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  • Amazing French Supply Wagons

    Unique (no other army has them) supply wagons that heal troops is a concept from "Rise of Nations", the resource management game I'm playing.

    While RN is not from the genre you guys may be interested in, I still want to debate the topic of that special military ability of the "French Culture" in the game.

    While some other special abilities of the other nations make sense (powerful siege bombards for the Turks, Tiger tanks for the Germans, Longbowmen for the British), the healing French wagons puzzle me.

    At the apex of the French military endeavor-the Napoleonic invasion of Russia-the entire Grande Armee self-disbanded at the gates of Moscow due to lack of food and winter clothing. Hardly a feat of logistics.

    So, why the special supply wagons for the French in the game?

    "Artillery adds dignity to what would otherwise be a ugly brawl."
    --Frederick II, King of Prussia

  • #2
    I don’t have the game, so I don’t really know what those units mean. But if this wagon date from the Napoleonic era, it’s maybe because that contrary to other armies of this period, the French weren’t really subject to supply sources or lines, at least largely less than the other armies. And because of that the French armies were largely more rapid than the other armies. The battle of Ulm, where Napoleon defeated the Austrians, wasn’t in fact a real battle, but the result of a strategic movement from the French Channel Coast to Austria. The French soldiers said after this campaign that Napoleon won the war with their foots, not with their arms.
    The Grande Armée didn’t disband at the gate of Moscow (in fact the French took the town). If the losses were heavy (an euphemism) during the retreat, a part of the army kept its cohesion. For example the Berezina is known as one of the greatest French disaster (it is now a word in the French language, describing a great disaster), but it’s a victory too, against the Russians who tried to cut off the road to the West at the Berezina river.

    Or, if I wanted to be paranoiac, and if the game is American, I would say that the Americans don’t absolutely want to see the French as real fighters, as we can see that in numerous American wargames.

    La Palice.
    Monsieur de La Palice est mort
    Mort devant Pavie.
    Un quart d'heure avant sa mort
    Il était encore en vie...

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    • #3
      Oh, stop whining...it's not about trying to smear the French military. Here is my question put in a different way.

      The designers of that game have given each of the cultures a unique military capability. The French have been given a unique supply ability (wagons that heal troops). Why supply? Give me an example of the French achieving great feats of supply and logistics that would make them stand out from other nations. It doesn't make much sense.

      "Artillery adds dignity to what would otherwise be a ugly brawl."
      --Frederick II, King of Prussia

      Comment


      • #4
        Also, how did you come up with that statement that "numerous American games" are unfair to the French as fighters? I have no clue what you're talking about. American game designers are people so busy and working under such pressure that they sleep under their desks at work. Some have required psychiatric treatment. They have better things to do than design ethnocentric video games.

        "Artillery adds dignity to what would otherwise be a ugly brawl."
        --Frederick II, King of Prussia

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        • #5
          Maybe it has something to do with canned food. That's all I can think of right now.
          "There is no great genius without some touch of madness."

          Seneca (5 BC - 65 AD)

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by MonsterZero
            Oh, stop whining...it's not about trying to smear the French military. Here is my question put in a different way.

            The designers of that game have given each of the cultures a unique military capability. The French have been given a unique supply ability (wagons that heal troops). Why supply? Give me an example of the French achieving great feats of supply and logistics that would make them stand out from other nations. It doesn't make much sense.
            All right, all right, I stop whining. As I wrote it, it’s if I were paranoiac. Don’t bother with that. In fact I didn’t speak about video games, only boardgames, if it’s the name for the wargames not played on the computer. But, really, don’t take seriously those sort of sentences.

            Concerning the French special unit in the game, if it is for the Napoleonic area, it’s maybe because the French armies were not as reliant on supply lines as the other armies in this period. That was a revolution in the strategy. I’m sorry, I don’t know how to explain that, I’m not very good in English. But I would say that it’s linked with Napoleon’s strategy. A lot of his enemies were surprised by his movements because they didn’t think that a general could isolate his own army from his supply source.

            La Palice.
            Monsieur de La Palice est mort
            Mort devant Pavie.
            Un quart d'heure avant sa mort
            Il était encore en vie...

            Comment


            • #7
              Sounds like this ability has more to do with medicine than with strategy.Was French battlefield treatment more advanced than others at this time?

              Either that or else they just couldn't think of anything to throw in for the french and decided on this trait.

              Comment


              • #8
                Found this at the link provided,

                During the Napoleonic Wars, Dominique Jean Larrey (arguably the most famous military surgeon) introduced the "flying ambulance"—either a vehicle or a unit, depending on the context. His great contribution was forward surgical care at the battle's edge, with trained litter-bearers employed as an evacuation system and an organization of about 40 doctors and 250 soldiers to support every 10,000 troops
                I think that explains the unit then.

                http://college.hmco.com/history/read...dicinemili.htm

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                • #9
                  That and the theory that Napoleon more or less pioneered the logistical approach to military activity. Wasn't it he who said: 'an army marches on it's stomach' or something like that?
                  ...a man that can stand up for a principle and sit down on his own stool.
                  -the Firesign Theatre

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                  • #10
                    For this post I 'll work with my memory only

                    During Napoleonic wars, Napoleaon as created a special corps in charge of supply, one of our best writters Henry Beyle aslo known as STENDHAL was in charge during the austrian campain to manage the supply the great army his title was "Adjoint Commissaire aux Guerres".

                    The supply was took partialy on local ressources and part from relay established all along the army path from France to invaded country.

                    Hope this help

                    Der Wanderer
                    The Best weapon ever:a good Joke. The Best shield ever: Humour
                    JLBETIN© Aka Der Wanderer TOAW Section Leader is a █ WHQ/SZO/XG/Gamesquad® product since 01/2003
                    The Birth of European Army Tournament round Three is opened

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by MonsterZero
                      Oh, stop whining...it's not about trying to smear the French military. Here is my question put in a different way.

                      The designers of that game have given each of the cultures a unique military capability. The French have been given a unique supply ability (wagons that heal troops). Why supply? Give me an example of the French achieving great feats of supply and logistics that would make them stand out from other nations. It doesn't make much sense.
                      My quote is not nationalistic at all

                      This point made, I'll try to gave you some informations

                      France after 1870 defeat, French Army take timle to think a way to better organize mobilization. Conscription in France was decided anew in 1905 for all man for 2 years.

                      But French army along with civilian authority has developed in all France hundrer of thousands of railroads, to permit all mobilizes soldiers to join their mobilization places.
                      French army could fully mobilize itself in 15 days, this was very quick at this time.
                      Second example was the Verdun front, 2/3 of the french army has passed through the Verdun ogre. All the supplies were passing trough a national road call in French "la voie sacrée" the sacred road.
                      Through this road pass all the "blood" to let the french front alive.

                      It took the following from this site, take time to read it, if french army did survived in Verdun it is due to the following

                      http://www.voie-sacree.com/eng/index.htm

                      For millions of men, the Sacred Road was the first, and often the last, stage in their dreadful agony.


                      Motorised transport came into its own during the 1914-1918 war. It was practically non-existent in 1914 (on the eve of mobilisation, the Army had only 170 motor vehicles but all the vehicles required were requisitioned) but by 1918, motor transport had become one of the essential features of the war.

                      The first attempt at rational organisation of motorised means of transport was the evacuation of Reims on 1st and 2nd September 1914, overseen by Captain Doumenc, a member of the General Staff. He was later posted to Verdun where his experience in the organisation of the Bar-Verdun road was to make a marked contribution to changes in ideas on the formation and use of motorised military transport. In particular, the experiments carried out in 1914 and 1915 revealed how essential it was for the success of an operation to have the necessary vehicles on time and to be sure of complete control of the road. Gradually, thanks to one-off analyses and the increase in the number of vehicles resulting from an industrial war effort and the placement of orders with foreign manufacturers (Italy, USA), a general doctrine was established. For example, it became paramount to assemble extensive resources in a reserve, ready to be deployed on the Commander-in-Chief's orders. The reserve consisted of 4 sections of 25 vehicles each (plus a repair workshop). The sections were then formed into 5 or 6 groups. An assembly of some 600 vehicles was capable of transporting an entire brigade in one trip. The first group was set up in April 1916; there were 5 by the end of 1915, 13 in 1916 - and 25 by July 1918.

                      By the beginning of 1916, thanks to the increase in the number of vehicles, the organisation of the "reserve" and workshops and the progress achieved in the utilisation of these vehicles, they had become an outstanding military tool.

                      The Battle of Verdun suddenly revealed this fact for, to a large extent, any chance that Verdun might have of putting up resistance depended on the possibility of carrying to the Front reinforcements, munitions and equipment while evacuating troops sent to the rear for R&R and removing the wounded from the battle zone. There was no available rail transport. The Lérouville line was cut at Saint-Mihiel and the line to Châlons was cut at Aubréville. As to the local, narrow-gauge, metric railway linking Bar-le-Duc to Verdun, it could not carry more than 800 tonnes a day at a time when there was a need for at least ten times that capacity. The road was the only means left and the experiences of the previous years were to be applied to this main road (which was widened to 7 metres in 1915). However, the road was full of bends and the cobblestones were badly laid.

                      On 19th February, faced with an increasingly precise threat along the Front at Verdun, the General Staff decided, at a meeting in Bar le Duc, to hand the problem over to Captain Doumenc, representing the automobile service. On 20th February, the Commission Régulière Automobile was set up, an unusual body which succeeded in organising the logistics required to transport 2,000 tonnes of equipment and munitions per day in the Verdun area while, at the same time, transporting 15,000 to 20,000 men.

                      It was therefore decided to ensure control of the road. Only motorised vehicles had access to it. Any broken down vehicle that could not be towed was pushed into the ditch. The road itself was divided into 6 areas or "cantons" (each "Chief of Canton" was an agent of the Regulating Committee and had the necessary resources for liaison, surveillance of access roads, and emergency repairs). The automobile service was concerned neither with artillery nor with horse-drawn convoys that moved independently without using the road which was guarded. Nor was it used to transport food, which travelled on the railway through Meuse. However, it was to provide the resources for all the rest - infantry, munitions and miscellaneous equipment. Everything arrived by rail in the Revigny area, Bar-le-Duc and, most of all, at the station in Baudonvillers to the south of Bar, the point of departure for the road which extended over 75 kilometres to the crossroads at Moulin Brûlé. The Regulating Committee was ready to operate by 22nd February. Its head, Commandant Girard (an engineer with the roads & bridges department (Ponts et Chaussées)) had quarries opened up along the road so that, every day, 1,200 territorials could shovel stones directly beneath the solid wheels of vehicles which then, advancing at speeds of between 15 and 20 kph, acted as road rollers. Commandant Girard was assisted, in addition to Captain Doumenc, by 19 officers, 250 subalterns and soldiers. During the Battle of Verdun, the 51 groups (totalling almost 9,000 vehicles of which 6,000 drove ceaselessly up and down this "conveyor belt") carried 90,000 men and 50,000 tonnes of equipment every week, covering a total of 1 million kilometres. In all, 7 motorised groups provided this logistical backup.

                      Added to the Army's organisational resources, ambulances etc, a total of 8,000 vehicles moved along the road (1 vehicle every 14 seconds) between Bar-le-Duc and Verdun. During the period from March to June 1916, monthly figures showed the displacement of 500,000 tonnes of equipment and 400,000 men, not counting the 200,000 wounded evacuated by the medical services. Throughout the 1914-1918 war, this figure was never exceeded on any single road over such a long period.

                      Two million tonnes of equipment were transported during the Battle of Verdun while the Territorials tirelessly shovelled 700,000 tonnes of limestone beneath the lorries' wheels every day as the endless string of vehicles passed, working on a round-the-clock rota. Initially, the drivers were required to be at the wheel 18 hours a day. Often they remained on duty for more than 10 days at a time, with no rest other than a few hours' sleep snatched in the back of the lorry. A sense of pride and a very special emulation grew up among these men and they distinguished their groups by insignia e.g. a swan, a trefoil, a cockerel etc. Sections had their own colours. On 15th January 1917, the Regulating Committee was wound up; it had completed its task.

                      It is clear that this was by far and away the most essential lifeline bringing supplies to the Battle of Verdun.


                      Der WanderHistorian
                      Last edited by jlbetin; 18 Aug 03, 10:07.
                      The Best weapon ever:a good Joke. The Best shield ever: Humour
                      JLBETIN© Aka Der Wanderer TOAW Section Leader is a █ WHQ/SZO/XG/Gamesquad® product since 01/2003
                      The Birth of European Army Tournament round Three is opened

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                      • #12
                        Image of the truck train on the Voie sacrée

                        What you may saw, those soldiers in the lefthand side are territorials soldiers who put rocks to fill in the holes in the road

                        Der WanderMemory
                        Attached Files
                        Last edited by jlbetin; 18 Aug 03, 10:12.
                        The Best weapon ever:a good Joke. The Best shield ever: Humour
                        JLBETIN© Aka Der Wanderer TOAW Section Leader is a █ WHQ/SZO/XG/Gamesquad® product since 01/2003
                        The Birth of European Army Tournament round Three is opened

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                        • #13
                          I have this game, and that was puzzling me too. Someone care to give me a short response, instead of jlbetin's essay?
                          Negative.

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