Napoleonic Wars: Which Side Do You Support?

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  • Coalition

  • France and allies


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pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,270
#81
On the Marshals and military high command. Murat and Jerome just deserted their commands when it suited them. Murat left the army to be miostly destroyed. Was there some punishment? The Duke of York performed poorly on Holland he never was allowed military command again. If Duke Constainie had just rode off and his corps was massacred do you think he would be allowed to command again? Marshals and Generals were just allowed to open amass vast fortunes of plunder. Military incompetence like Murat was just tolerated endlessly. Why was there no miliatry diciplinbe for teh Marshals, they squabbled, disobeyed, took control of troops, used roads that were allocated to others greatly hindering the armies movement.

How was this not a privileged Elite who were simply not held to account? How is this a Meritocracy?

Why was Davout he won the battle of Auerstadt arguably the most impressive major battle victory of the period used so rarely?
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,270
#82
He was military genius, you say? That's the first time I can remember you being so gracious towards him. You've referred to him in the past as being a "mixed bag," when it came to his military record. That's a far cry from calling the man a military genius. This thread alone is full of negative comments you've made about him.
Well I have used the phrase fairly regularly. I orginally voited Napoloen teh best general of teh period. But siad he was not head and shoulders above soem others, and got howling responses. And so many people just take an unexaminsed idealised version of Napoleon. I'm mostly posting about things I disagree with people about. And thats what people react to.

Which Alexander are you calling enlightened? Alex I of Russia?
A very complex man. He certainly thought of himself as enlightened and talked a good game with somewhat liberal reform (It's almost impossible to say if he was really ever serious) . he did get the standardised Russian laws done. he often had reforming ministers and just as often disowned them. But the "enlightened absolutists" who were refioming their countries, often with liberal reforms, uniformity, stronger central control doing much to create modern states was going on around this period. Alexander , Frederick, Joseph, Napoleon there are a bunch of similarities.
 
Feb 2019
697
Serbia
#83
Why not.

This is of course the product of people who are... favourably inclined towards the feller – lots of info though:
Napoleon & Empire - Institutions

Specifically about the nobility, since it gets trotted out as the smoking-gun-evodence of Napoleon's empire being the same as the Ancien Régime (more or less):
Nobility during the First French Empire - Napoleon & Empire
I've seen it. I've used the site to track down some primary sources and peace treaties. Anyway, yes, it is heavily pro-Napoleon.

What this article fails to mention is that nobles were tax exempt and the way that someone would qualify to be a noble was subjected to the same favouritism that plagued the appointments to being marshal, the privileges granted to certain politicians etc. So the nobles did have privileges, both officially and unofficially. The fact that Napoleon pretty much re-created the privileged noble class this way also rings a bell on this supposed high meritocracy.

Corruption and favouritism plagued Napoleon's regime without a doubt, look no further than the French smuggling during the British blockade and the multiple violations of the Continental System by both France and countries abroad.

Joespeh Ii of Austira. equality before the law, religious toleration, standardized legal code, the end of torture, abolish of much of feudal dues, abolition of guilds, public hospitals , public schools a masisve program of reform, along with growing centralization and state control, he wanted a non-discriminatory tax system and to absolutely abolish serfdom but could not overcome the opposition. On the reform front he's got a lot more runs on the board than Napoleon.
Joseph died in 1790, he is talking about the enlightened dictators of the 19th century, so Joseph doesn't fall into this category. If we talk about the first liberal monarch ever Napoleon is far from the first.
 
Feb 2019
697
Serbia
#84
Why was Davout he won the battle of Auerstadt arguably the most impressive major battle victory of the period used so rarely?
I wouldn't say he was used rarely. He had no real major distinction before being made Marshal, he was a friend of Napoleon and Desaix after the Egyptian Expedition, so I would say he was created Marshal on personal friendship with Napoleon. He was made a commander of part of the Consular Guard and a part of the army at Bruges. In the 3rd Coalition he was given a pretty important task of reinforcing Napoelon's flank at Austerlitz and did so very well.

In the 4th Coalition... well, Auerstadt. He also got the honour of marching into Berlin first. At Auerstadt I would raise the point for Bernadotte: He disobeyed Napoleon's order to reinforce Davout's corps, this would likely get him court-martialed in any normal army. Davout fought alongside Napoleon's army at Eylau and fought some battles in Poland.

In the 5th Coalition he was appointed to command the French Army of the Rhine, being away from the action of the Peninsular War and also having a post in the Grand Duchy of Warsaw. He performed very well at Eckmuehl and fought at other battles before Napoleon's invasion of Austria. He was in the vicinity of Aspern but the frequent destruction of bridges prevent him crossing to engage fully, he fought at Wagram however.

In the Russian Campaign he performed rather well, at Borodino he advised Napoleon to commit the Guard and turn the overextended Russian flank, though Napoleon refused.

In the 6th Coalition he was present and Dresden and conducted a great defence of Hamburg, only surrendering when Louis XVIII ordered him to.

He was not present at Waterloo, serving as Minister of War instead.

Looking at this brief overview I find his career to be pretty good and that he was frequently given important roles in battles, playing a major role as Marshal in every major campaign bar Peninsular War and arguably the 7th Coalition, to say he was rarely used when compared to others is something I doubt.
 
Jan 2015
5,528
Ontario, Canada
#85
I think the question being asked is really just; where was Davout in 1813 and 1814, or why was he in Hamburg?

Anyway the answer is because the army officers didn't want him around and told Napoleon that they refused to work with him. Davout was an irascible personality. He made a lot of enemies in 1812, but also was involved in some intrigue regarding the appointment of a king in Poland. It isn't clear whether Napoleon wanted to send him off, while this is a popular theory I can't find any evidence of it. The main officers in 1813 (MacDonald, Murat, Marmont, Ney etc) didn't want Davout around and only Oudinot was friendly, so he was placed in command of 30th Corps, technically under Oudinot's command but in practice he was pretty much on his own.
 
Likes: Kotromanic
Jan 2015
5,528
Ontario, Canada
#86
13th Corps, not 30th Corps.
As usual Davout used his organizational skills to build up his forces from various areas. Using locals, getting other German troops and Danes. The defense of Hamburg is actually quite impressive and important for Napoleon's overall strategic goals.
 

martin76

Ad Honorem
Dec 2014
6,509
Spain
#89
Hahaha, if you had weighed in supporting the other side it would be prima facia evidence of a severe mid-life crisis.
+1. Remember dear Kotromanic.. I hate all kind of Revolutions.. only American Revolution (1776 - 1783) brought prosperity, freedom, and increased the standard of living and social justice of people, of individuals ... the rest of the revolutions have been nothing save massacres in defense of totalitarian systems... Yes I am a White.. A counter-revolutionary... only American Revolution is acceptable to me...it was got many great good things ... and practically bloodless.
 

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