Napoleon As a Military Commander

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,658
If that is the case, how to explain :
1 - the important russian losses
2 - the fact that the coalition (including the prussian) numbered "only" 200,000 men at the start of the german campaign in early 1813 ?
What do you mean by 1? The Russians did not take many combat casulaties in chasing the French out of Russia.

2 - Hows that a problem. The Rusisans are at less than half strnegth, the Prussians are a tiny army..

This are actually good question. The files contains every man that was under french flag, be it french or not. The exception are foreign armies like the prussian or the austrian for example.
Please note that Sokolov recently try to improve the work of Houdaille (with 8432 files analysed) and come up with very similar results : (in russian) https://imo.sgu.ru/sites/imo.sgu.ru/files/2019/09/o._v._sokolov_337-343.pdf and a google translate : Google Translate
Half the Army was not under the French flag or subject to a French bureaucracy, There were foreign Armies. Reading the RUssian tralation it seem bnot to include foreign armies. Bavarain, Wuttermburg, Westpahila, which is around half the army and suffered the worst losses.


"Thus, the percentage of losses obtained on the basis of the analysis of track records, namely 45%, is completely reliable. Considering that about 1 million 800 thousand people were called up under the banner, it can be concluded that the total number of irretrievable losses of the French regiments in the era of the Consulate and Empire was a little more than 800 thousand people. Taking into account the foreign units serving Napoleon (directly in the ranks of the French army), probably about 900 thousand people. It should be noted that in the ranks of the “French” regiments, a large number of ethnic Germans, Italians, Belgians, and Dutch were subjects of the Empire."

This and otherc omments seem to be ony regiments the were directly part of the French army are incuded.

The only reinforcement I’m aware of are the garrison in Vilnius and the northern army. I never read of reinforcement from France or Germany.
Well most descriptions I've seen do,

Yes that’s the numbers that are "traditionnal", but the primary sources (not memoirs but civil and military registries) and the demographic analysis tends to prove that it was not that huge. But again maybe the discrepancies are due to the difference between people not available in the army and people definitively irretrievable.
The losses are totally in line with the demographic studese from what I can see. They only do French Army losses and about half the losses in Russian were not French army losses.

These studies are syaing 900,000 "Frenchmen" (those in the exanded borders of France under Napoloen )died. within this 200,000 in Russian (half the 400,000 as the otehr half were not French) is totally consistent nothing in this study contradicts the numbers used by historians.
 
Mar 2014
53
Paris (France)
What do you mean by 1? The Russians did not take many combat casulaties in chasing the French out of Russia.

2 - Hows that a problem. The Rusisans are at less than half strnegth, the Prussians are a tiny army..
That’s my point : the russian did also suffer massive non-combat casualties, as the french.

Half the Army was not under the French flag or subject to a French bureaucracy, There were foreign Armies. Reading the RUssian tralation it seem bnot to include foreign armies. Bavarain, Wuttermburg, Westpahila, which is around half the army and suffered the worst losses.


"Thus, the percentage of losses obtained on the basis of the analysis of track records, namely 45%, is completely reliable. Considering that about 1 million 800 thousand people were called up under the banner, it can be concluded that the total number of irretrievable losses of the French regiments in the era of the Consulate and Empire was a little more than 800 thousand people. Taking into account the foreign units serving Napoleon (directly in the ranks of the French army), probably about 900 thousand people. It should be noted that in the ranks of the “French” regiments, a large number of ethnic Germans, Italians, Belgians, and Dutch were subjects of the Empire."

This and otherc omments seem to be ony regiments the were directly part of the French army are incuded.


Well most descriptions I've seen do,


The losses are totally in line with the demographic studese from what I can see. They only do French Army losses and about half the losses in Russian were not French army losses.

These studies are syaing 900,000 "Frenchmen" (those in the exanded borders of France under Napoloen) died. within this 200,000 in Russian (half the 400,000 as the otehr half were not French) is totally consistent nothing in this study contradicts the numbers used by historians.
When people say half of the army were not French, they refer to born french in the 1790 border. It’s more a 2/3 under French units and 1/3 foreign units.
Having said that, I agree (even if I personnaly think it’s more 350,000 than 400,000, just an opinion so no arguments here). My point was about people claiming half a million losses.

If you compare losses there is max 400,000 french (and allies) losses to 300,000 russian losses (not counting civilians). The point here is the relative difference here is not that much. Comparing with for example the relative losses during the third coalition (1805) where there was around 50,000 French (and allies) losses to 140,000 losses in the coalition.
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,658
That’s my point : the russian did also suffer massive non-combat casualties, as the french.
Many Russian casualties survived and returned to service. The French did not.
Russian losses donlt tend to get much attention, I need more information.

When people say half of the army were not French, they refer to born french in the 1790 border. It’s more a 2/3 under French units and 1/3 foreign units.
Having said that, I agree (even if I personnaly think it’s more 350,000 than 400,000, just an opinion so no arguments here). My point was about people claiming half a million losses.
Losses, causalities are somewhat vague terms. Loss of effectives who did not return to the French Imperial forces 450-500,000 . Maybe.


Here is zamoyski's figures. (page 536 1812 - Napoloen;s fatal March.)

Total French Forces - 550,000-600,0000
French made it out - 120,000 (50,000 Austrians and Prussians)
French sent out early (lghtly injured & cadres sent home ) - maybe up to 30,000
French deserters , stragglers who left ealry who MAY have gotten out - maybe up to 50,000
Prisoners - 100,000 (of which only 20,000 made it home- 20,000) (though interestingly Russian sources aorund 2,000 stayed in Russia as a choice)

So maybe aorund got out alive maybe up to 200,000 (50,000 Austrians & Prussian, 50,000 desrters , 20,000 proisoners, French effectives out 80,000 at best, efftectives avilable 1813 20,000 )

Deaths maybe aorund 400,000

Russian deaths Soldiers & militia 400,000 (nothing other than the headline number)


Zamoyski does not really go into much detail and maybe up to is hardly a strong commitmemnt to the numbers.


If you compare losses there is max 400,000 french (and allies) losses to 300,000 russian losses (not counting civilians). The point here is the relative difference here is not that much. Comparing with for example the relative losses during the third coalition (1805) where there was around 50,000 French (and allies) losses to 140,000 losses in the coalition.

1805 figures based on? What does losses mean? Those that surrender out Ulm would have mostly survived.
 
Mar 2014
53
Paris (France)
Many Russian casualties survived and returned to service. The French did not.
Russian losses donlt tend to get much attention, I need more information.


Losses, causalities are somewhat vague terms. Loss of effectives who did not return to the French Imperial forces 450-500,000 . Maybe.


Here is zamoyski's figures. (page 536 1812 - Napoloen;s fatal March.)

Total French Forces - 550,000-600,0000
French made it out - 120,000 (50,000 Austrians and Prussians)
French sent out early (lghtly injured & cadres sent home ) - maybe up to 30,000
French deserters , stragglers who left ealry who MAY have gotten out - maybe up to 50,000
Prisoners - 100,000 (of which only 20,000 made it home- 20,000) (though interestingly Russian sources aorund 2,000 stayed in Russia as a choice)

So maybe aorund got out alive maybe up to 200,000 (50,000 Austrians & Prussian, 50,000 desrters , 20,000 proisoners, French effectives out 80,000 at best, efftectives avilable 1813 20,000 )

Deaths maybe aorund 400,000

Russian deaths Soldiers & militia 400,000 (nothing other than the headline number)


Zamoyski does not really go into much detail and maybe up to is hardly a strong commitmemnt to the numbers.
I agree except for the effectives available in early 1813 : it’s more than 50,000 as Eugène de Beauharnais managed to regroup a lot of stragglers and built an "efficient" defense (given the means he had) of eastern germany. Campaign that is completely forgotten today.

1805 figures based on? What does losses mean? Those that surrender out Ulm would have mostly survived.
I took them from wikipedia.
 

johnincornwall

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
7,790
Cornwall
7000 combat deaths included dying from wounds. So ho wmany do you think Died at Borodino, How many Wounded? And how did anyof the owunded make it out?
It's a distant memory, but I seem to remember Paul Britten Austen's trilogy telling of one of the Corps (Ney or Eugene?) having to go over Borodino again on the retreat. The bodies were still there and he mentions the peasants counting 56,000 (don't ask me how). Also there was a fella with his legs blown off propped up against a tree, kept alive by the peasants. Ended up back in France and survived.

So 1 :lol:
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,658
I took them from wikipedia.
Bodart, G. (1916). Losses of Life in Modern Wars, Austria-Hungary; France.
Which is on the internet archive. So I downloaded it. Bodarts figures for 1812.

Frech 612,000 total troops (312,000 allies)

Number returned to the frontier 112,000
Prisoners of War.........................100,000
In Hospitals...................................50,000
Deserters.......................................50,000
Killed in Battle.............................100,000
Died of Hunger, cold etc ............200,000

Russian Losses
Killed............................................200,000
Deserted/Dispersed.....................50,000
Wounded who recovered...........150,000

His methodology seems to revolve around officer casualties which are more detailed. But There is nothing in depth how various figures are reached.
What deos deserted mean? I'd question the same numbers for Russians and French. The Russians had better discipline, and the cossack police on roads
were everywhere the oppptunuty just was much reduced, and where woudl Russian deserters go? They are not welcome back at the village.
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,658
I agree except for the effectives available in early 1813 : it’s more than 50,000 as Eugène de Beauharnais managed to regroup a lot of stragglers and built an "efficient" defense (given the means he had) of eastern germany. Campaign that is completely forgotten today.
I disgree 12,000 troops who were sent to Garrison. Almost all of Eugene Effective field force was troops who were NOT in Russia. McDonald's northern force who did not suffer so much was in Danzig, and the Southern force, also not so heavily treated was not available.

I would not call Eugene defense "effeicent". He basically retired as the Russains advanced.

Napoleon's Last Campaign in Germany (Petrie) Page 32

"With the Remains of the Guard, the I, II, II, IV and VI (Bavarian) Corps he had some 12,000 worn out troops. As the mixed divsionof MacDonald's corps and Heudelet's "Divsion de marche", the only troops still worth anything had been thrown by Murat into Danzig mthe unfortunte Viceroy would have had preactically no army at all , but for the some 10,000 men of various nationalities gathered from "regiments de marche"".

Napoleon's Last Campaign in Germany (Petrie) Page 33

" As the ruins of the infantry of the I,II, III and IV corps were unfit for employment in the field , Eugene sent them respectiveky to garrison Stettin, Kustrin, Spandau and Glogau. The "cadres" set free bythe arrangement were sent back to Erfurt for use organising new units.
Eugene nwas now left with a few of these men whom he kept back , the remains of the Guard, two fresh battalions of Young Guard called up from Settin and the :detachments de marche" already mentiined some 12,000 in all,"

Napoleon's Last Campaign in Germany (Petrie) Page 34

"Between the 20th and 25th Janurary , Grenier's divsion (18,000) reached Berlin from Italy:"
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,658
"No other man has sacrificed so many human victims to the god of war as did Napoleon I; no other man has sowed death broadcast on such a scale; no other commander ever cared less for his soldiers than he."

Bodart, G.

 
Nov 2019
6
NewYork
I'm aware there have been similar threads before but I want to see what people think now.

What is your assesment of Napoleon as a military commander? This includes his military campaigns, battles, army organisation, strategy, treatment of his men etc. Furhtermore, what do you think were his greatest and worst performances.
Juiles ceasar,Alexander the great and Napoleon the top military commanders all time there stoies are legend.