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"Bazaine 1870 : Scapegoat for a Nation" Topic


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138SquadronRAF Supporting Member of TMP20 Feb 2020 2:52 p.m. PST

A new biography of one of the most hated generals of the Franco-Prussian War.

link

rmaker20 Feb 2020 4:19 p.m. PST

While hardly responsible for the loss of the war, Bazaine's supine behavior at Metz was troubling. The Germans were very much worried about a serious attempt to break out, right up to the surrender.

Halfmanhalfsquidman20 Feb 2020 5:15 p.m. PST

His passivity as almost all of the Prusso-German army marched across his rear is pretty damning. If he had been more active on August 17th the war could have had a different outcome.

ChrisBBB2 Supporting Member of TMP21 Feb 2020 5:23 a.m. PST

I have some sympathy for the guy. Napoleon III was C-in-C but decided to hand over the chalice when it was already thoroughly poisoned. By rights it should then have gone to Canrobert by seniority, but he declined what he knew was an impossible job, so Bazaine got lumbered with it.

Granted, we can say Bazaine should have risen to the challenge rather than retreating into his comfort zone, and should have focused on making and implementing the necessary higher level command decisions more energetically and swiftly, rather than positioning individual batteries and getting involved in a cavalry skirmish. Had he done so, things might have gone slightly less disastrously, but in terms of the strategic situation much of the damage had already been done.

So I wouldn't damn the poor bloke entirely. I'll be interested to see Quintin's appraisal.

Chris

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John Leahy21 Feb 2020 7:43 a.m. PST

I don't believe there was any way France could have won militarily. If they had pumped up their armies a few years before the war and had better Generals it could have been closer. The Prussians were one of the best if not the best armies in the world at that point.

Thanks.

John

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