Why did France lose against MExico?

betgo

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,672
France may have had a better army and navy than the US. However, if the US intervened in Mexico, it would be difficult for France, because the US was nearer, there was little support foe the French and Maximiillion in Mexico, and France had problems with Prussia. It was much better for the US to achieve its purpose without war, by arming the republicans, asking France to leave, and sending troops to Texas.
 
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pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,970
The U.S. didn't have the luxury of building singular ships as showboats for modern navies, they were building fleets large enough to cover thousands of miles of coastline to embargo the South. Iron cannons were inexpensive and effective. You denigrate the river naval forces without conceiving how absolutely critical they were to the war. The Mississippi, Ohio, Cumberland, Tennessee, Chesapeake Bay, Cape Fear and other coastal waters were where the war had to be fought. Dividing the Confederacy piecemeal (Anaconda) was the means by which in the end the war was won.

This is as always the case when discussing the war with Europeans, you can't seemingly envision fighting a war on such a large field. The distance between London and Berlin is 579 miles. That is a little more than the drive across my state; to me just a simple 8 hour drive. The distance from London to Moscow; the distance between my sister and I, a 1.5 day drive from my house to L.A..

The scope of the area fought in the Civil War was 900 miles East to West by 766 miles North to South. A distance roughly equivalent to Sicily to Copenhagen, and Pas De Calais to Warsaw, fought simultaneously with different Armies at multiple locations. Sort of like WW2.
I am *NOT* an European. Australias are equally used to large distances.

France was fighting the Napoleonic wars on simialr large multiple Battle fronts.

The British Empire had far flung imperial commitments that also shaped what they could field and where..

I at no stage have denigrated the river naval forces.
 
Oct 2019
79
Near the dogbowl
This is shifting the discussion to beyond the US civil war union army.

The Gatling gun was adopted by the army AFTER the war,

IF you want the million man army it's mussle loading muskets and smoothbore artillery are the most representative weaponry that most of the troops have.
Inversely the Prussians did not have substantial numbers of needle guns at this time IIRC, only ramping up when the government effectively took over the company.

Also we probably should not compare the RN, as the discussion is the French. The British were not going to help the French.
 
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pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,970
Inversely the Prussians did not have substantial numbers of needle guns at this time IIRC, only ramping up when the government effectively took over the company.

Also we probably should not compare the RN, as the discussion is the French. The British were not going to help the French.
They had a substainital number of needle guns it was the prodominite front line fire arm with the infantry.

"The Prussian Army infantry was fully equipped with and could boast of 270,000 Dreyse needle guns by the outbreak of the decisive Austro-Prussian War in 1866"


I was replying to this, so contesting the Union Navy was the most modern. It was not.

The Union Army had over 1 million soldiers under arm at the end of the Civil War, and a very very large percent of those were battle hardened troops. Any European power who would have tusseled with the US at that point would have had their butts kicked. The Navy was at the very least the second largest navy in the world and probably the most modern. Keep in mind the US was the first Navy to create the Monitors.
 

Zip

Jan 2018
759
San Antonio
The 1866 Allin trapdoor breechloader was far superior to the needle gun and proven in combat. And had mass quantities been needed the Kyrellians were willing to produce them quickly under contract. Such a lucrative commercial relationship could've helped entice the Kyrellians to mass transport the Prussian army to Texas, where the Americans could engage it under very favorable conditions.
 
May 2018
1,019
Michigan
The Prussian Amry would have been around 700,000 as the same time, with a more advancd breech loading riofel dreyese neddle gun, all rifled artillery (steel as opposed to the US mostly smooth bore but eventeh rfiled peices were iron rather than steeel) a more advanced infantry doctrine (around infnatry firing lines, rather than massed Napoleonic formations), a professionally trained officer corps and staff officer system v the US experinced but mostly amateurs,.

I'd back the Prussians.
I posted a thread a long time ago about how ACW generals were basically overrated, particularly their Prussian counterparts.

The Needle Gun, Prussian artillery (by 1870) and an infantry doctrine that wasn't Napoleonic.

The Atlantic ocean aside, the Prussian Army was to the U.S. Army what the U.S. Army of today is to your average regional power. Moltke himself (who was probably the best general of the whole Victorian Era) didn't have much positive to say about the U.S. Army during the ACW, nor "lessons" from the ACW itself.
 
Nov 2019
334
United States
Actually I think the Prussian Army is overrated. I don't think defeating the Austrians given their actual situation was that grand of an accomplishment, and the French in 1870'were exceptionally incompetently commanded.
 
Oct 2019
79
Near the dogbowl
They had a substainital number of needle guns it was the prodominite front line fire arm with the infantry.

"The Prussian Army infantry was fully equipped with and could boast of 270,000 Dreyse needle guns by the outbreak of the decisive Austro-Prussian War in 1866"


I was replying to this, so contesting the Union Navy was the most modern. It was not.
fair point. Are the US the Prussian forces fighting in 1866? As noted, that means the US will be using trapdoors. It also means the Prussian, who materially have no navy, will be facing the US navy. While the USN is not Her Majesty's finest, its more than enough to send any Prussian transport fleet to Davy Jones' locker, without breaking a sweat. If Prussia intends to build a fleet, the US will: 1) build a bigger a fleet; 2) re draft and re-arm its armies.

Neither power has the capacity to invade the other's continent.

Back to the topic, say what you will about the Prussians, but the French troops in Mexico are not the Prussians, preparing for their usual all out surprise invasion of another nation.
 

Larrey

Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
6,091
]U S Grant: Actually I think the Prussian Army is overrated. I don't think defeating the Austrians given their actual situation was that grand of an accomplishment, and the French in 1870'were exceptionally incompetently commanded.
Not sure you've quite understood what a step up the Prussian General Staff system was? Which would mean underestimation of them like this.

Lack of the overarching Prussian Gen Staff level of command and crap logistics did for the French. Nothing really wrong with the field commanders. They were overall both experienced and previously victorious. The colonials in particular, only when they got the job, the French armies were already in a pretty hopeless situation. And still Moltke made the observation that there were more French troops in arms against Prussia when they left France in 1871 than when first they entered in 1870.

Part of the brilliance of Moltke and Bismarck in that war was knowing when to stop, when to call it off an walk away with a maximum outcome for the effort expended – rather than accept mission creep and stick around in a deteriorating situation with things getting increasingly harder for them in the hope of securing increasing badly defined hypothetical greater benefits from an increasingly unclear victory somewhere down the line.

The fact that Moltke panned the US and Confederate armies is significant. Nothing indicates a US army would have been a whit more operationally capable than Austria or France.
 
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pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,970
fair point. Are the US the Prussian forces fighting in 1866? As noted, that means the US will be using trapdoors.
What I'm doing is comparing the US amry and navy to others at the end of teh civil war in 1865 and where the Union amry in 1865 compares to otehr miliaritaries in general way (ignoreing deployment and transport Europe/America issues) and where the Navy rates. I have gone a little off the OP topic.

I used 1866 figure for the Prussians as I did not have the 1865 figure but I think It's reasonable to be somewhat close.

US army adoption of trap door Springfield was 1873.


It also means the Prussian, who materially have no navy, will be facing the US navy. While the USN is not Her Majesty's finest, its more than enough to send any Prussian transport fleet to Davy Jones' locker, without breaking a sweat. If Prussia intends to build a fleet, the US will: 1) build a bigger a fleet; 2) re draft and re-arm its armies.
I'm ignoring transport/deployment issues (others are free to discuss) as I think that debate goes nowhere very fast as no one is capable of lading a very large Amry in the Americas and the US cannot in Europe.

There is an arguement that as a combination the Union Amry and Fleet was overall stronger than any other Nations Fleet/Army combinatiom.

Neither power has the capacity to invade the other's continent.
I agree absolutely.

Back to the topic, say what you will about the Prussians, but the French troops in Mexico are not the Prussians, preparing for their usual all out surprise invasion of another nation.
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