Pugsville Napoleonic Military History Book review

Nov 2011
4,767
Ohio, USA
That was what I liked about the book as well. The tactical engagements are described so well that you can smell the powder.

I was angry at most of the Austrians. The Reich needs another purge.
Where I'm at now, which is right after Eckmuhl and right before Regensburg, it's hard not to come to that conclusion. Even Charles, who I rather usually like (other than this and 1805), showed a very disappointing and generally lethargic performance at all levels during Abensburg-Eckmuhl, just as in 1805, and between Aspern-Essling and Wagram, and it kind of disheartened me to be honest. He no longer seemed to be the same as who he was before 1805. His showing in 1809 as a whole was probably better than that of Napoleon's earlier opponents, since Aspern-Essling and Wagram were better than Eckmuhl, but overall and strategically not by much. He also never suffered anything quite as bad here as a Rivoli, Jena-Auerstadt, Austerlitz or Friedland, as his army was at least made more durable in terms of defense and retreat than previous Austrian arms had been. Still, he was unable to solve most of the problems of Austrian arms in terms of offensive mobility, subordinate initiative, and its cumbersome and rigid nature overall, and was still ultimately no real match for Napoleon or his armies.

I think a lot of the problem may have also been systemic to the Austrians more so than individual, in that the Austrian system shaped individuals to being unable to live up to probably greater potential, and thus their talents were wasted.

Stadion is still definitely the one I'm angriest at, since as soon as Napoleon was able to show up in Bavaria and fix Berthier's confused mess, the outcome of the war, without Russian, Prussian, or any meaningful British aid, was pretty much an inevitability. The quantity of resources during the actual campaign were pretty close to even but ultimately the resources Napoleon could draw upon in the end were much greater than Austria's alone. With his manipulative, forceful, and above all, paranoid nature, Stadion drew Austria into a war it couldn't win.
 
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pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,359
The Backgournd of Napoleonic Warfare (Robert S Quimby - 1957)

This book perviided some gerat insights and aha moments about linear warfare and the development of French military thought in the eighteenth, it also spends much of times labirously detailing the exact idodicy of some of them. Linear Warfere pre Napolenic is like so everythiung else not simply and ststic wonce you get into the details, the opening of the book gives hwat teh problems were and why Armies fought as they did , which is really interesting. The Introduction of standardised Drill (drill was every regiment doing it's own thing before that) the introduction of cadence (things being timed, marching properly) were nesscarly baby steps that were needed to start chaning things. The Books goes through every major thinker ( right or wrong) in French militayr thought (and only French) covering teh quite profund an dbillant Guibert, Bourcet who basiclaly laid down the furture evolution of the French army. many of the others were deeply flawed or pretty crazed (many arch advocate of teh ordere profund come across as French military doctrine of 1914, offensive coluomns with vigour will crush everything) Folard, Mesnil-Durand, de Maizeroy came arcoss as just crazed. Saxe, Broglie seemed overly fond of these fantastical order profund systems men. Gribeauval with the Artillery reforms. Du Teil perhaps the path to Napoleon. Hard reading outside of the "good guys" Guilbert, Bourcet, Du Teil.

somewhat frustrated by the sole focus on France. Very interesting background to the devlopment of the French army.


7.5/10
 
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pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,359
War, the Revolution and the Bureaucratic State , --- Politics and Army Administration in France 1791-1799 (Howard G Brown - 1995)

The focus is on the organiszation behind the organization of the French army, in the revolutionary period, how the bureaucracy was structured, how the various structures, ministries, committees, functioned and their impact on the french Army. And it's a very fluid , almost constant chnage as entire structures are created , get pull down or chnage drastically as the poltical fortunes and pressures change. I've read books on the politics, and books on the cmapaigns and books on the Army, this fills in a lot of the missing space in the interaction of politics and the army structure. It's not an easy read, it's bureaucratic restructing and infighting but I found it a very rewarding one.

8.0/10.0
 
Feb 2019
807
Serbia
Finding this thread was like discovering a treasure. Now I know which books are worth reading. Also, have you read ''How Far From Austerlitz?'' by Alistair Horne? I got it recently and I saw it had good reviews on Amazon and by critics. I have not read it yet but I want to know what to expect.
 
Nov 2011
4,767
Ohio, USA
Pugs, I just finished Thunder on the Danube, all three volumes. If you haven’t gotten a hold of them yet then I highly recommend that you do.

Took me awhile to finish because of a long hiatus after the first volume, but I finished volumes 2 and 3 over the course of the last 3 weeks or so. Highly readable.
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,359
Pugs, I just finished Thunder on the Danube, all three volumes. If you haven’t gotten a hold of them yet then I highly recommend that you do.

Took me awhile to finish because of a long hiatus after the first volume, but I finished volumes 2 and 3 over the course of the last 3 weeks or so. Highly readable.
Very high on my list. Just not in the libraraies I have access to.
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,359
Finding this thread was like discovering a treasure. Now I know which books are worth reading. Also, have you read ''How Far From Austerlitz?'' by Alistair Horne? I got it recently and I saw it had good reviews on Amazon and by critics. I have not read it yet but I want to know what to expect.
No not yet. been reading a lot 19th century 7 years war stuff espcially Duffy's books. Getting an understanding of how armies worked before this era. It;'s been a relevation , the linear warfare period is one of ceaseless inovation.
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,359
"Studies In Napoleonic Statesmen Germany" (Herbert A. L. Fisher 1903 - 391 pages)

A fairly systematic examination of those areas of Germany that fell under French administration during the period. Sequentially takes a chpater of so on each area. Has a brief overview of the situation before French rule, Talks about th show French rule arrived. Then discusses varies sectors for the area, Administration, Justice, Education, and various financial imposts. A brief word on the regimes after 1814/15 is often covered but no real detail.
I did not expect much, but fairly readable and good details. Pretty even handed often praising this or that aspect of French rule or damming another aspect and similar with regimes before and After.
 

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