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Who Really beat Napoleon

Posted: Sun Feb 03, 2008 4:44 pm
by Tiny Castle
Just a throw in to see if anyone is listening

Did anyone read Barry Van Danzigs article in Feb Military Illustrated
It puts a very good argument against Peter Hofschroers "Prussia won everything" views and suggests the case very well that the future of a military dominated Germany was a result of blunders made by (and I quote) the Blucher Menace.

Comments welcome

Tiny

Posted: Sun Feb 03, 2008 6:09 pm
by steve stanley
Quick thought...If Wellington had not stood at Waterloo,The Prussians would have continued retreating after Ligny....may be debates on who "won" Waterloo,but it was down to Wellington that there was a battle there....Actually,I don't think any of the armies had a good day....more a case of cock-ups cancelling each other out.
Steve

Posted: Sun Feb 03, 2008 9:15 pm
by Tiny Castle
Totally agree
as was shown at Waterloo and many other conflicts including the falklands its not the fact that mistakes are made that decides the outcome but exploiting the other fellows c##k ups

But do you agree that Waterloo decided Napoleons fate or did he only abdicate due to continued pressure by Blucher, attacking various strongpoints in France while the English/Allies rested

Posted: Mon Feb 04, 2008 5:36 am
by steve stanley
Wellington could afford to leave the follow-up to Blucher...If the French had shown stronger signs of resistance he would have had to push on in conjunction.
Steve

Posted: Mon Feb 04, 2008 11:18 am
by El Frog
It is my belief that Napoleon was beaten at Waterloo, and - despite still having a large number of troops - had an army whose moral was totally destroyed. After all, the "unbeatable" Guard had been given a total kicking by the British they marched against...

Therefore, I suggest that Wellington (a fellow Irishman ;)) beat Napoleon. To be sure: I am not dismissing Blucher as that would be an unfair and untrue opinion, but rather that the damage was already done before Blucher arrived; I do not believe that the French could recover from such a beating.

Posted: Mon Feb 04, 2008 11:45 am
by Nigel
The threat of the Prussians appearing tied downa alarge amount of the Young Guard which if they had been free to deploy could ahve been sued as a follow up to DErLONS ALMOST successful assault.

But if Blucher had not driven them on the Prussians would probabaly nto ahve appeared

Posted: Mon Feb 04, 2008 3:16 pm
by Tiny Castle
Totally agree with el frog
But the argument was put in the article that Wellington was encouraging inactivity so that Napoleon did not have the excuse to take up the reins again, which resulted in his political removal and Blucher nearly wrecked this happening.
Remember the Allies declared war on Boney not France the entire campaign was designed to remove him not conquer France.

Posted: Mon Feb 04, 2008 8:44 pm
by steve stanley
Nigel wrote:The threat of the Prussians appearing tied downa alarge amount of the Young Guard which if they had been free to deploy could ahve been sued as a follow up to DErLONS ALMOST successful assault.

But if Blucher had not driven them on the Prussians would probabaly nto ahve appeared

Does that work time-wise?...Without checking books,I think the YG deployment to Placenoit came later...If Nappy had wanted them to follow up D'Erlon,at that point he could have done so...I believe the VI corps were initially deployed from the reserve to face a possible Prussian threat & only reinforced when Bulow's IV corps actually attacked.
Steve

Posted: Tue Feb 05, 2008 11:20 am
by Eggles
Who beat Napolean?

A large chunk of my vote goes to the weather....

Posted: Tue Feb 05, 2008 11:40 am
by El Frog
Eggles wrote:Who beat Napolean?

A large chunk of my vote goes to the weather....


You could also say that Napoleon beat himself then. He didn't have to fight at Waterloo, and if he felt he did have to, he could have waited longer for the ground to dry completely.

Posted: Tue Feb 05, 2008 11:55 am
by m300572
Wellington (a fellow Irishman )


Being born in a stable does not necessarily make one a horse - to paraphrase Wellington! I don't think he would have thanked you for the comment!

Posted: Tue Feb 05, 2008 4:12 pm
by wurzul
Gneisanau,
For retreating from Ligny in such a fashion as to allow Blucher to honour his commitment to reinforce Wellington. :D

Posted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 3:00 pm
by El Frog
m300572 wrote:
Wellington (a fellow Irishman )


Being born in a stable does not necessarily make one a horse - to paraphrase Wellington! I don't think he would have thanked you for the comment!


He would if he knew what was good for him! :D

Posted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 3:38 pm
by Tiny Castle
Gneisanau
Gneisanau
I say again
Gneisanau?

If he had it together rather than mis trusting everything English he might have allowed the fore-most parts of the Prussian army to assist earlier in the battle (Waterloo that is, not the side show) rather than using those furthest away.
If dear ol' Blucher had stayed under his horse Gneisanau would have been back in Berlin before the French had fired the first shot of the day at the brave Cornishmen of the 32nd.
OK I am willing to concede there might have been some other regiments there as well

Posted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 8:24 pm
by steve stanley
Tiny Castle wrote:Gneisanau
Gneisanau
I say again
Gneisanau?

l

Oh no!....Now He's going to rise from the grave.............. :)
Steve

Posted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 4:30 pm
by wurzul
Tiny,
Bit late to Quatre Bras, the 32nd, were they? :wink:
Cheers, Ben

Posted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 7:35 pm
by El Frog
Anyway, we all know that Sharpe beat Nappy - just look at the films!!!



*Runs*

Posted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 9:37 pm
by Tiny Castle
Wurzul

I think everyone got to QB late that was the problem, pity I rather like Humbugs myself

The 32nd and the 79th met Gingers massed infantry attack with standard echelon extended line attack, honed to perfection in the clotted cream wars of 04, once again demonstrating the Cornish line beating the French column.

Tiny

Posted: Fri Feb 08, 2008 12:06 am
by wurzul
Clotted cream! Now there's something we can all agree on. Immm, king of creams, better even than creme anglaise :D

Posted: Fri Feb 08, 2008 12:11 am
by Tiny Castle
Creme Anglaise

Ain't that custard?

Posted: Fri Feb 08, 2008 4:09 pm
by wurzul
Yep,
I was in hospital recently and the one thing you could rely on was custard and a steamed pudding. Back to Waterloo..

Posted: Sun Mar 02, 2008 4:25 pm
by Kittens-Pedro
Are we debating who beat Napoleon, or who won Waterloo here?

I have to say, that even if Old Trousers hadn't been defeated at Waterloo, he still would have had some major difficulties in getting back any sort of power, or raising the sort of armies that he previously had.

Might I also point out the thorough thrashing that his armies recieved constantly in Portugal and Spain and France and... in fact, on every single battlefield where French troops encountered Wellington.

Waterloo was by no means Wellington's finest victory, and I don't think that a French victory there would have proved as crushing a defeat to the Allies as it did to the French.

Posted: Sun Mar 02, 2008 7:01 pm
by Nutcracker
Who beat Napoleon?
The men in the ranks with their muskets and rifles

Josh

Posted: Sat Mar 22, 2008 9:06 pm
by Jim Smith
Nutcracker wrote:Who beat Napoleon?
The men in the ranks with their muskets and rifles

Josh



Absolutely, whether they were British redcoat, KGL, Nassau, Brunswicker or even Dutch-Belgian.

To be fair, we also need to credit the donkey-wallopers. The Household/Union Brigade charge left both units out of action for the rest of the day - but crucially they did the same for most of D'Erlon's I Corps.

On a different tack, even if Boney's swing door plan had worked and Boney marched into Brussels at the head of the Guard on the evening of the 18th, he would still ultimately have lost the campaign.

The reason? He would still have had 150,000 Austrians and a similar number of Russians to deal with.

Posted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 7:06 pm
by StaffordCleggy
Let's not forget that - whilst the British heavy cavalry destroyed themselves in their insane "Onwards to Paris" charge after ripping apart an entire French Divisional attack - Bonaparte must bear some of the blame for sending said French attack forward without adequate, nay ANY, form of cavalry support ( am i correct in this?).
Having this conversation 'in another place' & this crippling blow to the French infantry was derided as "Pah, the British just got a free kill".
That maybe, but it was (IMO) the startling blunder of Bonaparte that allowed that "free kill".

The more i look into the perceptions of Britain's role in the Peninsular/Napoleonic Wars, the more i run into some form of naked Anti-British revisionism. I am quite happy to accept this from French & German historians as it is perfectly understandable that they have a vested interest in explaining the actions of their Countrymen, but i have a greater difficulty when it comes from people who (for whatever reason) simply have an axe to grind with the Brits.
As Jim knows, i'm currently in a conversation/argument with an Australian who adamantly maintains that British soldiers were inferior in every way to those of the French, pointing out examples of troops breaking & not being able to stand. However, he seems to ignore the same evidence when presented against the French. If the Old Guard were the best that Bonaparte had available, then does the fact of their inability to stand against the British Foot Guards show that French troops were inferior?
Not too my mind, but then again i am not trying to find evidence to support my already-decided-upon position.

Posted: Tue Mar 25, 2008 3:35 pm
by Nigel
pedant hat on

Cleggy the Guards sent up the hill were middle not old

Posted: Tue Mar 25, 2008 9:34 pm
by StaffordCleggy
ok! :oops:

Posted: Tue Mar 25, 2008 9:37 pm
by Nigel
no worries

The Old gaurd were amazingly ill equipped and its cooler ot beat the old rather than the middle

A Prussian alancer unit atacked what they took to be a conscript unit which turned out to be an Old Gaurd grenadier Battalion

Posted: Tue Mar 25, 2008 10:00 pm
by StaffordCleggy
That is something else we are arguing about.
I maintain that (from what i have read) the French Army was degrading thoughout the Revolutionary/Napoleonic Era to the point that Bonaprte was reported to have said of one of his Generals at Waterloo that he could only manoevre his troops in column & in no other formation. The inference being of course that the column is the easiest way to move troops - especially raw conscripted troops - across country.
My oppo argues that not only is a column better suited thus (no argument there) but that it is also much safer for its inhabitees than a line attack is from artillery fire. He claims that a column is a much smaller target than a double line because well sighted guns can blow down the length of the line.
Of course, this presupposes that the attacking infantry will obligingly advance at right angles t your artillery.....

Posted: Tue Mar 25, 2008 10:26 pm
by Tiny Castle
Exactly Cleggy you have perfectly countered his argument
The artillery must be to the side of a line to sweep through as suggested
whereas a column being densly packed each hit will count and count again

The English/Cornish line of two or three deep would result in six to eight casualties per artillery hit, less than the continental line of four deep, and the regimental square would be almost as lethal for the occupants as the column.
The battering ram effect of a column was a battle winner prior to the frenchies meeting the 32nd Cornish Regiment (and a few others)

But my original question was about after Waterloo but maybe I didn't ask it in the right way, and the debate is interesting, as is yours on the other page about other countries perception of history