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Old September 22nd, 2015, 04:28 PM   #11

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Originally Posted by Tercios Espanoles View Post
Don't forget either that Austria(-Hungary), unlike most European countries, did not have neat, easily defensible borders.
Or contiguous for that matter thinking of Austrian Netherlands.
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Old September 22nd, 2015, 07:48 PM   #12

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23 victories. 14 defeats. That's better than most IMO.
However many of those victories were against internal enemies, like Hungarian rebels(and the one that occured in 1848 required Russian assistance). Furthermore all of their major victories except for one involved the help of allies, like in the sixth coalition against france. They crushed the Ottomans in the 1716-1718 war but then lost in the 1730's despite having Russian help.
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Old September 22nd, 2015, 07:51 PM   #13

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Sometimes they were on the losing side diplomatically as well. I wager them coming off worst (though not quite outright losing) the Thirty Years War, for example, is because they came off on the losing side in the alliance-making scenarios. It's most powerful ally, Spain, already had too many other conflicts distracting it, like those against both France AND the United Provinces. Poland was hardly much help either. In comparison, it's main rival, Sweden, had nothing else much to seriously distract it's efforts, and France only had to seriously contend with a Spain that was already over-stretching itself, and very much lagging economically by this time. While there were a number of occasions when their armies could have performed a lot better, the primary reason for their semi-failure in this war was that diplomacy/alliances were against them.

The heterogeneous make-up of their state and lack of geographically favorable defenses doesn't help much either. Their army also had problems in that the majority of those serving weren't of Austrian stock, but were, in fact, primarily Bohemians, Hungarians, Croatians, Transylvanians, etc. and some Germans from other parts of the HRE. This means that the majority of it's army was made up of disparate elements, but still functioning under very largely Austrian authority (without which, the situation would have been even worse). With this comes innumerable language, cultural, and, to some extent, even political barriers, all within one army. In contrast, while Russia was also heterogeneous, at least the vast majority who served in the Russian army were Russians themselves, and shared a common linguistic, cultural, and religious background. A relative minority (compared to the armies of the Hapsburgs) were made up of Baltic German, Ukrainian/Cossack, Belo-Russian and Central Asian elements. Russia, while not enjoying proximity to Europe as a result of geography, were at least given a winning hand in that sheer space was a shield of it's own against defeat and breathing space. Austria was usually given a losing hand in this regard.

Lastly, they also suffered some bad luck in, say, the Seven Years War, when logistical difficulties not only greatly hampered their Russian ally's efforts, but also when that same nation's national leader (Tsarina Elizabeth) died when Austria and Russia were on a clear ascendancy, in terms of attrition, against Prussia. This ended Russian participation and assistance just at the start of the year when their defeat of the Prussians should have happened. It is to Frederick's credit that his efforts (sometimes brilliant, sometimes not) held off defeat through attrition long enough for such a lucky event of contingency to take place, but he still got lucky, and Austria not so much.

Also, the result of the Austrian Succession War, as the linked lays out, is not too correct. Sure, Austria lost Silesia to Frederick, but considering how the war started out for them, things could have gone a lot worse. In this, France's proxy, Bavaria, lost out, and the 'Succession' issue went in Austria's favor. Plus, Austria succeeded in curtailing Bourbon aims in Italy.
I can agree with a lot of what you said there, Spain was there ally in the Thirty Years war but they also had to deal with rebellion in the Netherlands which took away substantial resources from fighting with France.
The fact that Russia dropped out of the war combined with France's failures against Britain was certainly a stroke of really bad luck.
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Old September 22nd, 2015, 10:14 PM   #14

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However many of those victories were against internal enemies, like Hungarian rebels(and the one that occured in 1848 required Russian assistance). Furthermore all of their major victories except for one involved the help of allies, like in the sixth coalition against france. They crushed the Ottomans in the 1716-1718 war but then lost in the 1730's despite having Russian help.
I can't name one single big war won by the British Empire without (determinant) Allies.
The same applies to the US.
Ironically the only nations capable of winning wars on their own (and losing them) are Russia,France and Germany/Prussia.
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Old September 22nd, 2015, 10:21 PM   #15
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Austria won lot of wars and battles.. the thread is wrong. In WW1, Austria lost battles in East Front and Balkan in early stages.. but won both campagins: in 1918, Austria - Hungary stretched from Greece and Albania to Crimea and Ukraine.
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Old September 22nd, 2015, 10:36 PM   #16

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I think it is quite simple: Austria was among the top6/top10 strongest nations in this period (1600-1920), but it was never the most powerful.

So, to keep their status, they had to think grand, but then again, they didn't have the necessary resources...
In the beginning of the era, they were also often emperors, and had to take part in ventures too expensive. (In an article by a hungarian historian, I read that the wars to beat the turks out of Hungary cost about 30-40years of income from all Habsburg holdings.)



Also, power of Austria, or Habsburg-countries is a bit misleading. The population of countries inherited by Charles V was similar to France. But the french monarchs had it in one place, while Charles V's empire was divided into: Iberia+Low countries area+Sicily and Naples(+Ferdinand's countries)



Quote:
Originally Posted by nuclearguy165
The heterogeneous make-up of their state and lack of geographically favorable defenses doesn't help much either. Their army also had problems in that the majority of those serving weren't of Austrian stock, but were, in fact, primarily Bohemians, Hungarians, Croatians, Transylvanians, etc. and some Germans from other parts of the HRE. This means that the majority of it's army was made up of disparate elements, but still functioning under very largely Austrian authority (without which, the situation would have been even worse).
This is only true after the 1840's.
Before nationalism, there were no real problems with that, lots of great generals were not ethnic german. (Eugene di Savoy, Montecuccoli, Tilly, Wallenstein, Rabutin...)


Also, there was no "ethnicity" among nobles. If you were a noble around the court, it didn't really matter whether you were born in Prague, Graz, Zagreb or Buda. (check the ministers of the period: quite a few czech and hungarian folks among them after 1700)
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Old September 23rd, 2015, 02:34 AM   #17
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However many of those victories were against internal enemies, like Hungarian rebels(and the one that occured in 1848 required Russian assistance). Furthermore all of their major victories except for one involved the help of allies, like in the sixth coalition against france. They crushed the Ottomans in the 1716-1718 war but then lost in the 1730's despite having Russian help.
Both America and Britain relied on allies for most of their major wars. I don't think it's that big a deal.
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Old September 23rd, 2015, 05:12 AM   #18

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shikaka
This is only true after the 1840's.
Before nationalism, there were no real problems with that, lots of great generals were not ethnic german. (Eugene di Savoy, Montecuccoli, Tilly, Wallenstein, Rabutin...)


Also, there was no "ethnicity" among nobles. If you were a noble around the court, it didn't really matter whether you were born in Prague, Graz, Zagreb or Buda. (check the ministers of the period: quite a few czech and hungarian folks among them after 1700)
This is true. Among the common soldiery though, language and other barriers always would have been pertinent, and the 'Austrian' army would have differed from many others in this regard (with the exception of the Ottomans).

I would venture to say that Austria's main problems were a combination of this, geography, and possibly with having just as many bad alliance balances as good ones. It was also, for reasons of cultural make-up and geography, unable to turn itself into a 'Spartan' military state quite the same way Prussia could.
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Old September 23rd, 2015, 06:12 AM   #19

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A variety of factors come into play, not least of all the quality of their commanders, both Conrad and Prince Charles Alexander of Lorraine were two spectacular duds.
The loss of Silesia was a real blow which was to rob them of a rich industrial area and served to hamper their ability to produce sufficient quantities of modern weapons.
They were of course up against that Bonaparte chap for a while, he seemed to give all off continental europe a hard time.
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Old September 23rd, 2015, 07:24 AM   #20
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The loss of Silesia was a psychological blow. Who could have thought that such a small country as Prussia, could defeat a mighty empire? Even Frederick's general were not optimistic when the war started. It was a shock for Europe. A new powerful country - Prussia- emerged. The rise of Prussia was glorious and extraordinary thing.
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