Napoleon's Marshals

pugsville

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Oct 2010
9,476
He dressed up his mistress in an army uniform to hide that there was a woman in the HQ. Despite that his staff knew about it. Being the Prince of Essling probably made him soft. Massena was known for having fine tastes; money and women. He already had a reputation for plundering as early as the Italy campaign in 1796.
Whats the possible relevance? lechery and lacrency are some sort of impediment to miliatry ability?

Napoleon was the greatest looter of them all.
 

Lord Oda Nobunaga

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Jan 2015
5,604
Ontario, Canada
You make this cliam but bring nothing to support this thesis. At 52 it would be very very usual for any significant mental decline. What is the evidence behind your reasoning that Age was a factor?
He had already been suffering from physical illness in 1809 and 1810.
Massena was given command of the Iberian Front in 1812. Then almost immediately had to be relieved when he reached Bayonne due to physical ailments, only turning 54 the month prior. He had already been sent into retirement and after that brief lull went into retirement again and went to his home town of Nice. It was only in 1813 that he came back in the minor post of garrison commander at Toulon. Massena was completely spent.
 

pugsville

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Oct 2010
9,476
He had already been suffering from physical illness in 1809 and 1810.
Massena was given command of the Iberian Front in 1812. Then almost immediately had to be relieved when he reached Bayonne due to physical ailments, only turning 54 the month prior. He had already been sent into retirement and after that brief lull went into retirement again and went to his home town of Nice. It was only in 1813 that he came back in the minor post of garrison commander at Toulon. Massena was completely spent.
What ailments? How are thees age related? Why stress age or say he was in delcine? Actual eveidence of impaired judgement.,
Again there is no reason to assume mental decline. Physical strength isnt a huge requirement. Many generals were effecive despite physical problems.
 

pugsville

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Oct 2010
9,476
His staff wanted him gone in 1809.
apparently his staff wanted in gone in 1800 too,

"Upon returning to France where he had been sought by the Directoire to ratify the preliminary peace treaty of Leoben, André Masséna was given command of the troupes occupying Rome. However, Masséna's blatant and large-scale embezzlement, combined with delays in the soldier's pay, provoked a mutiny. His own officers, assembled together, declared they no longer recognized his authority and refused to obey his orders in a move without historical precedent. He was forced to leave Rome and found himself without a commission, despite his appeals to Napoleon Bonaparte, which had evidently fallen on deaf ear"

Masséna, André - French Marshal - Napoleon & Empire

"Masséna was next named commander of the combined forces of the Army of Italy and the Army of the Reserve at the end of June. However, two months later he was relieved of command for many of the same reasons as in 1798 when he had left Rome, namely looting and treating the troops poorly"

"By this time Masséna had gained quite the reputation for looting and womanizing, but no one doubted his military abilities which were entirely instinctive due to his dislike of reading."

André Masséna (1758-1817)

Eveidnce that he was unpopular with officers, early in his career and oerhaps unsuited to higher command with the organization requirements.

Why should his performance in Spain not be that circumstances had chnaged such his skillset was not as suited to the circumstances rather than some mental decline.
 

Lord Oda Nobunaga

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Jan 2015
5,604
Ontario, Canada
apparently his staff wanted in gone in 1800 too,

"Upon returning to France where he had been sought by the Directoire to ratify the preliminary peace treaty of Leoben, André Masséna was given command of the troupes occupying Rome. However, Masséna's blatant and large-scale embezzlement, combined with delays in the soldier's pay, provoked a mutiny. His own officers, assembled together, declared they no longer recognized his authority and refused to obey his orders in a move without historical precedent. He was forced to leave Rome and found himself without a commission, despite his appeals to Napoleon Bonaparte, which had evidently fallen on deaf ear"

Masséna, André - French Marshal - Napoleon & Empire

"Masséna was next named commander of the combined forces of the Army of Italy and the Army of the Reserve at the end of June. However, two months later he was relieved of command for many of the same reasons as in 1798 when he had left Rome, namely looting and treating the troops poorly"

"By this time Masséna had gained quite the reputation for looting and womanizing, but no one doubted his military abilities which were entirely instinctive due to his dislike of reading."

André Masséna (1758-1817)

Eveidnce that he was unpopular with officers, early in his career and oerhaps unsuited to higher command with the organization requirements.

Why should his performance in Spain not be that circumstances had chnaged such his skillset was not as suited to the circumstances rather than some mental decline.
There is no reason why it can't be all of those factors. But Massena's own physical decline was a factor. If the command is the brain of the army and that in itself leads to decision making, we can see the problem. I would also suggest that Massena and later Davout were the victims of envious officers who wanted them out of the way. 1810 is different from that earlier example of 1798 since it was not only his poor discipline but also his decision making which was being put into question. A hands on soldier usually doesn't get along with the bookish staff officers. Their approach is too different.

Physical and mental ailment is closely linked to age. I don't think we need to delve any deeper than that. No idea why this would be put into question. 52 or 54 isn't exactly the prime of anyone's life. In the particular case of Massena it seems that he could not stand the test of time. Massena died in 1817 at the age of 58. Davout for example died in 1823 at the age of 53, etc for others. A life of hardship and campaigning probably didn't help. Most of these officers were completely spent by 1814 or 1815.
 

pugsville

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Oct 2010
9,476
Physical and mental ailment is closely linked to age. I don't think we need to delve any deeper than that. No idea why this would be put into question. 52 or 54 isn't exactly the prime of anyone's life. In the particular case of Massena it seems that he could not stand the test of time. Massena died in 1817 at the age of 58. Davout for example died in 1823 at the age of 53, etc for others. A life of hardship and campaigning probably didn't help. Most of these officers were completely spent by 1814 or 1815.
I don't accept any of this. You wnat to make the Argument that messania was in mental decline, I would like to see some actual evidence to support this claim. Vague generalizations of dubious value are not much of an argument. If you are unwillingly to go deeper or supply some evidence it's a very very weak argument at best.
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pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,476
... It's not like he had a psychiatrist to give him a mental evaluation.
Well you the one making assumptions without evidence.

Plenty of Na;oleonic Generals were in therir 50s and generally they performed much as they had done in their careers regardless in many dying relatively early.

Your made a claim that Massena declined,. You have produced nothing to actually back this claim up, rather than vague generalizations about aging which are very dubious.
 

Lord Oda Nobunaga

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Jan 2015
5,604
Ontario, Canada
He did though... What evidence do you want?
It seems evident that when even your staff officers are writing behind your back and telling your boss that your decision making is impaired there is something there. Or are you assuming that mental decline is separate from physical decline?