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#83592
Whirlwind
Participant

This would suggest that Napoleon was the world’s historic best and that Wellington was a very good commander. I should say it is rather more a warning about how statistics are used.

The problems with that are so numerous that it is difficult to know where to begin.  But for example:

1 – Because Napoleon lost so many men on campaign rather than in battles, the Russian campaign, in which Napoleon loses more men than any general in all of history before him, counts as a positive reflection on his generalship.

2 – Personally I find the idea that Napoleon un-complicatedly gets credit for winning Eylau, Borodino and the Berezina as laughable, but Wiki counts them all as victories, and in some cases, against the odds victories, for extra credit.

3 – Unfortunately the adulation of Napoleon in some quarters makes Wiki very unreliable as a data source.  For example, take the entry for the Battle of Redinha.  This records that Ney inflicted a huge defeat on Wellington despite being outnumbered 4:1. he inflicted 11:1 casualties.  Unfortunately, Oman checked the casualty records for both side (which exist): 205 Allied soldiers, 227 French soldiers in a rearguard action involving only 3 Allied divisions and 2 French. The whole account in Wiki is pretty much totally inaccurate.  This is just an example unfortunately – there are many, many others from all campaigns.

 

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