gallic Ships that was perfect for sailing in the British Channel. As if it wasn't enough to have demonstrated his engineering genius by designing a new ship he then went on to build a fleet of 800 of them to use to attack Britain.

- Having taken the above mentioned fleet to Britain, to protect it from storms Caesar dragged the entire fleet onto the shore and enclosed it inside a massive series of fortifcations, displaying brilliant constrcution methods.

- To cross over the Rhine river to punish the German tribes Caesar built a brdige that was undenibaly his masterpiece. Hundreds of meters long, the brdige was as wide as a modern highway and unbelievably solid. It had an extre layer of defences against the possibility of the Germans launching logs or boats upstream to ram into it, and featured towers and inbuilt artillery. And Caesar built it in just ten days. Designing this bridge alone would have established Caesar as one of the greatest engineers in history.

- At the battle of Charleroi Caesar demonstrated a mastery of field fortifications unrivalled. It was as much thanks to his innovation in fort construction as in tactics that routed the Gauls.

- Caesar's great Siege Ramp at the battle of Avaricum was not one of his greater works, but should still be mentioned.

- The Siege of Alesia, the greatest in history, was Caesar's masterpiece to rival his bridging of the Rhine. In addition to constructing 25 miles of field fortifications riddled with towers, artillery, and defensive genius Caesar invented no fewer than three additional engineering defensive measures. he combined far greater engineering mastery than even Diades with superior innovation to Alexander and far more sophisticated tactics.

- At the siege of Uxelledorum Caesar, in addition to great siege-works, found occaison to once more make an innovation in engineering - brilliantly cutting off the Gallic water-supply through diversion of the springs they used for water.

- At the siege of Brunidisium Caesar actually built a wall across the entrance of a harbour. He did not do this by building a mole like the one Diades and Alexander used at Tyre and then building on that - that would have taken too long. Instead he actually built the wall on top of the water by using chains and rafts to make a steady foundation and throwing up ramparts on that. He then to boot manned the thing with troops and artillery. He did this at the same time as he directed a siege of the city on the other side of the bay.

- At Ilerda Caesar undid his opponents by creating a ford in a fiercly flowing river. His method was a series of expertly laid trenches that were another stroke of his engineering genius.

- At Dyrrachium Caesar instituted a blockade that matched Alesia in boldness. His layer of fortifications stretched for 17 miles, not counting another series of fortifications that he built to cut Pompey off from the town. During the construction Caesar came up with the idea of using portable ramparts to shield soldiers as they siezed hills to fortify. Only the fact that Caesar ultimately abandoned the siege prevents it from being the equal of Alesia.

- In Alexandria Caesar had to turn his engineering genius to a new challenge: an unprecedented example of Urban Warfare. Caesar turned an entire section of the city into a giant fortress, again making use of innovative construction methods, as well as coming up with new tactics to use in the fighting.

- At Corbuda Caesar built a series of complicated fortifications designed to include a bridge whose method in constrcution matched the brilliance he displayed on the Rhine.

Caesar was the first general in history to use field fortifications as a tactical device, demonstrating his skill in doing so at Ilerda, Pharsalus, and Thapsus. And this is just a lost of the major innovations. Even when he wasn't coming up with new stuff his brilliance was evident in the scope of what he did, how quickly he did it, and how efficiently he worked - his fortifications at the Rhone, in Africa, and at numerous sieges were all examples of genius. Upon becoming Dictator of the Republic he planned a massive series of roads to encompass places from Italy to Spain to the Eastern Provinces. He planned a canal that would cut through the Corinthian Peninsula and improve communications with the East. In Italy he planned to construct a new waterway, drain both the Pontine Marshes and the Fucine Lake, create a artificial lake outside of Rome, divert the Tiber River, and dredge and completely remodel the harbor at Ostia. A keen architect (while still rising up the political ladder he had designed houses that all had agreed were magnificent) and urban planner, he founded more cities and colonies than Alexander did, and planned them far better - whereas many of Alexander's cities were soon abandoned, only Alexandria being a great success, Caesar's cities and colonies invariably thrived. Most notable of all were the reconstructions of Carthage and Corinth - the two great cities that Rome had destroyed in the past. He planned the beautification of Rome, planning for intensive remodelling, and such works as a Great Library, a new Senate House, a Basilica, a new Forum, a series of structures for voting in, a Theatre that was to be the largest the world had ever seen and a Temple dedicated to Mars that was also to be that largest the world had ever seen. And he did all this while making similar progress in the realms of military, political and adminstraive, literary and oratical, and even astronomical affairs.

Alexander could encourage his engineers to be innovative, but that was all. Caesar was his own chief engineer, and as such he surpassed the best that Alexander's engineers could do.
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Old July 13th, 2009, 02:14 PM   #49

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Re: Julius Caesar vs. Napoleon vs. Alexander


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Alexander is nothing short of excellent in strategy. He was all too aware that winning a battle don't always create a lasting hold on those he conquered. He often left garrisons on conquered lands to maintain order. Yes there were rebellions and some of them took months to quell but overall he maintained lasting peace and none of these rebellions ever threatened his empire as a whole. This is because of Alexander preventing his troops to plunder, allowing religion to flourish and exploitation(not the cruel exploitaion thing. It's more of taking persain treasures and absorbing their culture to serve the empire)
Oh Alexander was certainly good at strategy. But he cannot hold a candle to Caesar and Napoleon.

Alexander never once engaged in a single great strategic maneuver that would be worth speaking of. He has nothing to answer Caesar's Belgae, Veneti, Treverian, Vercingetorix, Italian, or Spanish campaigns, or Napoleon's Italian, Ulm, or Six Days campaigns.

Alexander's disastrous invasion of India saw his entire Empire fall into chaos and the wave of terror he unleashed to quell the chaos was only a temporary solution.

Napoleon did not create a solid political foundation for his Empire, but at least he was a brilliant administrator. Alexander also did not create a solid political foundation and he was an incompetent administrator. The fall of Napoleon's empire was not necessarily inevitable, but Alexander's was.

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Alexander's aim maybe more on personal glory but you should not forget that he wanted lasting prosperous empire. The rebellions in his empire soon deterioreted simply because the people he conquered accepted the peace and prosperity that Alexander offered them.
Were this true he would have actually made an attempt at administrating his empire, or done ssomething even close to it. Alexander did not bring peace or prosperity - he unleashed governors and satraps who plundered the empire like pirates. He even allowed Macedonia to fall into chaos, with his own mother one of the major culprits. His legacy to his homeland was to leave it drained of both men and monies. His only response was to execute people left, right, and center. He gave nothing to civilization - only took from it. When he died he expressed the hope that there would be "great funeral games" in his honor - welcoming the prospect of Civil War amongst his generals. He could not even leave an heir.
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Old July 13th, 2009, 02:25 PM   #50

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Re: Julius Caesar vs. Napoleon vs. Alexander


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