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Napoleonic wars.

Discussion in 'Non-World War 2 History' started by P5, Nov 6, 2006.

  1. P5

    P5 Dishonorably Discharged

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    I think the French army that time was stronger, and good at shooting with their guns. Do you think they were stronger than the British?
     
  2. Ebar

    Ebar New Member

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    I would imagine that sheer numbers was the French armies big advantage verus Britain army.

    Shooting I believe was a British strength, since they favoured the thin red line approach where everyman could fire as apposed to the French infantry blocks.

    Although from what I know Britains biggest contribution was bankrolling the various nations that fought the French in this period.
     
  3. smeghead phpbb3

    smeghead phpbb3 New Member

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    Ah the Napoleonic Wars, back when France was truly a military superpower... I believe that the British maintained a superior Navy, but when it came to land power they could not hope to defeat the French without the aid of Prussia and Russia, who did most of the continental fighting, and who were the other two dominant allies in the battle of Waterloo... Historians seems to write that France's strength lay in the mobility of her Artillery and cavalry, no country really had better infantry than the other as the 19th centry infantry doctrine seemed to involve using them as meatshields for the artillery. I don't believe that the Thin Red Line tactic was developed until the Crimean War, and even then it was used only once... The Brits would have used thick, meaty blocks of infantry like everyone else.
     
  4. Castelot

    Castelot New Member

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    Actually it was Austria rather than Prussia or Russia that was France's most persistent ennemy on land, and took most ot the burden of figthing in Europe.
    During the revolutionary+napoleonic period, Austria was at war with France for 17 years, as opposed to Russias 11 or Prussias 5.
    For 5 years Russia even was France's ally intervening militarily against Austria in 1809 for example.




    Indeed,one of the major changings introduced by the french army were mobile artillery units that could act independently, without being attached to infantry units.
    "In most battles, guard artillery is the deciding factor"(Napoléon)

    Personally, I believe the most important advantage of the french army was that it's officers got their position because of battlefield meritocracy, according to the new principles of the revolution.(Starting from the top onwards with Napoléon not being Emperor by birth but by his own achievement)
    In the allied armies, such posts usually still were given to members of nobility who all too often were not the best choice.




    I
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    Every european army used infantry squares as defence against cavalry attacks.
    Similarily all armies used thick colums for advance and bayonet attack.
    Thin lines (like 2 ranks deep) were used, but were exceptions.
    Lines generally have the disadvantage of making troops difficult to manoeuvre and turn.
     
  5. Ebar

    Ebar New Member

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    Infantry deployed in lines were used certainly earlier than the Crimean War. The English made heavy use of them at the Battle of Blenheim in 1704. Verus columns they would probably be at a disadvantage in hand to hand but when firing have the advantage of having every man able to bring his gun to bear plus less vunerable to artillary fire.
     
  6. Roel

    Roel New Member

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    From 1600 onwards the development of musket formations in Europe was towards wider and thinner lines. This was simply because the speed of reloading kept increasing, allowing continuous volley fire with fewer and fewer ranks of men. In 1600, Maurice of Orange needed 10 ranks to get continuous volley fire; by the time of the Seven Years' War this had been reduced to 3 ranks. Formations got wider because the only way to break a formation like this was to outflank it, since it offered a constant barrage of musket fire on the front side which was almost impossible to avoid if your own troops were lined up in similar fashion.

    Napoleon was the first to break with this whole martial tradition and his reason was simply that French conscripts could never hope to slug it out with the likes of the Prussian Grenadiers or the Redcoats in a head-on musketry match of thin, long lines. His advantage lay in many cheap troops rather than few expensive ones. Thus he drew up his ranks narrow and deep, making sure there were plenty of replacements behind the first few ranks to replace the losses, and then he had them charge rather than stand to exchange fire.
     
  7. Ricky

    Ricky New Member

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    After subjecting the enemy to a dose of cannon fire and hopefully using cavalry to exploit their flanks.
     

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