Who Really beat Napoleon

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Tiny Castle
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Who Really beat Napoleon

Postby Tiny Castle » Sun Feb 03, 2008 4:44 pm

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



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steve stanley
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Postby steve stanley » Sun Feb 03, 2008 6:09 pm

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.
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Postby Tiny Castle » Sun Feb 03, 2008 9:15 pm

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



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Postby steve stanley » Mon Feb 04, 2008 5:36 am

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.
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El Frog
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Postby El Frog » Mon Feb 04, 2008 11:18 am

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.


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Postby Nigel » Mon Feb 04, 2008 11:45 am

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


There’s a country in Europe where they treat their ex soldiers with pride no waits for medical treatment after injuries received during service, no amensia from the government. Cant for the life of me recall where it is but I know exactly where it is not.

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Postby Tiny Castle » Mon Feb 04, 2008 3:16 pm

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.



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Postby steve stanley » Mon Feb 04, 2008 8:44 pm

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


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Postby Eggles » Tue Feb 05, 2008 11:20 am

Who beat Napolean?

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



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Postby El Frog » Tue Feb 05, 2008 11:40 am

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.


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Postby m300572 » Tue Feb 05, 2008 11:55 am

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!


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Postby wurzul » Tue Feb 05, 2008 4:12 pm

Gneisanau,
For retreating from Ligny in such a fashion as to allow Blucher to honour his commitment to reinforce Wellington. :D



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Postby El Frog » Wed Feb 06, 2008 3:00 pm

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


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Postby Tiny Castle » Wed Feb 06, 2008 3:38 pm

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



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Postby steve stanley » Wed Feb 06, 2008 8:24 pm

Tiny Castle wrote:Gneisanau
Gneisanau
I say again
Gneisanau?

l

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


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Snowshoes and axe and gun

Send me up in Grand River

Steering by star and sun".

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Postby wurzul » Thu Feb 07, 2008 4:30 pm

Tiny,
Bit late to Quatre Bras, the 32nd, were they? :wink:
Cheers, Ben



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Postby El Frog » Thu Feb 07, 2008 7:35 pm

Anyway, we all know that Sharpe beat Nappy - just look at the films!!!



*Runs*


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Postby Tiny Castle » Thu Feb 07, 2008 9:37 pm

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



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wurzul
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Postby wurzul » Fri Feb 08, 2008 12:06 am

Clotted cream! Now there's something we can all agree on. Immm, king of creams, better even than creme anglaise :D



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Postby Tiny Castle » Fri Feb 08, 2008 12:11 am

Creme Anglaise

Ain't that custard?



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wurzul
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Postby wurzul » Fri Feb 08, 2008 4:09 pm

Yep,
I was in hospital recently and the one thing you could rely on was custard and a steamed pudding. Back to Waterloo..



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Postby Kittens-Pedro » Sun Mar 02, 2008 4:25 pm

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.



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Postby Nutcracker » Sun Mar 02, 2008 7:01 pm

Who beat Napoleon?
The men in the ranks with their muskets and rifles

Josh


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Postby Jim Smith » Sat Mar 22, 2008 9:06 pm

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.


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Postby StaffordCleggy » Mon Mar 24, 2008 7:06 pm

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.


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Postby Nigel » Tue Mar 25, 2008 3:35 pm

pedant hat on

Cleggy the Guards sent up the hill were middle not old


There’s a country in Europe where they treat their ex soldiers with pride no waits for medical treatment after injuries received during service, no amensia from the government. Cant for the life of me recall where it is but I know exactly where it is not.

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Postby StaffordCleggy » Tue Mar 25, 2008 9:34 pm

ok! :oops:


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Postby Nigel » Tue Mar 25, 2008 9:37 pm

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


There’s a country in Europe where they treat their ex soldiers with pride no waits for medical treatment after injuries received during service, no amensia from the government. Cant for the life of me recall where it is but I know exactly where it is not.

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Postby StaffordCleggy » Tue Mar 25, 2008 10:00 pm

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.....


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Postby Tiny Castle » Tue Mar 25, 2008 10:26 pm

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




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