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  • #31
    I'm going into bat for Napolean agin...sorry (sorry Mr American!)….

    Before the Coming of Napolean, officers that had no place better to go went into the artillery. The "dashing" types with money were pushed towards the Cavalry, the "hard" diciplinarians with money went to the Infantry, the more intellectual "type" went into the engineers, and the "aristocrats" tended to join the Navy.....

    Aftyer Napolean….everyone wanted to be a "gunner"....

    Napolean's best subject was MATHS....he had a brilliant mind for calculus "on the spot", and a genuine case of "photographic memory. Poster Messena has pointed to Napolean's expertise at logistics, and how he virtually wrote the book on logistical requirments, but I'm going to not dwell on the fact that he was served by the likes of other logistical competants like Berthier. Napolean would check over Berthier's good work at lightning speed, because Napolean could speed read as well, so he was in a position of commander ideally suited to making logistical calculations work for him, because he could look at the figures and almost instantly know whether they could make his movements possible or not.

    Napolean could go for long periods without sleep. Forty minutes of "self repose" was often sufficient, but not always, particularly at the end of his reign when under pressure, and during the "Hundred Days", when over fifteen years of campaigning and running a government from the saddle began to catch up with him. Napolean would sit at a table, eating with a spoon, and the spoon would rise and fall at a slower rate, and gradually Napolean would fall asleep. But when the spoon used to make a noise hitting the bowl, this would wake him up again, and he would then be able to go about his business for another 17-21 hour day.

    Napolean used his copius memory to promote officers from the ranks. Frequently, he would be able to recognise the very same man, and be able to use his memory to relate that man about his career, and be able also to recommend his promotion with just that conversation to refer too.
    He also used his genius level memory to keep track of the many units in the armies that he put together. He explained the trick once to an aide, saying that he assigned each unit a playing card from a pack, and mentally speaking "attached" other labels to that playing card, before issueing orders for each unit. He also described the working of his mind as exactly like "opening a cupboard, with each draw containing "notes" on a different subject". Napolean would mentally "close down" each draw, and then the entire cupboard at the end of a day before turning in.

    So much for mental capability. But lets not make light of it. Napolean's ever active mind made commanders like Caesar and many others look quite ordinary.

    Lets move on to his military accomp[lishments….

    Napolean has the most number of books written about him than any other single figure outside of religiouspublications. His "Corps" system is still in use today, as well as his book, "Napolean's Maxims", that in many ways totally ecpliped anything that military writers before him wrote. Sun Tzu's "The Art of War" is the closest parralell type of publication, but Napolean's Maxims" managed to make "The Art of War" look like a general work with few specifics. "Maxims" remains such a standard text that it is quoted far more than Sun Tzu could ever hope for.

    There is a good reason why so many military words are from the French language....Flank, Bombardment, reserve, refuse, reconaisaince, depot, currasier,, picket, replacement, column etc etc just to name a few. Napolean is the very reason why so many military words are or have French spelling, and even pronunciation (as in Lieutenant, which the Brits pronounce (and I assume correctly so, as "Lef-ten-ant", but the Americans insist on "Loo-ten-ant'.

    Militarily, just look at what was occurring in the United States just before the start of the American Civil War. Nearly every officer who had read anything emulated Bonaparte, or drew from his ideas. High general officers like Maclellan and Beauregard were said to have pronounced "Napolean Complexes". American theory of tactical concepts was greatly influenced by the writings of one Baron de Jomini, an officer in Napoleans ranks who had been one of the survivors of the Grand Armee's ill fated voyage into Russia. Jomini tried his best to come up with something workable for the reader that was also different to his old commander, but really only ended up paraphrasing him instead, with the idea that infantry shood advance in "Little Columns".
    Also, look at how many German generals in Russia were looking over their shoulder to Napolean, signposting their own advances by comparing them to how far and when the Grande armee advanced, and the old problem of "do we advance on Moscow or defeat Russia in the field"?

    And looking at what used to happen in a typical battle when the Emperor was present, it seems that Napolean would make artillery the absolute center of operational planning. He would concentrate it into "grande batteries", and point it all at one particular spot in the enemy line. His infantry would move forward at the double quick march, rather than the measured pace, and aim for this "hole". The infantry, furthermore, were formed into "columns" for an attack, and sometimes used as human battering rams to widen the breech. Attacking in column also made it faster for reserves to march to contact and be pushed straighjt into action, rather than wasting time "dressing" and forming their ranks.

    Napolean had such a great impact on his contemporaries, that they actually formulated plans to defeat French campaigns by purposefully going after Marshalls other than Napolean in the field. It worked best against people like Ney, or Mortier, or Lannes or Bernadotte, just to name a few. It sometimes did not work when the French had people like Nichlas Soult in command, or Andrei Messana. But, it is significant that this particular stratagem was only thought of because Napolean was so preminent and feared.

    Also, Napolean let his troops "forage" for supplies, stripping down his baggage supply trains just to ammunition. This made French troops and allies much faster in the field, but this aspect of strategy used to backfire also when campaigning outside of Europe, as during the entry by the Grande Armee into /Russia east of Smolensk, or anywhere in Spain really, The climate and poorer soils of those countries explain a lot about why Napoleanonic style movements were less effective in Spain or Russia.

    Cant think of much more, but I will go on with social and political...

    As Emperor, Napolean revolutionized basic legal rights in France with something that is still used today, the "Code Napolean", (our Messana can probably tell you more about that). Officers in the Army were no longer the exclusive province of the rich nobility. Napolean used his ever copius memory to promote people, frequently on the field.

    Politically, Napolean represented a challenge to any monarchy. If Napolean could declare himself Emperor, and actually place the crown on his own head, then anybody could. They didn't need to come from families of high birth. This called into question the very ;legitimacy of almost every established nation or principality in Europe, and was the Worst Nightmare of the French revolution come true. Chivalry and transfer of lands and money to others of a "titled" line was also put into question. But this did not stop some of Napoleans Marshalls from "Lording it". The feeling seemed to be that privelage and position could be 'earned' rather than just passed on to you by accident of birth.

    Anyhow, messana knows far more about Napolean than I ever will, so I hope he'll correct me where appropriate, or add fuel to our case.

    As a final comment, its difficult to find a single man in military circles that had all these talents rolled into one. Some may have been talented in their respective fields (like Nicholas Soult being called "The best tactician in Europe", or Michel Ney put forward as "The bravest of the Brave".
    But none of Napoleans contemporaries, nor the many that came after him, could quite emulate Napolean's multi talents, his effortless style, his interest in the common man as "one of them" and at the same time "their Boss".

    Messana can take over from here.....Andrei, where are you?
    Last edited by Drusus Nero; 15 Jun 20, 22:30.
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    • #32
      Oh BTW...why did Spain fail?

      Short answer, lack of forage suitable territory, lack of local support as the rest of Europe was doing, (Spain is the only major nation whose government and monarchy Napolean tried to replace. The other great powers were defeated in the field and their monarchial line left intact.
      Oh, in Spain, Napoleans people had a pronounced lack of CAVALRY, particularly after 1812. Napolean's cavalry was almost as important to his operations as the artillery. Without it in sufficient quantities, you worked blind from lack of recon, you could "screen" your own movements from the enemy, nor could you "ride down and pursue" a defeated grouping, and turn a tactical victory into a strategic disaster.

      Russia? Napolean should have listened to his Marshalls for once, and halted the Grande Armee at Smolensk. Also, going for Moscow showed a basic misunderstanding of what the city of St. Petersburg meant to the Russians politically.

      Going for Moscow was the wrong move at the wrong time.

      But as has been pointed out, even the best generals make mistakes. We all do
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      • #33
        Spain was a disaster. All it did was suck in troops for something that shouldn’t have happened. Russia was suicide.

        nappy was the best the world had seen in centuries, but he was overly blind and hubristic. Egypt anyone. You can’t make mistakes like that and be called the best. Top 5 sure. But not the best
        Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the cheesemakers

        That's right bitches. I'm blessed!

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        • #34
          Originally posted by Drusus Nero View Post
          I'm going into bat for Napolean agin...sorry (sorry Mr American!)….

          Before the Coming of Napolean, officers that had no place better to go went into the artillery. The "dashing" types with money were pushed towards the Cavalry, the "hard" diciplinarians with money went to the Infantry, the more intellectual "type" went into the engineers, and the "aristocrats" tended to join the Navy.....

          Aftyer Napolean….everyone wanted to be a "gunner"....

          Napolean's best subject was MATHS....he had a brilliant mind for calculus "on the spot", and a genuine case of "photographic memory. Poster Messena has pointed to Napolean's expertise at logistics, and how he virtually wrote the book on logistical requirments, but I'm going to not dwell on the fact that he was served by the likes of other logistical competants like Berthier. Napolean would check over Berthier's good work at lightning speed, because Napolean could speed read as well, so he was in a position of commander ideally suited to making logistical calculations work for him, because he could look at the figures and almost instantly know whether they could make his movements possible or not.

          Napolean could go for long periods without sleep. Forty minutes of "self repose" was often sufficient, but not always, particularly at the end of his reign when under pressure, and during the "Hundred Days", when over fifteen years of campaigning and running a government from the saddle began to catch up with him. Napolean would sit at a table, eating with a spoon, and the spoon would rise and fall at a slower rate, and gradually Napolean would fall asleep. But when the spoon used to make a noise hitting the bowl, this would wake him up again, and he would then be able to go about his business for another 17-21 hour day.

          Napolean used his copius memory to promote officers from the ranks. Frequently, he would be able to recognise the very same man, and be able to use his memory to relate that man about his career, and be able also to recommend his promotion with just that conversation to refer too.
          He also used his genius level memory to keep track of the many units in the armies that he put together. He explained the trick once to an aide, saying that he assigned each unit a playing card from a pack, and mentally speaking "attached" other labels to that playing card, before issueing orders for each unit. He also described the working of his mind as exactly like "opening a cupboard, with each draw containing "notes" on a different subject". Napolean would mentally "close down" each draw, and then the entire cupboard at the end of a day before turning in.

          So much for mental capability. But lets not make light of it. Napolean's ever active mind made commanders like Caesar and many others look quite ordinary.

          Lets move on to his military accomp[lishments….

          Napolean has the most number of books written about him than any other single figure outside of religiouspublications. His "Corps" system is still in use today, as well as his book, "Napolean's Maxims", that in many ways totally ecpliped anything that military writers before him wrote. Sun Tzu's "The Art of War" is the closest parralell type of publication, but Napolean's Maxims" managed to make "The Art of War" look like a general work with few specifics. "Maxims" remains such a standard text that it is quoted far more than Sun Tzu could ever hope for.

          There is a good reason why so many military words are from the French language....Flank, Bombardment, reserve, refuse, reconaisaince, depot, currasier,, picket, replacement, column etc etc just to name a few. Napolean is the very reason why so many military words are or have French spelling, and even pronunciation (as in Lieutenant, which the Brits pronounce (and I assume correctly so, as "Lef-ten-ant", but the Americans insist on "Loo-ten-ant'.

          Militarily, just look at what was occurring in the United States just before the start of the American Civil War. Nearly every officer who had read anything emulated Bonaparte, or drew from his ideas. High general officers like Maclellan and Beauregard were said to have pronounced "Napolean Complexes". American theory of tactical concepts was greatly influenced by the writings of one Baron de Jomini, an officer in Napoleans ranks who had been one of the survivors of the Grand Armee's ill fated voyage into Russia. Jomini tried his best to come up with something workable for the reader that was also different to his old commander, but really only ended up paraphrasing him instead, with the idea that infantry shood advance in "Little Columns".
          Also, look at how many German generals in Russia were looking over their shoulder to Napolean, signposting their own advances by comparing them to how far and when the Grande armee advanced, and the old problem of "do we advance on Moscow or defeat Russia in the field"?

          And looking at what used to happen in a typical battle when the Emperor was present, it seems that Napolean would make artillery the absolute center of operational planning. He would concentrate it into "grande batteries", and point it all at one particular spot in the enemy line. His infantry would move forward at the double quick march, rather than the measured pace, and aim for this "hole". The infantry, furthermore, were formed into "columns" for an attack, and sometimes used as human battering rams to widen the breech. Attacking in column also made it faster for reserves to march to contact and be pushed straighjt into action, rather than wasting time "dressing" and forming their ranks.

          Napolean had such a great impact on his contemporaries, that they actually formulated plans to defeat French campaigns by purposefully going after Marshalls other than Napolean in the field. It worked best against people like Ney, or Mortier, or Lannes or Bernadotte, just to name a few. It sometimes did not work when the French had people like Nichlas Soult in command, or Andrei Messana. But, it is significant that this particular stratagem was only thought of because Napolean was so preminent and feared.

          Also, Napolean let his troops "forage" for supplies, stripping down his baggage supply trains just to ammunition. This made French troops and allies much faster in the field, but this aspect of strategy used to backfire also when campaigning outside of Europe, as during the entry by the Grande Armee into /Russia east of Smolensk, or anywhere in Spain really, The climate and poorer soils of those countries explain a lot about why Napoleanonic style movements were less effective in Spain or Russia.

          Cant think of much more, but I will go on with social and political...

          As Emperor, Napolean revolutionized basic legal rights in France with something that is still used today, the "Code Napolean", (our Messana can probably tell you more about that). Officers in the Army were no longer the exclusive province of the rich nobility. Napolean used his ever copius memory to promote people, frequently on the field.

          Politically, Napolean represented a challenge to any monarchy. If Napolean could declare himself Emperor, and actually place the crown on his own head, then anybody could. They didn't need to come from families of high birth. This called into question the very ;legitimacy of almost every established nation or principality in Europe, and was the Worst Nightmare of the French revolution come true. Chivalry and transfer of lands and money to others of a "titled" line was also put into question. But this did not stop some of Napoleans Marshalls from "Lording it". The feeling seemed to be that privelage and position could be 'earned' rather than just passed on to you by accident of birth.

          Anyhow, messana knows far more about Napolean than I ever will, so I hope he'll correct me where appropriate, or add fuel to our case.

          As a final comment, its difficult to find a single man in military circles that had all these talents rolled into one. Some may have been talented in their respective fields (like Nicholas Soult being called "The best tactician in Europe", or Michel Ney put forward as "The bravest of the Brave".
          But none of Napoleans contemporaries, nor the many that came after him, could quite emulate Napolean's multi talents, his effortless style, his interest in the common man as "one of them" and at the same time "their Boss".

          Messana can take over from here.....Andrei, where are you?
          You can do what you want, Drushush.
          "It is a fine fox chase, my boys"

          "It is well that war is so terrible-we would grow too fond of it"

          Comment


          • #35
            I'm not sold on Napoleon. I would like to see a military case, or some sensible argument, rather than random facts, which are good, but don't mean much unless they're "winning this, winning that..." Napoleon was a loser. He lost, he went to St. Helena or wherever it's called, and he lived in exile a prisoner. He's also been degraded by contemporaries as a miserable man, vaniglorious, but fundamentally shallow and pompous. "Napoleon complex." Sure, he had some battles. Everyone, somewhat, knows of Austerlitz. But his contributions—politically anyway—seem shortlived and nothing new. More like a gentle prodding of the system that was progressing since the 16th century.

            Napoleon was a mlitary man, and he won some battles, but as Wellington said....well, you can read what Wellington said. And what he did.

            Napoleon's downfall was his ego. That's been generally accepted for centuries, even if subconciously. And unlike Caesar, his faults found expression in his military career. Caesar could read people like the back of his thumb, but his mercy and compassion for others who attacked him cost him his life. He was Mother of Rome, and Rome wanted to fight it out to submission.

            Anyway, Napoleon gets a thumbs down from me, for losing based on his own judgements.
            Last edited by American87; 16 Jun 20, 00:29.
            "It is a fine fox chase, my boys"

            "It is well that war is so terrible-we would grow too fond of it"

            Comment


            • #36
              Originally posted by Rojik View Post
              Spain was a disaster. All it did was suck in troops for something that shouldn’t have happened. Russia was suicide.

              nappy was the best the world had seen in centuries, but he was overly blind and hubristic. Egypt anyone. You can’t make mistakes like that and be called the best. Top 5 sure. But not the best
              Agreed. Blind and hubristic to the max. He even has a psychological condition named after him.
              "It is a fine fox chase, my boys"

              "It is well that war is so terrible-we would grow too fond of it"

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              • #37
                Originally posted by Salinator View Post

                Caesar did not command as much loyalty from his troops as made out to be. They were only loyal with pay and their share of the loot when they were conquering barbarians. When he marched on Rome, most of his men refused to cross the Rubicon. Sulla on the other hand went to Rome twice with all his men. Then there is the matter of those very same veteran Gallic Legions camped at Campania that refused his order to transfer to Africa to fight the Pompeian Army that had gathered there with the intention of invading Italy. Instead those very Legions NOW marched on Rome to demand their back pay, and the promised discharge and bonuses. Had Pompeii Magnus and the Roman Senate remembered to take the treasury with them, those Legions may very well have taken up the Pompeian cause.
                True. I only remembered the X Legion mutinying, but that's enough.

                Still, there's a quote from one of Pompeii's men calling Caesar's troops "animals" or "beats" or some other term that was in Latin and not Engish. You can chalk that up to them simply being veterans, but they followed Caesar to victory for 8 years.
                "It is a fine fox chase, my boys"

                "It is well that war is so terrible-we would grow too fond of it"

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                • #38
                  Caesar raised two legions in Transalpine Gaul. I don't see there being enough Romans there to fill out two legions. My guess is he filled them up with local Gauls. That may be a cause for derision between Caesar's and Pompey's troops. Caesar's allied troops were also Gauls.

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by American87 View Post

                    True. I only remembered the X Legion mutinying, but that's enough.

                    Still, there's a quote from one of Pompeii's men calling Caesar's troops "animals" or "beats" or some other term that was in Latin and not Engish. You can chalk that up to them simply being veterans, but they followed Caesar to victory for 8 years.
                    Donkeys? Apes? There is just as much chance of the description being negative rather than flattering.
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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by Salinator View Post

                      Donkeys? Apes? There is just as much chance of the description being negative rather than flattering.
                      Anything better than galloping away because there's spears pointed at your face will have to suffice.
                      "It is a fine fox chase, my boys"

                      "It is well that war is so terrible-we would grow too fond of it"

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        So....the "best" from our recent debating...has to be the following.....

                        He has to be a 'winner'....well, that eliminates German generals of the twentieth century, particularly Nazi generals. It also rules out such ancient stalwarts as Hannibal, Pyhrus, Pompey, Justinian,

                        He has to have a "winning personality"....well, that eliminates Ceasar, and most Soviet generals. If Julius Caesars personality was humble, why then did he accept the title "dictator for life", knowing full well what this meant?
                        Also, at the Festival of the Lupercal, Marcus Antonius made a big show of offering Caesar a crown, which he apparently thrust away three times, before collapsing with an epileptic fit that most observers seem to think was "put on"?
                        And finally, if Caesars personality was so approachable, why did the Senate chose to assassinate him, with 15 or twenty men all lining up to put the knife in, including his adopted son, Brutus, and "men of honour" like Cassius?

                        I dunno….I cannot envisage a tyrant like Julius being the Greatest of All Time simply due to his inflated ego......He was a vain man, too, as Roman writers like to point out, wearing a laurel wreath just to cover a bald spot, and bursting into tears before a statue of Alexander The Great "just because he had not achieved what Alexander had achieved at the same age.....

                        It was easy to be a Populari...all you had to do was have enough money to stage bigger 'games' than anyone else, and keep rigging elections with bribes to stay in office.
                        So without Crassus and his money, where would he have been?

                        The Roman senate had to pass laws to limit the size of "entertainment" to stop Caesar from politicizing them so much.



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                        • #42
                          Originally posted by Drusus Nero View Post
                          So....the "best" from our recent debating...has to be the following.....

                          He has to be a 'winner'....well, that eliminates German generals of the twentieth century, particularly Nazi generals. It also rules out such ancient stalwarts as Hannibal, Pyhrus, Pompey, Justinian,

                          He has to have a "winning personality"....well, that eliminates Ceasar, and most Soviet generals. If Julius Caesars personality was humble, why then did he accept the title "dictator for life", knowing full well what this meant?
                          Also, at the Festival of the Lupercal, Marcus Antonius made a big show of offering Caesar a crown, which he apparently thrust away three times, before collapsing with an epileptic fit that most observers seem to think was "put on"?
                          And finally, if Caesars personality was so approachable, why did the Senate chose to assassinate him, with 15 or twenty men all lining up to put the knife in, including his adopted son, Brutus, and "men of honour" like Cassius?

                          I dunno….I cannot envisage a tyrant like Julius being the Greatest of All Time simply due to his inflated ego......He was a vain man, too, as Roman writers like to point out, wearing a laurel wreath just to cover a bald spot, and bursting into tears before a statue of Alexander The Great "just because he had not achieved what Alexander had achieved at the same age.....

                          It was easy to be a Populari...all you had to do was have enough money to stage bigger 'games' than anyone else, and keep rigging elections with bribes to stay in office.
                          So without Crassus and his money, where would he have been?

                          The Roman senate had to pass laws to limit the size of "entertainment" to stop Caesar from politicizing them so much.


                          You should unblock your messages or something, I'm trying to message you about Stefany. Message me.
                          "It is a fine fox chase, my boys"

                          "It is well that war is so terrible-we would grow too fond of it"

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                          • #43
                            Who is Stefany, old mate?

                            Just type it on thread...I don't know how to work half these darned gizmos. I am Autistic, you know, and that is a slight side affect....

                            But I remain friendly, Sir, and always will be to people like yourself with a better mind than me.....
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                            • #44
                              Originally posted by Drusus Nero View Post
                              Who is Stefany, old mate?

                              Just type it on thread...I don't know how to work half these darned gizmos. I am Autistic, you know, and that is a slight side affect....

                              But I remain friendly, Sir, and always will be to people like yourself with a better mind than me.....
                              She loves me and wants to marry me and fantacizes about me even when she's with her husband. I didn't want to say it on here because her husband is going through a hard time and her wife wants to leave her.

                              You wanted to know what was going on so this is my heart mind and soul. It's all love.

                              It's just wildly inapprorpiate because her husband is a fomer poster here, but I trust if this is out of bounds it will be deleted and I will perhaps be banned for a time. But just so you know, you had to know.

                              Thank you for your timely response.
                              "It is a fine fox chase, my boys"

                              "It is well that war is so terrible-we would grow too fond of it"

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                              • #45
                                Originally posted by American87 View Post
                                I'm not sold on Napoleon. I would like to see a military case, or some sensible argument, rather than random facts, which are good, but don't mean much unless they're "winning this, winning that..." Napoleon was a loser. He lost, he went to St. Helena or wherever it's called, and he lived in exile a prisoner. He's also been degraded by contemporaries as a miserable man, vaniglorious, but fundamentally shallow and pompous. "Napoleon complex." Sure, he had some battles. Everyone, somewhat, knows of Austerlitz. But his contributions—politically anyway—seem shortlived and nothing new. More like a gentle prodding of the system that was progressing since the 16th century.

                                Napoleon was a mlitary man, and he won some battles, but as Wellington said....well, you can read what Wellington said. And what he did.

                                Napoleon's downfall was his ego. That's been generally accepted for centuries, even if subconciously. And unlike Caesar, his faults found expression in his military career. Caesar could read people like the back of his thumb, but his mercy and compassion for others who attacked him cost him his life. He was Mother of Rome, and Rome wanted to fight it out to submission.

                                Anyway, Napoleon gets a thumbs down from me, for losing based on his own judgements.
                                Your 'assessment' of Napoleon is way off base. What have you read on Napoleon and his campaigns? What you have posted sounds like it came from either British or allied propaganda, or both.

                                Perhaps this excerpt by John Elting in his excellent The Superstrategists might help. You can also read Clausewitz on Napoleon.

                                'Excellently educated and self-educated, Napoleon had within himself the great captain's essential qualities of courage, decisiveness, steadfastness, and swift, lucid thought...Napoleon usually managed to seize the initiative and hit first, surprising the enemy by the timing and direction of his offensive...He began his campaigns with an overall strategic plan that clearly defined his objective...His objective was the main body of his enemy's army. He sought to catch it at a disadvantage and destroy it. Once that was done, everything else would be easy.'

                                'Napoleon's favorite strategic maneuver was to advance so as to bring the French into the enemy army's flank and rear, if possible cutting its line of communications. At the same time he was always careful to protect his own supply line. If confronted by allied armies, as in 1796 and 1815, he might strike suddenly at the junction of the forces, wedge in between them, and deal with them separately...He could get such service out of his men because he shared (portions of the 1812 campaign excepted) his men's dangers and hardships, riding just behind his advance guard, often taking what fortune might send in the way of food and shelter-a tumble-down farm building with some straw for his bed and rain and wind for company; a few potatoes, roasted in the embers of a campfire and shared with his staff, for supper. In action, he was fearless; after a battle he was concerned for the wounded (Quite contrary to the usual concept of Napoleon, he was careful of his soldiers' health and had a surprising commonsense knowledge on that subject.) He rewarded good service generously, sought to be just and patient. And he won a legendary devotion, the 'Vive l'Empereur!' that echoes yet across the centuries.'-146-147.

                                'You have to have seen the steadfastness of one of the forces trained and led by Bonaparte...seen them under fierce and unrelenting fire-to get some sense of what can be accomplished by troops steeled by long experience in danger, in whom a proud record of victories has instilled the noble principle of placing the highest demands on themselves. As an idea alone it is unbelievable.'-Clausewitz from On War.

                                'If you discover how...[Bonaparte] inspired a ragged, mutinous, half-starved army and made it fight as it did, how he dominated and controlled generals older and more experienced than himself, then you will have learnt something.'-General Sir Archibald Wavell.

                                '[Napoleon] was a man for whom died willingly, whom the helpless dying cheered as he rode past; a man who knew the secrets of his soldier's hearts, who could carry his soldiers with him despite the worst prevailing conditions or future hopes, By the standards of his times, he took special care for the health of his troops, rewarded generously, forgave faults, shared hardships and danger, and dealt justly and patiently with the men in the ranks; yet, he could become heartless when necessary. The Emperor was a soldier's soldier, with full knowledge of every facet of military science and the art of war.' -A Military History and Atlas of the Napoleonic Wars by Vincent J Esposito and John R Elting, Introduction.

                                I would also recommend a reading of the memoirs of those who knew him, such as Baron Fain, Meneval, Lavalette, Generals Rapp and Savary.

                                Your 'assessment' of Napoleon is incorrect.
                                We are not now that strength which in old days
                                Moved earth and heaven; that which we are we are; One equal temper of heroic hearts
                                Made weak by time and fate but strong in will
                                To strive to seek to find and not to yield.

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