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Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP21 Oct 2019 1:01 p.m. PST

So you don't know what the Royal Navy strengths were?

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP21 Oct 2019 1:30 p.m. PST

y sensible reading the land theatre was the secondary one to the sea at all times. It was the Royal Navy's supremacy over the French navy that wrecked France's economy and forced the errors of the Peninsular and Russian campaigns.

A naval power cannot be successful with a self-sufficient land power. Great Britain had to have continental allies to fight the Grande Armee on the continent in order to defeat France. The Royal Navy could not do it on its own.

France's economy was not 'wrecked' by Great Britain during the wars. The most robust currency, for example, in 1810 was not the British pound but the French franc. France was a self-sufficient land power. In point of fact, Napoleon usually balanced his budgets and even in 1814 France had practically no national debt. That wasn't the case with Great Britain.

von Winterfeldt21 Oct 2019 1:44 p.m. PST

France was in a very poor state in 1814, the Russians invading were shocked how miserable the population lived due to toll of Boney's endless were moreover they could not comprehend that the population was so badly off despite Boney balanced his finance by robbing the rest of Europe.

Boney made a once super power into a state which finally in 1870 couldn't even win against the Germans (without Austria and Russia).

The new super power emerging from the Boney wars was clearly Britain.

42flanker21 Oct 2019 9:49 p.m. PST

Great Britain had to have continental allies to fight the Grande Armee

The allies needed allies to fight the Grande Armee.

Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP22 Oct 2019 2:05 a.m. PST

Of course the cost of putting 850 men to sea in a first-rate dwarfs the cost of putting an 850 men infantry battalion into the field. One such warship alone, with 100+ guns, carries more artillery than an average Napoleonic army. That's before considering the cost of the thousands of oak trees, 60 acres or nearly a square mile for HMS Victory, required for the ship.

Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP22 Oct 2019 2:17 a.m. PST

Kevin, France looted her neighbours for decades to balance her books. The need to do that, the colossal errors of invading Spain and Russia, and the constant renewal of wars with France all arose because of the crushing blockade that France was utterly powerless to break. The foolish invasion of Egypt came about from farcical desperation – as France could not attack Britain in any other way, why not march overland ti India?

Everything that went wrong for France in the Napoleonic wars (1788 – 1815) went wrong because France was in a war with Britain she could not even sustain, never mind win.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP22 Oct 2019 3:38 a.m. PST

Deleted by Moderator The looting comment is not sustained by any study of Napoleon's government, the reforms he instituted both politically and socially, and completely neglects the fact that majority of Napoleon's wars were not begun by him. In short, you're wrong on all counts.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP22 Oct 2019 3:43 a.m. PST

Of course the cost of putting 850 men to sea in a first-rate dwarfs the cost of putting an 850 men infantry battalion into the field. One such warship alone, with 100+ guns, carries more artillery than an average Napoleonic army. That's before considering the cost of the thousands of oak trees, 60 acres or nearly a square mile for HMS Victory, required for the ship.

The Napoleonic Wars were the first war where artillery would develop to become a winning force on the battlefield. And you idea that one ship of the line carried more artillery than most field armies is an egregious error. The Austrian army that fought at Marengo had 100 field pieces and as the armies grew so did the artillery arm. In the Grande Armee of 1805, each French corps had at least 30 field pieces and there were seven corps plus the Cavalry Reserve which adds up to over 200 field pieces, and some of the artillery had to be left behind because of a lack of horses.

Deleted by Moderator

What was the strength of the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars? I read somewhere yesterday that the peak strength of the Royal Navy during the Wars of the French Revolution was 130,000. I have no idea if that is accurate, but since you are emphasizing the Royal Navy perhaps you might want to find out?

von Winterfeldt22 Oct 2019 4:22 a.m. PST

The Napoleonic Wars were the first war where artillery would develop to become a winning force on the battlefield.

no – it never was a winning fore but became an important support arm, but all this was already in the 7YW – read what Frederick the Great has to say about Austrian artillery

The Austrian army that fought at Marengo had 100 field pieces and as the armies grew so did the artillery ar

context please how many were 3 pdr regimental guns?
You cannot compare with a ship of line.

Deleted by Moderator

Chad4722 Oct 2019 4:25 a.m. PST

Kevin

Did you also read "somewhere" that in order to bring the British navy up to strength in the early years of the Revolution, the government gave .them priority over the army in terms of recruiting even to the extent of diverting recruits from the army to the navy? Just asking.

Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP22 Oct 2019 6:34 a.m. PST

The typical field piece was between 3lbs and 12lbs in throw weight. The broadside of a first rate comprised 100+ guns of typically 18 to 42lbs weight of shot. Do the math, Kevin: <one> ship of the line fired a greater weight of metal than either army at Borodino. And Britain deployed fleets of twenty or thirty such ships.

22ndFoot22 Oct 2019 2:22 p.m. PST

France's economy was not 'wrecked' by Great Britain during the wars. The most robust currency, for example, in 1810 was not the British pound but the French franc. France was a self-sufficient land power. In point of fact, Napoleon usually balanced his budgets and even in 1814 France had practically no national debt. That wasn't the case with Great Britain.

Brechtel198,

You are usually such a stickler for sources. How about a source for this, or did you just make it up? You clearly don't actually understand its implications.

Think about it for a second: what is important is not how big a country's national debt is but whether the country can service it and the consequent risk of default.

In this particular instance, who on earth would the Bank of France have sold treasury bonds to in 1814? Great Britain was able to fund the war against Napoleon's France because it could sell debt – and a great deal of debt. This translates into faith in the Bank England to pay it back and this was the case since the Bank was founded in 1694 for the very purpose of funding coalitions to defeat His/Her Majesty's enemies, usually France.

It may also be worth noting that after Boney abdicated in 1814, the French economy was in such a parlous state that British manufactured goods, and other goods such as Russian grain, flooded the market and the French government was forced to implement protectionist measures across all kinds of commodities that included imposing a tariff on British iron of 120%. François Caron, An Economic History of Modern France (1979)

Another point to keep in mind if one is addressing just how "self-sufficient" a land power France was at the time was the extent to, and ease with, which British merchants were able to smuggle goods into France during the period and find ready markets there. The market for these goods across countries entrapped in the Continental System which France was unable to supply was a significant economic factor, as I'm sure you know really. The decline in French industry, including the almost complete closure of much of France's textile manufacture; the connivance with British imports to the Continental System in Spain and Westphalia in particular (where Bonaparte had raised close relatives to power); and the economic impact leading to depression in Bordeaux and Marseilles, among other places, are well known.

Gwydion22 Oct 2019 2:50 p.m. PST

The most robust currency, for example, in 1810 was not the British pound but the French franc. France was a self-sufficient land power. In point of fact, Napoleon usually balanced his budgets and even in 1814 France had practically no national debt. That wasn't the case with Great Britain.

Quite right.
Up to a point.
Depending what you mean.

The reason France was forced to not borrow and rely on inceasing taxation to make the pips squeak was that they couldn't borrow or defer payment of debt. Their credit was no good.

The financial problems of the Ancien Regime and the Revolution, and Napoleon's inability to stop interfering in other nation's affairs had destroyed any credibility France had in the money markets.

Great Britain's history of fiscal probity over a century allowed her to borrow, defer payment and be believed that payment would follow. Napoleon had no such credibility.

Britain's retreat from the Gold Standard reflected not a weakness but a strength in the currency and in the economic standing of the country.

Any 'robustness' in the franc is a chimera.

I refer you to:

Michael D. Bordo and Eugene N. White, ‘A Tale of Two Currencies: British and French Finance During the Napoleonic Wars', The Journal of Economic History, 51, No. 2 (Jun., 1991), 303-316.

ReallySameSeneffeAsBefore22 Oct 2019 3:38 p.m. PST

Very erudite points Gwydion, 22nd, Cuirassier, vW et al.

Perhaps it's also no coincidence that the Soviet Union (somewhat like Napoleonic France) also claimed a balanced budget with no requirement for foreign borrowing. Then the music stopped and it turned out that the Soviets actually didn't have anything like a balanced budget and needed tons of financial aid from anyone who would give it. They had just been cooking the books for years and ligging off their vassal states' resources. There's something about militaristic dictatorship and genuine prosperity just not really going together. See Robert Service- the End of the Cold War- Macmillan 2015.

Re the Napoleon looting Europe point- I'd say that really has been pretty well confirmed at least as far as Germany is concerned by Sam Mustapha's German language archive research, amongst other work.
It would take a particularly enthusiastic and perhaps rather credulous supporter of the actions the Napoleonic French state to argue with Mr M's research in that respect- although we might have the odd taker for that task I guess.

nsolomon9922 Oct 2019 8:12 p.m. PST

Guys, guys, you were basically trolled by Tango and you've all been suckered in by him yet again.

I appreciate his efforts but he does this regularly with napoleonic subjects. You're now building toward 230+ posts on this trolling thread, maybe its time for everyone to just calm down and step back from their keyboards?

42flanker23 Oct 2019 2:13 a.m. PST

@nsolomon99

shhh. you'll spoil the fun

22ndFoot23 Oct 2019 6:36 a.m. PST

Tango was attempting to light the blue touch paper on something else but this conflagration has grown from the tangent it was taken on by another serial offender but I take your point. The wisdom of Solomon indeed.

ReallySameSeneffeAsBefore23 Oct 2019 2:07 p.m. PST

nsolomon- very good point.
But- in each one of these OPs- Tango opens up for consideration the good and bad aspects of the behaviour of different states in the Napoleonic Wars, and enables a properly sourced examination of rights and wrongs.

In recent times the contest between strongly emotive attachment to Napoleon together with dogged devotion to some much loved older secondary sources vs hard archival documentary evidence in original languages, has tended after all the dust settles to cast quite a harsh revealing light on the actions of Napoleon and the French state of the era. But it is what it is.

Maybe we will in due course enter another period where emotional attachment to ancient canards is cast off and proper native language archive research moves the balance in the opposite direction. Who knows? We'll see.

In the meantime, each of these sometimes provocative OPs does tend to bring more real evidence about the Napoleonic state and epoch to light- which must be a good, if sometimes uncomfortable, thing…..

Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP24 Oct 2019 1:21 a.m. PST

The stats given above about the extent of the Napoleonic state's structural need to loot its neighbours just to stay afloat do, I think, point indirectly to something that further supports the case for Napoleon being on the psychopath spectrum.

Throughout his reign he was preoccupied with the need to produce an heir, as though having one would mean his parvenu monarchy could continue after his death like every other monarchy. His monarchy was only functional, however, for as long as he was able by military threat to extort enough money from his neighbours to keep it solvent. As he personally was the instrument of military threat, it was obvious that the whole thing was going to come crashing down the instant he was off the scene.

It wasn't like the conquered and satellite states of Europe were going to carry on subsidising France when there was no longer a coherent threat forcing them to do so.

That the losers by Napoleonomics would meekly continue to fund post-Napoleonic France in perpetuity, so his heir could ascend the throne, is so far off the reservation it's out of sight. As we can discount the idea of Napoleon thinking this because he was stupid, he can only have thought it because he was unhinged. For Napoleon to imagine that his dynasty would continue bespeaks a misapprehension – a lack of empathy – so complete that arguably only some sort of psychopath could possibly harbour it.

42flanker24 Oct 2019 4:11 a.m. PST

One doesn't have to be a psychopathic personality to be driven by ambition and a degree of personal vanity.

However, I frequently wonder whether the term 'Alpha-type' or 'Alpha personality' which has come to be bandied about of late, mostly in grudging approval, does not refer to a form of personality disorder to which the rest of us allow free rein simply for the sake of convenience.

Garth in the Park24 Oct 2019 5:25 a.m. PST

Throughout his reign he was preoccupied with the need to produce an heir, as though having one would mean his parvenu monarchy could continue after his death like every other monarchy.

He probably assumed that he had a reasonable chance of pulling that off, if for no other reason than that the French had (mostly) discredited the Bourbon dynasty and their whole system of monarchy, so something had to replace it, and monarchies were still more common and popular than republics.

But to do that he'd have to reach some stable point where the French empire could exist in peacetime under circumstances other than conquest and extraction of wealth from abroad, and he never got anywhere close to that, at least not after about 1807 or so.

Most of the modern historians I've read in the past 20 years point out how many of N's domestic decisions were driven by his need to keep his military happy; his real constituency. Hence all the seizures of land and property across Europe, doled out as gifts to Marshals, Generals, even Colonels. He doesn't seem unhinged to me, merely stuck in a trap of his own making. He can't balance the budget with the huge military that he's got, but if he downsized the military and stopped conquering things, he'd anger a lot of people who were hoping for career advancement and spoils.

No wonder the restored Bourbons were so unpopular and easily overthrown in 1815. They had just done the thing that Napoleon had never dared to do: downsize the military, cut its pay, and not offer any more incentives to get confiscated properties from the conquered and allied states.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP28 Oct 2019 5:47 a.m. PST

According to Gregory Fremont-Barnes in his Osprey The Royal Navy 1793-1815, the strength of the Royal Navy in 1793 was 65,000 and in 1815 it was 140,000.

What has been overlooked here is that the difficulty in recruiting for the Royal Navy was that many skilled positions had to be filled and could not be filled merely by pressed men.

And the British did not want to gut the merchant marine to fill the Navy's requirments.

Recruiting for the army and the navy was different because of the skill positions the navy had to have that the army did not require. And the impressment of qualified seamen at sea from neutral shipping brought on the unnecessary war with the United States in 1812. And the British were faced with a skilled naval opponent, albeit one with a small navy. Thanks to Jefferson, the US Navy was smaller than planned in 1800, which benefitted the Royal Navy.

And it should also be noted that the original comment on British strength for the wars dealt with the army, not the Royal Navy. I didn't ignore the Royal Navy, it wasn't part of the issue to begin with. Deleted by Moderator

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP28 Oct 2019 5:53 a.m. PST

Quite right.
Up to a point.
Depending what you mean.

The reason France was forced to not borrow and rely on inceasing taxation to make the pips squeak was that they couldn't borrow or defer payment of debt. Their credit was no good.
The financial problems of the Ancien Regime and the Revolution, and Napoleon's inability to stop interfering in other nation's affairs had destroyed any credibility France had in the money markets.
Great Britain's history of fiscal probity over a century allowed her to borrow, defer payment and be believed that payment would follow. Napoleon had no such credibility.
Britain's retreat from the Gold Standard reflected not a weakness but a strength in the currency and in the economic standing of the country.
Any 'robustness' in the franc is a chimera.
I refer you to:
Michael D. Bordo and Eugene N. White, ‘A Tale of Two Currencies: British and French Finance During the Napoleonic Wars', The Journal of Economic History, 51, No. 2 (Jun., 1991), 303-316.

For the Franc Germinal and its value and robustness, see the Historical Dictionary of Napoleonic France, 1799-1815, 174, in the entry by Harold T Parker, 'Exchange Rate':

'By 1810 the French franc on the exchange was the strongest currency in Europe, the standard by which other currencies were measured.'

'The hard-money franc was victor in the battle of exchange rates.'

The references for the entry are:

-French Revolution/Napoleonic Era by Owen Connelly.
-Histoire financiere de la France depuis1715, Volume 4, 1799-1818.


Other sources that are applicable are France under Napoleon by Louis Bergeron and Inside Napoleonic France by Gavin Daly.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP28 Oct 2019 9:20 a.m. PST

Well I'm glad you've finally got around to noticing the existence of the Royal Navy…

When did I ever 'deny' the existence of the Royal Navy? Your comment is nothing more than a red herring.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP28 Oct 2019 9:22 a.m. PST

I'm not sure what the War of 1812 has to do with matters…

Are you not the one who brought up the Royal Navy? I guess you have a problem recognizing that the Royal Navy was defeated in most of the ship-to-ship engagements with the US Navy and lost both fleet actions on the Lakes with the British squadrons being destroyed.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP28 Oct 2019 9:24 a.m. PST

France looted her neighbours for decades to balance her books

Examples and sources, please.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP28 Oct 2019 9:27 a.m. PST

Everything that went wrong for France in the Napoleonic wars (1788 – 1815) went wrong because France was in a war with Britain she could not even sustain, never mind win.

Then why did the wars last so long-1792-1815? France was a self-sufficient land power and Great Britain had problems feeding her population during the wars along with political corruption and repression at home.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP28 Oct 2019 9:32 a.m. PST

No wonder the restored Bourbons were so unpopular and easily overthrown in 1815. They had just done the thing that Napoleon had never dared to do: downsize the military, cut its pay, and not offer any more incentives to get confiscated properties from the conquered and allied states.

The Bourbons were unpopular for a variety of reasons, and one of those was the treatment of the army. Veteran officers were replaced to give jobs to royalists with either no experience or they were officers who had served against France.

France's army was 'downsized' under Napoleon at the end of the Revolutionary Wars after the treaty with Austria and later of Amiens. So, your comment on this subject is inaccurate.

And Napleon returned for a few different reasons, one of them being the Bourbons refusal to pay his pension that was part of the treaty that ended the wars after Napoleon's first abdication. Without income, he could not pay his small guard which guaranteed his physical safety on Elba. The Bourbons were the authors of their own misfortune in 1814, as they were for 1789 and would be for 1830.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP28 Oct 2019 9:34 a.m. PST

Comparing field artillery with naval artillery is, to use a well-worn cliché, comparing apples to oranges. And unless a ship of the line could sail up the Rhine or the Danube in support of ground forces, the comparison is also ludicrous.

ReallySameSeneffeAsBefore28 Oct 2019 4:17 p.m. PST

We seem to be at 1 minute 53 seconds. Again.

YouTube link

Napoleon's personality and achievements could perhaps be seen on this board in their proper (and definitely to a good extent positive) perspective if it weren't for all this sort of thing.

wmyers28 Oct 2019 7:22 p.m. PST

Perhaps it should at 2:40 …

ConnaughtRanger29 Oct 2019 2:12 a.m. PST

"the comparison is also ludicrous." Both require the significant resources of an industrialised nation. The point (ha!) at one stage on this now ludicrous thread was that Britain wasn't putting in as much commitment as all those supposed European superpowers. The resource requirement to produce and sustain the Royal Navy's firepower was logarithmically greater than that for the French Army's artillery.

Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP29 Oct 2019 2:55 a.m. PST

Assuming 1/4 of its guns were 12pdrs and the rest 6pdrs the French army of Waterloo fired about 1,900lbs weight of shot per discharge.

A three-decker's combination of 12 / 18 / 24 / 32 / 42 / 68pdr guns / carronades gave one of its broadsides a weight of metal around 40 to 50% greater than that of an entire battlefield army, all on its own.

von Winterfeldt29 Oct 2019 5:20 a.m. PST

yes the comparison is not ludicrous at all, armed navy ships played part on land battles, like Acre and others.

Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP29 Oct 2019 5:56 a.m. PST

As ConnaughtRanger observes, the original nonsensical claim was that Britain contributed money rather than manpower to the struggle against Napoleon.

The source for this was Elting's remark about the size of the regular British army. Elting went on to contradict himself elsewhere in the same book, and forgot about the militia and the Royal Navy, so is not a credible source on the matter.

The more relevant consideration is total military effort. By this reckoning, Britain demonstrably contributed more than any other country to the struggle against Napoleon. Besides fighting France continuously on land somewhere for more of the period than any of France's enemies, and besides not capitulating and joining France's side at any time like Spain, Austria, Prussia, and Russia, Britain was also for all practical purposes France's sole enemy at sea. The Royal Navy throughout maintained a fleet in which otherwise unremarkable individual warships carried more artillery than did entire land armies.

Deleted by Moderator

42flanker29 Oct 2019 6:54 a.m. PST

I hear the sound of scissors..

wmyers30 Oct 2019 7:35 p.m. PST

Lots of scissors.

This sounds a bit better:

YouTube link

And it's on topic.

42flanker31 Oct 2019 1:11 a.m. PST

A monument to objectivity

-and ever so slightly bonkers

dibble31 Oct 2019 3:11 p.m. PST

How British eccentricity is so much more compelling than Napoleone Bounaparte fanaticism.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP05 Nov 2019 11:22 a.m. PST

How British eccentricity is so much more compelling than Napoleone Bounaparte fanaticism.

If you're referring to Napoleon being a fanatic, then that is incorrect. He was sane and balanced, was neither an ideologue nor a fanatic.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP05 Nov 2019 12:09 p.m. PST

"The newly promoted marshals represented different armies"
Can you clarify what that means?

Not all of the marshals promoted in 1804 had served with Napoleon before he became the French head of state.
They ‘represented' the different armies of the Republic and had different loyalties than to Napoleon. Napoleon wasn't even well-known outside of the Armee d'Italie and the Armee de l'Orient.

Perhaps the following might explain the situation better than I can. It is from Swords, 124-125 by Col Elting:

‘Napoleon obviously did not pick his first marshals for their military ability alone, or even for their personal loyalty to him. At least half of his appointments were based on the need to include representatives of all the famous armies of Revolutionary France. Some, especially Bernadotte, must have been selected in the hope that gratitude would bind them to the Emperor's fortunes…'

‘Berthier was essential to his method of making war and was a proven comrade. Murat, Lannes, and Bessieres also had been with him in the Armee d'Italie and in Egypt. Davout, originally from the Armee de Rhin-et-Moselle, was another ‘Egyptian.' Those five were good and useful soldiers yet-Berthier excepted-little known. Probably Napoleon had sensed the latent talent coiling with Davout and Lannes. Massena was famous, especially for his victory over Austrians and Russians in Switzerland in 1799…Brune had defeated an Anglo-Russian invasion of Holland that same year; moreover he represented a Jacobin/republican element that must be conciliated. Bernadotte and Augereau also were of that persuasion, and Augereau had Napoleon's gratitude for stout fighting in Italy. …Ney, Soult, and Mortier were products of the famous Armee de Sambre-et-Meuse; Jourdan had commanded L'Armee du Nord in the dark days of 1793-1794; Moncey had led the Armee des Pyrenees Occidentals in northern Spain.'

‘The senatorial marshals also represented different armies: Kellermann the orphan Armee des Alpes; Lefebvre the Sambre-et-Meuse; Serurier Italie; and Perignon the Pyrenees Orientales.'

In the original creation of the marshalate, eighteen generals of division were promoted, four of those being designated senatorial marshals. The latter grade was created for distinguished soldiers thought to be too old for active service, but Kellermann and Lefebvre would see considerable active service during the Empire.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP05 Nov 2019 12:11 p.m. PST

.

"the comparison is also ludicrous." Both require the significant resources of an industrialised nation. The point (ha!) at one stage on this now ludicrous thread was that Britain wasn't putting in as much commitment as all those supposed European superpowers. The resource requirement to produce and sustain the Royal Navy's firepower was logarithmically greater than that for the French Army's artillery.

You're leaving out or ignoring the French artillery production for the Imperial Navy, which the French navy was responsible for and produced separate from the army; and the artillery that manned fortresses and the French coastal fortifications. Interestingly, some of the fortress artillery used by the Americans in the defense of Fort McHenry when the British fleet was defeated there were French-made. I've seen them, and they are excellent pieces.
You're also leaving out the production of French heavy artillery-the siege guns, howitzers, and mortars.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP05 Nov 2019 12:12 p.m. PST

.

Assuming 1/4 of its guns were 12pdrs and the rest 6pdrs the French army of Waterloo fired about 1,900lbs weight of shot per discharge.
A three-decker's combination of 12 / 18 / 24 / 32 / 42 / 68pdr guns / carronades gave one of its broadsides a weight of metal around 40 to 50% greater than that of an entire battlefield army, all on its own.

A quick count on the French artillery at Waterloo, including 6- and 12-pounders and the 5.5-inch and 6-inch howitzers comes up to a throw-weight in English pounds of 3,072lbs.
And since the French pound was heavier than the English pound, which makes a French 6-pounder almost 7 pounds and a French 12-pounder almost 13 pounds in English weight. That adds about 140 pounds to the throw weight total, so the total throw weight of the French artillery at Waterloo was approximately 3,212 pounds. It appears that you did not take into consideration the howitzers, two of which were assigned to each artillery company, Guard or line.
And it should be noted that in combat all of the artillery seldom was committed at once, especially since Napoleon had a significant artillery reserve and the horse artillery companies that were attached to the cavalry divisions.
That is really neither here nor there, as comparing the naval artillery on a man-of-war to land-based field artillery is ludicrous, unless of course the Royal Navy figured out how to bring a ship of the line to the Waterloo battlefield.

Perhaps you could explain that?

And you're overlooking the mobility aspect of artillery for field, siege, garrison and naval. Each had its own characteristics. And you're overlooking the French production of naval artillery as well as garrison artillery and its cost. So that apparently makes your comments irrelevant and the comparison of land and naval artillery ludicrous. And the fact that the Royal Navy was still concerned with the dangers posed by the French navy into 1813 a significant factor.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP05 Nov 2019 12:13 p.m. PST

I think a measure of whether a ruler is a person of integrity or a tyrant is whether they personally ordered or organised the murder of individuals and private citizens who disagreed with them politically.
Napoleon doesn't look so good by that standard. As someone said of Cromwell, a great, bad man.

The definition of a tyrant is a head of state who does not govern by the rule of law. Napoleon did govern by the rule of law.

Since a much better case for being a tryant applies to Alexander, Francis, and Frederick William.

You have posed an interesting question, though-can a tyrant be a person of integrity?

And who was murdered by Napoleon? Which individual or private citizen who disagreed with Napoleon politically was murdered by Napoleon's order or ‘organization'?

As Baron Fain remarked, ‘Far from being evil, Napoleon was naturally good. If he had been evil with so much power at his disposal, would he be reproached for two or three acts of violence or anger during a government that lasted fifteen years!' (See Napoleon: How He Did It: The Memoirs of Baron Fain, 185.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP05 Nov 2019 12:14 p.m. PST

"a great, bad man"
The late Dr David Chandler's description of Bonaparte – and he had studied the bloke a bit.

That is opinion. And a much better operational study of Napoleon's campaigns is A Military History and Atlas of the Napoleonic Wars by Vincent Esposito and John Elting which preceded Chandler's Campaigns by two years. Not only is the Atlas better written, it is much more accurate.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP05 Nov 2019 12:15 p.m. PST

Re the Napoleon looting Europe point- I'd say that really has been pretty well confirmed at least as far as Germany is concerned…

Westphalia is not Germany and is not indicative of the major states of the Confederation of the Rhine. An excellent reference for the Confederation of the Rhine in 1809 is John Gill's With Eagles to Glory.

Further, in the Napoleonic period Germany was not a single state but a geographic location. Germany would no become a viable political state until after the France-Prussian War in 1871.

As for looting, I would suggest that some research is done before making a blanket statement that may or may not be correct. A good start is The Road to Rivoli by Boycott-Brown regarding the looting that went on by the representatives of the French government in Italy in 1796-1797 and the responsibility for that looting is usually blamed on Napoleon. Napoleon made considerable efforts to restrict the ‘official' looting. He did make considerable efforts to feed and clothe his army at the expense of the civil population, but he had the responsibility for that army which was neither funded nor resupplied as it should have been by the French government.

Further, as Owen Connelly succinctly stated in Napoleon's Satellite Kingdom's, 341-342:

‘The idea persists that the satellite kingdoms were ‘robbed' for the benefit of France. One envisions wagons rolling toward Paris with coin for the imperial treasury and revered works of art for the Louvre. To dismiss the latter quickly, many of the paintings and objects were legitimately purchased, and still belong to the French government.* As to treasure wagons, many rolled from France into Spain; few indeed came from the kingdoms to France. The states contributed largely by supporting French troops within their borders; much of the money they supplied was spent locally, either by army buyers or the troops themselves, to the benefit of native merchants and producers. Because of the cost of the Spanish War, the French taxpayer's burden was increased by the holding of the satellite kingdoms. Moreover, the tax rate in France was always higher than in the kingdoms, which added to the general fear of annexation. Trade agreements favored France, and the Continental System caused distress, but native merchants managed to make immense profits anyway, especially in Italy and Naples. Further, despite economic dislocations, there were some permanent gains-new industry, new crops, and much technological improvement…'

*The footnote for this section, commenting on art objects is:

‘Admittedly, so do many ‘stolen' works, however. Louis XVIII did not want to offend the French public by returning them all, and the allies were sympathetic. The conquerors, moreover, could not agree on which works had been ‘legally' seized. The [tsar] set a precedent by ignoring the whole problem and buying hundreds of confiscated paintings and objects, most of which are now in the Hermitage at [St Petersburg].

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP05 Nov 2019 12:16 p.m. PST

The resource requirement to produce and sustain the Royal Navy's firepower was logarithmically greater than that for the French Army's artillery.

Artillery of any type is expensive to produce and maintain. Apparently, you're ignoring the differences between naval and field artillery, as well as naval and siege and fortress artillery. And you're ignoring the French naval artillery arm and the production costs as well as who produced it. Artillery for the French army and navy were designed and produced by the two separate services, though the production processes were the same.

And naval artillery is especially difficult to use with a field army. The British tried that at New Orleans in 1814-1815 and failed miserably. Unfortunately, Packenham's excellent artillery commander, Alexander Dickson, took the blame as the Royal Navy commanders put it on him instead of taking any responsibility for the failure of the British artillery during the campaign.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP05 Nov 2019 12:17 p.m. PST

Incidentally, John Gill points out that in 1809 Bavaria fielded only 32,000 men out of a population of 3.2 million. That's 1%, despite Bavaria having no navy and no merchant marine that also needed manpower. Britain's regulars alone, according even to Elting, were double that despite having those to man and a militia besides.

What is the page and citation from With Eagles to Glory by John Gill?

On page 64 of the book it reads that ‘…Bavaria fielded a mobile field force of 32,100 in April [1809], and had more than 47,000 men under arms at the conclusion of the campaign.

Why did you leave out the latter number?

That is significant, I think. And Bavaria's contribution to the armed forces of the Confederation of the Rhine (formed in 1806 with Napoleon as its Protector). The Confederation of the Rhine was formed officially on 12 July 1806 with 16 states in south and central Germany that seceded from the old Holy Roman Empire.

The contingents of the members required by treaty with France were as follows. France's contribution and pledge for the common defense was 200,000:

Baden: 8,000.
Bavaria: 30,000.
Berg (Properly Cleves-Berg): 5,000.
Hesse-Darmstadt: 4,000.
Saxony: 20,000.
Westphalia: 25,000.
Wurttemberg: 12,000.
Anhalt and Lippe: 1,450.
Ducal Houses of Saxony: 2,368.
Frankfurt: 2,800.
Hamburg: 2,000.
Mecklenburg-Schwerin: 1,900.
Mecklenburg-Strelitz: 400.
Nassau: 4,000.
Oldenburg: 800.
Schwarzburg: 975.
Reuss: 450.
Waldeck: 400.
Wurzburg:-One infantry and one cavalry regiment and an artillery company.

The best contingents were those of Wurttemberg, Hesse-Darmstadt, Baden, and Bavaria. Some of the smaller contingents were also excellent, but some were worthless. The Saxons greatly improved after 1809 as did the Westphalians.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP05 Nov 2019 12:18 p.m. PST

So here's a little arithmetical problem for you. Whose military commitment is greater: someone who maintains an army of 40-50,000 men in the field for 80 months, or someone who maintains an army of 200,000 men for 3 months in 1809 then 8 months between August 1813 and April 1814?

Are you referring to Confederation of the Rhine units on a par with Great Britain? There's a reason that the Confederation states were referred to as minor German states. And the Confederation states had to maintain their armies at least at the agreed upon strengths of the 1806 treaty.

Further, Confederation units served in Spain against the British, Spanish, and Portuguese as did Polish and Swiss units.

So, in the end, what's your point?

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP05 Nov 2019 12:18 p.m. PST

The discussion was about the armies only because you decided you wanted to make a wholly fallacious anti-British point…

The discussion was about the armies because that was the subject that was brought up. If you would like to discuss the navies of the period then either start a thread or at least be fair historically and include a discussion of the Imperial Navy as well as the US Navy. And the War of 1812 was part of the Napoleonic Wars.

There was nothing ‘fallacious' about what I posted, and anti-British or not, it was a factual posting. And you have not demonstrated otherwise.

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