French Napoleonic Infantry Tactics 17921815

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2007-11-20
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing
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For over 20 years France was the dominating, controlling and conquering power of the western world, a result not only of Napoleon's inspired leadership, but of the efforts of almost an entire generation of Frenchmen under arms. The French Revolution heralded both social change and a seismic shift in how armies were organized, trained and deployed. This book provides an analysis of the preparation of French troops from manual regulations to the training ground, studying the changing quality of command and control within the army, which initially ensured that the French infantry were virtually unstoppable. Paddy Griffith not only explores the role of the French infantry at the apex of their powers and their actions in key battles, but also provides a detailed explanation of their eventual decline leading to defeat at Waterloo, providing a critical overview of French Napoleonic infantry tactics.

Author Biography

Paddy Griffith is a freelance military historian based in Manchester. His groundbreaking books on low-level tactics include Forward Into Battle (1981 and 1990), Battle Tactics of the Civil War (1986) and Battle Tactics of the Western Front (1994). He has also written extensively on wargames, and is currently active in the South Manchester Tactical Society and in the Battlefields Trust. The author lives in Manchester, England.

Table of Contents

The Legacy of the Seven Years' Warp. 3
Theory and practice - the value of light troops - line and column: 'les grandes querelles' - the Vaussieux manoeuvres
Guibert and the 1791 Reglementp. 9
Limited recognition of the uses of the column - Dumouriez at Jemappes, 1792
'Revolutionary Warfare'p. 13
Political meddling - the survival of professional training - the limitations of improvised armies - the temptations of the defensive: Perpignan, 1793
Skirmishers: Duhesme's instructions - 'grandes bandes' or regular training?
From the 'Terror' to the Coup of Brumairep. 21
Improving competence - the Army Corps and the all-arms battle
Inconsistency of offensive tactics - l'ordre mixte - deployment from column into line - attacks in echelon - pace
Defensive tactics: fighting in built-up areas - the square
La Grande Armeep. 28
Marengo, 1800: the tactical success of Desaix and Monnier
The Boulogne camp - the doctrine of independent Corps command - indoctrination and cohesion - training and intellectual vigour - simplifying the Reglement
High tide, 1805-07: Dupont at Ulm - Davout and Soult at Austerlitz - Morand at Auerstadt - Friedland: first signs of tactical obesity? - artillery tactics
The Peninsular War, 1808-14p. 43
Strategic dispersion - tactical superiority - overconfidence in column attacks
'Corrupt Gigantism', 1809-15p. 49
Increased commitments, larger armies and greater casualties - lowering of standards - the overcrowded battlefield: D'Erlon at Waterloo
The 1808 reforms: smaller battalions - increased proportion of 'elites' - stronger artillery support
Further Readingp. 54
Plate Commentariesp. 55
Indexp. 64
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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