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  • #83401
    hammurabi70
    Participant

    I was recently surprised in a documentary on Napoleon Bonaparte by a comment that Wellington was an indifferent commander; this was at the end regarding their meeting at Waterloo. I am not very well read on the Napoleonic period but I had always understood Wellington to be well regarded. Napoleon was operating below par by Waterloo and thus the argument was that Napoleon in his prime would have had no trouble in beating Wellington.

    No doubt Wellington is advantaged by being a ‘hero’ of Anglophone countries. Thus he is seen perhaps overly favourably but should he be seen as merely the best of an indifferent lot of generals or a truly inspired figure? Is there a good basis for reaching an objective conclusion?

    #83408
    vtsaogames
    Participant

    I’m not an anglophile and don’t see Wellington as the Second Coming, but he was definitely one of the best British army commanders. One doesn’t acquire his record of battlefield victories by being indifferent. He was caught wrong-footed sometimes and had a couple tough retreats back to Portugal, but he was never beaten in battle. I can’t see any of the other available commanders matching him, and that includes Moore if he had survived.

    It's never too late to have a happy childhood

    #83415
    Not Connard Sage
    Participant

    You’ll have Gazzola and Brechtel here in a minute

     

    "I'm not signing that"

    #83417
    General Slade
    Participant

    You’ll have Gazzola and Brechtel here in a minute

    And then there goes the neighbourhood.

    No doubt Wellington is advantaged by being a ‘hero’ of Anglophone countries. Thus he is seen perhaps overly favourably but should he be seen as merely the best of an indifferent lot of generals or a truly inspired figure? Is there a good basis for reaching an objective conclusion?

    In answer to your last question, I don’t think there is any good basis for forming an objective conclusion to a question like this.   It is just a matter of opinion.  But personally, I think to believe that any general was “a truly inspired figure” you have to buy into a lot of romantic nonsense.

    #83441

    Certainly, there is an awful lot of nonsense written about military leaders. However, some do seem to inspire more …….affection? than others.

    The Duke seems to have been quite a cold character and may have inspired respect if not love. I must admit that only a hopelessly one eyed critic could reject him as one of the Great Captains.

    As for comparing generals, that is difficult, often partisan and generally useless. There are so many variables that any meaningful judgement is impossible .

    donald

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 11 months ago by Deleted User.
    #83449

    Could I add, my opinion of those TMP-style polls that try to rate a list of historical generals from Alexander to Patton, ranges from mild tolerance for a harmless bit of fun to utter disdain for the futility of the exercise?

    donald

    #83453
    Whirlwind
    Participant

    Is there a good basis for reaching an objective conclusion?

    There are plenty of facts out there to help, I suppose.  And there are lots of bases to examine the question from.  But no one can reach a definitive answer, since there is no definitive answer to the job of a general.

    Here are a few angles you could look at it from:

    Did the general consistently outperform the other generals in his own army on the battlefield and on campaign?

    Did the general consistently win his battles when the numerical odds were even or in his favour?

    How many times, and in what proportion, did the general win against the odds?

    Did the general consistently bring a higher proportion of his troops into action than his enemies did in a given campaign?

    How many really crushing victories in battle and on campaign did the general achieve?  How many did he receive?

    Those might help focus on the issue, but there can be no right answer to how the different facets should be weighted.

    IMHO, it is more straightforward to make a case for Wellington than Napoleon (note that does not necessarily mean I think he was the better general), because Wellington scores highly on every criteria I can think of.  Napoleon would score very highly in many areas, but isn’t as consistent: he has many more defeats in battles and campaigns to compensate for.

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

    #83456
    Not Connard Sage
    Participant

    But to be fair to the Corsican Ogre, he did have rather more campaigns and battles than Big Nose. So you’d need to work out an averaging system there I reckon.

    They were both dreadful politicians, if that helps.

    "I'm not signing that"

    #83457
    Norm S
    Participant

    If one takes the battle of Waterloo in isolation, the Anglo-Allied army had fallen back to a new position following Quatre Bras, it was a multi-national relatively small force, they were isolated (by French action) from the Prussians and Napoleon was the opposite number. It surely takes a certain character to successfully lead in those kind of circumstances and I suppose a benchmark question would be whether had Wellington not been present, who else could have successfully managed the Anglo-Allied army over those 3 days, while that desperate link-up with the Prussians unravelled?

    #83475

    <p style=”text-align: left;”>X

    I suppose a benchmark question would be whether had Wellington not been present, who else could have successfully managed the Anglo-Allied army over those 3 days, while that desperate link-up with the Prussians unravelled?

    </p>
    Hill. Alten. Picton. Murray. Really, there were quite a few who had been brought up by Wellington’s system.

     

    donald

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 11 months ago by Deleted User.
    • This reply was modified 3 years, 11 months ago by Deleted User.
    #83480
    MartinR
    Participant

    In AHGC War and Peace, only two Generals rated a +3, their mere presence being quite sufficient to swing a battle in their favour, Napoleon and Wellington. That is good enough for me.

    Wellington of course rated Bonapate highly, him being worth 40,000 men etc, something which Dupuy factored in when doing his QJM model of Waterloo.

    "Mistakes in the initial deployment cannot be rectified" - Helmuth von Moltke

    #83498
    Cerdic
    Participant

    Wellington obviously had a good track record in terms of victories on the battlefield. Most of his military problems in Spain and Portugal stemmed from the political situation of trying to keep the Spanish allies happy. His original brief from the British government was that the British troops were to be used to support the Spanish forces against the French. It is hard to see, given the limitations on his freedom of action, how anyone could have done much better!

    Obviously he did things that in hindsight he would have probably done differently. But so did Napoleon and any other general you can think of!

    He certainly didn’t inspire the devotion from his soldiers in the same way as Napoleon. But they certainly respected him. I don’t have time to look it up, but there is an account from a private of one of the actions in the Pyrennes where he says that as soon as they heard Wellington had arrived on the battlefield they knew that everything would be OK and that they were assured of victory.

     

    #83566
    hammurabi70
    Participant

    Many thanks for all the contributions.  Napoleonic warfare is my least read area of interest after 52 years of reading on warfare.  Beyond reading a biography of Napoleon, Wellington, the Peninsular Campaign, Russia 1812 and Waterloo I lack much knowledge.

     

    Well this website has been doing the rounds of the forums.

    https://towardsdatascience.com/napoleon-was-the-best-general-ever-and-the-math-proves-it-86efed303eeb

    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.  Whereas Patton, Montgomery et al have been written about in books and a multiplicity of postings on forums ad nauseum I have seen little analysing Napoleonic commanders.  Have I missed something?

    #83568
    Not Connard Sage
    Participant

    You’re trolling. Right?

    "I'm not signing that"

    #83591
    MartinR
    Participant

    !! I seem to recall reading that Napoleon had almost many books written about him as Jesus.

    A useful one stop shop is “Napoleon’s Marshals” B David Chandler, but there are scores, nay hundreds of similar tomes (many with identical titles).

    "Mistakes in the initial deployment cannot be rectified" - Helmuth von Moltke

    #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.

     

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

    #84010
    hammurabi70
    Participant

    You’re trolling. Right?

    In respect of what?

    Not being well informed about the Napoleonic period?  Simply never had an interest.

    Use and abuse of statistics?  I wrote I should say it is rather more a warning about how statistics are used, which gives a clue about how I treat it but it is at least an attempt to generate statistical evidence rather than add more paragraphs on a topic that tends to degenerate into subjective statements of opinion.  As with Dupuy’s work, it is not a definitive answer but it at least flags some interesting questions.

    #84063
    General Slade
    Participant

    I confess I thought you were trolling as well.  One would be hard pressed to come up with a question more likely to create dissension on a Napoleonic forum than: ‘Was Wellington was an indifferent commander and would Napoleon in his prime have beaten him with ease?’

    Since you don’t know much about the period (and the endless, pointless arguments it inspires) I’ll give you a quick breakdown.  Napoleonics tends to attract a lot of self-proclaimed experts and they fall into two antagonistic camps: pro-Napoleon and anti-Napoleon.  The Bonparatists believe their guy was the greatest general that ever lived.  This creates a problem for them because they somehow have to explain why he lost at Waterloo.  Clearly he cannot have been out-generaled so they have to denigrate Wellington’s abilities and find other reasons why the battle was lost.  They tend to argue that, whilst it is true that Napoleon wasn’t at his dazzling best on June 15th, the battle was really lost because the Emperor was let down by his subordinates (Ney and Grouchy in particular).

    The anti-Bonpartists meanwhile tend to regard Napoleon as the devil incarnate and seek to undermine his reputation in anyway they can.  At the most extreme they will insist on calling him General Napoleone di Buonaparte, arguing that he was just a usurper and not a ‘real’ emperor at all.  The anti-Bonpartists each tend to favour a particular country (Britain, Austria, Prussia or Russia) and like to stress the contribution that their nation of choice played in defeating the Corsican upstart.  They will, however, join together in an ad hoc Eighth Coalition to confront the Bonapartists online. Once this happens the atmosphere on the forum rapidly becomes toxic, familiar faces (with no interest in wargaming but a lot of interest in having their opinions heard) come crawling out of the woodwork and it is all downhill from there.

    And with regard to the other point, I think the best way to judge the ability of a general is to see what his contemporaries thought of him.  If his contemporaries thought he was good then he probably was.  If they thought he was a bit rubbish that was probably true too.

    PS. I should probably come clean and admit that I am an anti-Bonpartist. I think Wellington was a good general but if anyone should get the credit for beating Napoleon it should probably be the Russians.

    Discuss.

     

     

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 11 months ago by General Slade.
    #84097
    Bandit
    Participant

    Well, Slade’s breakdown seems pretty reasonably accurate of the two “camps” when it comes to Napoleonics as a polarizing topic. I am pro-Napoleon, but the man wasn’t perfect and we should all be able to admit he made some pretty (at least in retrospect) obvious errors.

    There are more books written about Napoleon than about Christ, which is sorta weird frankly, but it does give one a sense of how polarizing of a topic he is.

    I think the most objective argument for comparing Wellington and Napoleon is that there is no useful available comparison. A single battle is a single datapoint and therefore a poor comparison. Their previous campaigns fought independent of each other were incredibly different in practically every way.

    Wellington fought far from home without a terribly good connection back to England – connections over water are by definition faulted, but he could depend on it not breaking due to the British Navy. He had two allies, one who was probably under appreciated (at least by wargamers) and one who is absolutely maligned but whose performance is more deserving of it. He didn’t have a terribly large force but it was also not ill equipped for its task, and at least compared to his adversary in the Peninsular, Wellington benefitted from being of higher comparable priority in the eyes of his parent nation.

    Napoleon fought far more engagements against far more adversaries, that doesn’t necessarily make him better, it provides more data. Something that really taints most English-speaking view points is that we are, as a mass, incredibly dependent on English language sources. The overwhelming English narrative is that Napoleon was practically an undefeatable God – so thank heavens, we, the British Empire, were here to defeat him. Napoleon was running a nation state, and an empire, and an army, thus, his practical concerns were drastically different than Wellington’s. He had a slew of allies, who all had substantially varied motivations and many of which had a lot less personal investment in success than say the Portuguese had. But, because of these things, Napoleon also had some substantial advantages that Wellington didn’t, Wellington couldn’t dictate the terms of his own resupply and reinforcement, Napoleon could… etc…

    So really, it is a very popular, but not terribly useful question to my mind.

    I’d agree with Slade that largely, the Russians beat Napoleon, I would broaden this to say that because I feel Napoleon was not ultimately defeated on the battlefield, but rather in the broad European theater of war, that the combination of Russian arms, Prussian will, and English money ultimately defeated Napoleon. This probably shorts the Austrians and Spanish more than it should frankly. But in the end, no one army at no one battle was able to defeat Napoleon. That’s probably the best reason that he is held in such high esteem, it took all of Europe contributing various strengths in various ways to stop him.

    Cheers,

    The Bandit

    #84114
    vtsaogames
    Participant

    I can cause immense fuss by asking and then answering two questions:

    Who lost Waterloo? Napoleon.

    Who lost Gettysburg? Lee.

    It's never too late to have a happy childhood

    #84116
    Jonathan Gingerich
    Participant

    I have toyed with the idea of writing an essay call “The four Wars of Napoleon”. He won an amazing percentage of battles and for that alone he would be remembered. But campaigns come out about 50-50. Taking it one step further, I think you get a better perspective looking at it as 4 wars.

    He spent 7 years in the Med. theater (and more continuous time in Egypt than anywhere else). Thanks to Suvorov, the end results weren’t that different than when they started, the Revolutionary Wars being won in Flanders. But it was a well paced apprenticeship for an undoubtedly superior commander. In hindsight, his exploits are gussied up as the seeds of genius, but they weren’t necessarily any different than what the young marshals were running around doing with small forces.

    The Glory Years – a war against Russia, Austria, and Prussia, faced one at a time thanks to Prussian reluctance, were both brilliant and lucky. But taken all together a bit of the shine comes off as each victory was less than the previous. The Austrians guessed wrong and handed him his greatest victory, Ulm. So overwhelming no one bothers to write about it. Again the Allies miscalculated at Austerlitz – Buxhowden sitting on his hands with 1/3 of the army still boggles the mind. Jena/Auerstadt was hard fought, but the Prussians were all-in due to geography and their misplayed politics, so the loss was a rout. The Polish campaign, however, was a grind and while it was won at Friedland, the other battles in the mud were fair warning about the limitations of Napoleon’s offensive system in a resource poor environment. Again, it was a brilliant example of “Fortune favors the Bold” but an over-achievement by the  French, which could not be sustained.

    The dynastic wars – disposing of the Spanish king and thereby terrifying the Austrian dynasty into thinking they faced an existential crisis – was eventually lost in Spain and settled with a dynastic alliance with Austria which would have saved the Empire had it been more generous. While the Austrian offensive was still inept, the bloodbaths of Aspern-Essling and Wagram, and the slow bleed of Spain were equally fair warnings about the resolution of opponents when the state was at stake.

    And then the end – Russia endured and the French alliance met with disaster mostly because the army was too large to sustain in the environment. The result was a complete debacle. The German campaign saw the Allies – eventually Russian, Prussia, and Austria – handling multiple fronts better than the marshals commanding French corps.  They kept their cool, even in the face of the astonishing victory of Dresden, while the French alliance collapsed. Then in France, the winter campaign beat Napoleon to the punch. So he raised another army in  the 100 days, but Wellington and Blucher weren’t going to be rattled by the same old tricks and the bigger battalions won the final victory.

    I think much of the disagreements arise, not from the history, but the perspective. The Glory Years are seen not as a perfect storm, but as the natural consequence of French martial superiority. The apprenticeship is elevated as the seeds of genius rather than a promising mixed result, and the dynastic wars viewed from the political result – Napoleon as master of Europe – albeit with concerns about the French losing their edge. The collapse is seen as bad luck and the weight of numbers (which really isn’t true) as the aristocracy cannot abide a self-made upstart. But if you see the other campaigns as the natural consequence of committed, attritional conflict, then Napoleon made a huge mistake not collecting his winning, leaving the table, and resting on his laurels after 1807.

    #84120
    Bandit
    Participant

    I’d agree with nearly all of what Jonathan outlines.

    The only thing that I am uncertain of is if the option of halting in 1807 was really an option. Don’t get me wrong, Nappy did plenty to hurt his own cause post-1807, what I ponder is:

    Had Napoleon not pressed the continental system, and therefore not felt the necessity of deposing the government of Spain and thus starting the Peninsular War – would the rest of Europe have let him sit?

    I don’t think it is impossible, but I am suspect. I don’t know what motivates the British away from continuing to fund various interests to rise against him – or what prevents Prussia from continuing to prepare for a bitter resurgence. Certainly the timeline and order of events changes, but does the trend?

    Cheers,

    The Bandit

    #84152
    Jonathan Gingerich
    Participant

    Yeah I forgot about the Continental System when I was writing this up! If you accept my delineation, then the common wisdom, that Napoleon made a mistake with the CS and invading Russia, says the last two wars were mistakes. So we all agree on 1 out of 3…

    I  don’t know that other powers would be willing to ally – which was the only way to match French wealth and population (GB aside) – and to spend the treasure and blood needed for an existential conflict. The Republic won the battle of Valmy because the Prussians decided they didn’t have a good enough reason to risk their army. OTOH Napoleon would have faced asymmetric threats from outside and in. That’s the trouble with being a self-made emperor. The next guys thinks well why not me?  His legitimacy was largely based on his military success, so war was always a temptation. The de Malet coup illustrating the tenuous hold Napoleon had on the throne.

    It would have been interesting to see if he could have united Europe to oppose the British  maritime monopoly with naval forces rather that an inverse blockade…

    #84154
    Whirlwind
    Participant

    We did the issue of Britain financing other countries in the Napoleonic period on TMP recently. The figures suggest that there were few cases where this could, or did, make a decisive difference between a country choosing to oppose Napoleon or not.

    I don’t know what motivates the British away from continuing to fund various interests to rise against him – or what prevents Prussia from continuing to prepare for a bitter resurgence. Certainly the timeline and order of events changes, but does the trend?

    Well, that implies peace with Britain; so it would need to have the shape of Luneville and Amiens together, or the French position relative to Amiens worsened to compensate for the bits of Luneville that Napoleon decided he could not live with.  To me, that might look something like French domination of the Rhineland, Belgium and Northern Italy is respected, but withdrawal from the Netherlands, Southern Italy and Central Germany.  The kind of settlement that one of the Bourbon kings might have looked at as a best-case scenario.

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

    #84279
    Bandit
    Participant

    We did the issue of Britain financing other countries in the Napoleonic period on TMP recently. The figures suggest that there were few cases where this could, or did, make a decisive difference between a country choosing to oppose Napoleon or not.

    I tend to stay away from the ongoing playground fight between the two Napoleonic parties at TMP. They aren’t the reason I left there, but they are a contributing factor to why I stay away. No matter the subject, the fact that the two parties like to argue with each other more than anything else drives the discussion into a hole.

    Anyways, I’d respectfully disagree that British support wasn’t a contributing factor in the direction of the period; though I would grant that British funding should not be the only aspect considered. In any case though, I don’t want to risk bird walking too far from this thread’s intended subject – which I think this would cause us to.

    Cheers,

    The Bandit

    #84295
    vtsaogames
    Participant

    Back to the original topic, Wellington has to be considered one of the great British commanders. The question is: was he better than Marlborough? Certainly luckier, since he didn’t end up in exile. But a general who wins or ties all of his numerous battles must be considered fairly good at his chosen vocation. Perhaps not a demi-god like some believe. There are also those convinced of Bonaparte’s divinity.

    It's never too late to have a happy childhood

    #85881
    hammurabi70
    Participant

    I’m not an anglophile and don’t see Wellington as the Second Coming, but he was definitely one of the best British army commanders. 

    Which depends on how good the domestic completion was and how we should rate him against the foreign competition.

     

    In answer to your last question, I don’t think there is any good basis for forming an objective conclusion to a question like this.   It is just a matter of opinion.

    Well, debates about Patton/Monty can become very opinionated, hence my preference for some objectivity.   The claim that Monty is slow and Patton fast is somewhat undermined by actual analysis of their advances across France in September.

     

    Here are a few angles you could look at it from:

    So has anybody done such studies?  Looks like a very useful list.

     

    They were both dreadful politicians, if that helps.

    Probably not and I thought much of Europe ran for decades afterwards on the CODE NAPOLEON so he must have had some positive attributes in this regard, which Wellington does not seem to be able to claim.

     

    Since you don’t know much about the period (and the endless, pointless arguments it inspires) I’ll give you a quick breakdown. 

    Very helpful.

     

    There are more books written about Napoleon than about Christ, which is sorta weird frankly, but it does give one a sense of how polarizing of a topic he is.

    Hyperbole; this is trolling!!  However, I take your point that the Amazon has been much reduced by the volume of writings about him.

     

    I have toyed with the idea of writing an essay call “The four Wars of Napoleon”.

    Essay or book; sounds an excellent idea.

    #85892
    Whirlwind
    Participant

    So has anybody done such studies? Looks like a very useful list.

    Not as far as  I know.  Maybe when I retire!  But in general I think people prefer to look at questions like this more…intuitively.

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

    #85944
    Bandit
    Participant

    Hyperbole; this is trolling!!  However, I take your point that the Amazon has been much reduced by the volume of writings about him.

    No… it isn’t either hyperbole or trolling, and I don’t really know why you are calling it either. Supposedly there are more volumes written about Napoleon than about Christ, and it is a little odd to me. How you consider that trolling, I’m at a loss.

    Cheers,

    The Bandit

    #85949
    hammurabi70
    Participant

    Humour; upthread I was accused of trolling.

    Supposedly??  I am no expert on Napoleon but having done some theology I can assure you that Napoleon books have a long way to go in terms of numbers.

    #85974
    Bandit
    Participant

    Supposedly??  I am no expert on Napoleon but having done some theology I can assure you that Napoleon books have a long way to go in terms of numbers.

    I don’t know that you having done some theology is a basis for comparison. I was repeating the conclusion of multiple newspaper and magazine articles I’ve read. Certainly any such conclusion is going to be based on estimation since no one has a catalog of all books written to-date, and therefore by its very nature any such conclusion is “supposedly”. Of all the points in this thread that really deserve additional discussion, I don’t follow why you are concerned about this specific one, but if I run across one of the magazine articles that reported such today, I’ll post the citation for you…

    Cheers,

    The Bandit

    #86005

    Given the right kind of terrain, Wellington was certainly hard to beat.  His record would suggest unbeatable.  That said, at Quatre Bras, he was taken to the mat by Ney.  I think the secret to his success is in the attention to detail, how he could always be at the right place at the right time and the fact that he was quite willing to take great personal risk to lead his troops.  In short, he was a brilliant tactical minded army commander.

    Napoleon I was a strategic thinker.  He too could take great personal risk to win battles but gave that up after becoming Emperor.  He was not above doing it late in his career though.  His ability to outmaneuver his enemies is legendary.  In the 1814 campaigns, he demonstrates this ability quite clearly, holding off armies several times the size of his own.  In the 1815 campaign, Wellington did not know Napoleon  crossed into Belgium until the French were in Charleroi.  It’s actually really hard to over state just how good of an Army commander Napoleon was.

    So who is better?  Well we are at Olympic levels of competition here.  The difference between the two men in terms of ability is pretty small.  Either would do in a pinch for different reasons.  If you want a campaign to close quickly, you want Napoleon.  If you want to keep your army fighting, go with Wellington.

    John

    "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power."

    --Abraham Lincoln

    #86012
    vtsaogames
    Participant

    In addition to his defensive victories, Wellington was capable of bold tactical assaults like Assaye and Salamanca. He was operating under different strictures; if he lost an army, he was out. Napoleon lost several huge ones and came up with more troops.

     

    Strategically, Wellington could never takes the chances that Napoleon could. As for other British commanders, none came near him, even Moore.

    It's never too late to have a happy childhood

    #86089
    hammurabi70
    Participant

    So who is better? Well we are at Olympic levels of competition here. The difference between the two men in terms of ability is pretty small. Either would do in a pinch for different reasons. If you want a campaign to close quickly, you want Napoleon. If you want to keep your army fighting, go with Wellington.

    Actually the question was originally couched purely in terms of the qualities of Wellington; however, all observations and reading recommendations are gratefully received.

    #86102

    Actually the question was originally couched purely in terms of the qualities of Wellington; however, all observations and reading recommendations are gratefully received.

    I guess I picked up on the vibe of several other posts in this thread then! 😉

    Wellington was a superb tactical commander.  Mostly his tactics revolved around an initial defensive posture followed by a swift counter attack.

    He was a womanizer.

    He was not terribly charismatic, which may be how the program you watched came to the conclusion that he was “indifferent.”

    He seemed to embrace the idea of working with anyone, even those he did not like.  Picton was a nasty individual on a personal level even by the standards of the early 1800s.  Wellington saw his talent and used his aggressive nature in battle.  Lord Uxbridge ran off with the wife of Wellington’s brother which wellington despised Uxbridge for.  never the less, Uxbridge served loyally under Wellington.

    He took many personal risks in order to ensure his troops were used in a manner he would want.  He was nearly captured or killed on several occasions.  Which does bring me to a final quality that Napoleon himself sought in his generals.

    Wellington was lucky.  Not, he got lucky and won all those battles.  He was lucky in the sense that good things seemed to happen for the man.

     

    John

    "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power."

    --Abraham Lincoln

    #88429
    grizzlymc
    Participant

    I would disagree with the suggestion that Wellington was lucky.  He understood the operational art and he made sure that he cheated to win.  Poor wargamesmanship, but good operational art.

    #88512
    vtsaogames
    Participant

    I think a lucky general is one who sees chances and takes them, instead of watching them fade away unused. And is lucky too.

    It's never too late to have a happy childhood

    #88513
    Mike Headden
    Participant

    “The more I practice, the luckier I get,” as Arnold Palmer is (probably erroneously) reported to have said. 🙂

    Growing old is mandatory, growing up is entirely optional!

    #88539
    Norm S
    Participant

    At the moment of being lucky, the other party has to be unlucky.

    Perhaps when we use the word lucky, we are encapsulating a load of stuff we can’t quantify easily in any other way.

    I have been considered both lucky and unlucky with die rolls and yet in truth at the time of each rolling I had the same 1 in 6 chance I have always had, as per the laws from physics / mathematics that govern such things.

    On 18th June 1815, some may have felt that anyone, including Wellington, who walked away from the battlefield intact were lucky or at least ‘luckier’ than those that did not.

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 9 months ago by Norm S.
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