Napoleon has proved to be the greatest military genius who employed tactics during his reign. Napoleon’s campaign formed the basis of military education throughout the entire western world-influencing majority of the military reasoning until date. Majority of the civil rampages have followed the methods of Napoleon and have ensured lots of success. Napoleon’s understanding of mass warfare in addition to his success in raising, organizing, and equipping the mass armies changed the war and the origin of the contemporary combat. In fact, few commanders or none at all before Napoleon fought more wars under distinctive weather conditions, climate, and terrain against a greater enemy compared to the French emperor. (Chandler, p45)
Napoleon however, broke from the aims of his revolutionary predecessor and this lead to his defeat. He made tactical, political, and strategically unwise decisions. For instance, he made a serious mistake of fighting various fronts at once when the French were involved in a fight with Russians, Prussians, and Australia in the east. Among the mistakes that broke from the aims of his military predecessor that he made include, the severity of Napoleon’s terms to Prussia undermined the security and harmony of peace. He also enacted policy towards England that contemplated her total destruction in the policies enacted. He aggressively declared Portugal, Tirol, and Spain as fresh enemies an action that was unnecessary and unruly. He invaded Russia resulting to loss of half million of his best troops and one thousand cannons (Cairness p. 188). It was after this massive disastrous killing that Napoleon never gained his greatness in the army.
As a commander in chief, Napoleon was beginning to become more predictable and his enemies began to appreciate the counter attacks that he used, and used counter tactics to bring him down. Napoleon refused to face up reality and suppress all traces of criticism.
Napoleon, however, continued with the great aims of his predecessor to ensure insightful and visionary leadership that had started by his predecessors. For example, Napoleon continued maintaining the professionalism, a situation that was different from the prevailing confusions in their opponent Russian and Australian staffs (Clausewitz p 132)
He trained his staff to handle better their positions while also overlooking into other departments to ensure a smooth running of the military. In 1780 for instance, Bertheir went to America, where he trained as a colonel and was able to be employed in various staff posts in the military when he returned. The training enabled him to acquire more accuracy and faster comprehension just like his boss Napoleon. He also helped in campaigns to strengthen their revolution (Alger p44).
Napoleon also employed tactical attacks on the enemies, tactics that were employed by their predecessors. For example, Napoleon’s army was able to operate across Europe with great ease and speed owing t their tactics. For instance, the army dropped out of the clouds, passed through the train that was thought to be impossible for any army in Switzerland to break and destroy their enemies in Italy. Another instance was when the Napoleon’ army was able to fly across the northern French territory at speed that left majority of the European army commanders stranded leaving them scattered along the road to Paris with none of them being in the supportive distance to one another , an action that made it easy for Napoleon to thwart their enemies. (Clausewitz p 190)
The hardworking staff officers who followed Bertheir, their taskmaster, had to know their jobs and perform them well. The staff of Napoleon's army provided the administrative, logistical and communications support that Napoleon found necessary to make his army operate over long distances and in little known territories. He enhanced communication and proper training that he carried forward from his predecessors making a strong modern military staff that came into existence and unity among the various functions in the military therefore a cohesive military hence their success (Chandler, p 93)
French revolution was the time when traditional dynasties wars were on its peak, people were killed, and massive properties destroyed. There were big armies and bigger battles involved. The battle that involved remains one of the bigger battles ever fought in the history of humanity with many casualties recorded.
David Chandler, “The Campaigns of Napoleon”, 1996.
John I. Alger, “The Quest for Victory: History of the Principles of War”, 1987.
Karl von Clausewitz, “On War”, 2005.
William Cairness, “The Military Maxims of Napoleon”, 2000.