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"In III Judas, Demilegionarius Incaendium " Topic

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP09 Nov 2017 4:15 p.m. PST

…. napoleon's attempts to make his campaigns self-financing.

""You must make it your guiding principle that the war must feed the war," Such was Napoleon's recommendation to Marshal Soult when he appointed the latter général en chef of the Army of the South in Spain.  The Duke of Dalmatia was also told to take "the most e?cient measures possible to provide for the pay and material needs of your army". The theory expounded by Napoleon was that his campaigns abroad should be self-?nancing. The three methods used to achieve this goal were: the seizure of money and property (so-called ‘ordinary contributions' or saisies ordinaires); the ?nancial gain derived from peace treaties; and the amounts saved via the policy of using allied troops or by having French soldiers maintained by the allied states in which they were stationed.

Once the army had been equipped and clothed in France at the expense of the French Treasury, it was expected to be self-su?cient thereafter. And there was nothing new about this approach; it had long been the practice of all the armies of the world. Bonaparte, as commander in chief of the army in Italy, had received the same instructions for his ?rst campaign. However, as might be expected given his character, Napoleon was not content to let an old principle be applied loosely. As with all other areas of the State, he wanted to organise this source of revenue in his own way, to the extent that it was to become one of the decisive elements of his foreign policy…"
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robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP09 Nov 2017 7:51 p.m. PST

Hmm. The author includes but does not comment on, the fact that easily three-quarters of Napoleon's extortions from friend and foe alike were cancelled out when they, in the end, collected from France. And of course there is no deduction for the damage done by Allied armies to France as Imperial troops had so devastated Europe.

But the people are missing--quite literally. Ten or fifteen thousand men and boys a month for fifteen years would be about two million men. Few of them would come home, and fewer still would be fit to resume work in field or factory. Nor could they make up the production of those years spent slaughtering Spanish peasants or terrorizing German villagers when they might have been raising crops, building bridges or paving roads.

I get as much joy out of fighting the Napoleonic wars as anyone, but I don't think "he spent immense sums of money without ever having a state bankruptcy" is something I'd care to have on my memorial stone.

Gazzola12 Nov 2017 3:59 p.m. PST


Financing wars in a part of warfare that we wargamers generally do not have to contend with, other than how we can afford the miniatures, buildings and scenery etc.

And I think most of us are far more interested in the military campaigns and battles, how they were fought, won or lost, than the how they were paid for in reality.

But I think every nation had a money problem, in terms of war. You only have to look at the introduction of Income Tax in Britain to see that. War needed paying for and Britain also need money to finance other countries to keep making war against Napoleon and France.

In terms of memorial stone, I don't think anyone would care to have 'we paid others to keep making war against Napoleon and France, no matter how many lives it cost.' You have to look at both sides of the story, not just one. Every nation was using money for war and killing, money that could have been spent on making people's lives better. But sadly, such is life and such is history.

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