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The Napoleonic Wars 1792-1815

New Orleans Bicentenary.

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Re: New Orleans Bicentenary.

Postby Senarmont198 » July 20th, 2015, 1:59 pm

Napoleon withdrew veterans from Spain in 1811, 1812, 1813, and 1814.

He did not replace them, if he replaced them at all, with veterans. For example, five of the six new lancer regiments in 1811, the cadres were pulled out and the troopers that remained were spread out and reassigned to the remaining dragoon regiments. The regiments were not reconstituted.

Another example is the Vistula Legion. It was pulled out part and parcel and marched to Poland to stage for the invasion in 1812. An excellent memoir of the war in Spain and Russia is by Heinrich von Brandt, a junior officer in the Legion of the Vistula.
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Re: New Orleans Bicentenary.

Postby Senarmont198 » July 20th, 2015, 2:03 pm

Spain hurt Napoleon much more than Russia did. It was a constant drain on veteran manpower and it was a continuous second front for the French.

In early 1813 Napoleon was urged to pull out half the veterans in Spain and put them on the Elbe with Eugene. It was sound advice. The Russians were as beat up as the French were from the Russian campaign and the Prussian army was small. Transferring 100,000 veterans from Spain, which would include solid dragoon and light cavalry regiments, would definitely have stopped the Russians and Prussians, and might even have given Frederick William second thoughts about going to war, 'liberation' or no liberation. Spain could have been dealt with later, as it had to be in 1814. Leaving Suchet in command of the remaining French forces withdrawn closer to the French border would have changed the entire Spanish picture.

Unfortuantely, Napoleon didn't listen.
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Re: New Orleans Bicentenary.

Postby FBC-Elvas, Portugal » July 20th, 2015, 2:32 pm

Senarmont198 wrote: Spain could have been dealt with later, as it had to be in 1814.


By 1814 Wellington had taken the battle from Spain to southern France. By April, it was all over.

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Re: New Orleans Bicentenary.

Postby Josh&Historyland » July 20th, 2015, 2:54 pm

Senarmont198 wrote:Napoleon withdrew veterans from Spain in 1811, 1812, 1813, and 1814.

He did not replace them, if he replaced them at all, with veterans. For example, five of the six new lancer regiments in 1811, the cadres were pulled out and the troopers that remained were spread out and reassigned to the remaining dragoon regiments. The regiments were not reconstituted.

Another example is the Vistula Legion. It was pulled out part and parcel and marched to Poland to stage for the invasion in 1812. An excellent memoir of the war in Spain and Russia is by Heinrich von Brandt, a junior officer in the Legion of the Vistula.


Quality or quantity... That is the question.

Senarmont198 wrote:Spain hurt Napoleon much more than Russia did. It was a constant drain on veteran manpower and it was a continuous second front for the French.

In early 1813 Napoleon was urged to pull out half the veterans in Spain and put them on the Elbe with Eugene. It was sound advice. The Russians were as beat up as the French were from the Russian campaign and the Prussian army was small. Transferring 100,000 veterans from Spain, which would include solid dragoon and light cavalry regiments, would definitely have stopped the Russians and Prussians, and might even have given Frederick William second thoughts about going to war, 'liberation' or no liberation. Spain could have been dealt with later, as it had to be in 1814. Leaving Suchet in command of the remaining French forces withdrawn closer to the French border would have changed the entire Spanish picture.

Unfortuantely, Napoleon didn't listen.


He didn't always listen to good advice. Though by 1813, pulling that many men from Spain might have been just as disastrous. Suchet had never faced Wellington before. Rock & hard place for him. Though putting the Marie Louise's into Spain & moving the veterans to Germany might have allowed him to win there & then return to the Spanish front.

I agree Spain did more damage than Russia. 1812 just did its damage quicker.
FBC-Elvas, Portugal wrote:
Senarmont198 wrote: Spain could have been dealt with later, as it had to be in 1814.


By 1814 Wellington had taken the battle from Spain to southern France. By April, it was all over.

Sarah


Yes I think you're right. By the time he turned around the British, Spanish & Potuguese would be knocking at the back door.

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Re: New Orleans Bicentenary.

Postby Senarmont198 » July 20th, 2015, 4:47 pm

What is largely forgotten or ignored is that Spain was a secondary theater. Winning in Germany in 1813 and then turning towards Wellington (still in Spain) with a larger and now a largely veteran army, Napoleon would have been in a much stronger strategic position in mid-to-late 1813 than he was.

Further, if half the veterans from Spain were taken into Germany in early 1813 and the Russians and Prussians were 'brought to heel' in the spring campaign, Austria would not have intervened to an obviously losing coalition.

Not bringing those veterans from Spain to central Europe in early 1813 may have well been Napoleon's greatest strategic error of the period.
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Re: New Orleans Bicentenary.

Postby Josh&Historyland » July 20th, 2015, 6:06 pm

Maybe but beset from all sides paying Peter to pay Paul might not have served. Time is the issue, as by the time the veterans crossed France & got to Germany Wellington would have taken Spain & been moving against France. A decisive victory eluded Napoleon in 1813. In all likliehood he'd still be fighting the Prussians & Russians in 1814 allowing Wellington to push farther north than he did. He needed cavalry more than anything it is surprising he didn't pull more of them.

Fascinating discussion, even though nothing to do with New Orleans.
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Re: New Orleans Bicentenary.

Postby Senarmont198 » July 20th, 2015, 7:31 pm

Perhaps we can link it with those of Wellington's veterans who served with Pakenham at New Orleans?
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Re: New Orleans Bicentenary.

Postby Josh&Historyland » July 20th, 2015, 7:39 pm

Okay by me. The lament was after all "If only Wellington had been there"
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Re: New Orleans Bicentenary.

Postby Senarmont198 » July 20th, 2015, 8:40 pm

Regarding the speed with which to pull troops out of Spain 'in time' for the fighting in central Europe, Napoleon did pull some troops out for 1813 and they participated. I don't see the logistical problem for having even whole units and large numbers there if the decision had been made.
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Re: New Orleans Bicentenary.

Postby Josh&Historyland » July 20th, 2015, 11:05 pm

Perhaps not, the French new how to march, but 100,000 would surely have taken a long time to organise, muster from various points in Spain and get from A to B. Then there is the other quandary. So far we have surmised that Napoleon might have benefitted from the veterans from the Peninsula being in Germany for the 1813-1814 campaign. This assumes that Napoleon would have acted differently with these troops present, indeed that it was his resources that let him down, rather than the eventual weight of the allied drive, but given the great successes he achieved in these campaigns it is hard to see what else he might have done as a general. With the presumption therefore that he would have fought in a similar way with whatever troops he had, he would have still been unable to win a "treaty table battle" before 1814. This the removal of men from Spain might only have brought the British and their allies to his rear quicker. Would he have replaced the men taken from Spain with drafts, or would he have hoped for an overwhelming Victory to shut the Prussian's and Russians up for the year then turn South? It' sounds a very high risk strategy.

Though, Perhaps the prolongation of the war in Europe might have saved some of Wellington's veterans from dying for no reason at New Orleans, for no sooner had the French surrendered than they were shipped off to America.

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