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"Skirmish Doctrine gathering " Topic


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24 Sep 2010 9:07 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

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Old Bear10 Oct 2010 10:28 a.m. PST

The problem of this discussion is
only McLaddie and justonemore are willing to invest a lot of work in it, Shane, 10thM obviously are not able to read any German source about this topic.
Elting shows, in case his quote is correct, that he had not the slightest clue about the Prussian Army of 1806 otherwise he would not have written such an utter nonesense.
Shane in case you want to know – read German sources, otherwise you want to know – don't be offended when competent people come up with a lot of information you seemingly don't like to hear.

Interesting assertions. It does however open another interesting avenue of argument over the ability to convey information – namely in English, the chosen communicative language of this forum and indeed the majority of the civilised world last time I looked. This quote above is littered with inept and incompetent English, which of course, based on its own assertions, suggests in truth it cannot be taken seriously by anybody fully able to converse in English. Very little point being able to witter away in a minority language when you struggle to then make it count, or am I being terribly unfair?

DELETEDNAME310 Oct 2010 10:43 a.m. PST

Old Bear ….

"am I being terribly unfair?"
Yes.

The English grammar and syntax in the quoted text does not reduce its comprehensibility. Indeed, the majority of the errors are typical of a native speaker's forum or email style. They generally are more under the heading of abbreviated punctuation than actual errors of grammar or syntax.

More specifically, I find exactly two errors of syntax :
-- "shows, in case his" used in place of "shows, if his" in line 4
-- "you want to know" used in place of "you won't know" in line 6 (although this one looks like a plain old typo to me)

No big deal at all. If v. Winterfeld is a native German-speaker, he is wonderfully fluent in English. He is an excellent researcher and well-informed contributor to an English-language forum.

P.S. – How's my English? Does it pass muster? Does it meet your standards? My wife says I am completely illiterate in English.

10th Marines10 Oct 2010 11:32 a.m. PST

The only problem with VW, however, is that he seldom 'researches' anything and prefers to pass condescening, disingenuous, and inaccurate comment on those with whom he disagrees without displaying any expertise in the subject matter. He ridicules historians who have a better grasp on the period than he does and merely fulfills the part of a marplot on the forum.

Other than that, he's great.

K

DELETEDNAME310 Oct 2010 12:01 p.m. PST

10th Marines ….

You are responding on a off-topic point with negative discussion of another member here. That's conduct that will not earn you the high level of esteem that I am sure you wish to have among the members here. I am also sure you will apologize and retract your insulting and perhaps defaming words.

Instead, could you please respond to the very serious error that you have made of using the three listed sources out of context with regard to the Russian light infantry?

I am fully prepared, for instance, to be shown that Radetzky did indeed refer to the Russians, and that Rothenburg's use of the quote was too narrow. Could you please provide the original Radetzky text in the original language? The onus is on you to do this, since you offered the quote here.

In my opinion, when a non-primary source (in this instance a tertiary source, Muir, with a footnote to a secondary source, Rothenburg) is used to advance an argument, and another member of the forum (me this time) requests the underlying primary evidence, then the party offering the non-primary source (that would be you) is obliged to honour that request. This is a duty that the person using the non-primary source has, and a duty to which they [should] be held to account.

Don't you agree ?

10th Marines10 Oct 2010 12:13 p.m. PST

VW,

I have a better idea. Instead of continually criticizing others and not actually contributing to the discussions, why don't you post material from Jany, Krieg 1809 and translate it. That would undoubtedly help people here and contribute at the same time.

You could throw some of Foucart on 1806 into the bargain as well as Morvan. You're always talking about German source material and how useful it is, so wouldn't it be a good idea to translate and post some? You can undoubtedly translate faster than I could and you seem to have the time, so why don't you do some work that would help the entire discussion?

If not, then I don't see the point of you doing nothing but carping about others.

K

10th Marines10 Oct 2010 12:13 p.m. PST

Ian,

You're not being unfair at all and you are exhibiting a good amount of plain common sense.

K

Old Bear10 Oct 2010 2:01 p.m. PST

P.S. – How's my English? Does it pass muster? Does it meet your standards? My wife says I am completely illiterate in English.

Your grip on English is fine but your grasp of irony is non-existent.

Defiant10 Oct 2010 3:23 p.m. PST

Shane in case you want to know – read German sources, otherwise you want to know

I wish I could, but I live in Australia and thus little exposed to it or ever needed to speak it. But it has passed my mind from time to time.


don't be offended when competent people come up with a lot of information you seemingly don't like to hear.

Nope VW, I just do not agree. But it seems that the more I say I do not agree the more I feel am being forced to do just that. Too much counter evidence has floated-up here for me to agree with Bill. And that is not disrespecting him I think.

Defiant10 Oct 2010 3:54 p.m. PST

justonemore,

can I ask why you have it in for Kevin? almost everyone of your posts is a direct attack on him to discredit him? I feel there is a hidden agenda here? It is harrasment here on TMP if Kevin is forced to have to defend himself constantly from you. He should not have to.

DELETEDNAME310 Oct 2010 6:02 p.m. PST

Shane ….

I am not attacking "Kevin", who I am assuming is the same as "10th Marines".

I am attacking his use of source material, with specific reference to the Russians. I play Russians, and sometimes French, so I read up on the them.

I am asking him to defend his own posts, to substantiate his ideas, to back up what he says with good sources, to use those good sources in a fair and balanced way.

My "agenda" is only to get as close as possible to a well-informed and balanced understanding of this history. If you (or anyone else) quoted something which I knew to be out of context, I would call you out on it and ask for an explanation.

It is nothing personal at all. I do not know "10th Marines", and do not care who he is. But I will often know when his quotes are out of context or otherwise defective, especially when they are about Russians or French, and I will post what I know.

He is not being asked to defend "himself", only his ideas and his use of sources. He not being "forced" to do anything. If he finds the rigors of what I take to be normal academic-level discussion to be so challenging as to constitute some sort of "harrasment", let him complain to whoever wants to listen.

10th Marines10 Oct 2010 6:26 p.m. PST

'Looking at this with a fact-based approach, it really does not look like the French have much claim to some great new innovation of 1792 in the area of light infantry tactics – unless using massive clouds of troops so raw that they don't really know how to form counts as an "innovation".'

As the French started to reform their infantry ca 1760 and ran experiments in the field using the new tactics in the 1770s at Metz and in Normandy, the French tactical developments took place long before 1792.

‘"So, if I understand you right, the Prussians had regulations for coordinating light and line infantry, but didn't use them"
And for the Russians, according 10th Marines …. having had regulations for co-ordinating light and line infantry for over 20 years – regulations which they used to good effect against Persians, Turks, Swedes, Poles and various Native peoples – the Russians then stopped using them.'

What is your definition of coordinating regular line and regular light infantry? I believe you're either missing the point here or you don't understand the problem/situation and the development of new infantry tactics post-1763.

'I think it would be only fair to ask 10th Marines : please provide the full text of the original documents from whch you offer quotes, and in the original languages.'

If I have the material I would be more than happy to. However, your manner here tends to negate the desire to both post and discuss.

‘It appears that you have no familiarity with any original source material, but are relying on repeating the work of various secondary (or tertiary?) sources that you have accessed in translation and offered here out of context. This is a generally poor method of historical enquiry in my opinion. I believe that the members here want and deserve better information and better methods of investigation and discussion.'

You're not the moderator and are not in charge of this forum. You might want to get off your high horse and knock of the rhetoric. You have no idea what I have in my library or the material I work with in my research. All you are doing in your string of postings is offering insult and not continuing the discussion in historical terms. That is the reason that I usually don't reply to you but at this point it's getting very old and you need to stop your nonsense and at least attempt to discuss the issues in a productive and not an adversarial manner.

‘One hopes that you would know how to communicate better in a internationalized context, and using modern communication tools. If you do not, it is either gross laziness, or a willful desire to score "points" instead of communicating useful information. I think we can all expect better of each other here, do you not agree?'

More insult, insinuating that I'm lazy and the silly comment about ‘scoring points.' Why don't you stay on topic and actually engage in a conversation instead of a flurry of personal comments?

‘I know only about the Russians. Let's review the bidding ….
1. 10th Marines posted two out of context comments about the Russsian light infantry : Duhesme and Surtees.
When we look at the contexts, we find (i) Duhesme never saw or fought the Russians, (ii) Surtees once saw them disembarking from landing ships and never again, (iii) both were writing about 1799 in Holland, which is (iv) before the Napoelonic era proper and (v) involved exactly two half-strength battalions of Russian jägers, and that (vI) the Russians themselves were not too pleased with these jägers : they were disbanded and the commander sent to oversee the ash and trash detail for the navy on some Finnish rock – so hardly a "typical" unit even for 1799.
2. 10th Marines proffered the alleged Radetzky out of context quote about "the Austrians and the Russians".
But actually this traces to an English language work by Rothenburg published in 1982. In the original Rothenburg text, which was footnoted to an Army of Bohemia internal document of September 1813, there is only the indentification "we", with not a clue as to who this "we" is. 10th Marines doesn't have the original document, so he can provide no explanation, identification or context.
3. Next we have the rather strange statement that "The problem the British, Russians, Austrians, and Prussians had with the new French tactical system is that as of 1792 no one, except for the French, had attempted to integrate regular light infantry with regular line infantry in formation on the battlefield."
This ignores decades of Russian light infantry experience fighting the Prussians, Persians, Turks, Swedes, Poles and various Native peoples. The formal Russian doctrine dates from 1761, and perhaps earier. To illustrate the point, I proffered the regulations put into effect 1783-1786, complete in the original language with the illustrations – clearly showing typical line and light infantry integration and with evolutions bearing a strong resemblmance to Davout's instructions of almost 30 years (!) later.
4. Then we have "The issue is integrating the tactical operations of the light troops, or line troops if that is the case, in open or skirmish order with those of the troops in line. As late as 1808 the Prussians, Russians, and Austrians couldn't or wouldn't do this."
When pressed for some source support for this rather absurd assertion, we are told by 10th Marines "I found the material on the Russians from the two volume work Tactics of the Russian Army in the Napoleonic Wars by Alexander Zhmodikov and Yurii Zhmodikov." This is a modern secondary source in the English language with the usual Latin alphabet. There is no Cyrillic alphabet problem with posting information from it, despite 10th Marines rather confused/confusing assertion that he "can't post anything in Russian because my keyboard does not have a Cyrillic option".
NSN and I both looked through the book. We can't find this "material".'

Then you need to look more carefully. And since you have stated that you ‘know only the Russians' why are you commenting on the others and the accuracy of quotations about them?

‘In summary, 10th Marines has repeatedly shown no interest in sharing information that is useful and relevant with typical and normal source quotation and context. We cannot determine where his sources' words and ideas stop and where his own personal ideas and conclusions start. When measured by the usual standards of usual historical investigation and discussion, his contributions here with regard to the Russians are useless.'

Of course they are. You disagree with them and by your definition they have to be ‘useless.'

‘I will leave it to others to determine if his "material" regarding the Prussians and Austrians is equally devoid of accurate and relevant source support. Reading over the coments of other members, it would appear that indeed this is the case.
Please note, there is not a single personal remark in this post. I am commenting only on the nature and value of the material posted by 10th Marines. I am writing about his posts and his methods of source utilization. I am not writing about him, his character, his personality, his motives, his honesty or his intelligence.'

Oh, but you are and have in the past. You really ought to watch what you say.

‘I would eagerly make the identical comments in person if I were to meet 10th Marines.'

Perhaps. And you might not like the reaction, though. It's easy to say the things you do say from behind the safety of a keyboard.

‘What Rothenburg (1982) claimed that v. Radetz wrote was : "operations en tirailleure can only be conducted in a very limited manner because we do not understand this kind of fighting." All the other versions, which all trace their footnotes back to Rothenburg, are just other authors paraphasing (with greater or lesser fidelity) or misquoting Rothenburg. Whether v. Radetz wrote in German or French (for the benefit of the Russians), he did not write what Rothenburg quotes – this is a translation. Further, it is also a rather strange and really quite poor translation, more a kind of bastardized Franglais than actual English : -- it includes a key phrase that purports to be in French, rather odd for an English translation : "operations en tirailleure"
-- "operations" and "tirailleure" are not correct French : these should be "opérations" and "tirailleur"-- "operations en tirailleur" (even correctly spelled) is not the name of any set of military evolutions in French-- the various authors who purport to offer Radetzky via Rothenburg (Kiley, Muir, Holmes, Gates, etc., etc.) sometimes take it upon themselves to re-write the quote. Here we find more mangled French : "mainere de tirailleur" (which should be "manière" and again does not correspond to any actual French usage even when corrected!)'

I am sure all this paraphrasing, strange translating, inventing French military phrases and concepts, misquoting and so on is a great convenience for these anglophone authors in making their "points". Here is an example from Kiley (2007):

Radetzky according to Rothenburg :"operations en tirailleure can only be conducted in a very limited manner because we do not understand this kind of fighting."
Radetzsky according to Kiley : "
Radetzky observed that neither the Austrians nor the Russians understood fighting in open order and believed that skirmishers could be used in a very small, limited way. The conclusion that was reached was that the Austrians were not the equal of the French when fighting in open order."

Do you think that Radetzky could even recognize this version as even related to the original ?

Interesting but superfluous question. It is both meaningless and nonsense.

‘We still have absolutely no idea what v. Radetz actually wrote. These various anglophone authors themselves also have no idea (save Rothenburg). I would not want to write a book, and offer some quote as evidence without ever having seen the quoted document myself. I think that would be really poor historical method that would render the result quite useless.'

Check Rothenberg and his source material. The two quotes he uses from Radetzky are taken from the Kriegsarchive in Vienna as listed in the footnotes. I have no reason to doubt Rothenberg. Are you saying that he is unreliable.

The text from Titans that you have quoted from page 37 is from Rothenberg and Gates as a backup reference. It is not a quote, it is a paraphrase and there is no ‘invention'
As you put it (yet another insult). Do you always use this type of ‘methodology' with material you disagree with?

‘10th Marines : Good to see you here again.'

I can just imagine.

From you we have:
"The issue is integrating the tactical operations of the light troops, or line troops if that is the case, in open or skirmish order with those of the troops in line. As late as 1808 the Prussians, Russians, and Austrians couldn't or wouldn't do this."
"I found the material on the Russians from the two volume work Tactics of the Russian Army in the Napoleonic Wars by Alexander Zhmodikov and Yurii Zhmodikov."

‘I have the book and can't find anything like what you claim is there. Neither did NSN.
Can you please provide a full quotation (the whole text of the relevant section, including any footnotes) from the book of the "material" you claim is there.
Otherwise, we will have to conclude that your ideas are yours alone – ideas that you just made up and not based even on a secondary source. No harm in that, of course. It is just a difference.'

What NSN finds or thinks is completely irrelevant to me.

If you have the books (there are two volumes, not one) it is quite easy to find the material as it permeates the text. And you mention part of it below which is both interesting and curious. And, no, the ideas are not ‘made up' (another pejorative and insulting remark). So, this is either a ‘baiting' posting or you're having trouble finding a great deal of material in two slim volumes.

If I had given you the quotations from the book you would have undoubtedly gone back to your mantra of ‘out of context' which makes the issue redundant.

‘The same issues were debated in the Russian army. Barclay was for lower numbers and more careful regulation, Kutuzov and Bagration were for larger numbers and a slightly more loose deployment. Vitgenshteyn seems to have liked to use opolchenie marksmen in a slightly loose formation, but used his jägers more per Barclay.'

I mentioned at least part of that in my reference to the Zhmodikov's books. Then you said you couldn't find it when it permeates the text on the Russian infantry tactics. What game are you playing?

‘Stating that you did not offer quotes out of context is incorrect and you should fix that error. I would not be surprised if what you have offered us about other nationalities is equally defective and equally misleading. This is an example of your errors undermining your credibility. That is very bad. I am sure that you expect more of yourself, and that you would wish to be seen as credible, and not as a biased and ill-informed cheerleader.
That you have not corrected your errors when they are pointed out to you indicates to me that you intend to mislead. That is also very bad, as I expected more of you.'

You are assuming facts not in evidence and the last sentence is an insult and is incorrect. You should correct that and not use that pejorative manner or intent.

‘The translation of the alleged quote from Radetzky was first published here :
Napoleon's Greatest Adversaries: The Archduke Charles and the Austrian Army by Gunther Rothenberg (1982)'

And the quote is ‘alleged' why?

‘The alleged quote has then appeared or been referenced in various expanded forms in these four books, which either cite each other or the 1982 book by Rothenburg. It is in this process of creative re-quoting of Rothenburg that the Russians become specifically named.'

I don't have, and have never used the 1982 edition of Rothenberg's Napoleon's Great Adversary. I have the 1995 edition.

‘These books are in the English language. None credit a translator. Thus we can conclude the Rothenburg, Gates, Muir, Holmes and Kiley are "belonging to an English-speaking population".'

There is no requirement to ‘credit a translator.'

‘In the original translation offered by Rothenburg the Russians were not even named: "operations en tirailleure[sic] can only be conducted in a very limited manner because we do not understand this kind of fighting." The identification of "we" in the original Radetzky document is not provided by Rothenburg. Rothenburg was himself writing about only the Austrians.'

No, you are incorrect here again. Rothenberg quoted Radetzky twice in the book. See below.

‘This can be compared to the later sexed-up expansions and inventive applications of the alleged quote, such as this drum-beating pro-French myth-spinning drivel from, for example, Kiley: "Radetzky observed that neither the Austrians nor the Russians understood fighting in open order and believed that skirmishers could be used in a very small, limited way. The conclusion that was reached was that the Austrians were not the equal of the French when fighting in open order."'

This is not a quote from any work, but a paraphrase of the material and it is correct using the citations given in the book-Rothenberg and Gates-not Muir.

‘You offered the quote here with reference to the Russians. You cited Muir here, whose re-casting of the alleged quote includes the Russians. But the Russians were not included in the first version, by Rothenburg, which Muir gives as his source.
Your failure to understand and provide the context for the quote that you offered here could not be more plain. The Russians were not even named in the original publication of the quote. Their inclusion was a later addition. If you had made even the most passing effort to offer the quote in context, you would have realized this. But, like the other two quotes you provided about the Russians, you offered the Radetzky "quote" out of context.
You offered three total quotes about the Russians. All three were very clearly out of context. Your repeated protests that you do not post out of context quotes are thus incorrect and you should fix that error.'

I don't believe that I cited Muir. And there are two Radetzky quotes to deal with, not one. One deals with the Austrians only and the other with the Austrians and the Russians. See below.

‘Three quotes from you about Russians :
1. Duhesme : writng about the one half-strength jäger regiment in the descent on Holland in 1799 (which Duhesme had never seen) : offered here by you as informative about the general performance of Russian light infantry in the Napoleonic Wars
2. Surtees : writng about the one half-strength jäger regiment in the descent on Holland in 1799 (which Surtees had seen exactly once, marching past him after their landing) : offered here by you as informative about the general performance of Russian light infantry in the Napoleonic Wars
3. Radetzky (attributed) : quoted in translation by Rothenburg in a work about the Austrians, the original text does not name the Russians : offered here by you as informative about the general performance of Russian light infantry in the Napoleonic Wars
Thus you have quoted out of context three times, out a total of three comments about the Russians – 100% out of context. That is very bad – it is an error that you should fix.'

And what is ‘out of context'? The three quotes were illustrative of a situation at a specific time and indicative of a larger problem. And that problem is illustrated quite well in the Zhmodikovs' two volumes to which you have already been referred. Nothing that I presented misrepresented anything-they were all ‘arrows in the quiver' for discussion and food for thought. You seem to have a problem taking things at face value-here's a little free advice: don't judge others by your own low standards of behavior.

‘You are responding on a off-topic point with negative discussion of another member here. That's conduct that will not earn you the high level of esteem that I am sure you wish to have among the members here. I am also sure you will apologize and retract your insulting and perhaps defaming words.'

I merely responded in kind. And it wasn't defamation as it was correct in the way VW acts on the forum. As you once said, it's my opinion and I am entitled to it. If you don't like it that is too bad, but you engage in that behavior towards me in almost every posting you undertake, using pejorative terms to describe me or my writing (the use of the term ‘drivel' is most illustrative) and you demand and condescend most readily. I would advise you to stop, but then I might as well talk to a rock on that matter, should I not, for all the good it will do.

‘Instead, could you please respond to the very serious error that you have made of using the three listed sources out of context with regard to the Russian light infantry?'

I have not committed a ‘serious error.' Using quotations is to paint a picture of a situation. The ones that I posted were from several different perspectives over the entire period. If you disagree, then offer opposing evidence and then refrain from personal comments about me which you tend to pepper your postings. It's getting old and quite tiresome. It also shows you to be nekulturny which I find quite distasteful.

‘I am fully prepared, for instance, to be shown that Radetzky did indeed refer to the Russians, and that Rothenburg's use of the quote was too narrow. Could you please provide the original Radetzky text in the original language? The onus is on you to do this, since you offered the quote here.'

Here is Radetzky from Rothenberg's Napoleon's Great Adversary: ‘The able Radetzky, probably the best young general to come out of these wars, observed ruefully that ‘operations en tirailleure can only be conducted in a very limited manner because we do not understand this kind of fighting.'' (pages 145-146)

On pages 234-235 of the same volume: ‘As Radetzky observed in September, ‘fighting en tirailleure should be done only in very restricted fashion because neither the Russians nor we have mastered the maniere de tirailler.'

So, Rothenberg has quoted Radetzky twice in the book, not once, and on two separate occasions. Perhaps you were confused with the two quotes or were not aware of them?

‘In my opinion, when a non-primary source (in this instance a tertiary source, Muir, with a footnote to a secondary source, Rothenburg) is used to advance an argument, and another member of the forum (me this time) requests the underlying primary evidence, then the party offering the non-primary source (that would be you) is obliged to honour that request. This is a duty that the person using the non-primary source has, and a duty to which they [should] be held to account.'

First, I didn't use Muir. I have either used the 1995 edition of Rothenberg's Napoleon's Great Adversary in a direct quote or have paraphrased it. So, on that count, you are incorrect.

Second, if I had the original I would have used it.

It seems to me that you are not interesting in either historical argument or historical inquiry, but merely to hinder, obfuscate, and insult. If that's what you're going to do please leave me out of your nonsense. I'm tired of the insults, misrepresentations, and inaccurate accusations.

K

10th Marines10 Oct 2010 6:30 p.m. PST

'I am not attacking "Kevin", who I am assuming is the same as "10th Marines".'

Actually, yes you are and you are very insulting in your postings to me. That needs to stop.

'I am attacking his use of source material, with specific reference to the Russians. I play Russians, and sometimes French, so I read up on the them.'

All of us 'read up on them' so that's not a revelation. And what all of us are doing is merely skimming the surface. You should not 'attack' anything, but try and discuss material in a rational manner, which you don't do. I don't know what your motivation is, but your manner is very abrasive when you post in reply to me. You are demanding, condescending and insulting. Take a look at some of the things you have said to me which are listed above. It's getting very old and I am very tired of it. If you can't refrain from your pejorative comments, please leave me out of your postings. And if it continues, I will not answer again.

K

Defiant10 Oct 2010 7:21 p.m. PST

Old Bear, I wish I could meet you in person, you are a great bloke. I love your quick wit.

If you ever come down-under for a holiday look me up, I will put you up in my home and show you the sights.

DELETEDNAME310 Oct 2010 8:03 p.m. PST

"What is your definition of coordinating regular line and regular light infantry"
I posted the 1783 era regulations for the Russians. They look about the same as Davout's 1811 instructions. If you disagree, point out any relevant differences. Whatever the "definition of coordinating" is, it looks like the Russians and French were doing pretty much exactly the same thing.

"[W]hy are you commenting on the other [nationalities] and the accuracy of quotations about them?"
I am not commenting about the accuracy of quotes regarding any nation except Russia. I was only voicing a warning based on what I see in your use of the the sources about the Russians – which is 100% out of context quotes plus a instruction "to look more carefully" for your un-quoted, un-specified "material" in the Zhmodikovs' book.

"If I had given you the quotations from the book [by the Zhmodikovs] you would have undoubtedly gone back to your mantra of ‘out of context'"
Try me. Maybe you will quote them in context. Maybe you won't.

"So, Rothenberg has quoted Radetzky twice in the book, not once, and on two separate occasions. Perhaps you were confused with the two quotes or were not aware of them?
Yes, I was unanware of the second use! Wow! Rothenburg does give the same "quote" in two places – with two different translations! I found the first use, and never thought he would have re-used it himself, but with changed wording, in the same book. I just assumed that later authors addded that in the process of re-using the quote from Rothenburg. I expected this kind changing the original from Gates, Holmes and Kiley. I was surprised that Muir might have done the same kind of "creative re-use". I feel much better. Thank you! That was very helpful.

And the [Radetzky] quote is ‘alleged' why?
Because you have not offered us the full text of the relevant section of the orginal document in the original language. I could check the other quotes (Duhesme and Surtees), as I found the originals myself. Your use of them here proved to be out of context. The Radetzky document I have not yet found. Rothenburg, I now see (thanks again!), gives two different translations in one book! All the others, and you here, rely directly or indirectly on him.
Really, we don't know what Radetzky wrote. It remains very "alleged" in my opinion.

"You're not the moderator and are not in charge of this forum."
Neither are you.

nvrsaynvr10 Oct 2010 10:22 p.m. PST

Rothenberg's citations are mildly confused as well. The first is: KA,FA 1813, Deutschland F/10-436b. and the second is: KA,FA 1813, Hauptarmee, F/10-436b. KA is Kriegsarchiv, Vienna and FA is Feldakten.

Old Bear10 Oct 2010 11:48 p.m. PST

Old Bear, I wish I could meet you in person, you are a great bloke. I love your quick wit.

If you ever come down-under for a holiday look me up, I will put you up in my home and show you the sights.

Thanks Shane. I'm very pro Southern Hemisphere (can you tell I'm a rugby fan?) anyway, so if I get down your way I'll certainly give you a shout. grin

10th Marines11 Oct 2010 3:26 a.m. PST

There are two Radetzky quotes, made at two different times. It isn't the same quote used twice and translated differently. Again, you are in error.

If you are so concerned about it, I suggest that you go to the Kriegarchive in Vienna and check yourself.

K

Defiant11 Oct 2010 3:52 a.m. PST

I am a league fan myself !!

von Winterfeldt11 Oct 2010 4:59 a.m. PST

crap sticks like glue

or so it seems to be – instead of quoting obsolete statements – as that from Elting about the Prussian Army of 1806, I wonder why not anybody comes up with quotes from Bressonnet or Napoleon's Apogee, seemingly a lot of people did buy it.


It is evident that the co-operation between light troops and line troops was not up to the French – but the Prussian Army of 1806 was not any longer those of the 7YW.

"Almost all the military historians are mistaken in stating that there were wide differences between the French and the Prussian tactics, and in saying that the former used an order of columns preceeded by tirailleurs while the later still used a linear order" p. 337

Also MacLaddie is very right that Bressonnet did not use the Gefechtsberichte of Jany – there they were not available of him and that he relied very much on Höpfner only.

For those who are more interested how the Prussians of 1806 really fought :

Jany : Die Gefechtsausbildung der Preußischen Infanterie von 1806. Mit einer Auwahl von Gefechtsberichten, Berlin 1903

Available on Google.books.

nvrsaynvr11 Oct 2010 7:50 a.m. PST

It isn't the same quote used twice and translated differently.

Seems very unlikely, given the identical page(?) numbers in the citations. Perhaps we should wait until someone turns up the original…

von Winterfeldt11 Oct 2010 10:17 a.m. PST

in case there is interest what happened at Auerstedt, please visit

link

Whirlwind11 Oct 2010 10:43 a.m. PST

"Almost all the military historians are mistaken in stating that there were wide differences between the French and the Prussian tactics, and in saying that the former used an order of columns preceeded by tirailleurs while the later still used a linear order" p. 337

Sorry von Winterfeld, I missed which book you are referring to?

Regards

von Winterfeldt11 Oct 2010 11:17 a.m. PST

Napoleon's Apogee
Pascal Bressonnet's Tactical Studies 1806
Saalfeld, Jena and Auerstädt
2009
Military History Press

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP11 Oct 2010 3:06 p.m. PST

Kevin:
To get this clear, I went back to find out what was said by whom. As far as I can tell, this is the sequence of posts:
Shane posted this quote @ October 4th.


Peter Paret goes on to say: "Clearly Hohenlohe should not have attacked. But once his lines faced infantry in open order, the prevailing doctrine, as Schieffen notes, left the Prussian lines helpless."

I responded:

[According to Schieffen, the] Prussians stood around volleying because they couldn't think of anything else to do, or thought their actions were the best thing to do.

That simply isn't what happened.

All the efforts the Prussians report attempting to defeat the French do not include standing around volleying as the primary approach, or even in response. Much, much more was going on during the battle. The disconnect between the actual battle reports and descriptions like von Schlieffen and many, many others continues to amaze me. All you have to do is read what the participants say and one can see that Schlieffen hasn't got it right—which seems inexplicable to me.

Matthew then wrote after this:

According to Chandler, quoting Maude, this was supposed to have stood out in the open and been shot to pieces by French skirmishers over two hours in "one of the most extraordinary and pitiful incidents in military history" (Chandler quoting Maude). Chandler's account chimes with Schlieffen's quoted above, no doubt all drawn from the same original source.

Bill says he can find no contemporary evidence for this episode.

Kevin wrote:

What is very clear here is that Grawert did stand in the open delivering ineffective volley fire while being shot to pieces by French infantry in open order supported by artillery (which was the French doctrine). Grawert did deploy ‘isolated' skirmishers, but they accomplished nothing.

Then you provided a page of quotes from Bressonet. It wasn't clear to me what you were responding to because I never suggested that there was "no evidence" for the Grawert's battalions standing and volleying—assuming that is the episode Matthew was referring to. That wasn't what I was saying at all.

I wrote in response:

Your brief on the battle has some fine quotes, but you have not only taken some of them out of context,[according to my point, not yours] the quotes are also out of chronological order, so you have Sanitz's regiment recoiling after Hohenlohe has decided not to attack, irresolute, and wait for Ruchel… Not a big help.

The biggest problem I had with Bressonet's very fine narrative of the battle are the reasons he gives for Hohenlohe's actions, when those aren't the reasons the Prussian army reports give, but there is no explanation why from Bressonet.

You do show Grawert's first action as sending out skirmishers, however you fail to mention the artillery he brought up afterward. The Prussian volleys were in support of that effort and the artillery did clear the face of the village. [italics inserted for emphasis]

This is where I felt you had taken the quotes out of context: that is, quoted some of Bressonet to prove the Prussians were volleying, but not all the efforts the actually made besides that.

That, of course, wasn't what you were responding to:

You made the comment, I believe, that there wasn't evidence of Grawert standing in the open delivering volley fire against French infantry in covered and concealed positions. The material I quoted from Bressonet states exactly the opposite. That was the context it was in and how I quoted it.

So, no I never said that and certainly don't believe that. I can see why you would have quoted Bressonet as you did.

My points were:

1. It wasn't Prussian doctrine to win battles by standing and volleying. No where is that written in Prussian documents, treatises or historical actions, from 1756-1806. It wasn't doctrine to attack that way, let alone taking villages. So what Schieffen says is inaccurate. Prussian doctrine was advancing fire, bayonet charges etc.

2. So, Prussian doctrine didn't leave the Prussians ‘helpless.' The Prussian actions do not suggest helplessness. In fact they appear more experimental, trying one thing after another rather than being totally at a loss and stupidly volleying. They first deploy skirmishers and that doesn't work, so they certainly start volleying, but that doesn't work, nor is there any indication that the Prussians thought it would. It was mostly an attempt at fire suppression. They knew to take the village would require the bayonet—which was Prussian doctrine.

3. The Prussians did a lot more than just stand around and volley while getting shot up:

The Prussians then brought up artillery and tried with canister to drive the French out. That didn't work, so incendiary shells were used to push back the French—and that apparently worked very quickly. Finally, with that apparent success, Hohenlohe then attempted twice to advance and take the village. The first advance was stopped by Lannes spoiling attack at the point which Lannes calls the ‘crisis of the day.' The second attempt is stopped at the suggestion of Grawert. They should wait for Ruchel.


Here is the official report of Major von der Marwitz, adjutant to Prince Hohenlohe, for the inquiry into the defeat in 1806.

"Our infantry attack, before which the enemy skirmishers fell back, now came up to the village Vierzehn Heiligen where a line was formed again and the left flank was taken slightly around the village . . . The village was occupied by the enemy in strength, and behind it, out of our line of sight, he had squeezed together strong columns or was bringing them up. It seemed as if we wanted to take the village by fire. We were standing only a few hundred paces from his batteries and the hail of canister wrought an incredible devastation in our battalions which we could not replace with anything. Our artillery almost flattened the village and the oldest soldiers, Prince Hohenlohe himself, affirmed to having had no concept of such fire. Along the entire line, one battalion volley followed another, without effect in many places. The area at the entrance to the village was, however, the scene of a fearful murder and loss of blood. . .

"One battery which had moved up close to the village bombarded it as forcefully as possible for half an hour, but as the enemy continued to stand behind the closely packed houses and sheds, it could not be taken this way. The gunners requested permission to fire incendiary shells into it. This was granted and the first set it alight. Now the enemy began to withdraw and if only we had continued this bombardment of incendiaries for a quarter of an hour then nobody could have stayed in it or got through it and we would have at least secured our retreat … But after firing hardly more than a couple of shells, it was stopped …" [italics mine]

Marwitz's wry comment about "It seemed as if we wanted to take the village by fire" is written to Prussian officers, all of whom would know that whatever it ‘seemed' like, there was no possible expectation that they would or could take the village with volley fire, hence ‘seemed like'. Also, by Marwitz's statement, the volleys were at around 170 yards from the village. [a pace being @ 2.6 feet.]

So, the image of the Prussians standing around helplessly volleying because they can't think of anything else to do, or because it was ‘doctrine' or that they actually thought that somehow the volleying would win the battle is completely false. Unfortunately, that image has been repeated over and over again until that is all anyone knows of the battle.

Also note that Marwitz doesn't mention the French skirmish fire, but does comment on the terrible effects of the French artillery. From all accounts, the French grand battery was at worst an equal partner with the skirmishers in ‘decimating' the Prussian lines.

Also remember that Grawert's Prussians endured this combo from 10:30 until 1:30pm before breaking…one hour after Napoleon had called for a general advance… which means that the losses weren't crippling immediately. As the Prussians suffered 10,500 casualties before routing, and the French 6,500, the reports of catastrophic loses have to be kept in perspective.

Anyway, Kevin, from what I understand, I felt you were taking the quotes out of context because I thought you were claiming that all the Prussians did after they recalled their skirmishers was volley. You were quoting Bressonet because you though I was claiming that the Prussians never did stand around and volley…

Anyway, unless you have another take on it, I think we were quoting at cross-purposes… ;-j

Bill

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP11 Oct 2010 3:25 p.m. PST

von Winterfeld:

I have never been able to get a full view of

Jany : Die Gefechtsausbildung der Preußischen Infanterie von 1806. Mit einer Auwahl von Gefechtsberichten, Berlin 1903

from Google. Do you have the internet address for the thing?
I had to buy the volumes!

Bill

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP11 Oct 2010 5:29 p.m. PST

I wrote: Not clear at all. Most narratives don't give much attention to skirmishing actions, let alone note how skirmishers were deployed or how many.

Shane wrote:

Hi Bill,
Your last line I can totally agree with. This is why I am so passionate about the subject.


Shane:

? My last line was "Most narratives don't give much attention to skirmishing actions, let alone note how skirmishers were deployed or how many."

Your response was "Your last line I can totally agree with. This is why I am so passionate about the subject."

I've read this several times. It reads like you are passionate about the subject because most narratives don't give much attention to it. Is that right?

Thank you for grouping those citations together, this helps me gain a clearer picture so that I can more accurately qualify and quantify what I need to do in my system.

You are welcome. I can do that with whatever else I have said. All you have to do is ask. I assumed that was what the thread was about. Gathering information about Skirmishing doctrine.

Please understand that as a game designer I cannot sit on the fence as someone else previous explained. I need quantification on things like this so that it is transformed into rules mechanics that players must adhere to.

Shane, it is not clear whether you are in the process of
"accurately qualify and quantify what you need to do in my system" or have already gotten off the fence, made your design decisions. At this point, do you need to futher qualify or qauntify anything?

This is not always possible if the evidence is vague or non-existent but I am sure you understand my reasoning?


Shane:
I agree that many narratives are not much help, but a lot isn't non-existent and there is a great deal of information out there that hasn't been paid attention to because authors were interested in other things, or satified saying things like Schieffen's judgment, which have no relation to do with the historical evidence.

Bill

Defiant11 Oct 2010 5:45 p.m. PST

I've read this several times. It reads like you are passionate about the subject because most narratives don't give much attention to it. Is that right?

Lol, no Bill. I am actually meaning that I agree with "you". That not enough attention has been given to skirmishing in narratives. This is also true for games rules design so therefore this is why I am passionate about the subject. Sorry if it sounded wrong.

As for whether I have made any decisions, yes I have. You will not agree with my conclusions but that is why we were given the ability to pass judgement based on what we know, understand and thus believe. I now have a direction for this and have now moved on to other related topics and I do thank you for your contribution here.

Regards,
Shane

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP11 Oct 2010 8:12 p.m. PST

Shane wrote:

As for whether I have made any decisions, yes I have. You will not agree with my conclusions but that is why we were given the ability to pass judgement based on what we know, understand and thus believe. I now have a direction for this and have now moved on to other related topics and I do thank you for your contribution here.

Shane:
I am glad to provide evidence, but if you began this thread already having made your decisions/conclusions on the evidence as you see it, what exactly were you asking for in starting the Thread?

It looks like you asked an open-ended question about something you had already answered to your satisfaction--and for your game design. I have already told you that I could support the two points you explained about your skirmish rules.


If you were looking just for those bits of information that supported what you had already concluded, saying so would have saved a lot of time and discord.

Bill

Defiant11 Oct 2010 8:49 p.m. PST

No Bill,

You just don't get it do you? I agreed with others here who provided evidence that "you" do not agree with.

Can't you just accept that I do not agree with you???

It has nothing to do with coming here with an already made up mind. I have simply decided that I cannot to agree with you based on the evidence others have produced but you just can't seem to get past that can you?

Bill, please get over it and let it be.

von Winterfeldt11 Oct 2010 10:36 p.m. PST

McLaddie

Ask Steve Smith he will provide the google link

von Winterfeldt12 Oct 2010 5:42 a.m. PST

@McLaddie

Thanks to an old friend

Gefechtsberichte etc.

link

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP12 Oct 2010 7:09 a.m. PST

von Winterfeldt:

Thanks, got it. That was a big help. Google does an awful job of cross referencing book titles so you can actually find them. It is great to have it in PDF.

Bill

matthewgreen12 Oct 2010 11:43 a.m. PST

Bill

Thank you for your illuminating detailed quotes and interpretation about Jena, and in particular for clarifying the issue raised in my posting. This has greatly illuminated my understanding of that battle and the way battles were fought in the era. The whole thread has greatly increased my understanding of skirmishers – a growing passion of mine too.

I do struggle to understand what everybody is disagreeing about so passionately though. Everybody seems to be agreeing about the essential elements. In 1806 the Prussians had a significant skirmish capability, but were still weaker than the French. They often did not utilise this capability to the full for perfectly good tactical reasons. The issue of whether Prussian officers were hidebound by tradition, etc, is a bit redundant IMO. The point is that their capability was weaker than the French; that is sufficient to explain what happened.

I also find it easy to see how the stories like the quote I made from Chandler emerged from the evidence. There is enough truth in the story about being shot to pieces by skirmishers to support it – though the story has been vastly oversimplified and exaggerated in the retelling.

The historiography of military history in the Napoleonic Wars is almost as interesting as the history itself – of how and why various ways of interpreting the events rose and fell. Sadly, I don't suppose any author will take this subject on any time soon.

Matthew

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP12 Oct 2010 6:22 p.m. PST

Matthew:

I am glad the curfuffles didn't get in the way of the information. There are a lot of pitfalls in communicating with webposts.

It is fascinating, the whole issue concerning skirmishing and the historiography of military history too, as you say.

My biggest issue is with past writers who have made statements about the Prussian actions which simply aren't supported by the evidence--at all…and I am at a loss to understand how they could come to the conclusions they do.

It is hard to say so when authors like Chandler are saying such things. I grew up on his "Campaigns". First military history book I bought with my own money back when I was a teenager. However, either the statements are true or not based on the evidence.

Chandler writes:

In doctrine, however, the Prussian army was hopelessly outdated in its concepts. Everything was related to the days of Frederick the Great, and deviations from the Master's precepts were not countenanced. p. 454

That is not accurate, not even as a generalization. In fact, if the Prussians had actually been so locked into the 'Master's Precepts" instead of just the opposite after twenty years, the Battle of Jena would have gone very differently. That generalization, like many others, doesn't help at all in understanding what happened and why, no matter who is making it.

As for military history, here is a quote that I found to the point:

"—failure in battle. Much of the literature dealing with this subject has tended to oversimplify what is in reality a complex and complicated phenomenon."
—Eliot A. Cohen and John Gooch, Military Misfortunes: Anatomy of Failure in War page 1

Other good books on military historiography are:

Black, Jeremy. Rethinking MIlitary History , particularly his chapter on "Military History Today".

Edited by WIlliamson Murray. The Past as Prologue: The importance of History to the Military Profession.

And one of my favorites which addresses your comment about of how and why various ways of interpreting the events rose and fell.:

Gat, Azar A History of Military Thought: From the Enlightement to the Cold War.

Bill

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