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"Napoleon's zenith" Topic


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Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP06 Sep 2017 8:28 a.m. PST

Do you put Napoleon's zenith after battle of Friedland in 1807 or Wagram 1809?

Personal logo Artilleryman Supporting Member of TMP06 Sep 2017 8:40 a.m. PST

After Friedland. That led to Tilsit and the height of his dominance. By Wagram, the ulcer of Spain was suppurating and Europe was beginning to strike back.

138SquadronRAF Supporting Member of TMP06 Sep 2017 8:44 a.m. PST

Yes, Friedland although the Battle of Preussisch-Eylau could be an indication of problems to come the campaign moved forward.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP06 Sep 2017 9:58 a.m. PST

Friedland. At Friedland, Napoleon is commanding an army thoroughly trained from 1803 on, and tempered by several years of victorious campaigns. By 1809, he's already throwing in second-rate troops and third-rate allies to make up the numbers.

rmcaras Supporting Member of TMP06 Sep 2017 4:33 p.m. PST

D'accord, Friedland.

Brechtel19806 Sep 2017 6:00 p.m. PST

I have seen it written, and with good reason, that the year 1810 was considered the zenith of the Empire.

When Napoleon left Spain in January 1809 because Austria was once again causing trouble, the Spanish had been repeatedly defeated and Moore's army was being pursued to Corunna from which it embarked.

The Army of Germany was built around the 90,000 veteran troops that Napoleon left in central Europe after Tilsit, commanded by Davout. These veterans were Davout's III Corps, St Hilaire's veteran division, and the heavy cavalry.

The new II and IV Corps were formed for the new campaign and the Imperial Guard was en route from Spain, as were some veteran commanders, such as Lannes.

The new conscripts that were sent to the Army of Germany definitely proved themselves, especially at Essling, and Napoleon considered the first half of the campaign in the fighting south of Ratisbon some of the finest of his career.

The performance of the II and IV Corps at Essling, fighting outnumbered for two days, speaks volumes for both the troops and the quality of leadership. And there were Confederation of the Rhine troops who fought alongside their allies there. They were definitely not third rate.

I wouldn't consider the Confederation of the Rhine troops from Bavaria, Hesse-Darmstadt, Baden and Wurttenberg 'third rate allies.' In point of fact they were excellent troops who performed excellently during the campaign. There were exceptions, such as the Saxons, with the exception of their cavalry, but in 1809 they were the exception, not the rule, in the Confederation of the Rhine.

The Army of Germany became an excellent army through the experience of combat and further training after Znaim during the truce that led to the end of the war.

Excellent sources on the subject are Saski's three-volume study and John Gill's With Eagles to Glory, which is a study of the Confederation of the Rhine troops in 1809.

I would therefore agree that the year 1810 was the zenith of the Empire.

Supercilius Maximus In the TMP Dawghouse08 Sep 2017 1:36 a.m. PST

Whilst agreeing completely with your assessment of the CotR contingents (didn't Bernadotte get his knuckles rapped by Napoleon for praising the Saxons?), surely the 1809 campaign against Austria is the first time Napoleon does not win an outright victory and therefore should be seen as the turning point?

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP08 Sep 2017 1:43 a.m. PST

Eylau was the first time he didn't win an outright victory.

Brechtel19808 Sep 2017 2:31 a.m. PST

Seems to me that Wagram was an 'outright victory.'

ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP08 Sep 2017 3:15 a.m. PST

Yes, Friedland. If he'd had the sense to stay out Spain there's no telling how long his empire might have lasted.

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP08 Sep 2017 3:18 a.m. PST

Why would he want Spain anyway. I've seen sharp. Spain is just rocks, gravel and more rocks.

Trajanus08 Sep 2017 4:26 a.m. PST

And Norway is just Mountains, Fjords and Trees. You need to travel South a bit more Gunfreak! :o)

Besides, most of Sharpe was shot in the Crimea!

Oh, forgot Snow, lots of Snow! :o)

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP08 Sep 2017 4:47 a.m. PST

Well I never claimed Napoleon wanted Norway ;)
Never once in sharpe did I see a fertile field. I think I saw grass once. And a couple of trees but that's it.

Trajanus08 Sep 2017 5:42 a.m. PST

Truth to tell, the terrain in Sharp was chosen more for the need to hide the fact it was made with a tight budget and with as few "Extras" as they could get away with. ;o)

Spain is a big place, I think they worked on the theory that some part of it must look something like the Crimea!

There's plenty of green bits in Spain but the way the climate is going, less and less of them are South of Madrid. :o(

Le Breton08 Sep 2017 8:21 a.m. PST

I vote with Brechtel on this one : 1810.

I agree with his reasons, but also because I get the impression that the Austrian marriage was as close to permanence and recognition for the 1er Empire as it ever got.

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