From Cattaro to Elba: Two Historical Accounts of the Napoleonic Wars
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Hundreds of officers deserted the army ranks, and the French cavalry force all but collapsed as nobles found themselves feeling unwelcome in a political environment generally hostile towards their class. The army became a hotch-potch of militia soldiers and volunteers, although between and the state did manage to attract some of the noble leadership back into military service. The catalyst for genuine transformation was war. The war of the First Coalition gave the Revolutionary army victories at battles such as Valmy and Jemappes in , and provided invaluable combat experience.
Political turbulcnce still undermined progress, and the Terror of further destabilized confidence, but a more meritocratic command system gradually emerged, with officers such as Jean Victor Marie Moreau, Jean-Baptiste Jourdan and, of course, Napoleon emerging from the ranks of junior officers to promise greatness. The introduction of mass conscription in August , a measure directed by war minister Lazare Carnot, brought a total of 1. The following year saw structural reorganization, as the army was rearranged into infantry and cavalry demi-brigades, with one regular and two volunteer battalions within each.
Further organization into corps- and army-sized formations gave the army better structural integrity and flexibility. A pause in the wars the war against the First Coalition had drawn to an unstable close in I gave the French some breathing space to establish a well-organized fighting force. At its core was a veteran army hardened by six. W h e n the British launched their counter to the French attack on the village of Elvina, they had some success, but cohension was lost in the fighting among the buildings and lanes. Christa Hook Osprey Publishing.
The Bardin uniform shortened both the coattails and gaiters. The front of the coat had a new cut and the shako decoration was reduced. Collection Alfred and Roland Umhey. Under Jourdan's Conscription Law, , men were called up over , but the results were disappointing. Despite the introduction of a new standard uniform in , and continued use of the Charleville musket, the Directory's inability to feed and clothe its troops worsened during ; arrears of pay only accelerated the resultant desertions.
The government realized that most of the army would have to be supported on foreign ground and paid from the financial spoils of war. Napoleon would help to turn matters around. In , Napoleon's star had begun to rise in earnest. His Middle Eastern expedition brought some impressive early victories, and against the threatening backdrop of the war of the Second Coalition he took power in France in Now he could truly transform the French military along the lines he saw fit. Napoleon organized his army afresh while incorporating the ideas of French military theorists of the previous generation.
Himself a product of the royal military academies, Napoleon drew inspiration for his reforms from the period prior to the Revolution. In the Revolutionary term demi-brigade was replaced by the traditional designation regiment; the eagles, which the newly crowned emperor issued to the army in , were a mark of its allegiance to the imperial throne, not the nation; the republican tricolour was reduced to a secondary status; military academies opened their doors to officer cadets drawn from the sons of imperial France's new social elite. In a measure supposedly to deprive Britain of a market for indigo, Napoleon briefly experimented in with a return to the white uniforms of the Royal Army.
The republican-style blue coat soon returned, although as an economy measure a less elaborate style was promulgated in Another major organizational reform was the conversion of one company in each battalion into voltigeurs meaning 'vaulters' , light infantry trained for skirmishing. In reality, this measure was not particularly innovative, as the new regulations largely standardized an existing unofficial practice. In the Royal. The French Army did not have a specific regulation for skirmishing, so individual regiments developed their own techniques, based on common experience of the Revolutionary Wars.
Here a voltigeur company 1 has been sent several hundred paces forward to screen the battalion's front. Before instructing his men to deployez en tirailleur, the captain designates the size of the intervals between each file. As the first two ranks advance at the pas de course, fanning out into open order, the third rank halts and is formed into two ranks by the sergent-major 2. Standing with the reserve, the captain 3 orders the halt. These orders were transmitted by drum or voltigeur horns. The captain could then order his men to fire in position or fire and advance by ranks.
Each rank would advance a preset number of paces before firing; while they reloaded, the second rank advanced at the run. The reserve would keep pace, sending forward reinforcements as required. The lieutenant 4 and sous-lieutenant 5 would take position at the rear and centre of their sections. The sergents' 6 positions were not fixed, so they could go where necessary. Skirmishers fought in pairs, either with their file partner or with the man to their right, ensuring that one of them remained loaded at all times.
Although alignments had to be maintained, skirmishers would take advantage of any cover they found. The biggest threat to skirmishers was from cavalry, which could ride down a skirmish line rapidly. If the ralliement sounded, the skirmishers would run to the reserve and reform. If there was no time, they formed rally clumps around their section commanders, or took cover as best they could. Army, companies of chasseurs had been attached to each battalion to act as scouts and skirmishers, and many demi-brigades had maintained the practice with eclaireurs scouts who fulfilled the same function.
In a successive reform returned infantry battalions essentially to their arrangement of four companies of fusiliers and one each of grenadiers and light infantry. The main innovation of the reforms was the increase in the size of infantry regiments from two to four bataillons de guerre battalions of war , with a fifth forming the depot. In Napoleon added a sixth battalion. Napoleon was the first to attempt to use a permanent corps structure. Prior to the French Revolution, any organization above the brigade was temporary. The French had established permanent divisions to great effect during the wars of the French Revolution Now Napoleon decided to create permanent corps that were in effect miniature armies, each with its own cavalry and artillery complements attached to two or three infantry divisions.
The success of this structure can be shown by the fact that modern armies use the same organization in a largely unaltered form.
The French corps had a permanent staff attached. Commanders would come to know their subordinates. Divisions would become accustomed to manoeuvring in conjunction with their sister divisions. The light cavalry, attached to the corps, went through exercises that brought a higher degree of cooperation than any other army in the world enjoyed.
European armies consisted of a series of building blocks. Infantry regiments were made up of battalions, which in turn were comprised of companies. A brigade consisted of regiments, and divisions were composed of two or more brigades. On top of this, Napoleon added infantry corps of two or more infantry divisions with one or two cavalry brigades attached. Napoleon had infantry of two types: ligne line and legere light. The light infantry, more than the line, tended to be used for skirmishing, reconnaissance and rearguard protection. Infantry battalions in the early 19th century were made up of nine companies: seven centre companies and two elite companies; the latter were a voltigeur company and a grenadier or carabinier company, depending on whether it was a line or light battalion.
In , Napoleon stripped the elite companies from a number of regiments left in garrison to form an elite division under General Oudinot. This formation became known as Oudinot's grenadiers. The light cavalry attached to the infantry corps was one of two types: either hussars or chasseurs. These were functionally the same outside of their dress, although the hussars generally had the better reputation, due in part to their dashing appearance. Napoleon then created the Cavalry Reserve Corps from the line cavalry dragoons and heavy cavalry regiments cuirassiers and carabiniers.
Their intent was to act as the 'arm of rupture' to be committed to break an enemy that had been worn down by the infantry. To a lesser extent. Its introduction was short-lived and unpopular. The soldiers' huts are lined up in two rows, with cooking areas behind. The officers' huts form a third line in the distance. To accompany these heavy cavalry were batteries of horse artillery, whose 8pdr guns could be brought quickly into position and deliver tremendous hitting power. T h e combination of these two arms was extremely hard to resist.
Napoleon, having trained as an artillerist himself, aided by fine gunners like Auguste de Marmont, had implemented many improvements that greatly increased the power of the French artillery. Better, lighter and more mobile guns, better gunpowder, better training and better tactics gave France a major superiority in this field. One problem for the French in the campaigns of was that they did not have enough mounts for their dragoons.
Therefore, one division of dragoons had to fight dismounted as infantry. They would not prove to be effective as infantry, but they eventually received their horses from captured stocks. Finally there was the Imperial Guard Corps. These elite men combined to form Guard infantry regiments the grenadiers and chasseurs of foot , the Guard cavalry the grenadiers, carabiniers and chasseurs of horse and the flying horse artillery batteries. The Guard acted as a final reserve and as the force that could deliver the battlefield coup de grace.
There is no doubt that the Napoleonic armies of the first decade of the 19th century rocked the military world. French victories at Austerlitz in and Jena and Auerstadt in proved that tactically and strategically Napoleon had revolutionized the way of war. Napoleon had also sought to improve his army as a field force, as foreign deployments were true testing. In , for example, the 36, French troops in Italy were in a desperate state. Supplies of all sorts were inadequate, discipline was breaking down, desertion was increasing, and on a few occasions, whole formations marched to the rear in search of food.
The survivors would be of limited combat value. In establishing the Army of the Reserve in France in , Bonaparte's first move was to overhaul the supply system to provide. Centre Hussar officer, early regimental uniform, To a typical Polish style of uniform, some Dutch hussar items have been added, such as the pouch belt and the barrel sash. Right Hussar officer, parade dress, The czapska is after a model on display at the Invalides in Paris; two unusual features are the gold braid around the edges of the square top, and the plume fixed into a gold pompon.
Left Hussar officer, full dress, This figure shows the squadron officer's shabraque with one narrow gold lace stripe inside one wider stripe. Patrice Courcelle Osprey Publishing. Casteggio was a key chokepoint on the Turin-Mantua road. As both sides' advance guard took up the fight, the French 12th Hussars charged through its narrow streets defended by two Austrian light infantry battalions, enabling Lannes to seize the initiative early in the battle.
Lacking the large superiority in infantry and artillery enjoyed in many republican campaigns, the core of Bonaparte's reserve was 30, men, mostly from Holland, who had been used under Brune to crush the rebellion in the Vendee. Additional veteran troops came from the remains of the former Army of England. Filled out with the best conscripts, by early May 60, quality troops were based around Geneva, having marched through Dijon to collect these improved supplies.
Additional veteran troops under Marshal Bon Adricn Jeannot de Moncey would join them from Germany, where Moreau had been given command of the ,strong Army of the Rhine, which combined the former Armies of Germany and Switzerland, with its right wing anchored on Lake Constance.
The weakest demi-brigades driven from Italy and some cavalry regiments were moved back around Dijon, forming the cadres for the 30,strong force, organized there as a diversion, which drew in more conscripts and returning convalescents. This real reserve force of 30, troops continued to be trained at Dijon, but would play little part in the main actions. Bonaparte's veteran troops, raised from the Pyrenees and Vendee, gave his army a particular edge in mobility in the broken Italian landscape, especially in the Alps and the Apennines, and remedied many of the supply problems.
The French armies used nine days' ration of biscuit instead of Austrian bread two to three days , so the waggon trains could carry three times as much biscuit, allowing the French greater mobility and reducing the need for them to halt to prepare food. Operating outside France, however, the Revolutionary troops continued to have no qualms about appropriating supplies from local. In the right foreground are a group of sappers. The French armies in the Iberian Peninsula in the early years of the war were certainly large, but most of the men were raw recruits, about one third drawn early from the levies of and Yet when Austria threatened in , Napoleon could only afford to recall his Guard and a few extra troops to meet the threat.
The remainder of the army was made up of newly formed troops and various allies. With all the demands being made upon the Empire, Napoleon had to rely increasingly upon his client states to provide manpower. Poles, Swiss, Germans from the states of the Confederation of the Rhine, volunteer Irish, Italians and Neapolitans, all served in the Peninsula, with different degrees of willingness and skill.
Armies of the Napoleonic Wars
Over 50, Italians alone fought as French allies. Many of these troops saw serious fighting throughout the campaign, and large numbers of the Germans deserted when the opportunity presented itself, joining the British-allied King's German Legion, a fine corps of Hanoverians formed in during the French occupation of this north German patrimony of George III.
The remainder of the army was created by calling up the conscription classes early. On the whole the army was a grade down from previous campaigns. This system of supply, however, would come unstuck in many future actions, not least in the Peninsular War In , Napoleon stood at the height of his power, having defeated every major European power except Britain, who resolutely refused to abandon the struggle against an unbeaten and, apparently, unbeatable foe. Yet Napoleon's decision to occupy the Iberian Peninsula resulted in a long and costly war to which, at long last, Britain could make a substantial contribution on land.
The French employed those tactics that they had used with such consistent success in the past on the battlefields of western and central Europe: concentration of artillery and massed attack in column. Their armies were accustomed to living off the land', and as such did not establish the network of supply depots that Wellington wisely did. As the land was found woefully deficient for their needs, with many people already living at subsistence levels, the French found their freedom of movement severely impaired and relied ever more strongly on plunder and requisitions of the civilian population.
As there was no overall commander in the Peninsula, there was often no coordination between the various armies, which were scattered across Spain and struggled to maintain communications along its primitive and often nonexistent roads. French generals were shameless in stripping the assets of the towns they occupied, stealing art and raiding treasuries as they went.
Unlike the infantry, Napoleon's cavalry was at its height in After incorporating superior horses captured during , the units were expanded and improved, most notably the 30 regiments of dragoons that were transformed from mediocre to formidable. The cuirassiers had expanded too and had received additional training to make them a powerful breakthrough force.
The French light cavalry, hussars and chasseurs, gained a reputation for battlefield prowess, but their scouting skills were poor, and Napoleon was often left blind as to the whereabouts of the enemy. Defeat And Transformation By the end of the s, Napoleon was prepared for the invasion of Russia, pulling in troops from every available source. There is little to distinguish between Napoleon's armies of and other than increased size of the latter.
Regiments acquired a 4th, 5th or even 6th field battalion; cavalry regiments were brought up to an average of six squadrons; and a new class of light cavalry was introduced - lancers. These were converted dragoon regiments. There was no change in the artillery batteries except that they were given their full complement of men.
In all, the army that started out in was the largest Napoleon had ever assembled and showed the variations in quality expected in such an all-out muster of force. The catastrophic losses suffered in Napoleon's Russian campaign had a profound and multi-faceted effect on the Grande Armee, as Napoleon had named the principal French campaign army from Of the approximately , troops with which Napoleon had crossed the Niemen in June , scarcely , bedraggled, broken men staggered into East Prussia little more than six months later.
Of the 1, pieces of field artillery that had accompanied the army into Russia, only about guns remained, most of the others having been simply abandoned due to lack of transport. Notwithstanding these unprecedented losses, Napoleon immediately set to work to revive his shattered army, demonstrating in the process his organizational genius. His vision was ambitious indeed: he wanted , men, and he set about drawing together troops from various sources that ultimately netted him about ,, of whom half constituted the field army when hostilities intensified in April A high proportion of the new levies were very young and came to be called the 'Marie-Louises', after the Empress who in ordered their assembly on behalf of the absent Emperor.
With admirable foresight, Napoleon had called up the class of before the Russian campaign. These consisted of about I 30, conscripts in the process of completing training, 80, National Guardsmen placed in the ranks of the regulars, and , more men who had, for various reasons, not joined the colours between and To all these were added troops withdrawn from Spain, from.
O n e commentator was clearly shocked by the first atrocities he witnessed: 'Our advanced guard had found the hanging bodies of some unfortunate Chasseurs a Cheval, who had been made prisoner several days before and had been terribly mutilated. The enemy had let it be known that it was a fight to the death between them and us and that w e could expect no quarter. Finally, patient British blockading had trapped naval vessels in ports for years, rendering their crews useless.
These underemployed men and others from the coastal garrisons, particularly marines, were sent east where they could be of more immediate use. There is no doubt that French soldiers would often fight bravely in the campaigns ahead, but their efforts were frequently hamstrung by inadequate training and experience at all levels, and this resulted in a decline in their fighting capabilities. Colonel Raymond de Montesquiou, Due de Fezensac, attributed the French defeats of to the decline in the quality of the soldiers. The army was composed of young soldiers who had to be taught everything, and of non-commissioned officers NCOs who did not know much more themselves.
The officers were better, for they were old cadres who had suffered far less destruction in Russia than had the N C O cadres. But the process had begun even before As early as , he noted, Napoleon began to complain that his soldiers were not like those of the men at Wagram were not like those at Austerlitz. Centre General Bonaparte, 1 Based on Gros' picture of Bonaparte at Areola, the staff uniform shown in that established by regulations of 30 January 1 The single-breasted coat had a red stand-andfall collar, red cuffs with white flaps, and gold oak-leaf embroidery which varied in quantity according to rank.
Left Line fusilier, The coat of line demibrigades from was dark blue with scarlet collar and cuffs piped white; white lapels, turnbacks and cuff flaps piped red; red pocketpiping, and brass buttons. Right Light infantry carabinier, 1 The bicorne illustrated was worn by all infantry, with a tricolour cockade; the grenadiers' drooping red plume was popular with all troops.
Light infantry coats were distinguished by dark blue pointed lapels and white piping; blue waistcoats and breeches were common. Richard Hook Osprey Publishing. Yet Napoleon was not to be daunted by circumstances that lesser commanders might have deemed hopeless. The Emperor resurrected a new army with which he achieved hard-fought victories in at Liitzen and Bautzen before, in late summer, Austria finally threw in her lot with the Allies, thereby creating the most formidable military alliance Europe had ever seen and the combination of Great Powers that was absolutely essential if Europe was to free itself of Napoleon's control.
Further epic struggles were to follow in the autumn campaign, including the battles of Dresden and Leipzig. When operations shifted to French soil in , the beleaguered Emperor found himself outnumbered by more than three to. The French retreat from Moscow in has gone down in the annals of history as one of the cruellest military withdrawals in history. Nevertheless, Marechal Ney's heroic command of the rearguard made him a legend. Nevertheless, with Paris threatened, his army overwhelmed by vastly superior numbers, and his marshals refusing to fight on, Napoleon was ultimately forced to abdicate, only to return the following year to fight his last, and history's greatest, battle.
For both the ordinary ranks of Napoleon's army and for senior commanders, campaigning had always been accompanied by a degree of hardship, particularly after nearly 20 years of unremitting war. Yet the immediate wake of the Russian campaign was to render the campaigns of and especially hard, with march, countermarch, bivouac, hunger, thirst, rain, mud, cold, and privation. It would also be a time when commanders were tested to the limit and the flaws in Napoleon's command structure became glaringly apparent. In the past, field commanders had seldom been allowed to coordinate their operations except with the express orders of Napoleon and little was done to encourage them to develop independent thought or initiative.
Without adequate understanding of the Emperor's grand strategy or their own roles in it, Napoleon's subordinates could do little but follow orders unquestioningly at a. Through necessity the uniform was stripped down to its most basic requirements and hinted at the future style of field uniforms worn in northern France TOO years later. Even at the beginning of the war, Blaze said that ' O n taking the field, everyone reduced his kit to the smallest possible dimensions, by ridding himself of all useless articles.
By some of these had been killed in action Desaix, Lannes, Lasalle , others would die in the coming campaign Bessieres and Poniatowski , and still more were simply tired of fighting or were busy in Spain. Some were excellent as leaders of men in combat, but were not themselves strategists and were reluctant to take independent decisions lest they fail. With marshals constantly shifted from command of one corps to another and corps changing in composition as circumstances seemed to require, no viable command structure could be created.
Proper control of increasingly poor-quality soldiers became all the more difficult. Under such circumstances, with Napoleon unable to be everywhere and monitor everything, errors were inevitable, and at no time in his military career were these errors so glaring as in C o m m a n d and Control By late August , Napoleon had been forced to abandon the idea of invading Britain, for which he had assembled his Grande Armee around Boulogne. By the time Austria invaded the territory of Napoleon's ally Bavaria on 2 September, French troops were already on the march to the east. Immediate action was necessary, and the Emperor had under his hand a war machine consisting of some , men.
It was unique in its composition, in that more than 50 per cent of its officers and soldiers were veterans of earlier campaigns; even its armament and training were superior to those of its adversaries.
The Forgotten War Against Napoleon - Conflict in the Mediterranean , Gareth Glover
Napoleon would never command a more battle-proven army. Organized into several army corps, the Grande Armee would march eastwards in three major columns; everything was planned in detail itineraries, bivouacs, provisions and transport. This campaign of would be Napoleon's Blitzkrieg. In 24 days his army was across the Rhine; eight days later, on 6 October, it would reach the Danube; on 17 October an Austrian army, brilliantly outmanoeuvred, surrendered to Napoleon at Ulm; and on 14 November he occupied Vienna.
Racing on northwards, on 2 December he crushed the combined Austro-Russian armies in his most famous victory, at Austerlitz. Moving a force of that size from the English Channel and North Sea coasts deep into central Europe in just three months demanded sophisticated planning on a huge scale. The Emperor could undertake this audacious campaign. Napoleon's chief of the general staff was of high birth, and had served as a staff officer under Rochambeau in America during the W a r of Independence.
His outward style remained old-fashioned, and in the service of the Empire he was always surrounded by numerous aides and servants, with much display of sumptuous, non-regulation dress and equipment. The great leader himself Napoleon Bonaparte as he appeared at the beginning of the Italian campaigns, wearing the 1 pattern coat of a. With this staff, together with the members and staffs of his households, Napoleon could rely upon an organization that provided him with all the necessary information, technical support and comfort to allow him to function as effordessly as he could have done in one of his palaces.
A third department dependent on the Imperial Headquarters was the office of the Intendant General Quartermaster General , providing the administrative staff of the army. When France was declared an empire, Napoleon quickly adapted many of his revolutionary creations into imperial ones. As First Consul he had created the Legion d'honneur Legion of Honour , which became a method of rewarding people who had excelled in their held a sort of minor nobility, but one based on merit. Along the same lines, Napoleon now created the marshalate. Originally, 18 generals became marshals.
They were chosen for their ability and either for their personal loyalty or because they represented a political military faction that Napoleon wished to win over. These were many of the men who would lead Napoleon's corps in the following years. With these titles came a large salary - to become a marshal was the aspiration of every French soldier. The phrase ' There is a marshal's baton in every knapsack' was more than just propaganda, for some of Napoleon's marshals had indeed come up through the ranks.
The Maison Militaire was Napoleon's personal military staff, consisting of his aides de camp ADCs and orderly officers. The ADCs to the Emperor were mainly loyal, experienced generals or, at times, other senior officers whom he knew from his Italian or Egyptian campaigns. All were famous for their bravery and were experts in their own branches of service. Working directly under the supervision of the Emperor, these officers were sometimes assigned to temporary command of units or formations, or entrusted with diplomatic missions.
http://ecolearning.org.uk/110.php Most of the time, however, their tasks consisted of making detailed. This shows the regulation mounted full dress of an adjutant-commandant; only the aiguillettes indicate his appointment to Army General Headquarters. The regulation red facings were often replaced with dark blue, and both blue and white trousers were worn according to season. Right Adjutant-commandant,. Garde Imperiale.
This general or colonel, from a contemporary portrait, has a thoroughly non-regulation uniform but on which w e can still see the regulation buttonhole loops of this staff appointment. Left Adjoint. The 'assistants to the general staff' were distinguished by embroidered double loops on the collar only, and by a simpler belt.
When they had to carry orders from the Emperor to an army commander, these would be verbal rather than written. The appointment of ADC to the Emperor was so influential that they were considered to be 'Napoleon's eyes and ears', and even marshals were wise to follow their advice and render them the respect due to their function. On 29 April , a decree organized their service. Every morning at hrs, the duty ADC and his staff were relieved, and the new ADC for the next 24 hours had to present the Emperor with a list of names of the staff under his command.
This would consist of two supplementary daytime general ADCs and one night ADC himself included , one equerry, half the number of orderly officers, half the number of the petits aides de camp see below and half the number of pages. Their numbers differed from time to time, but only 37 officers were ever commissioned ADC to the Emperor, and at normal times their number was restricted to Each of these officers wore the normal general's uniform of his rank, but with gold aiguillettes as the symbol of his function.
Each had his own two or three personal ADCs - petits aides de camp - who might also be commanded directly by the Emperor. The appointment of ADC to the Emperor did not always last as long as the Emperor's reign; an ADC might be given another position such as a field command, a governorship, etc. Officiers d'ordonnance orderly officers may be considered as junior ADCs, with the rank of squadron leader, captain or lieutenant. They, too, were used for special missions such as reconnaissance and inspections, but also to carry written orders. In , when these posts were created, they were members of the Imperial Guard; in , while retaining their military status, they were.
The holster covers are in black bearskin; the roundcornered shabraque is dark green edged with silver. As was the norm in the French Army, the grenadiers were distinguished by fringed red epaulettes, and red braid, cords and plumes on the headdress. Centre Courier, c.
The red of this uniform was probably considered as Berthier's livery colour, since it was also worn by his ADCs. Note the brassard of red edged with blue and bearing an eagle badge. Right Guide-interpreter of the Army of Germany, This short-lived special unit of two squadrons was raised from German-speakers to serve as headquarters couriers and orderly officers. Napoleon snatches a moment's rest on the battlefield of Wagram, his staff and household at work around him. The decrees regulating their service were signed on 15, 19 and 24 September , and finally on 19 September Since the earliest collaboration of Bonaparte and General Louis Berthier during the first Italian campaign, the organization of this Army General Headquarters was more or less fixed, and it would see only slight changes during the later campaigns of the Empire.
The General Headquarters was Berthier's unique domain, and Napoleon respected this demarcation. Its personnel received orders only from Berthier, and even the Emperor did not interfere in its immense tasks; he would never walk in on Berthier's private staff while they were writing and copying the orders that he had just given. Since Napoleon was his own 'operations officer', we can say that Berthier's job consisted of absorbing the Emperor's strategic intentions, translating them into written orders, and transmitting them with the utmost speed and clarity.
He also received in the Emperor's name the reports of the marshals and commanding generals, and when necessary signed them on the Emperor's behalf. Detailed reports on everything that occurred for good or ill were to be sent to Berthier; nothing was to be concealed from the Emperor. As Minister of War he was responsible for all matters such as personnel, the ministerial budget, the Emperor's orders regarding troop movements within the Empire, the departments of artillery and engineers, and prisoners of war.
In fulfilling his multi-faceted task, Berthier could rely upon carefully selected civilian employees and a military staff, but all the work they undertook was verified by him. Even when exhausted he would read the written orders, sign them and have them sent off before trying to get some rest. It was not unusual for Berthier to stay awake for several days and nights at a time. Marshal Davout on the eve of Borodino, 7 September Our illustration depicts the interior of the Emperor's field tent; in the background w e can discern Napoleon's camp bed, table, escritoire, lamp, folding-table and personal filing portfolio, all reproduced after the actual items he employed in the historic Russian campaign of Here w e see Marshal Davout in a marshal's greatcoat, and the seated Emperor Napoleon in his familiar grey greatcoat.
While the UN opposes terrorism, it has not legally equated terrorism with specific international crimes such as the slave trade or piracy. As a result, the international laws governing naval coalitions remain in a state of flux.
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The following chapters present the case studies in chronological order. Sixteen case studies address five categories of questions concerning the international environment, coalition membership, coalition administration, enemy actions, and strategic effectiveness. For the international environment: What caused the coalition to form? What were the primary interests unifying the coalition members and the primary interests driving them apart? How did third Introduction 3 parties respond to its existence? Concerning coalition membership: Did one or several members dominate the coalition?
Was the membership stable over time? Regarding coalition administration: To what extent did the coalition members coordinate their strategies? What level of burden-sharing occurred among them? For enemy actions: Did the existence of the coalition force the enemy to respond? Did enemy actions weaken or strengthen the coalition? Finally, concerning strategic effectiveness: What were the strategic and operational objectives of the coalition and to what extent were they achieved?
How did the naval coalition contribute to the national strategies of the different members? The first case study looks at the naval coalition that established the international legal order defining Europe for the century preceding World War I. Unlike the series of British-backed coalitions formed to overthrow Napoleon, the bilateral Anglo-French coalition during the Crimean War —56 lacked a clear political program.
As Andrew Lambert explains, though the composition of the coalition was simple, the British and French had great difficulty coordinating their forces in two widely distant theaters — the Baltic and the Black Sea. While the French tended to dominate on land, the British controlled the seas. When the British threatened to escalate from a limited to unlimited objective by attacking St Petersburg, the French convinced Russia to accept a compromise peace ending the war. As Douglas Hurd discusses, the mechanics of the naval coalition remained difficult, but in the end it succeeded in forcing the Manchu rulers of China to open the country to freer foreign trade.
Just as the previous Anglo-French Crimean coalition succeeded, in part, by threatening the Russian capital directly, the British and French troops used their superior naval access to march to the very gates of Beijing. Only a direct threat to the capital gave the coalition the necessary leverage to terminate the war on favorable terms. In Europe from the last quarter of the nineteenth century until the beginning of World War I, competing naval coalitions helped keep the major European powers from going to war.
According to Lawrence Sondhaus, during the final decade before the world war, the growth of the German fleet destabilized this delicate balance of power. But German and Austrian seapower remained insufficient to overpower their opponents in World War I, especially once they lost the bases and naval support that their erstwhile ally Italy had pledged to provide. During the late nineteenth century, Japan and China fought over control of Korea and Manchuria.
Paine shows, in the aftermath of the 4 B. The so-called Triple Intervention did just that, but the resulting foreign scramble for concessions forced China to cede much more territory to its former coalition allies than it would have lost to Japan. In the Boxer Uprising five years later, eight powers cooperated to defeat the anti-foreign Boxers and their Manchu backers at the court in Beijing. Otte observes, this was perhaps the last example of traditional gunboat diplomacy in East Asia, as the difficulty of the campaign and the rapidly rising cost of naval technology forced the great powers to search for alternatives.
The antiBoxer naval coalition formed rapidly, making use of whatever ships and weapons came to hand. Upon victory, it fell apart, although remnants reappeared two years later in the Anglo-Japanese alliance. Paul Halpern explains that the problems arose not from the overall power of the coalition, which dwarfed the combined naval capabilities of Germany and AustriaHungary, but from the many conflicting interests of the coalition members.
Such friction became especially important during the submarine conflict, which weathered a long series of misguided strategies and poor cooperation before the late addition of the United States and its naval forces decisively tipped the balance of power. According to Gerhard Weinberg, not only did Hitler order an attack against Stalin, his most useful naval ally, but throughout the war Germany refused to coordinate with Italy and Japan in ways that might have produced a more unified naval strategy.
Information-sharing was so poor that in the last months of the war Germany was considering sending engineers to Japan to study warships that were already at the bottom of the sea. Bruce Elleman demonstrates that access, or lack thereof, to strategic port facilities had a dramatic impact on the outcome of a war.
The lack of maritime access also helped persuade Washington of the futility of intervening in the ongoing civil war. According to Edward Marolda, naval coalitions played a significant role in the thirty-year struggle for Vietnam but could not prevent the South Vietnamese defeat in The navies of the United States and France formed the first naval coalition.
Navy and the Vietnam Navy partnered to battle the enemy at sea, along the coast, and in the rivers of South Vietnam. With the Introduction 5 onset of major combat operations in , the Royal Australian Navy reinforced the allied naval coalition. But the transition of the conflict from a guerilla war to a conventional land war limited what naval power could do to influence the final outcome.
Naval coalitions were more successful in the Cold War. Brad Lee shows how the U. By the late s, Soviet attempts to reform its crumbling empire backfired, leading to the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact in , and to the collapse of the USSR itself in The —91 U. After the land operations ended, the naval sanctions continued unabated, so that the naval coalition only ceased operations twelve years later with the second Iraq war of One of these was Yugoslavia, which soon divided into several competing nations.
The coalition took many years to act, but when it finally pulled together, after just eleven days of bombing — much of it based from U. Although Operation Allied Force also succeeded in the end, it required seventyeight days of carrier and land-based bombing to force Serbia to relinquish Kosovo. The 11 September attacks against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon that killed citizens from over eighty nations catalyzed one of the largest naval coalitions ever created.
In the naval coalition, when flight operations began on 7 October 6 B. Paine , there were forty-eight ships from four countries — the U. For some of the coalition members, the war in Afghanistan led directly into the conflict in Iraq, known as Operation Iraqi Freedom. David Crist shows how the original naval coalition was altered to support simultaneous operations in Afghanistan — which retained support from Germany, France, and Canada — and in Iraq, which was supported by many fewer coalition members.
The size of the operation was greater, however, and the naval component eventually involved no fewer than 60, personnel on ships, sixty-five of which were from U. The concluding chapter generalizes on the basis of the sixteen case studies. It discusses such important factors as coalition types, membership, operational and strategic objectives, niche capabilities, command structure, theater of operations, and enemy response. It examines, in particular, those enduring factors that have most affected naval coalitions in the past and which will most likely continue to influence them in the future.
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Notes 1 The thoughts and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors and are not necessarily those of the U. Navy Department, or the Naval War College. Elleman, Waves of Hope: The U. Dalton1 When nations join military coalitions, they bring valuable contributions with them, such as assets or resources not possessed by other partners; or essential basing and overflight rights.
The goal of a coalition operation is to achieve unity of effort such that the partnership is greater than the sum of its parts. The more partners there are, the more complicated and cumbersome are the processes for decision-making and mission execution. It will then analyze the impact of the law on targeting, weapons, Rules of Engagement ROE , and legal liability. Differences in the legal obligations of the coalition members can make those operating under the most restrictive rules potentially liable for the actions of those coalition members operating under less restrictive rules.
International law and naval coalitions While all nations are subject to international law, not all nations have committed themselves to adhere to the same legal obligations. International law governs the conduct of nation-states and their relationships with other nation-states. An international agreement is concluded between two or more states, usually in writing, and binds those states that accept its obligations by becoming parties to it. International custom consists of the general, consistent practice of states, followed because of a sense of legal obligation. Over time, the practice of many states may become customary international law that binds all states.
An international agreement may also lead to the creation of customary international law if it is 8 J. Dalton widely accepted by states generally and, specifically, by those states whose interests are particularly affected. In , however, the Congress of Paris produced one of the earliest agreements on the laws of war, The Declaration Respecting Maritime Law.
By World War I, there were a number of other Hague Conventions, governing such subjects as bombardment by naval forces, the rights and duties of neutral powers in naval war and on land, and the status of enemy merchant ships. The trend toward codification of the laws of war continued throughout the twentieth century, providing a vast body of law governing coalition warfare in general, and naval coalitions in particular.
Thus, treaties increasingly governed the international legal system — both by creating new law and by codifying longstanding customary law. Two bodies of international law are particularly relevant to coalition operations. The jus ad bellum regulates the decision to use armed force against another state, whether or not war is officially declared. The jus in bello regulates the conduct of hostilities during the course of war or armed conflict. For centuries, war was viewed as simply one of several instruments of national policy.
The Security Council may decide on measures, which may include the use of armed force, to maintain or restore international peace and security Art. Importantly, the Charter did not create or define the parameters of the right of self-defense, it simply recognized that the right is inherent to relationships between nations.
The decision by a state to join a naval coalition in the post world partially depends on whether that state views the use of force against another state to be consistent with the UN Charter. When a coalition is formed on the basis of UN Security Council Resolutions or as a response to blatant violations of Article 2 4 of the Charter, the legal authority for the coalition is clear.
For example, the maritime interception operations against Iraq that began on 16 August , and continued for the next thirteen years, were based on the inherent right of collective self-defense and were further buttressed by UN Security Council Resolution , of 25 August As further evidence of the legal authority for the operation, NATO invoked Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty and the Organization of American States invoked the equivalent provision of the Rio Treaty, providing that an armed attack against one or more of the parties shall be considered an attack against them all.
At that point, the law regulating the decision to use armed force becomes largely moot, and the law governing the conduct of hostilities comes into play. Jus in bello and naval coalitions The jus in bello, or law of armed conflict, regulates the conduct of hostilities during the course of war or armed conflict. It reflects a fundamental balance between two competing interests: the need of armed forces to conduct their operations efficiently and effectively to bring a quick and decisive end to the conflict, and the desire to alleviate, as much as possible, the calamities of war and their effect on the non-combatant population.
Dalton The law of armed conflict is based on several general principles that have attained the status of customary international law: the principle of distinction between combatants and civilians; the principle of avoiding unnecessary suffering to combatants; and the principle of proportionality. It is codified in three basic groupings of treaties: 1 2 3 The Hague Conventions of and governing the conduct of hostilities on land and at sea. The Geneva Conventions of governing the treatment of persons who are not, or are no longer, involved in hostilities — the wounded, sick, shipwrecked, prisoners of war, and civilians in occupied territories — with the Additional Protocols concerning the protection of victims of international and non-international armed conflict.
Numerous treaties governing the means and methods of warfare that prohibit or restrict the use of specific weapons — poison gas, chemical and biological weapons, certain types of projectiles such as those with non-detectable fragments or expanding bullets, blinding lasers, incendiaries, and anti-personnel landmines — to name a few. Overlaid on these bodies of law are two developing areas.
The first holds individuals potentially criminally accountable for violations of the law of armed conflict, whether committed by the individuals themselves or by personnel under their command. The second holds governments potentially civilly liable for damage or injury occurring to civilians during an armed conflict. Accordingly, when a nation engages in coalition operations, it is necessary to know and understand not only its own legal commitments, but also the treaties to which other coalition partners are party, their interpretations of customary international law principles, their differing responsibilities under criminal or human rights treaties, and the effect of unreconciled legal obligations on the ability of one nation to conduct operations with another.
Neutrals have certain rights and duties — to engage in commerce and to remain impartial in the conflict; as do belligerents — to insist that neutrals remain impartial and to respect the inviolability of neutral territory. The law also contains detailed rules on the conduct of naval blockades; protections for hospital ships, medical aircraft, and other protected craft; the employment of naval mines; and the visit, search, capture, or destruction of merchant vessels. International law and coalition operations 11 Accordingly, the most relevant legal issues in recent coalition operations have been related, not uniquely to naval warfare, but to naval operations with effects on land.
To the extent coalition members have the same international legal obligations, a shared set of rules guides their actions. Even so, there may be disagreements over the application of a particular rule to a discrete set of facts. The situation becomes more complex, however, when coalition members have different legal obligations based on their adherence to different treaties. In the first Gulf War most coalition partners and Iraq were subject to substantially similar legal obligations: as parties to the same treaties the Geneva Conventions ; as members of the international community bound by provisions of treaties that had attained the status of customary law the Hague Conventions ; or as a matter of policy not all coalition partners were parties to the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property, but their forces applied the treaty as a matter of policy.
France later became a party, so only the United States and Turkey were non-parties during the Afghanistan and Iraq campaigns. Many nations are party to the Ottawa Convention on anti-personnel land mines, but the United States is not. Despite these differences, the hostilities in Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq were all conducted as coalition operations, resulting in a number of interoperability issues, such as targeting procedures.
Targeting procedures Targeting is one of the most complex aspects of coalition operations, due to a number of legal and quasi-legal factors. Parties to Additional Protocol I have assumed obligations over and above the principles found in the Hague Conventions of and other provisions of customary law.
Dalton Protocol I would have permitted. To conclude otherwise would undermine the long-established principle that the jus in bello applies equally to both sides in any conflict, without regard to the cause that they espouse or the legality of their action under the jus ad bellum. In addition, because forces engaged in an armed conflict on the basis of humanitarian intervention would be bound by stricter rules than the opposing forces — meaning that those causing the humanitarian crisis would have greater latitude for resistance than those forces seeking to prevent atrocities against the civilian population.
During Operation Allied Force the political leadership of the major NATO players reserved to themselves the authority to approve fixed targets, leaving the Air Component Commander authority to attack only mobile targets like tanks and armored personnel carriers. In addition, the United Kingdom insisted on approving the targets assigned to U. A runway might no longer be available. NATO consensus might collapse. Both the United Kingdom and Australia assessed assigned targets International law and coalition operations 13 according to their national legal obligations.
While some targeting authority was delegated to commanders in theater, such as time-sensitive targets based on rapidly developing intelligence, other categories were subject to Ministeriallevel approval before they could be engaged. If the justification for attacking the station was its propaganda value alone, the legality of the attack was questionable.
In recent coalition operations, differing treaty obligations and political sensitivities have led to legal interoperability complexities. Neither anti-vehicle nor anti-personnel landmines are prohibited under customary international law. Over states, however, have ratified the Ottawa Convention of and thus are treaty-bound not to use, produce, stockpile, or transfer anti-personnel landmines. The United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia have concluded that their armed forces will not violate the treaty merely by taking part in combined operations with forces of an ally not bound by the Convention such as the United States which deploy landmines.
Dalton Likewise, there is no treaty or customary law prohibiting or restricting the use of cluster bombs or depleted uranium munitions. Nevertheless, during the Kosovo campaign, concerns were expressed in Parliament, leading the British Foreign Secretary to announce publicly that the Royal Air Force was using neither anti-personnel cluster bombs nor depleted uranium weapons in Kosovo.
Another area that poses a challenge for coalition operations is developing common Rules of Engagement. Rules of Engagement Rules of Engagement ROE are orders issued to a military force by the chain of command that establish when, where, and how much force may be used and who makes the determination.
In coalition operations, common ROE enhance interoperability, since ROE address two situations: the use of force in selfdefense and the use of force for mission accomplishment. The need for self-defense arises in response to a hostile act or hostile intent. A hostile act is any attack or use of force against the multinational force; hostile intent is the threat of imminent use of force.
The Standing Rules of Engagement for U. Others define hostile intent differently than does the United States. Pending resolution, U. International law and coalition operations 15 Concerning mission accomplishment ROE under a multinational commander, the Secretary of Defense may authorize U. If common ROE cannot be agreed upon, however, U.
Such arrangements are likely to lead to tensions and frustrations on all sides. Former U. First, the short period of time between the attacks on 11 September and the commencement of combat operations on 7 October did not permit coalition partner involvement in the planning or development of the ROE. Second, the ROE initially were not only classified Top Secret, but were also placed into a strictly controlled and limited-access special-handling category.
These security procedures thus made it difficult for United States forces to access the ROE, and practically impossible for others. This situation led to degraded operational ability of some coalition partners, who had to make last-minute changes and adjustments because only upon arrival in theater did they realize their ROE were inconsistent with U.
Central Command. ROE, ensuring as much consistency as possible prior to the beginning of operations. Legal liability A long-standing principle of international law holds states liable to other states for acts contrary to international law. The corollary protects states from liability for war losses resulting from the proper conduct of military operations. The Court has jurisdiction to try the crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression, though as yet the latter crime has not been defined.
However, the Court may assert jurisdiction over alleged crimes referred to it by a state party, by the Security Council, or from an investigation initiated by the Prosecutor. This unchecked prosecutorial discretion is one reason the United States has declined to become a party to the Rome Statute, and has exerted significant political capital to insure that U. In general, coalition members share responsibility for acts committed during a coalition operation.
This concern probably prompted the United Kingdom to insist on approving the targets attacked by U. If a particular act, such as the mistaken bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, can be imputed to a single state, that state will generally address the issue through diplomatic channels.
In that case, Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen expressed regret and President Clinton apologized to the President of China and the Chinese people. For example, a British ship could launch a weapon against a target planned by American targeteers, who developed the collateral damage analysis based on intelligence provided by New Zealand special operations forces located ashore.
In both situations, it would be difficult to pinpoint responsibility and liability. Further, no matter how scrupulously a coalition attempts to comply with the jus in bello, its conduct will be subject to legal review. Dalton Historically, war represented a state of hostilities between two nations. Because Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda were supported and harbored by the Taliban in Afghanistan, Operation Enduring Freedom had the look and feel of a traditional war between nation-states, supported by a robust maritime coalition interdicting sea and air escape routes from Southern Pakistan.
Once the Taliban were defeated, al Qaeda largely driven from the area, and an interim government installed in Afghanistan, some argued that the armed conflict had ended. That is not, however, the position taken by the United States. President Bush. It will be fought on many fronts against a particularly elusive enemy over an extended period of time. If the battlefield is the entire world, can one strike and kill terrorists wherever they are located, whenever they are found? The Predator strikes in Yemen and Pakistan are examples of that proposition.
Though the Yemeni government permitted the United States to take direct action, and assisted in the effort,52 the strike into Pakistan may have been without the consent or knowledge of the Pakistani government. Controversy has arisen over holding enemy combatants not entitled to prisoner-of-war status, such as the detainees in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, who are seeking judicial review of their detention through the federal court system.
In order to mitigate such difficulties, the National Security Strategy expressed the intent to reach an international consensus on terrorism similar to those concerning the slave trade and piracy. A UN Security Council resolution equating terrorism with those universal crimes would have provided the authority to board and inspect suspected terrorist vessels. Such a resolution, however, has not been forthcoming. Despite a series of resolutions concerning terrorism, the only one to address the movement of terrorists and their supplies by sea did not provide for multinational enforcement measures.
For example, in the Proliferation Security Initiative, over 70 nations are cooperating by means of bilateral agreements, exercises, and expedited procedures in a proactive approach to halt shipments of weapons of mass destruction by sea and air. Further, in October , largely due to U. These amendments build a framework for flag-state consent to board suspect vessels at sea, establish expedited boarding procedures, and bring within its scope certain terrorist-related and nonproliferation offenses, such as the unlawful transport of weapons of mass destruction.
Combined Task Force patrols 2. Pacific Fleet conducts a multinational naval exercise known as the Southeast Asian Cooperative for Antiterrorism. Dalton counter-terrorist efforts, consists of surveillance and patrols in the Mediterranean to demonstrate presence, escort vessels through the Straits of Gibraltar, and conduct compliant boardings of suspect vessels.
Accordingly, some of the most prevalent legal issues in modern coalitions will be those concerning the decision to use force and those concerning land-based targets and operations. Nevertheless, the old-fashioned naval coalition — with a new-order twenty-first century approach — will continue to be an important means of ensuring security in the maritime environment. The very nature of coalition operations insures that there will be tensions and differences of opinion on a number of issues such as targeting, weapons selection, and rules of engagement.
Some of these differences will be based in differing international legal obligations, domestic legal obligations, and political realities that influence policy decisions. In the end, political and military leaders must assess whether the value of operating as a coalition outweighs the inherent inefficiencies, complexities and constraints. Commander in charge of Operation Enduring Freedom, counted more than countries that banded together to fight terrorism — some sending combat troops, some providing financial or diplomatic support, some preferring not to disclose their assistance, but assisting nevertheless in vital ways such as providing intelligence.
General Wesley K. International law and coalition operations 21 3 Increasingly, international law also deals with relationships between nation-states and individuals, business organizations, and other legal entities such as international organizations. Navy, U. Marine Corps, U. Cambridge University Press, Wall, ed.
James E. Benjamin S. Forces, 13 June , Enclosure A on file with author. This provides a detailed discussion of differences in national interpretations of self-defense and use of force terminology. Hackworth, Digest of International Law U. Government Printing Office, , Vol. Schmitt, ed. The Rome Statute entered into force on 1 July Rumsfeld, U. A number of detainees are seeking writs of habeas corpus pursuant to the decision in Rasul v.
Bush, U. As of June , there are over 80 PSI cooperating countries. Protected from attack by the sea, British leaders had long understood the need for continental allies. In the seventeenth century, Britain in alliance with France fought against the Dutch.
In the following century, Britain sought continental alliances to tie down and divert French resources. For example, in the s Britain allied with Austria, and in the following decades was in league with Prussia. The one major war during this period that Britain lost — the American Revolution — was the one conflict where Britain had no continental ally, and where France actively supported the colonialists. In addition, after the British government had allowed the Royal Navy to decline in order to save money. Consequently, it had to wage a war from a position of numerical inferiority at sea.
Despite its defeat in North America, however, the British economy continued to flourish, with exports almost doubling between and Meanwhile, France had become enormously powerful because of its Revolution, and no single power or combination of powers could hope to defeat the armed forces of the Republic and Empire. The growth of the British navy Following its New World defeat, the British government worked diligently to expand the size of the Royal Navy, increasing not only the number of warships but also improving the efficiency of dockyards and stocks of naval stores.
By the time that Britain went to war against France in , the Royal Navy had ships of the line and frigates and lighter ships. Ross continued to expand, reaching ships by ,2 of which were ships of the line. The Royal Navy dominated the seas in large part because of the high quality of its officers and men. By , British Naval Officers were in essence professionals. Typically an officer came from a middle-class background. He had gone to sea as a youth serving at least six years as a midshipman before becoming a lieutenant. Afterwards, promotion was a function of longevity and effectiveness.
Unlike the army, there was no purchase of commissions. Crews were composed of a small number of volunteers and a large percentage of impressed men. Warships were not fully manned in peacetime. In time of war, press gangs would operate in port towns while at sea merchant vessels would be halted and ablebodied sailors would be forced into the navy.
By there were , men in the fleet, and this reached , by British warships usually spent months or even years at sea, thus giving officers the time necessary to train crews not only in handling a single ship but also in operating in squadrons and fleets. During hostilities the British won every major naval engagement against France and its allies. Between and Britain may have lost five ships of the line in battle and 19 to hazards of the sea, but the Royal Navy sank or captured 59 French, 20 Spanish, 18 Dutch, and three Danish ships of the line.
British naval superiority had a number of strategic consequences. The Royal Navy prevented a hostile invasion of the British Isles and virtually eliminated French seaborne commerce and the seaborne trade of other hostile continental powers. The Royal Navy also helped protect British trade. The Royal Navy in turn resorted to convoys escorted by ships of the line and frigates — a move that sustained commerce and the wealth it produced that was so vital to the war effort. During the period from to the British supplied 65 million pounds in subsidies plus thousands of weapons to allies; Britain provided over half of these subsidies during the final three years of the war.
Despite their maritime dominance, the British understood that the defeat of the French Republic and Empire could be achieved only on land. France felt it necessary to expand its forces by a combination of volunteering and conscription, and The Napoleonic War 27 by September the Minister of War declared to the national convention that the Republic had over a million men under arms with about , serving with the active armies.
In , the French introduced a draft law that gave the government the ability to induct new recruits according to the needs of the moment. France thus produced a mass citizen army backed by the resources of the mobilized nation-state. The Citizen army in turn created its own unique operational style and tactical methods. In battle, Republican armies became perpetually aggressive, seeking decisive battlefield victory. The government told its senior commanders to avoid sieges and seek instead battlefield triumphs followed by relentless pursuit.
Carl von Clausewitz described this revolution in military affairs when he noted:5 In a force appeared that beggared all imagination. Suddenly war became the business of the people — a people of thirty millions all of whom considered themselves to be citizens. The people became a participant in war; instead of governments and armies as heretofore the full weight of the nation was thrown into the balance.
The resources and efforts now available for use surpassed all conventional limits. Nothing now impeded the vigor with which war could be waged and consequently the opponents of France faced the utmost peril. Tactically the Republic organized its mass citizen army into flexible formations and encouraged commanders to maneuver their forces to respond to battlefield situations. Officers obtained promotion for using their initiative to seize advantage of tactical situations. In fact, the general selection of officers was based upon loyalty and talent.
Battlefield promotions were common, and at one point the Republic promoted men to general officer ranks. The Republic did not, of course, win every engagement, but French armies were, nevertheless, able to achieve striking successes defeating counterrevolutionary uprisings and overrunning Belgium, the Rhineland, Holland, and Northern Italy.
Moreover, Spain in switched sides and became a French ally while Prussia in left the war and signed a peace treaty with France. The Satellite republics were on the whole loyal to France. Fearing a return of the old regime, the sister republics fought at the side of France while Spain worried about British expansion in the Caribbean and South America and so also remained loyal to the Republic. After seizing power at the end of , Napoleon Bonaparte improved the capabilities of his army through a program of rigorous training. As Clausewitz noted:6 Once these imperfections were corrected by Bonaparte this juggernaut of war, based on the strength of the entire people, began its pulverizing course 28 S.
Ross through Europe; it moved with such confidence and certainty that whenever it was opposed by armies of the traditional type there could never be a moments doubt as to the result. Napoleon, already a military genius, as military dictator and later as emperor was probably the most effective commander of his day. Between and he defeated all of the major continental powers and in effect controlled the European Continent. To consolidate his gains, Napoleon created a series of subordinate allies including Italy, Naples, Bavaria, Saxony, and a revived Polish state, the Grand Duchy of Warsaw.
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