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"Napoleon's Finest Battle?" Topic

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04 May 2019 12:33 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

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©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian11 Oct 2016 12:06 p.m. PST

Which battle best demonstrates Napoleon's generalship?

SJDonovan11 Oct 2016 12:13 p.m. PST


ashill211 Oct 2016 12:13 p.m. PST

And so it begins!

RudyNelson11 Oct 2016 12:17 p.m. PST

Strategically ULM. However a strong case can be made that it was at this level, Napoleon did his best work. Crossing the Alps, the 1814 fighting withdrawal.
A single Operational level battle, maybe Austerlitz. Facing the might of the Austrians and the Russians.

Shagnasty Supporting Member of TMP11 Oct 2016 12:26 p.m. PST

Another vote for Austerlitz.

RebelPaul11 Oct 2016 12:27 p.m. PST


Joes Shop Supporting Member of TMP11 Oct 2016 12:31 p.m. PST


Personal logo ColCampbell Supporting Member of TMP11 Oct 2016 12:34 p.m. PST

I will second Rudy's nomination with Ulm for best strategic operation and Austerlitz for best actual battle. 1805 was the height of the Napoleonic French army.


Stosstruppen11 Oct 2016 12:40 p.m. PST

I'd have to agree with Ulm/Austerlitz

marmont1814 Sponsoring Member of TMP11 Oct 2016 12:42 p.m. PST

Lots of battles napoleon planned where flawless, but my favourite battle of many is Dresden, he reacted, marshalled his forces, attacked superior forces destroyed a wing and drove the enemy from the field

4th Cuirassier11 Oct 2016 12:42 p.m. PST

I would say Jena. While Davout held off and indeed handily beat the main Prussian body who outnumbered him 5 to 2 (sorry Prussophiles, but those are the facts: the Prussians were rubbish), Napoleon concentrated 96,000 against 48,000 and pretty much destroyed them. Elegantly conclusive.

Hanau was class. Montmirail/Chateau-Thierry were also an impressive pair of victories. Ligny is also underrated; with inferior numbers he effectively took three corps out of the picture on ground they chose, to the point where the unengaged one that had missed Ligny was the one picked to go to Waterloo.

Who asked this joker11 Oct 2016 12:54 p.m. PST

I will second Jena and by extension Auerstadt. At Austerlitz, Napleon won the day. At Jena-Auerstadt, he annihilated his opponent.

HidaSeku11 Oct 2016 1:03 p.m. PST


Andrew Preziosi Supporting Member of TMP11 Oct 2016 1:22 p.m. PST

As Marmont 1814 stated so well-Dresden

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP11 Oct 2016 1:54 p.m. PST

"Finest Battle"--Austerlitz
"Finest Campaign"--Ulm
"Battle Best Demonstrating his Generalship"--Borodino, maybe Wagram.

He mostly didn't do battles particularly well. At his peak, he did campaigns superbly.

C M DODSON11 Oct 2016 1:55 p.m. PST

Austerilitz was not only a great tactical victory, it destroyed the Third coalition and effectively secured Napoleon's position at home and abroad.

'Roll up the map of Europe' stated the soon to be late Mr Pitt.

Happy modelling.


Ben Avery11 Oct 2016 1:58 p.m. PST

The Battle of the Biographies.

Rhysius Cambrensis11 Oct 2016 2:10 p.m. PST

The fight between all the Napoleon wannabes out there!

wrgmr111 Oct 2016 3:03 p.m. PST

Austerlitz, Ligny, Wagram

rmaker11 Oct 2016 4:06 p.m. PST


Personal logo 20thmaine Supporting Member of TMP11 Oct 2016 4:33 p.m. PST

Waterloo – the campaign was masterful, he just didn't quite make the closer on the day.

Personal logo Florida Tory Supporting Member of TMP11 Oct 2016 5:53 p.m. PST

Rudy nailed it, including his honorable mentions for the Italian & 1814 campaigns.


nsolomon9911 Oct 2016 7:39 p.m. PST

1805 – the Ulm Campaign operationally and then the genius of the battlefield victory at Austerlitz and then 1806 – the brilliance of the manouvering to set up the Prussians for the 1, 2 punch of Jena/Auerstadt where his ability to choose the right leaders and get them to the right place came to the fore.

Glengarry511 Oct 2016 11:46 p.m. PST

Another vote for Ulm/Austerlitz. Jena & Auerstadt did not develop as Napoleon envisioned but he got lucky, particularly having Davout in the right place at the right time. And the Prussians were rubbish.

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP12 Oct 2016 1:59 a.m. PST

Austerlitz seem to be the only battle where his well laid plan actualy worked, the other battles he won, becasue he had better officers and soldiers.

You don't have to be a great general if you are fighting zulus with spears and you got gatlinguns(you get the point)

The enemy simply had worse officer corps, worse tactics, generaly bad leadership. His enemies had one and a half arms tied behind their back.

As soon as the enemy starts figuring out what they are lacking, Napoleon starts having problems.

langobard Supporting Member of TMP12 Oct 2016 3:11 a.m. PST

Austerlitz is the battle where everything he planned turned to gold. Dresden as the battle where double enveloped a numerically superior opponent.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP12 Oct 2016 4:38 a.m. PST

I grudgingly concede one thing to Napoleon, even if I do agree that, by 1815, the whole Campaign illustrates where he was failing.

Not one of his marshals approached him when in independent command (discuss). We all know the tale of attacking them, but retreating if facing Boney, as time passed.

They faced the same enemy as him….He did have his moments.

Marcel180912 Oct 2016 4:56 a.m. PST

Austerlitz, maybe Friedland as a second.

Yesthatphil12 Oct 2016 5:51 a.m. PST



4th Cuirassier12 Oct 2016 6:00 a.m. PST

Not one of his marshals approached him when in independent command (discuss)

Of which however there were very few, so it's hard to say given the paucity of evidence. Davout did well at Auerstadt and in 1809, then again in Russia commanding 70,000 men and again in northern Germany. Suchet did well in Spain, but against the poorly-led Spanish, and largely undistracted by Wellington. One tends to agree with the latter's judgment when asked about the prospects of French desertion in 1815 – "We might pick up a marshal or two, but not worth a damn."

basileus6612 Oct 2016 7:29 a.m. PST

My favourite is Wagram, or to be more precise: the crossing of the Danube pre-Wagram. It was a masterclass of how to make an opposed crossing of a major river, while in front of the main army of your enemy. Napoleon did learn his lesson at Aspern-Essling and showed why he was so feared by his enemies.

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP12 Oct 2016 10:27 a.m. PST


"Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake."

Personal logo John the Greater Supporting Member of TMP12 Oct 2016 10:44 a.m. PST

I always have liked Marengo. Napoleon pulled off a win when by rights he should have been forced from the field.

Mick the Metalsmith12 Oct 2016 11:55 a.m. PST

Well, DeSaix may have had a role in that one, which had he survived, made it less known as a victory of Boney's

14Bore12 Oct 2016 1:20 p.m. PST

Austerlitz then Jena

Old Contemptibles Supporting Member of TMP12 Oct 2016 2:01 p.m. PST


14th NJ Vol Supporting Member of TMP12 Oct 2016 4:12 p.m. PST

Austerlitz, Friedland,and Wagram. Masterpieces.

Mick the Metalsmith13 Oct 2016 12:30 p.m. PST

I think Napoleon himself spoke about Abensberg/eckmuehl as one of his best moments. Didn't I read this in Gill?

Gratian13 Oct 2016 1:40 p.m. PST

Six Days campaign deserves an honourable mention in my view.

Reactionary13 Oct 2016 6:13 p.m. PST


Personal logo COL Scott ret Supporting Member of TMP13 Oct 2016 10:06 p.m. PST

I would say his first Italian campaign where he had a small and poorly equipped army but he out maneuvered the enemy and used the strengths that his troops had to their best.

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