Question on a Napoleonic phrase or concept

Jun 2016
1,541
Oregon
#1
I'm looking for a word or phrase (in French?) that describes the tendency of officers and men, indeed entire units after a battle to go into a type of 'shock', a type of disorganization, not do their duty, notto pursue the enemy but instead to halt.

Kind of vague but is there anything in Clausewitz or later writers commenting on this tendency to inaction after a battle, especially after a victory - in defeat they were often to busy getting away - or would just surrender en masse.

Thanks
 

Chlodio

Ad Honorem
Aug 2016
3,521
Dispargum
#2
One occasionally comes across references to men after a battle being "too tired" or "too disorganized" to pursue the fleeing enemy. In a time before modern physiology and psychology provided a more precise explanation, "too tired" and "too disorganized" probably describe the malaise or shock that you're talking about.
 
Mar 2016
768
Australia
#3
One occasionally comes across references to men after a battle being "too tired" or "too disorganized" to pursue the fleeing enemy. In a time before modern physiology and psychology provided a more precise explanation, "too tired" and "too disorganized" probably describe the malaise or shock that you're talking about.
It's possible to read too much into it and assign our modern 21st century sensibilities to the early 19th century, though. When they say tired and disorganized, they very well could mean just that. Try fighting a long and brutal battle all day and see if you feel like running after people that flee. I certainly wouldn't.
I'm not particularly a fan of looking at history through the lenses of psychology, since we tend to make far too many assumptions when doing so. Sometimes something is just as it was written.
 
Jun 2016
1,541
Oregon
#4
It's possible to read too much into it and assign our modern 21st century sensibilities to the early 19th century, though. When they say tired and disorganized, they very well could mean just that. Try fighting a long and brutal battle all day and see if you feel like running after people that flee. I certainly wouldn't.
I'm not particularly a fan of looking at history through the lenses of psychology, since we tend to make far too many assumptions when doing so. Sometimes something is just as it was written.
The question is did they have a name for that condition; the environment/atmosphere/mood/mind set an army would go into after a battle. The French perhaps the Prussians had a word or phrase for it?
 

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
3,847
Sydney
#5
when the Duke of wellington commented that the only thing sadder than a battle won is a battle lost
he was obliquely referring to this "degout de la boucherie " ....disgust of the slaughter
the sense of disgust an weariness after the hysterical high of the fighting itself
fear and anger are raised to such a pitch that the adrenaline surge is massive
this led to the phenomenon of blurred vision coloring everything red known as seeing red
When the emotional pressure is lessened , the body simply collapse in indifference and depression

Black Jack Logan , General in sherman army would fight like a tiger , then after the battle moan and despair that all was lost
his staff were amused with it and quite happy that he had his depression after the battle rather than before
 
Likes: Kotromanic

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