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"Where Napoleon went wrong" Topic


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42flanker25 Jun 2017 4:35 a.m. PST

It suddenly came upon me in a blinding flash. Napoleon should never have given up the chapeau bras and adopted the shako for his infantry.

Not immediately, but inexorably, after that everything began to go to hell.

Deep down, he must have known this. Why else did he stick to his own hat?

It all makes sense, doesn't it?

von Winterfeldt25 Jun 2017 4:46 a.m. PST

it does, moreover abandoning the queue for his line units – another nose dive

Personal logo Herkybird Supporting Member of TMP25 Jun 2017 4:59 a.m. PST

As Napoleon said: 'You must not fight too often with one enemy, or you will teach him all your art of war'- is probably the reason, but I believe the shako theory may be a factor also!

Winston Smith25 Jun 2017 5:09 a.m. PST

Hussars need the mirleton or the busby. I'm just saying….
Shako on a hussar is just plain wrong.

setsuko25 Jun 2017 5:17 a.m. PST

But the shako looks good on infantry?

Seconding the busby on hussars being superior though! :P

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP25 Jun 2017 5:19 a.m. PST

The French follow my patented "cooler uniforms win the war/boring uniforms loose the war" theory. Originally based on the fact that the British won the Seven years war (when they had mega awesome uniforms) Then they got boring uniforms for sake of fashion and functionality. And naturally lost the American war of independence.

Same for France, in the early part of the period 1792-1807 they did very well( the reason they did not win Eylau was because they used the boring over coats. )

They did win against Autria in 09 even with out the bicorne. But that's because the Austrians had even more boring uniforms than the French. After that things just went down hill. Napoleon didn't stand a chance at Waterloo with a mix of those boring Bardin uniforms and medium those extremely boring over coats.

rustymusket Supporting Member of TMP25 Jun 2017 5:29 a.m. PST

Hey, now, lets not criticize Austrian uniforms. I happen to think the crested infantry helmet was THE fashion statement blending remarkably with the understated elegance of the single breasted coat. A splash of color with cuffs and turnbacks (I would have gone with a breast pocket handkerchief in the turnback colors to set off the ensemble, myself). The French should have looked to a variation of the Bavarian helmet with a blue/white/red crest. Modernization without the negative tactical effects of the shako.

42flanker25 Jun 2017 5:39 a.m. PST

Well, obviously, Austrian uniforms for Austrians would be fair enough, although the influence of Austrian design choices on the rest of Europe has been underestimated.

However, the Austrian influence on France was clearly fatal. Need I mention Napoleon throwing over his Empress for an Austrian princess? A classic Bourbon error

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP25 Jun 2017 6:24 a.m. PST

Clearly 1809 was a sartorial low point. But if good-looking uniforms were sufficient, Bavaria would have won the Napoleonic Wars. (Admittedly, they didn't do too badly.)

Hussar shako is workable--given you wear dolman AND pelisse: man people neglect this--but there is no excuse for the taller shako narrowing at the top you see in the later years. You can't expect decent scouting or pursuit from people dressed like that.

42flanker is right, though. All the luck went away with Josephine. Nappy should have kept her and adopted Eugene as his heir.

ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP25 Jun 2017 6:34 a.m. PST

I'm not sure I can subscribe to this theory. If the coolest uniforms win then surely the Poles, Bavarians and Wurtembergers ought to have conquered Europe!

Musketier25 Jun 2017 7:01 a.m. PST

"… if good-looking uniforms were sufficient, Bavaria would have won the Napoleonic Wars."

Bavaria1799: A duchy of the Holy Roman Empire, with 2.4 million people in a patchwork of territories, each with its own laws and customs, and separated from each other by the holdings of Imperial nobles, free cities and autonomous bishoprics and abbeys.
Bavaria 1815: An autonomous kingdom of 3.6 million people in a coherent territory about twice the size, with unified laws (to be crowned by the 1818 constitution).
- I rest my case: Raupenhelm rules!

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP25 Jun 2017 7:05 a.m. PST

First what a brilliant topic.

Second……who says he went wrong?

I have been to Russia three times in Jan/Feb and it is great…if you have an hotel and decent rig to keep you warm. If you have to retreat, nice place to start from. But otherwise…

Waterloo? the pub there is far better than I had expected. Le Cambronne is just a bad memory. His alternative was Elba, which sounds idyllic to me, but only if properly funded by the Royalists, as was agreed.

If he really got it wrong….. how come he gets that huge tomb to himself (well almost) in Paris and how come his name defines the era? When did you last drink a Wellington Brandy? (OK, I will grant the rubber boots)

His Imperial Guard is how everyone gets started…."coolest" uniforms around. (an adjective I dropped in late 70s as so uncool by then….I think still is).

Le Chapeau. It all comes down to this. Fore and aft looks pretty good. Abaft the beam looks awful. Every French occifer of higher rank is shown thus. S. Bandarchuk showed every General in a fore and aft hat….one of the very few things he did right in the film.

I must find that BluRay, released last week, with the 4 hour version. I do have it some where in the garage…I know I do.

Edwulf25 Jun 2017 7:30 a.m. PST

Should have stayed with the Royal White uniforms.

Waco Joe25 Jun 2017 8:07 a.m. PST

I thought it was the whole land war in Asia thing?

wrgmr125 Jun 2017 8:10 a.m. PST

I'm with Von W. cutting the que was cutting off manhood.

Trajanus25 Jun 2017 8:33 a.m. PST

I think of the two, I'd rather have my queue cut off!

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP25 Jun 2017 8:36 a.m. PST

At least there is the thought that it can grow back as fashions change…..nice one!

Footslogger25 Jun 2017 9:21 a.m. PST

I think he made a big mistake not having different facing-colours once he abandoned the white uniform and brought back blue.

Painting Ligne units that all look the same is a drag.

He had no consideration for us wargamers.

Personal logo Herkybird Supporting Member of TMP25 Jun 2017 9:42 a.m. PST

The French follow my patented "cooler uniforms win the war/boring uniforms lose the war" theory.

Isn't it true though?- the 'bad' guys always get the best uniforms?

picture

Marc at work25 Jun 2017 10:16 a.m. PST

I always liked those rebel troopers in grey with cool helmets.

But he did try – the 1809 carabiner uniform was clearly an attempt at bringing the Austrian helmet into the French army – he followed with the lancers. And even the chasseur were going that way… so, helmet combs are the secret to success

Perhaps Bardin was his Beeching. The end was in sight. As soon as you let accountants in, it all goes wrong.

Says Marc the accountant – no, the plastics fan. Curses…

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP25 Jun 2017 10:56 a.m. PST

Isn't it true though?- the 'bad' guys always get the best uniforms?

Thank you. That picture illustrate exactly how boring those Austrian uniform were. But they should get cred for inventing plastic even if that plastic didn't stop pointed sticks and rocks.

42flanker25 Jun 2017 11:41 a.m. PST

Please gentlemen, colpak (etc), even kuczma (etc.), but let's have none of this 'busby' nonsense. Anyone would think we were in Piccadilly.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP25 Jun 2017 11:57 a.m. PST

It took Louis XVIII to dress the French in a stylish rig. First Restoration for the Maison Militaire and then, after that Cent Jours trip he took to Ghent, he came back and they have never looked better.

OK rubbish soldiers but…

Winston Smith25 Jun 2017 1:22 p.m. PST

Gunfreak, those aren't Austrians. They're Storm Troopers.
But I can see where you made your mistake. Boring white uniforms and they can't hit the broad side of a barn.

wrgmr125 Jun 2017 7:35 p.m. PST

Ok, these storm troopers have all this armor which protects them from NOTHING. So why do they have it…other than it looks cool on a movie? Has anyone ever seen it protect them from a blaster, (modified MG34, sten gun or Mauser machine pistol)?

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP26 Jun 2017 12:36 a.m. PST

I think they have a slight armor effect in the clones wars animated series. But even there they mostly die from a single shot from any blaster(does not stop spears either in the clone wars series)

But hell medieval plate armor or mail has 0% protective effect in movies. Might as well use spray painted carboard.

Chad4726 Jun 2017 1:41 a.m. PST

Had Monsewer Bonaparte had sufficient forethought then the lovely red trousers of the later French army would have been introduced. Then all the problems would have disappeared. 😜

42flanker26 Jun 2017 3:03 a.m. PST

Well, it would at least have taken care of all the bloodstains.

Cerdic26 Jun 2017 3:24 a.m. PST

Bad guys always get the best uniforms…

YouTube link

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP26 Jun 2017 4:04 a.m. PST

Those are not sten guns, they are Sterlings with the folding butt left forward and no magazine.

The armour just made them run in a silly little mincing way.

Now if they had had a Baker…

Personal logo David Manley Supporting Member of TMP26 Jun 2017 5:02 a.m. PST

Not winning the war at sea is probably where he went wrong the most

HappyHiker26 Jun 2017 6:06 a.m. PST

If coolest Uniform won the war, then the SS would have easily won WWII, and the Germans would be running europe. hmm… actually you could argue that has happened….

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP26 Jun 2017 6:18 a.m. PST

Well it's not best uniform wins. It's an internal comparison.
Good uniforms British win 7YW boring uniforms they loose AWI. The Americans had equally boring uniform. So it wasn't the best uniform won.

Same with French. Cool uniforms (1792-1807) they win a lot. Boring uniforms (1808-1815) they loose a lot.

British cool uniforms 1879 win quite easily (the uniform theory does not nullify idiotic commanders)
British boring (horrible kaki) uniforms 1881-1889. They still win. Just takes much longer.

42flanker26 Jun 2017 7:30 a.m. PST

Ahem. I feel I should point out that this thread was not predicated on the cool uniform/ boring uniform theory that is being developed, but on the specific error of changing to the shako.

- (By the way I don't agree that the British uniforms of 1768 Warrant were boring. They were a natural evolution from the 1747 style of uniforms, being simply more slim line, with the major change being from red small clothes (for most)to white. IMHO, the 1768 uniforms at their best were damned smart, and saw victory in most of the pitched battles fought.)

Ahem.

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP26 Jun 2017 8:09 a.m. PST

Not only did they change it to white. But made it smaller. Removed much of the lacing. So no the 1768 is nowhere near as nice.
But it gets worse. The warrent 1768 was bearly used. Instead they used either cut down versions (even more boring) or much worse the shell jackets and floppy hat.

Trajanus26 Jun 2017 8:59 a.m. PST

Ok, these storm troopers have all this armor which protects them from NOTHING. So why do they have it…other than it looks cool on a movie? Has anyone ever seen it protect them from a blaster, (modified MG34, sten gun or Mauser machine pistol)?

I'm glad I'm not the only one to notice that. I recently watched the Blu-Ray of Rogue One and thought the same thing!

After all these years and all those movies they are still crap!

Trajanus26 Jun 2017 9:19 a.m. PST

Personally, I think it was Vertical Pockets on the habit!

That's where it really started to go wrong!

It was bad enough that individual Regiments were allowed to sneak them into the earlier uniform but then to sanction the whole deal with that twit Bardin and his butt freezer coat! Ridiculous!

Trajanus26 Jun 2017 9:23 a.m. PST

Need I mention Napoleon throwing over his Empress for an Austrian princess? A classic Bourbon error

Yes that totally took the biscuit!

For myself, I tend not to make Bourbon errors until I've had at least half a bottle!

42flanker26 Jun 2017 9:45 a.m. PST

Trajanus ho ho.

Gfreak.

Not only did they change it to white. But made it smaller. Removed much of the lacing. So no the 1768 is nowhere near as nice.
But it gets worse. The warrent 1768 was bearly used. Instead they used either cut down versions (even more boring) or much worse the shell jackets and floppy hat.

Well, I think you'll find the handsome, streamlined 1768 uniform was worn more than you imagine but we are straying into matters of taste, here, and risk losing sight of the fundamental principles in play, regarding Napoleon's abandoning of essential principles and paying the price. Meanwhile, the British adopted their version of the shako in 1800 and went from strength to strength. A-HA! Yess. I rest my case.

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP26 Jun 2017 10:16 a.m. PST

You mean the British went from boring uniforms and loosing the American war to kinda cool uniforms and winning the war. While British Napoleonic uniforms weren't as cool as their 7 years war uniforms. It was much cooler than the AWI uniform. So my theory holds just fine. Yes the Shako pulls down. But officers. Still used bicorne as did the heavy cavalry until 1813/1814.

On top of that the royal navy had awesome uniforms a mix of bicorne and top hats is hard to beat.

piper90926 Jun 2017 10:56 a.m. PST

Napoleon in 1805 should have invaded England and backed a Stuart restoration, using Henry Stuart as a puppet and smuggling in a baby in a warming pan as an heir. Then split off Scotland and restore the Auld Alliance. With Scottish troops in la Grande Armee, the kilted Highlanders showing the rest How It Is Done, the retreat from Moscow need never happen. And without any Scots to fight for him, Wellington never leaves the safety of Lisbon. France wins! Europe rejoices in five week holidays, fresh food, and topless beaches forever!

HappyHiker26 Jun 2017 11:39 a.m. PST

Gosh, can you imagine retreating from Moscow in a kilt! I know the scots are tough, but really….

42flanker26 Jun 2017 12:00 p.m. PST

Gunfreak, you're babbling, man.

You are entitled to disagree with all I say, and I would lay down your life for my right not to hear it.

Personal logo David Manley Supporting Member of TMP27 Jun 2017 4:30 p.m. PST

"Gosh, can you imagine retreating from Moscow in a kilt!"

If Napoleon had had Scottish troops in 1812 he wouldn't have had to retreat….. :)

evilgong27 Jun 2017 5:03 p.m. PST

He needed to raise huge regiments of Persian-style zamburak camel gunners.

Rookie mistake.

db

42flanker28 Jun 2017 4:32 a.m. PST

I am learning so much

John Miller28 Jun 2017 2:40 p.m. PST

The change to the Bardin uniforms was the beginning of the end!!! If I can see it why couldn't he!!!

HappyHussar28 Jun 2017 8:36 p.m. PST

Shakos with peaks .. helped keep the rain out of the eyes .. but the Mirleton of the 1790s was tops! <thumbsup>

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