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H105: Perils of Imperial Overextension – Decline of Napoleon PowerPoint Presentation
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H105: Perils of Imperial Overextension – Decline of Napoleon

H105: Perils of Imperial Overextension – Decline of Napoleon

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H105: Perils of Imperial Overextension – Decline of Napoleon

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  1. H105: Perils of Imperial Overextension – Decline of Napoleon

  2. From Battle to Combat, 1809-1815 • Size of armies and corps structure provided resilience against collapse • Increase in tactical lethality due to more artillery and better C2 • Battles indecisive, but longer duration (2 or 3 days) • Campaigns of sequential and continuous engagements • Field armies and corps major maneuver units on broad fronts

  3. Expanding Battlefield French Forces Allied Forces (Men / Guns) (Men / Guns) Rivoli (1796) 20.5K / 20 28K / 35 Austerlitz (1805) 73.2K / 139 85.4K / 278 Wagram (1809) 170K / 488 146K / 446 Borodino (1812) 133K / 587 120K / 640 Leipzig (1813) 195K / 700 365K / 1456

  4. Compound Warfare • Systematic, deliberate combining of regular and irregular forces • Conventional operator must perpetually face exhausting simultaneous confrontation with both conventional and unconventional forces • Wellington discovered that conventional and unconventional forces worked complimentary • Each draws on different resources, not competing therefore at maximum potential • Safe haven (in Portugal) plus a major power alliance (Britain) key to concept • British force could not be destroyed, could always evacuate by sea

  5. “Local priests encouraged the peasants to believe that besides being alien, the French troops threatened the peasants’ religion – beliefs and practices that were at the very core of their way of life.” Dr. Thomas Huber Religion vs. Culture

  6. Prussian Reforms • Abolish serfdom • Taxes, some local representative government • Use patriotism (but loyal to King as well as nation) • Allow advancement based on talent (government and army) • General Staff (Commander/Chief of Staff Relationship) • Professional Schools (Kriegsakademie) • Mobilization (Short-Service Training Army with Trained Reserve and Home Guard)

  7. Allied Reforms Against Napoleon • Improved coalition warfare • Multi-echelon organization - corps, divisions, brigades • Greater mobilization • Ideological mobilization - nationalism, conservatism

  8. Coalition Warfare Advantages Overseas bases Strategic Depth Multi-theater Opns Enhanced intelligence Psychological/Morale Extended Resource Base More economic resources Disadvantages Logistical incompatibility “No notice” withdrawal Conflicting War Aims Sovereignty retained C2 problems

  9. Influence on Coalition Strategy Sweden: small army and Bernadotte's personal fears; they do not want to risk battle Austria: reforms limited under Charles, afraid to use nationalism as a force in their army; conservative strategy, like 18th Century style of war Russia: lack of coherent doctrine/strategy, influenced by many foreign advisors and Tsar's indecision, strategy changes depending on who has the Tsar's ear Prussia: most reformed army; most aggressive, emphasis on annihilation and battle; but weak king and lack of resources reduces Prussian influence in the coalition

  10. French General Officer Casualties • Killed Wounded • Austerlitz (1805) 1 13 • Eylau (1807) 8 15 • Borodino (1812) 12 37 • Leipzig (1813) 16 50 • French suffered 50,000 officer casualties, 1805-15: • 15,000 dead / 35,000 wounded • 34,700 Infantry, 8,000 Cavalry, 1,700 Artillery

  11. Marshals of AusterlitzWhere are they at Waterloo? Augereau Expelled from Army by Napoleon Bernadotte Crown Prince of Sweden (with Allies) Berthier Mysterious death (suicide?), Bamberg 1815 Bessieres KIA Poserna-Rippach 1813 Davout Napoleon’s Minister of War Lannes KIA Aspern-Essling 1809 Marmont Remained loyal to King Louis XVIII Murat Fights for Naples throne; shot Oct 1815 Ney Rallied to Napoleon Soult Napoleon’s Chief of Staff

  12. Napoleon’s Legacy? “I closed the gulf of anarchy and brought order out of chaos. I rewarded merit regardless of birth or wealth, wherever I found it. I abolished feudalism and restored equality to all regardless of religion and before the law. I fought the decrepit monarchies of the Old Regime because the alternative was the destruction of all this. I purified the Revolution.”