Napoleon's Marshals

Feb 2019
949
Serbia
From 1804 to 1815 Napoleon made 24 men his marshals, some based on merit and others on personal connections. Some like Suchet, Massena, Davout and Lannes could be considered as great commanders in their own right, being capable of holding independent commands and their own in campaigns. Others like Ney and Murat performed fine when under Napoleon's command but often weren't good when acting independently. They were people of varying skills and ability.

Who was the best and who was the worst? Which deserved the rank and which were promoted on connections? Who were some men that could've been marshals but weren't? Your thoughts on the Marshals and the questions asked?
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,684
Murat was the worst.

Lannes was never tested with an independent campaign in his pwn right. He might well have been very good. But a good general at a lower loevel fialing at the higher level were otehr skills are needed is very common.
 

Kotromanic

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
5,021
Iowa USA
Murat was the worst.

Lannes was never tested with an independent campaign in his pwn right. He might well have been very good. But a good general at a lower loevel fialing at the higher level were otehr skills are needed is very common.
Can you elaborate, please?

Among the names mentioned in the OP, do you find the least accomplished to be Murat? Or did you intend, as the "simple reading" of your reply suggests, to say that of all the leaders who became Marshal he was THE worst?

Always interested in your thoughts, thank you.
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,684
Can you elaborate, please?

Among the names mentioned in the OP, do you find the least accomplished to be Murat? Or did you intend, as the "simple reading" of your reply suggests, to say that of all the leaders who became Marshal he was THE worst?

Always interested in your thoughts, thank you.
I have an extremely low opinion of Murat as a general. a complete military idiot. he might have been a reasonable colonel if he had a very good major.
Without a tactical idea at all, the master of unsupported, needless cavalry charges, knowing no thought other than charge teh enemey front on without any hint of combined arms, tactics, or rational thought.
Not only that but with any regard or understanding of the responsibilities of a professional officer, no regard for men or horses, no regard fopr the staff duties, scouting or indeed the responsibility of command, abandoning the amry to chaos without a thought at the end of 1812, could well have gotten him hung in some armies. During the advance in 1812, eeping his men on parade, until he deigned to show up them galloping at top speed, and adbanding his men at some random spot to camp. Without a thought or concern of this men, their horses, or professional officers duties. Sure his was brave and reckless but that alone, does not make a General.

Beirther would be the second worst. A glorified sectrary whose skills were a good memory, a neat hand and a docile nature. A poor chief of staff and a feckless poor general. Without any sound miliatry judgement or backbone. A cheif of staff atculaly has to be cpaable of independent judgement in order to actually take some of the owrkload and needs to when needed speak up to his copmmender. Birtheir had none of the these. Sure Napoleon would not have tolerated someone who had some actual spine, and certainly not someone capable of independent thought but that was one of Napoloen's great flaws. Agood sectary but not by any means a good general or marhsal.
 
Apr 2014
406
Istanbul Turkey
Davout , Desaix , Lannes , Soult and Massena were the best of Napoleonic field marshals. Junot , Marmout , Ney were worst.
 

Kotromanic

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
5,021
Iowa USA
Davout , Desaix , Lannes , Soult and Massena were the best of Napoleonic field marshals. Junot , Marmout , Ney were worst.
Marmont certainly had a poor day against Wellington. Very poor, even, outside of that battle are there other examples of incompetence? He seems to get a better appraisal in the Second Coalition. Of course, the adversary is not comparable to his foe in Peninsular War.
 
Feb 2019
949
Serbia
Davout , Desaix , Lannes , Soult and Massena were the best of Napoleonic field marshals. Junot , Marmout , Ney were worst.
Desaix was not a marshal, he died at Marengo, 4 years before the tile was created. Junot wasn't either, he was promised a promotion if he invaded Portugal successfully, which he did but Napoleon wasn't happy with the results and as such Junot gained a ducal title but not a promotion to marshal. I'm glad someone recognises Soult, he is criminally underrated in my opinion.

Can you elaborate on Marmont? I find him to be rather mixed in terms of military performance.
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,684
Davout , Desaix , Lannes , Soult and Massena were the best of Napoleonic field marshals. Junot , Marmout , Ney were worst.
Well Desaix was about a Marshl.

Ney was a good divsion commnder, and an excellant rearguard commander, poor amry commander but Lannes was untested in that role, assuming Lannes would be as good as indepedent corps or amry commader is a rash assumption. Ney have several of the other covered, Bessaries, Lefebrve for starters who were perhas solid officers not hardly talented even as division commanders,
 

johnincornwall

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
7,813
Cornwall
Well Desaix was about a Marshl.

Ney was a good divsion commnder, and an excellant rearguard commander, poor amry commander but Lannes was untested in that role, assuming Lannes would be as good as indepedent corps or amry commader is a rash assumption. Ney have several of the other covered, Bessaries, Lefebrve for starters who were perhas solid officers not hardly talented even as division commanders,
You're the first person I've really read decrying Lannes. Ney was a brave idiot. Not quite as brave nor as idiotic as Murat, but all the same....