What was Napoleon thinking when he invaded Russia? He understood why Charles...

Thomas Barnes
Thomas Barnes

What was Napoleon thinking when he invaded Russia? He understood why Charles XII failed to defeat the Russians yet he made the same mistakes himself. The nigga didn't even have the excuse of incompetence. Did his head just grow too big for his small, portly, body?

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Levi Turner
Levi Turner

He misjudged the ability of his quartermaster corps to feed an army of unprecedented size, an army which was then blasted apart by a plague of typhus, and which was unable to sustain itself by foraging, as was the convention at the time, because a military force more numerous than the entirety of Paris was advancing along two narrow routes through farms that barely produced enough to keep their owners at subsistence level already.
He did learn from Charles; he took a larger force than he thought he would need to account for attrition, he made preperations to supplement foraging with hardtack and liquor shipped to the front from back home, and he had planned that the Grand Army would winter in Moscow, or, in an emergency, in Vilnus.

The problem was that no one had ever led an army of that size before, he was confronting logistics problems that no one had ever dealt with or even encountered before, he had to deal with a deadly plague whilst in hostile territory, and he didn't have an accurate picture of rural Russia.
For example, Vilnus was just too small to accomodate the Grand Army, and the outlying areas were incredibly backwards by Western European standards and couldn't provide enough food, so thousands of troopers starved or froze when they tried to quarter there during the Autumn and early Winter of 1812.

The earlier Swedish invasion was by a much smaller force that was already accustomed to operating in rural Finland, it did not encounter any serious illnesses to the extent that Napoleon did, and you'll notice that Napoleon planned for Winter quarters in established cities to deal with the extreme cold before the Russians burned Moscow and began sending Cossacks to attack the French army corps in the dead of Winter.

Dominic Clark
Dominic Clark

It was a choice between invading Russia and being invaded by russians. And if you get invaded by russians, you're going to get rekt by their sheer numbers.

Christopher Williams
Christopher Williams

Russians marching through Europe on foot
His justification for invading Russia wasn't about being invaded by the Russians, but that they broke the Continental embargo against the British.

Levi Young
Levi Young

Genuine miscalculation.

Leo Sanchez
Leo Sanchez

Actually, the issue wasn't low yields of food, but the fact Russians utilised scorched earth. Napoleon's army arrived to find burnt down countryside – that's why they couldn't live off the land. Even low-yield fields would have been able to feed the army reasonably well (after all, the peasants needed to harvest enough to keep them fed all year + enough to pay taxes, and thus needed sizeable stocks), but Napoleon was left with very, very little instead. Then he arrived in Moscow and saw an essentially empty city where the remaining denizens themselves were left starving, so again, nothing to feed the troops with. And then he had to march back the same way, over a territory that had been scorched and pillaged once already.

To be fair, Russians acted like absolute madmen – when going to war, you do not expect the enemy to do everything in his power to avoid a battle while devastating his own nation just to stop you from capturing anything of value. Moscow is the greatest example of this – Napoleon marches there, thinking he'll finally find some prize to fight over, instead finding an empty city where everything of value was already carted away. That's not the kind of shit one would expect. That's not the kind of shit you can deal with when on limited supplies and bleeding attrition. Charles XII didn't deal with anything on this scale - Russians fought plenty of battles against him and he got fucked by them destroying his supply trains more than by scorch earth tactics (although those have been used too). And above all, Russians didn't scorch earth a major fucking city back then. I don't think anyone did that before or after, actually, it's just so insane. No wonder Napoleon didn't expect that; nobody would.

Isaac Wood
Isaac Wood

Napoleon invaded Tartaria, not Russia. The Russians fought alongside him against Tartaria. History is a lie, Napoleon told everyone that himself.

Jordan Kelly
Jordan Kelly

This.
The perfidious anglo like to joke on Napoleon pride but it was entirely justified, by that point he had been bitch-slapping "coalitions" for twenty years pretty much non-stop despite usually having the numbers against him. He thought he could defeat any army on land without much effort and he was probably right.
Which is why, after a couple of initial crushing defeats in the Baltic/Poland area, the Russians that had the numbers to fight 1vs1, decided it was wiser to adopt a strategy concentrating on NOT fighting him.
Add the perfectly standard misconception for that era that "The Russians will negotiate if we take Moscow" which was the whole plan and largely worked until the Russians BURN IT DOWN THEMSELVES as a final gigantic "fuck you", which is an insane display of self-sacrifice by any era standard and you have the reason for the defeat.

Luis Gonzalez
Luis Gonzalez

Moscow was nuked, not burned, btw.

Leo Anderson
Leo Anderson

The Russian tactic was pretty genius and it's a shame it's not talked about more often. It's like a completely different paradigm of thought. The only similar example I know of was during the Punic wars, when Romans left Hannibal to screech impotently in the countryside while they all holed up in fortified cities that they knew he didn't have the power to take. Giving the enemy free reign in areas that don't matter while the valuable targets are protected, and making time be on your side – for Romans it was their armies in Africa, for Russians it was attrition. Only unlike Romans, Russians actually managed to move the fucking targets away and out of reach. In a way, they acted in a similar manner during WW2, when they moved their industries back this way, again relying on the enemy to exhaust himself without managing to capture things of actual value.

Jaxon Nguyen
Jaxon Nguyen

The Russian tactic was pretty genius and it's a shame it's not talked about more often.
I would say its a very important lesson for nuclear war My opinion is nuclear Weapons are the most useful on the defense, as area denial and to wipe out large invading forces. However, to use them effectively would require similar tactics to the Russians and Romans. A willingness to sacrifice and an ability to move vital resources.

Oliver Gutierrez
Oliver Gutierrez

Relevant

Ryder Anderson
Ryder Anderson

My opinion is nuclear Weapons are the most useful on the defense
What? No. You fire them on enemy industrial centres (they really cannot move those out of the way faster than a missile flies) and that's it, the war is over as the enemy economy is obliterated, the people are rioting, the soldiers desert so that they can go home and check up on family, etc. Then the enemy fires his nukes on your industrial centres and you face the same situation.

Aiden Watson
Aiden Watson

they really cannot move those out of the way faster than a missile flies
Expect if they are spaceships that are dropping their manufactured goods at the planet from a rather long distance.

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David Myers
David Myers

(you)

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Ethan Nguyen
Ethan Nguyen

(they really cannot move those out of the way faster than a missile flies)
The speed of the missile doesn't matter, every war has a lead up period before it when both sides know conflict is coming, and you do not want to waste missiles on empty cities based on outdated information, IE napoleon in moscow. Furthermore counter-value strikes assume you do not want that stuff yourself. How little industry the enemy has does not matter if their tanks are parked outside yours.

Ryan Parker
Ryan Parker

Russians sure as hell didn't have any overwhelming trouble marching to France and Italy on foot.

Jack Barnes
Jack Barnes

The speed of the missile doesn't matter, every war has a lead up period before it when both sides know conflict is coming
Moving a fucking industrial base isn't going to be all hush hush no matter what you do. For one, it's a massive operation, for two, you just need to ask the local retard why the fuck is he not at work today
<"well, guv'nah, they started carting shit away, I'm unemployed now"

How little industry the enemy has does not matter if their tanks are parked outside yours
Of fucking course it does. You think the soldiers manning those tanks are going to fight you if they just heard that their homeland got consumed by nuclear fire and the money they are paid now may as well be monopoly money because it became worthless? That they'll try to conquer new lands when their own fucking home is destroyed? That they'll fight for a government that will get overthrown before the week is over?

Jace Morris
Jace Morris

Promises of Vengeance and Loot were what ran army only 3 centuries ago.
Also statistical studies show democratic governments are rarely overthrown from losing wars. They are not going to be toppled in the midst of this. Nukes will infuriate the population, not against the government but against the enemy. Soldiers with no pay and Ashes at home will fight like demons and loot anything not nailed down.

Christopher Garcia
Christopher Garcia

*Promises of vengeance and loot where what ran armies only 3 centuries ago.

Also statistical studies show democratic governments are rarely overthrown from losing wars. They are not going to be toppled in the midst of one. Nukes will infuriate the population, not against the government, but against the enemy. Soldiers with no pay and ashes at home will fight like demons and loot anything not nailed down.

Aaron Nelson
Aaron Nelson

Promises of Vengeance and Loot were what ran army only 3 centuries ago.
Not enough of them will care about vengeance to matter and loot is only valuable if you have a home where you can spend it. Not to mention this isn't three centuries ago where every peasant stored his money underneath his strawbed – you ain't gonna find shit unless you are lucky enough to be the first to look the local jewellery shop, and I can't imagine a soldier hauling a plasma TV halfway over the world or similar.

Also statistical studies show democratic governments are rarely overthrown from losing wars.
If you think a government that brings nukes falling down on its population is gonna survive, you have another thing coming. And losing actually important wars had always led to major political earthquakes.

Nukes will infuriate the population, not against the government but against the enemy. Soldiers with no pay and Ashes at home will fight like demons and loot anything not nailed down.
Sure, keep believing that, I'm sure you'll write a cool war anime someday. Meanwhile, in real life, 90% of the soldiers would desert before the week was over because they can't be arsed to risk their life for free and because they are far more interested in the wellbeing of their nuked family than in geopolitical interests of their country, which are all moot anyway now as it had been left eviscerated and the old goals no longer apply. Even if they did carry onwards somehow, they'd run out of ammo, fuel, and provisions pretty damn soon, because guess what, the industry and logistics network meant to produce and deliver those things to the front is no longer in existence.

Blake Cruz
Blake Cruz

The better question is why did he fight so many coalitions?
Why couldn't he seal the deal?
Was he destined to lose?

Sebastian Reed
Sebastian Reed

t. loser living in his parents' basement

Brayden Mitchell
Brayden Mitchell

Brits wouldn't let him.

In a way, Napoleon is sort of pre-World War since its goal is the same, a new breakaway empire (France Empire, 1st Reich, 3rd Reich) decide to not play balls with the Brits.

World war follows.

Chase Evans
Chase Evans

2nd Reich*

Liam Rogers
Liam Rogers

The only similar example I know of was during the Punic wars, when Romans left Hannibal to screech impotently in the countryside while they all holed up in fortified cities that they knew he didn't have the power to take.
IIRC the Vietnamese also did something similar when the Mongols tried to invade Vietnam.

Andrew Kelly
Andrew Kelly

Vietnamese did the reverse actually, they empty their castles, let the mongols occupy empty castles, wait for them to leave and attack.

Ryan Cox
Ryan Cox

If you want to actually learn this well rather than the speculation and trope in this thread, you should read Napoleon's Russian Campaign by Philippe Henri de Segur, Napoleon's Aide d Camp. It does a very good job of going through the actual decisions made, as the author was present for most of them. It should probably be essential Zig Forums history reading tbh. I'll have to reread it.
Long story short he made a few bad decisions, some of which were understandable, others less so.

Josiah Nguyen
Josiah Nguyen

What did he mean by this?

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Robert Long
Robert Long

Moving a fucking industrial base isn't going to be all hush hush no matter what you do.
Germany was able to hide their entire war production underground during WW2, to the point that the Allied bombing of Germany had no effect on it.
The same was done during the Cold War in any Country that had a stake in it, making the infrastructure and tools needed for the war nuclear bomb proof became standard.
Meanwhile, in real life, 90% of the soldiers would desert before the week was over…
They wouldn't, because most Soldiers fear their own side more than the enemy or adverse conditions.
In general it takes years of maltreatment for Soldiers to grow the balls to rebel.

Napoleon was the leader of Revolutionary France, all the Royals in Europe wanted to see it destroyed.

Grayson Garcia
Grayson Garcia

Napoleon was the Empereur of the new French Empire, none of that cucked revolutionary France bullshit.

If they have stuck with ol' Robbie, we would have a 10 days week.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_Republican_calendar

Logan Reyes
Logan Reyes

YET ANOTHER FUCKING "Zig Forums TRIES TO INTO HISTORY AND FAILS BECAUSE THEY'RE MORONS" THREAD

Brandon Brown
Brandon Brown

expecting much from Zig Forums in the first place

Isaiah Bell
Isaiah Bell

during WW2
Yeah, but a missile takes how long from launch to impact? A few hours at most.
The same was done during the Cold War in any Country that had a stake in it, making the infrastructure and tools needed for the war nuclear bomb proof became standard.
Can you actually provide an example of how, say, General Motors had a nuke-proof assembly line? Because what you're saying sounds like bullshit. If someone nuked Detroit back when it wasn't a nigger-infested shithole but a major industrial centre, you can bet your ass it'd hurt US economy a lot. Now imagine 100 such Detroits got nuked within the span of one evening – the whole country would be in tatters.
most Soldiers fear their own side more than the enemy
What "their side"? Their country would instantly become a third world shithole since millions would be dead, little would be produced, food would be running out, and money would have less value that toilet paper. What can such a "force" do to you? Think anybody would have time or means or will to track some soldier that deserted? That the chain of command would remain relevant? That anybody at all would actually still care about the war in such a situation, when the enemy got nucleary fucked just as bad as you did? The biggest extent of "military operations" would be units that decided to go rogue and raid enemy towns for loot.

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