Missed opportunities in military history

Nov 2010
6,850
Cornwall
#91
Did someone mention Napoleon not sending in guards at Borodino to break Russian army?
I'm sort of thinking on the enclosed battlefield of Borodino it wouldn't have worked. They were all ready to restart the nest day but the Russians disappeared overnight. Napoleon got himself into a position of fighting on Kutuzov's battlefield (not unlike Waterloo) and was outsmarted once again. Sending the Imperial Guard in would've compounded it - in any case they were referred to sarcastically in the army as 'The Immortals', simply because they were only introduced when all the fighting was done for the coup de grace (quotes from soldiers in Paul Britten Austen's Moscow Trilogy)
 
Aug 2015
3,365
Slovenia
#92
I've read in a book about Borodino that Russian army was obliterated and that behind a wall of standing Russian guards all were running towards Moscow. Guards took heavy French shelling for more than hour and many died.

More than ten marshals and generals demanded that Guard should be sent but Napoleon refused.
 
Oct 2010
7,679
#93
I've read in a book about Borodino that Russian army was obliterated and that behind a wall of standing Russian guards all were running towards Moscow. Guards took heavy French shelling for more than hour and many died.

More than ten marshals and generals demanded that Guard should be sent but Napoleon refused.
Which Book? I donlt agree with that KCahracterization. Both Armies took a pounding all day, eveyy constrained battelfield, both Amries had many reserves standing in Artillery range, massive concentration of artillery both sides,. It was a very bloody battle.
 
Oct 2010
7,679
#94
I'm sort of thinking on the enclosed battlefield of Borodino it wouldn't have worked. They were all ready to restart the nest day but the Russians disappeared overnight. Napoleon got himself into a position of fighting on Kutuzov's battlefield (not unlike Waterloo) and was outsmarted once again. Sending the Imperial Guard in would've compounded it - in any case they were referred to sarcastically in the army as 'The Immortals', simply because they were only introduced when all the fighting was done for the coup de grace (quotes from soldiers in Paul Britten Austen's Moscow Trilogy)
I would object to almost anything good being said about Kutiuzov's Battel management, tatical skills, he was good at morale and moivating the Russian soldiers, sly and good at political maneuvering, making sure otehr people suggested to retreat rather than saying. The Battlefield was not particularity well chosen, the deployment abyssal , the management near non existent. The Russian Armyy was saved by the efforts of Barclay and Bagration doing all the work overcoming Kutuzov's mistakes. Cost Bagration his life.

Npaoloen attacked stright up the middle into one of the largest concentrations of artillery ever assembled, against a extremely stubborn army. Bludgening the Russian army is rarely going to work that well, guaranteed high attrition and the Russian could replace their soldiers so much easier than he ever could.,,
 
Aug 2015
3,365
Slovenia
#95
Which Book? I donlt agree with that KCahracterization. Both Armies took a pounding all day, eveyy constrained battelfield, both Amries had many reserves standing in Artillery range, massive concentration of artillery both sides,. It was a very bloody battle.
Both armies took extreme losses but French guards were standing still. It was a bloody mess in the center with attacks and counterattacks against a hill with Bagration's fortified position (I think that 12th French attack was a final one) and most of artillery aimed there. I don't remember an author, book was not having many pages. I think that idea was to push Russian guards which were securing a retreat (which turned into a rout) with fresh French guards but Napoleon refused.
 
#96
Having trouble understanding this. Was there not an armistice already in place? Surely there was a reason to agree to an armistice. Be it an inability to carry out more operations or the unwillingness of the Prussians to fight further.
The armistice was signed the 11th, the order was issued the 9th, but the feelers were sent out earlier.
The Italian government considered acceptable the Austrian offer to relinquish Veneto and keep Trentino (I imagine that it was because in Trentino there was, and still is, a German speaking minority) so they ordered Garibaldi to retreat in order to not jeopardize negotiations. It was considered a good outcome because after Custoza and Lissa, despite the later successes, the king and the government did not trust the military anymore.
BUT
If they have played a slightly harder ball and they would have pushed Garibaldi rather than stopping him, there was a very good possibility to bag Trento and also Bolzano would have been in range.
In this case, Italy would have had both territories rather than just Veneto and WWI might have been different; with Italy neutral, for example.

Part of the intervention narrative before the beginning of WWI referred to these lands as the lands needing "redemption" from the enemy. In principle WWI was started to finish off what the Italian independence process had started but didn't finish (obviously there was more to it, but this was the narrative).
 
Jan 2016
461
Macedonia
#97
Wallenstein not seeking a decisive battle against the Swedes and Saxons in 1633. After Lützen, he could have won a "Nördlingen" if he had attempted one, and he could prove himself to be indespensble to the Emperor. Instead he chose to seek a peace which made the Emperor suspicious and finally resulted in his own downfall.
 
Sep 2017
443
United States
#98
Stilicho not crushing Alaric after Verona.

I know he thought he could later ally with Alaric for political moves in Illyricum, but the move ultimately cost him as it was one of the reasons he was accused of being in league with Alaric and the Goths; if he had decisively beaten Alaric, maybe he could've saved face.
 
Oct 2010
7,679
#99
Both armies took extreme losses but French guards were standing still. It was a bloody mess in the center with attacks and counterattacks against a hill with Bagration's fortified position (I think that 12th French attack was a final one) and most of artillery aimed there. I don't remember an author, book was not having many pages. I think that idea was to push Russian guards which were securing a retreat (which turned into a rout) with fresh French guards but Napoleon refused.
The Russians guards were not securing a retreat , there was none the Russain army was forced back, contniued to counter attack and fight for every yeard , nor was there a general rout in any sense.
 
Aug 2015
3,365
Slovenia
I read that there was a rout of combined Russian soldiers and civilians (lots of aristocracy from Moscow) which were behind a battlefield in a style of northerners in a first Bull Run. Some French noticed that and from such reports all marshals demanded a push of guards against Russian guards which were standing some distance behind a battlefield and taking heavy casualties from French cannonade. With their standing in formations they were covering a retreat/rout. Napoleon refused an attack of his guards.

After a battle while Napoleon was busy wintering in Moscow Russians were unable of doing much with their worn out army for some time. I don't have a timeline in my head for how long was Napoleon in Moscow before being forced to retreat because of a burning of Moscow and supplies problems.
 

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