Peninsular War

Mar 2016
1,222
Australia
Goes to show the immense quality of French armies and the military high command that it took the coalition six years to fully expel all French troops from Iberia (and the lower grade divisions at that, since the best troops were in the Grande Armee), while Napoleon was capable of conquering much of Europe in only a couple of years.
 

martin76

Ad Honorem
Dec 2014
6,672
Spain
Goes to show the immense quality of French armies and the military high command that it took the coalition six years to fully expel all French troops from Iberia (and the lower grade divisions at that, since the best troops were in the Grande Armee), while Napoleon was capable of conquering much of Europe in only a couple of years.

Yes, it is a way to see a half full bottle... another way to see would be a half empty bottle... The army, according with your words conquering much of Europe in a couple of years...it was unable to suffocate the rebellion and drive British out for six years.
 

johnincornwall

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
7,773
Cornwall
Yes I'm with Martin on that. There period in Spain shows a lot of brutality, destruction and blood without too much success after the departure of the man himself
 

Edric Streona

Ad Honorem
Feb 2016
4,518
Japan
French army struggled in Spain.
Even battlefield success offered few answers.

The Spanish army ... no matter how many times the French thumped them kept coming back.
The Spanish citizens made logistics a knightmare.
The Royal Navy made supply by sea difficult.
Some of the French generals hindered each other... deliberately.
Spanish terrain was fairly rugged, not cavalry country generally... which was a French strength.
Spain had enough trouble feeding itself at peacetime ... let alone during a war, with peasant displacement and 4-6 armies on the land... France was going to Struggle to keep an army fed by its usual methods (forage and plunder).
French army had been at its best around 1805... slow decline since then. 1809-1812 wiped out the best part of it.
 

Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
5,983
Portugal
Spanish terrain was fairly rugged, not cavalry country generally... which was a French strength.
If you talk about some parts in the North of Spain, and Moore’s retreat, that I may agree with you. Talking about all Spain it is an incorrect overgeneralization. In Spain, and in the all Iberian Peninsula we saw the importance of the Cavalry since ancient times. The cavalry was essential in the Reconquista period, on all sides. Not so sure about the conflicts in the 19th century.
 
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rvsakhadeo

Ad Honorem
Sep 2012
9,224
India
Yes I'm with Martin on that. There period in Spain shows a lot of brutality, destruction and blood without too much success after the departure of the man himself
Goya's paintings are a testimony to the brutality of the French. Not that the Spanish militias were less revengeful. They gave as good as they got. It was truly ' The Spanish Ulcer ' as Napoleon called it.
 
Apr 2014
404
Istanbul Turkey
Whole Peninsular Campaign which started in 1808 right after War of Fourth Coalition shows Napoleon's growing hubris and ego , when with one victory after another both he and other notables of First Empire began to consider themselves invincible on land. Once Napoleon realised that French would not just be fighting against regular French and Porteguise armies but also opposed by irregular forces , guerilla bands , terrain , climate , long supply lines , hostile public opinion and then British army , he should have seeked a much more compramised peace with Spanish juntas and Crown not insisting on putting his brother Joseph on the throne (who was reluctant to reign in Spain in first place) and dictating terms. On top of that after War of Fifth Coalition when Napoleon again emerged victorious albeit with heavy losses on Danube in 1809 he had all chance to return Iberia in 1809 or 1810-1811 and finish the job. Instead he preferred to play home tied new husband with his new bride Marie-Louise and his new born son at Paris between 1809-1812. Tying of one third of French manpower reserve in Iberian peninsula when Napoleon launched his disasterous Russian Campaign and trying to hold Germany in 1812-13 was decisive in fall of First French Empire
 

johnincornwall

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
7,773
Cornwall
Goya's paintings are a testimony to the brutality of the French. Not that the Spanish militias were less revengeful. They gave as good as they got. It was truly ' The Spanish Ulcer ' as Napoleon called it.
Indeed so. Probably a bit Hollywood but I loved the film/fiction Goya's Ghosts. He seemed to tread a very line line between absolutists, liberals, Bonapartists and the Inquisition. Very influential guy, went to his birthplace back along
 

Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
5,983
Portugal
Whole Peninsular Campaign which started in 1808 right after War of Fourth Coalition shows Napoleon's growing hubris and ego…
Pardon me the “nitpick” but the Peninsular Campaign really begun in the previous year, in 1807, when the French and Spanish armies, allied, invaded and occupied Portugal. Basically the resistance was almost null and incoherent. The queen, the prince and the court fled to Brazil. Spain changed sides in 1808.