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  • #70041

    I was over at Another Forum ( AF), viewing the latest train-wreck that is Napoleonic discussion. Suffice it to say that this, my favourite period, has been so awfully handled that even when I was a member, I seldom read much less participated in Napoleonic threads there for many years.

    It’s just occurred to me that sane discussions of the period can be had here. We can even be a little “button-counting” but avoid the excesses, egos, agendas, profound stupidity, name calling etc of AF.

    So, the French. No one can deny their battlefield performance for the period was mostly exemplary. Even at Waterloo, somewhat mishandled, they went down gallantly.
    What gave them their edge?

    I currently working up to a game of Napoleonics using my new General d’Armee rules. A lot on my plate at the moment but the plan is to have a first game by year’s end. I know how it mirrors French superiority but I’m curious about the topic overall.

    We all know of rule sets such as Empire which infamously gave them a +1 for everything (+2 for Guard). How can a rule set mirror this superiority accurately?

    donald

    • This topic was modified 4 years, 1 month ago by Deleted User.
    • This topic was modified 4 years, 1 month ago by Deleted User.
    #70049
    Whirlwind
    Participant

    So, the French. No one can deny their battlefield performance for the period was mostly exemplary. Even at Waterloo, somewhat mishandled, they went down gallantly. What gave them their edge?

    I’m not going to answer this directly, but I can tell you how I would tackle it, if I felt inclined to really think about it.

    • At what command level?  Is there any convincing evidence at whatever level that the French were more effective than their adversaries?  It might be that there is at certain levels but not others.  If so, then the ‘edge’ has to reside at those levels and crucially, not at others.
    • What is the Napoleon factor? The man was clearly a military genius.  But his genius doesn’t make much of a difference in a battalion or brigade combat, unless it is the early 1790s and he is there personally.  So if you are looking for a French edge at a level lower than “Army”, you need to strip out his victories from your thinking and have a look at how the French did when he wasn’t there.  There might be a similar effect for one or two other French generals (Davout, perhaps)
    • What is the Mack factor?  An ‘edge’ is relative because combat is adversarial.  So when opposing generals did particularly badly (Ulm, Austerlitz, Friedland), that is a demerit at Army level, it doesn’t in itself argue that the average Kaiserlich was worse at shooting than his French counterpart.
    • What do you do with the British?  If you are going to find a French edge, than you are going to find a sharper British one since however you measure French tactical superiority over their continental opponents by means of victories, you are going to find the British have a greater one over the French.
    • Beware the legends and pre-conceptions – over-generalizing from single campaigns, battles or even worse, incidents is not going to be helpful, unless one is going to do a lot of work getting into the real detail of tactical combats.  French guardsmen beat a lot of landwehr at Plancenoit; Dutch militiamen beat French guardsmen between La Haye Sainte – what are you going to do with that knowledge.  If you think French artillery was better than its Austrian counterpart fine, but if the reason you think it was better boils down to Senarmont said he was the best, then be cautious about extrapolating.
    • How much edge? – how much better do you think the French actually were?  how much better do you think the British were over the French? At any given command level, the total of the advantages should not be greater than this edge.
    • Be aware of effect sizes – there may be instances where one side or other was objectively “better” but the effect size will be too small to show up in your games.  This will be clouded by the fact that you aren’t going to have much objective evidence about what the effect size should be, so that again should make one extremely cautious.  Studies of modern combat indicate that tactical circumstances usually have much greater effect than anything else (skill, equipment) unless one side is technologically overmatched (in a way impossible in the Napoleonic Wars).
    • Be aware of cherry-picking – if one finds oneself using some quotations to justify boosting the French, ask oneself why one is ignoring quotations to the contrary, often from the same person.  For example the authority of Wellington himself is used to say that the French cavalry was better than the British; when what of course he said was that man-for-man and squadron for squadron the British were better.  So if one is using this as “evidence” for a French cavalry boost at brigade level, then be consistent and make them worse in skirmishes and unit vs unit.  Quotations about who was “better” are inherently unsound anyway.

    All the best

    https://hereticalgaming.blogspot.co.uk/

    #70051

    Firstly, thank you for your response. Appreciated.

    I hope I am not being too forward in suggesting there’s a note of ennui in your post? Understandable, given so many discussions about topics like this, elsewhere. I am trying to cut through the BS though. Truly.

    I certainly don’t ascribe to the Empire rules-standard response to French superiority of a blanket +1. Apart from anything else, an inevitable French victory would produce a dull wargame! Indeed you rightly point out anomalies to French superiority. It would indeed be foolish to see the Napoleonic period as an unbroken line of glorious victories ended with a catastrophic defeat. However, the French more often than not were victorious in the period.  60%?

    You also rightly raise the question of what level am I talking about. For example, the a French company/battalion/brigade/division/corps/army: were they all “superior”? I would suggest that at times, they could be.

    But let’s get back to gaming specifically. Are there factors that the French should have an edge with? There are possibly a few but I’d like to suggest leadership. I do not suggest an inherent French command ability but I believe there were more French generals killed than in generals of other nationalities. This suggests a greater desire to lead from the front. I could suggest there might have been greater possibility of immediate reward (or punishment!) in the French system to stimulate this. So in wargames’ terms could you justify a more direct & responsive mid level leadership?

    So: to ‘General d’Armee’ which is distinguished by the number of ADCs allocated who are needed to facilitate  tactical decisions. If it is possible that the French *might* gain an advantage here is this accurate/defensible?

    BTW I am very happy to have you poke holes in my reasoning. This is *not* a topic I’d bring up on AF.

     

    donald

     

    #70055
    Whirlwind
    Participant

    Hi,

    Not ennui, just a note of caution, really.

    Vastly different general officer casualties does probably argue for a genuine difference.  One way you might simulate this is to allow all French generals to attach to units to lead them forward and give an appropriate bump to their morale, but only allow certain Allied generals to do so.  I don’t think that allowing French generals to do more “stuff” because more of them got killed seems right.

     

    https://hereticalgaming.blogspot.co.uk/

    #70058
    Whirlwind
    Participant

    You also rightly raise the question of what level am I talking about. For example, the a French company/battalion/brigade/division/corps/army: were they all “superior”? I would suggest that at times, they could be.

    I remain to be convinced by this, particularly at the lower levels.  Are there particular years you were thinking of?

    https://hereticalgaming.blogspot.co.uk/

    #70059
    Norm S
    Participant

    It strikes me that for most periods, the more grand strategic in nature, the more one can apply a ‘generalised’ impression of quality or performance, but the more tactical one goes, the greater the need for distinction in troop quality.

    I have just started reading a WWII set of tactical rules and the first thing it highlights is that as the war opened on the East Front, the Generalised impression is that the Germans were all over the Russians an made great inroads towards Moscow, but that when one goes to the many tactical situations, there were times when the Germans were out manoeuvred and out performed by the Soviet forces.

    On my recent reading of some accounts at Quatre Bras, there are some accounts in which it is clear that some moments in battle hinged on the performance of a small number of troops, perhaps a battalion or two and then also at the other end of the spectrum, decisiveness, personal leadership capability / character trait, availability of resources and efficiency of administrative systems at the command and control level also had significant influence on the course of battle.

    Then there are peculiarities, such as the long march (ride) that Merlen’s cavalry made to the Quatre Bras battlefield, which must surely have impacted on their performance, but how do we measure that against what one might have expected them to be able to do.

    It seems difficult to divorce overall army performance with what is happening at the local level, which perhaps tempers how we apply a perceived advantage.

    I suppose what I am saying is that generalisation sits more towards the game end of what we do and that a bit more granularity sits more towards the simulation end of what we do and that interestingly, perhaps the best games from having a bit of both, though where that balance is, probably is in a different place for each of us.

    #70071
    General Slade
    Participant

    I think it is a mistake to include a bias favouring a particular nation in order to try achieve historical results. I think the job of the rules is to cause the players to use historically appropriate tactics and then leave it to the dice to decide how well the troops behave in battle.  The winner should be the player who makes better use of his troops and who gets the luck of the dice.

    Related to this, I’m not even convinced that it is a good idea to have different morale ratings for guard, line and green troops (which it seems to me is often just a backdoor way of sneaking ‘national characteristics’ into a game).  Are guards really better than line troops or is it just that they are not committed to the fight until the battle is already won? Are inexperienced troops really more likely to run away?  They might have done on occasion but there are plenty of times when they didn’t.  I would still make an exception for militia –  I think troops did need a certain amount of training before they could be effective on the battlefield – but beyond that I think it is a good idea to treat all troops as basically the same in terms of morale, firepower etc.

    #70072

    You also rightly raise the question of what level am I talking about. For example, the a French company/battalion/brigade/division/corps/army: were they all “superior”? I would suggest that at times, they could be.

    I remain to be convinced by this, particularly at the lower levels. Are there particular years you were thinking of?

    Before 1809, you could make a case.

     

    donald

    #70074

    I think it is a mistake to include a bias favouring a particular nation in order to try achieve historical results. I think the job of the rules is to cause the players to use historically appropriate tactics and then leave it to the dice to decide how well the troops behave in battle. The winner should be the player who makes better use of his troops and who gets the luck of the dice.

    I understand your viewpoint & indeed I do have enjoyable games where both Napoleonic armies are mirror images of each other & it is down to the player’s skill. On other occasions, I find it a challenge to have games (& not just Napoleonic) where the two sides have different strengths & weaknesses & the skill is to capitalise on the former & minimise the latter.

    A more non-controversial example of this might be a Russian army with Cossacks. The French had little or nothing to match such troops. It is up to the French commander to take steps to curtail the impact of Cossacks on their flank or in their rear eg a strong mobile reserve saved for just this purpose. I could add that a late war French army will tend to have more & heavier artillery than a Low Countries Anglo-Dutch force. Is this bias?

    I am cautious in having the wargame tail wagging the historical dog instead of the other way around but it’s where I always end up: on the tabletop.

    Giving the French a plausible & hopefully historical but not overwhelming advantage can create the sort of challenge for a Russian/Austrian/Prussian player that will make for an exhilarating game.

     

    donald

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 1 month ago by Deleted User.
    #70075
    OB
    Participant

    This is an interesting discussion on a period that I would like to know more about.  I’ve read a few books about it and might well read more shortly.  Two things occur to me, firstly surely French armies,like all others, and their commanders varied in quality according to time and place?  Secondly, the French had done something revolutionary and remarkable both politically and militarily, with huge success, perhaps that gave them the edge? 

    OB
    http://withob.blogspot.co.uk/

    #70079
    Not Connard Sage
    Participant

    Look to command and control, to use a somewhat anachronistic term. Specifically:

    The French developed, and then finessed, the corps d’armee, divisional and brigade systems.

    The ‘Prussians, Austrians and Russians did the same’, I hear you cry. Prussian and Austrian ‘divisions’ were largely abstract, and although the Russians did develop their divisional organisations the results were incredibly cumbersome and poorly staffed. The British had no formal divisional or brigade organisations.

    To use another anachronism*, Napoleon was able to get there fastest with the mostest. His erstwhile opponents, not so much.

     

    *attributed to Nathan Bedford Forrest 🙂

    "I'm not signing that"

    #70080
    OB
    Participant

    That’s very helpful, something tangible to hold onto on the learning curve.

    OB
    http://withob.blogspot.co.uk/

    #70085
    Cerdic
    Participant

    From everything I have read, it seems that the standout factor is leadership. Connards post is absolutely spot on.

    The French Revolution created an environment of meritocracy in France. A lot of their officers held their rank because they were good at it, not because of who their father was. You could be a senior general in the Austrian army, for example, just because your family was important and, for political reasons, needed to be rewarded with sinecures.

    The British, as usual, were a bit odd. The system was not meritocratic in the French way, but it seems that officers were expected to be at least vaguely competent! Maybe this was a result of the armed forces being under the control of cost-conscious elected politicians rather than a capricious monarch!

    To illustrate how important the effect of leadership could be, there is a quote from a British ‘other rank’ in the peninsular. I forget which battle it was, but some time after it started word went round that Wellington had arrived. The ‘OR’ said that they were immediately filled with confidence as they now knew that they would win. What kind of morale plus factor is that going to be worth in your rules?

    #70112

    I have missed Napoleonic discussions. It’s nice to have them back.

     

    donald

    #70149
    Glenn Pearce
    Spectator

    Hello Donald!

    I think that “French superiority” is a myth that has plagued Napoleonic rule writers and players for years. It’s not hard to discover that a large number of battles are won or lost even before their fought. So it’s strategic or strategy that generally decides battles. Once on the actual field of battle the side with the largest numbers and portion of veterans gets an advantage. Compound that with any terrain advantage, initial disposition, execution and timing of attacks, firepower, and the big one leadership, and your pretty much done. None of this is exclusive to the French. The difference is that they had more of these going for them more often than the Allies.

    So when rules like Empire etc. give the French an inherent superiority they are way off the mark and most of us know this. Your rules should be “nationalistic neutral” and every game should be designed to represent their historical counterparts. To do otherwise puts you right into the Napoleonic mythical trap of “French superiority”.

    Best regards,

    Glenn

    #70164

    Thanks, Glenn. One very interesting idea I picked up some years ago (from Dave Hollins, I think) was Napoleon’s usual superiority in intelligence gathering. Apart from the usually competent battlefield scouting, he evidently had a network of spies across much of Europe that gave him information on anything from numbers to battle plans. Indeed, one French agent was actually appointed to be head of the Austrian intelligence agency.

    If you have a glimmer as to who you are facing & what they intend, you have a real chance at victory. Even in the Waterloo campaign, Napoleon had a fair understanding of his enemies’ plans whilst his early manoeuvres were kept opaque.

    It’s easy enough to model your thoughts & this on a wargames’ table. More & better troops & the ability to deploy second will give a French army an historical superiority.

     

    donald

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 1 month ago by Deleted User.
    #70250
    Glenn Pearce
    Spectator

    Hello Donald!

    Your welcome.

    No question in the strategic arena Napoleon had his well known natural talents that were certainly enhanced by his intelligence ring or “spies”. That information alone could give him an edge over his enemies. Drop it down to the next level and he’s also able to grasp the value of strategic scouting from both civilians and the military. All of this is of course outside of tabletop rules. So although the stage is often set and directed by Napoleon which often worked out in his favour the actual fighting has a life of it’s own. So in some scenarios like Austerlitz for example the French do have an edge as long as the Austrians/Russians follow the script. The individual fighting, however, should not contain any bias beyond the obvious, better troops, better position, timing, etc. All of which indicate that your rules should be “nationalistic neutral”.

    Now that you see this it should be easy enough to model your scenarios accordingly. We have been playing this style of gaming for years and pretty much everyone can’t get enough of it. It’s one of the main thoughts behind “Ruse de Guerre”, published by Baccus6mm.

    Best regards,

    Glenn

    #70584
    vtsaogames
    Participant

    I do think that national modifiers can be useful for historical scenarios. How else to explain Dupont holding off swarms of Russians in 1805? Or Lannes whipping larger numbers of Austrians at Montebello in 1800? They often tended to move faster – Wellington was being out-marched before he pounced on a mistake at Salamanca. I think the differing doctrines and training made armies behave differently. I would rather our tin armies behaved differently than all being the same save for the color of uniform. That said, I’m opposed to the blanket +1 for the French. I think they were more flexible and dynamic, a function of their being a nation in arms rather than a dynastic force.

    I was working on a set of rules that used cards, not for activation but for “special” features. The French had more “double time” cards that allowed bonus moves, the Allies had more “smashing volley” cards, etc. Since my crew is moving towards simpler games I abandoned these rules a couple years ago.

    It's never too late to have a happy childhood

    #70666
    Whirlwind
    Participant

    How else to explain Dupont holding off swarms of Russians in 1805?

    Does this refer to Durnstein?  Dupont didn’t hold off swarms of Russians.  Until very late, he only faced part of Docturov’s column (who was fighting on two fronts).  Dupont only faced superior numbers from dusk onwards.  Gazan did end up facing swarms of Russians but on the other hand his division was severely mauled.

    So this battle is a good illustration of what I am talking about.  It isn’t particularly obvious how great, if any, battlefield advantage the French should get.  Dupont should probably get some credit as a general for marching to the sound of the guns, but that speaks to his generalship as a whole rather than a battlefield power-up.  Kutuzov should probably get some credit for arranging an advantageous and promising battle and achieving the victory, even if Dupont’s action stopped it being decisive – but again, that hardly justifies a battlefield bonus exactly.

    https://hereticalgaming.blogspot.co.uk/

    #70667
    Whirlwind
    Participant

    How else to explain…Lannes whipping larger numbers of Austrians at Montebello in 1800?

    Again, a very interesting example.  I’m not sure what happened at Montebello that would justify a +1 to the French at battalion level, say, or brigade level even.  The French spent a lot of time failing in their attacks or being repulsed in counter-attacks.  Fair play to them, they were outnumbered.  Then additional French turned up and the Austrian commander withdrew.  The French seem to have lost more men as battle casualties (i.e. not including the Austrian prisoners taken as an outcome of the battle), which is unsurprising given the Austrian artillery superiority. It is interesting how aggressive the French commanders were tactically compared to the Austrians, although Napoleon had ordered this, but giving bonuses to the individual French units doesn’t necessarily seem to reflect the way the fighting unfolded.

    https://hereticalgaming.blogspot.co.uk/

    #70668

    Hmmm. Well, one needs to remember that with the British, at least, they only were really active in one theater at a time and they found a winning general relatively early on and stuck to him. The French had many winning generals and I think Cerdic is right: relatively more meritocracy is key there. I also think NCS is correct when he points out command and control as a major factor. With regards to the individual troops, the French having a large and well-trained pool of veterans certainly helped and as that diminuished, so to did their tactical superiority. Certainly, on a local level, all the other countries’ troops could and did often fight as well or better than the French, so it doesn’t seem to me that individual soldier quality is really at issue. The French did have a superior doctrine at the beginning of the wars, but that was pretty much cancelled out by 1809.

    We get slapped around, but we have a good time!

    #70682

    Come to think more soberly about the topic, the French should get +3 because of their bricoles.

    We get slapped around, but we have a good time!

    #70694
    Glenn Pearce
    Spectator

    Hello vtsaogames!

    I don’t think Dupont in 1805 and Lannes in 1800 had any degree of success simply because they were French. Conversely, I wouldn’t attribute the Russian and Austrian difficulties due to them being Russian or Austrian. An in-depth study into these situations will reveal a number of reasons for their various degrees of success or failure. None of them have anything to do with their nationalities.

    Strategically the French did at certain times move or maneuver faster then their opponents, but not always. Regardless that is generally outside of table top rules.

    No question different doctrines and training did make armies behave differently. The French, however, were not always the only ones to have a majority of well trained troops on the field of battle following a superior doctrine. These factors along with many others fluctuate from battle to battle. If you actually fashion your armies historically to match the various scenarios/battles that you can create, the different armies will behave differently. To automatically give the French some sort of inherent advantage simply because they are French will simply skew every game to their advantage.

    Best regards,

    Glenn

    #70712

    Michael Asher, in his ‘Khartoum’, wrote: “All military activity is decided more by cultural attitudes than logic.”

    This was in reference to the Khalifa at Omdurman. Probably a bit simplistic but I’ve been mulling over it for the last few days & wonder if it can be applied to the Napoleonic situation.

    Napoleon used to rattle on about “his star”. Certainly there was, in the Glory years, a sense amongst the French that they would usually triumph, of their innate superiority. Did this cultural attitude generally impel them for that final effort that often won a hard fought battle? Is French superiority more of a morale-thing than anything else? And when it crumbles, nothing can save them?

    donald

    #70713

    Come to think more soberly about the topic, the French should get +3 because of their bricoles.

    I am shocked, shocked I say to see the “B” word appear in this august forum. I would horsewhip you sir, if I had a horse.

     

    donald

    #70715
    vtsaogames
    Participant

    I’m not arguing for a blanket +1 or +3, but at certain times they seem to have something. I think much of it is before the best officers and troops get killed during the later wars. They have more dynamic commanders at many levels. The German pundits talk about their superior skirmishing, etc. Once Napoleon is head of state, they train on the divisional level whereas most others train by regiment. Large formation training is rather expensive when the top general doesn’t run the country. The Grand Armee intended to invade Britain did an awful lot of large formation drill. Not sure how you represent this.

    In fact I find blanket +1, etc to be a pain and seek something more subtle.

     

    Edit: wasn’t it the Albanians who invented the bricole?

    • This reply was modified 4 years ago by vtsaogames.

    It's never too late to have a happy childhood

    #70721
    Glenn Pearce
    Spectator

    Hello Donald!

    Sounds like your still really into the “French superiority” myth full blast. They very well may have thought that they were superior, but they weren’t. Regardless, it certainly wasn’t their feelings or beliefs that won battles for them. Winning battles takes skills such as leadership, experience, training, numbers, firepower, timing, planning, innovation, effective use of terrain and so on. When one side uses these tools more effectively they usually come out on top. Since the French did generally have the edge in most of these skills vs most of their opponents they won. You also have to consider that any so called feeling of superiority probably was a lot stronger after winning a battle, not so much after a loss and certainly unknown before.

    Best regards,

    Glenn

    #70722
    Glenn Pearce
    Spectator

    Hello vtsaogames!

    As I just explained to Donald, when the French have more of the advantages that I listed in their favour they generally win. When they don’t they generally lose, and so does everybody else.

    The facts are yes the French often had a lot of dynamic, experienced and talented officers. They also often were able to deploy more and better experienced/trained skirmishers. When they were able to properly train entire Divisions that also gave them a significant edge.

    If your ruleset doesn’t reflect at the very least the basic requirements of leadership, skirmishers, training,  throw them out. See, not so hard.

    Best regards,

    Glenn

    #70723

    They very well may have thought that they were superior, but they weren’t.

     

    Hi, Glenn,  French superiority? : I’m here to be convinced either way!

    I especially have no trouble with the bit quoted. I really hesitate to equate sport with war but (taking a deep breath), self-belief, warranted or not, can win matches.

    However, I can’t really argue with your “certainly unknown” comment. My idle speculation should be taken for what it’s worth.

     

    regards, donald

    #70726

    Well, as The Man himself remarked, “morale is to whatever, like three to one or something”. The French had a long winning streak and belief in Napoleon among the troops never seemed to flag. How one models something like that, though…

    We get slapped around, but we have a good time!

    #70733

    Well, as The Man himself remarked, “morale is to whatever, like three to one or something”. The French had a long winning streak and belief in Napoleon among the troops never seemed to flag. How one models something like that, though…

    Well, Thaddeus, you can but would you want to?

    A few years ago, our annual Show game was Ligny, 1815.

    For some unfathomable & ill-concieved reason, we decided to make it nearly impossible for the Prussians to win by giving the French numbers & quality far in excess of their opponents. It ended up very much like the historical battle. Blucher got chewed up but not destroyed. The game looked lovely but was as boring to game as watching ice melt. It lacked, shall we say, dramatic tension as over two days the game progressed to its inevitable conclusion.

    That’s why for gaming reasons, I think you need to be very careful with conceding factors to one side or the other. History may be one thing but gaming can be another.

     

    donald (BTW love the hat).

    #70743
    Chris Pringle
    Participant

    We all know of rule sets such as Empire which infamously gave [the French] a +1 for everything (+2 for Guard). How can a rule set mirror this superiority accurately?

    A blanket +1 by nationality makes little sense. As others have said, it depends on which level of command you are talking about; and on which troop types; and on which year, and which campaign, and which battle, in other words, context. A ruleset needs the flexibility and nuance to reflect various kinds of superiority at various levels and in various activities: which commanders, armies, formations, or units are particularly good or bad at maneuver? Grand tactical or tactical? Which troop types are better or worse at firing? Or in close assault? Which units are especially brittle, and which will fight to the last man?

    it certainly wasn’t their feelings or beliefs that won battles for them.

    Motivation is a huge factor. In the earlier part of the period especially, you can find highly motivated French armies facing traditional monarchical armies of disinterested mercenaries and prison-scrapings. Later on, after most countries have been visited by rapacious French invaders, most nations are fielding conscript armies motivated by some nationalist anti-French feeling, so that difference diminishes. But a ruleset should still allow players the flexibility to represent it appropriately.

    Chris

    Bloody Big BATTLES!

    https://uk.groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/BBB_wargames/info

    http://bloodybigbattles.blogspot.co.uk/

     

     

    #70744
    Whirlwind
    Participant

    @Ochoin,

    Ligny is a very interesting battle to represent because it is quite hard to replicate without some advantages to the French.  What were their advantages in reality?

    1 – Napoleon.  The man was a genius!  (I vaguely recall that he seems to have a particularly good record against the Prussians, for some reason).

    2 – An elite formation (the Imperial Guard).

    3 – Good numbers of shock heavy cavalry.

    4 – An attacking mentality.

    Do we think that individual French soldiers or units were better in 1815?  And if so, why?

    https://hereticalgaming.blogspot.co.uk/

    #70750
    Glenn Pearce
    Spectator

    Hello Donald!

    If you think that self-belief can consistently win battles then there is absolutely nothing that I can ever say that will convince you otherwise.

    Best regards,

    Glenn

    #70751
    Glenn Pearce
    Spectator

    Hello Thaddeus!

    Some rules have a separate category called “morale” while others make it part of “cohesion”. Napoleon was clearly a genius and some rules would consider him under “leadership”. Other than Napoleon himself (who was not present at every battle) the three categories are not exclusive to the French.

    Best regards,

    Glenn

     

    #70752
    Glenn Pearce
    Spectator

    Hello Chris!

    My comments only pertain to the subject which I understand is about “French superiority”. As you have pointed out “Motivation” is not exclusive to the French. Some rule sets would include this in leadership, morale, cohesion, etc.

    Best regards,

    Glenn

    #70758
    Glenn Pearce
    Spectator

    Hello Whirlwind!

    Can I add:

    5) The Prussians fought on a second rate battlefield and deployed awkwardly without the full effect of their entire force.

    6) The French army was well organized with a large portion of experienced troops.

    7) The Prussians were actually in retreat mode and holding on desperately to the false idea that the British were coming.

    Best regards,

    Glenn

    #70759
    Whirlwind
    Participant

    Hi Glenn,

    In terms of this discussion, I think that your point 6 is the key one.

    If one agrees that the French were in general more experienced; and one agrees that experience is usually a positive thing (although constant experience of defeat might well be worse than none at all); then that would probably justify some kind of bonus to the French at unit level.

    The question is then: which French units (outside the Imperial Guard) were more experienced than their Prussian opponents?

     

    https://hereticalgaming.blogspot.co.uk/

    #70763
    Chris Pringle
    Participant

    Hello Chris! My comments only pertain to the subject which I understand is about “French superiority”. As you have pointed out “Motivation” is not exclusive to the French. Some rule sets would include this in leadership, morale, cohesion, etc. Best regards, Glenn

    Glenn: understood.

    6) The French army was well organized with a large portion of experienced troops.

    Especially so, I believe, since all the prisoners of war the Allies had taken previously were returned to France in 1814.

    Chris

     

    #70764

    8) The French had better bricoles.

    I think individual unit morale and even soldier morale was variable across all the armies. But having a winning record and Napoleon on the battlefield probably gave the French soldiers a confidence allied soldiers didn’t have.

    Just think of Blucher at the first day of Leipzig, constantlynlooking over his left shoulder expecting Napoleon to show up.

    We get slapped around, but we have a good time!

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