Napoleon in Egypt

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
8,783
#22
Just on the Hypothetical reasonable Sized European force besieging Constantinople in 1800.

Siege Guns would make a signficnat difference, but real siege guns were very heavy and hard to move and would certainly not be transported overland on poor roads very far at all. In Spain older fortications,e scpcially those with thick walls were very difficult prospects.
Also while the Ottoman armies were generally very woeful in the field against the Russians they were normally very very difficult in fortresses and sieges.
 
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Apr 2014
372
Istanbul Turkey
#23
Napoleon even if with his meagre force of 14.000 men from French du Orient (rest were garrisoning Egypt) despite bubonic plague among his troops , lack of supplies , lack of logistics and transportation , almost no siege guns (most of French siege guns were captured by Royal Navy during a daring raid to Jaffa led by Admiral Sir Sidney Smith ) and no links back to France to gain replacements and reinforcements and heavy combat and non combat casaulties French suffered so far (Napoleon lost more than 3.000 by the time he reached before Acre and suffered almost 3.000 more during failed siege) captured Acre , the idea that he could take capital of Ottoman Empire Istanbul (Constantinopole) that is 1.200 miles away is a comical fantasy. He had no resources for that. He might have tried to intimidate Sultan Selim III or make a treaty with him but seriously as long as French occupied Egypt , one of the wealthiest provinces of Ottoman Empire , I can not see how this could be possible. So basically his Egyption and Near East Expedition was doomed the moment Nelson destroyed French fleet at Naval Battle of Nile and cut off all French sea links back to France. Napoleon's failure before Acre , his inability to capture the fortress , just sealed the fate of French Near and Middle East expedition and made its strategic fiasco official. He might have made alliances with local Druze and Arab populations at Palastine or Syria to enlarge his army maybe but French atrocities against locals in Jaffa , El Arish and Lebenon valley closed down that door too.

In 1807 a Royal Navy squadron under command of Admiral Duckworth actually passed Dardaneles intact and came before Constantinopole to demand Ottoman sultan to expel all French residents and declare war on France (that must have inspired Winston Churchill for Dardanelles Expedition in 1915) but Ottomans did not buckle or gave in , instead they fortified the city walls. British squadron realised that their bluff was called in , retreated back to Aegean Sea. Napoleon's odds compared to that had been even lower.
 
Last edited:
Dec 2018
92
California
#24
Probably more of an expeditionary/scientific campaign more than anything. Anyone with any brains would of known little to no good could come from the invasion. Leading throngs of men into a desert campaign isn't the brightest of ideas.
At least the montgolfier brothers got some benefit from the campaign.


fishnets & Basket weaving, Sounds egyptian to me.

Some even say the French recovered Moses basket he was supposedly "sent down the Nile in" and brought it back to France. Mixed in amongst whale intestines, specialty valves, and other gondolier baskets.

Now that would be up there with the Holy Grail and Ark of the Covenant finds.


Probably the main mission was to try and find, conquer, and establish a good line of iron for manufacture of weapons.
 
Last edited:
Feb 2019
441
Serbia
#26
Just on the Hypothetical reasonable Sized European force besieging Constantinople in 1800.

Siege Guns would make a signficnat difference, but real siege guns were very heavy and hard to move and would certainly not be transported overland on poor roads very far at all. In Spain older fortications,e scpcially those with thick walls were very difficult prospects.
Also while the Ottoman armies were generally very woeful in the field against the Russians they were normally very very difficult in fortresses and sieges.
I agree on the hypothetical siege situation, however I'm not sure about the Ottomans being particularly resistant in sieges in general. Admittedly I don't know much on the state of the Ottoman army at the time but looking at how they fought against Suvorov and even Napoleon at El Arish and Jaffa they don't seem like particularly special in sieges.
 
Feb 2019
441
Serbia
#27
Are we reading the same article? It doesn't even remotely hint at the expedition, much less mention it and even less makes a case that this is from that time. It makes a case that it is a tooth from an excavator bucket but doesn't mention the Egyptian Expedition at all.
Do you have any argument as to why this object comes from the Expedition and when was it found?
I would question the usage of the Rational Wiki as a source even if it did talk about the Expedition but that's beside the point.
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
8,783
#28
I agree on the hypothetical siege situation, however I'm not sure about the Ottomans being particularly resistant in sieges in general. Admittedly I don't know much on the state of the Ottoman army at the time but looking at how they fought against Suvorov and even Napoleon at El Arish and Jaffa they don't seem like particularly special in sieges.
If well supplied the Ottomans normally were very resilient in sieges against the Russians.
There's the occasional fortress that falls quickly but it was unusal.
The Ottomans took great cars to supply and provision their fortreses in the Balkans.
In Open battle in the Field they invariabley lost depite often having very large numerical advantage.
They may be some difference between troops in Egypt/Palestine compared to the Balkans.
 
Feb 2019
441
Serbia
#29
The wisdom of actually embarking on such a campaign was very dubious and probably should have been reconsidered since the French knew they probably wouldn't have been able to achieve naval superiority in the Mediterranean with the Royal Navy cruising about. They had a few very close escapes from Nelson on the way to Egypt. They should have turned back once they captured Malta instead of continually pushing their luck. The eventual destruction of the French fleet at Alexandria ensured that no reinforcements would be able to be sent to Egypt, which was a critical failure since the French only had roughly 40,000 soldiers at the beginning of the campaign and took major losses from attrition during Napoleon's desert marches. There's no way Napoleon could have held off the Ottomans when they marched south to retake Egypt with the remaining troops he had (even though he did have a couple of very impressive battlefield victories over vastly largely Ottoman forces, such as at Mount Tabor). Talleyrand apparently assured Napoleon that he would travel to Constantinople to negotiate with the Ottoman Sultan to ensure he didn't send troops to Egypt, but he didn't even leave Paris.
In summary, Napoleon's conducting of the campaign on a purely operational and tactical level was brilliant, with some very impressive victories like at the Pyramids and Mount Tabor, and he managed to maintain discipline over his soldiers even during brutally harsh conditions like the crossing of deserts due to his canny understanding of the soldier's mindset, and his intentions were clearly above that of a simple conqueror, considering his ambitions to develop Cairo and spread Enlightenment values as well as his tolerance (and occasionally great admiration of Islam itself) of the Muslims, but ultimately the campaign was doomed from the start because of Britain's superiority on the seas. Even had the fleet not been destroyed at Alexandria it's highly doubtful the campaign would have succeeded once the Ottomans retaliated in great force, unless the French government in Paris somehow managed to send large reinforcements to Egypt.

I agree with most of this, however I will raise a couple of points:
On the French way to Egypt Nelson was cruising about trying to find the French, however his fleet lacked frigates for quick scouting and he missed the French fleet on several occasions, even arriving off Alexandria a bit too early.
On the capture of Malta, Napoleon stopped there along the way but even that wouldn't be defensible, albeit much easier to defend than Egypt.
I would not call the campaign brilliant on the strategic level, although Napoleon kept morale up he messed up his logistics on several occasions and his attempts to win over the Egyptians ultimately failed.
I would not call the Pyramids impressive, he didn't have much of a numerical inferiority and his record of 20.000 Egyptian casualties is surely inflated, considering that his army was more advanced than his opponents I doubt the battle was so brilliant.
His intentions were many: Partially for glory-seeking, partially for conquest and partially for the scientific aspects. So yes, it was not just a simple conquest for the sake of conquest.
 
Nov 2010
7,540
Cornwall
#30
The wisdom of actually embarking on such a campaign was very dubious and probably should have been reconsidered since the French knew they probably wouldn't have been able to achieve naval superiority in the Mediterranean with the Royal Navy cruising about. They had a few very close escapes from Nelson on the way to Egypt. They should have turned back once they captured Malta instead of continually pushing their luck. .
Malta was just a little side bonus - they just stopped by and demanded a surrender. Napoleon didn't have time to hang about if they said no. The most shameful, cowardly episode in the whole history of the Knights of the Hospital. Why would they turn back when they hadn't even got to their goal?


The Byzantines and their Italian allies still put up a hell of a fight, though. The city's legendary defenses still gave the Ottomans a lot of trouble. It was a stroke of luck that the Turks managed to enter the city how they did.
I thought there were only about 5000 troops left by that time? Surrounded by enemies, how long extra would they have had? 6 months, a year?
 
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