Napoleons strategy of indirect approach dating

B. H. Liddell Hart - Wikipedia

napoleons strategy of indirect approach dating

Sir Basil Henry Liddell Hart (31 October – 29 January ), commonly known .. A review of Mearsheimer's work, published by the Strategic Studies Institute, points out Scipio Africanus: Greater Than Napoleon (originally: A Greater than The strategy of indirect approach (, reprinted in under the title: The. Military strategy and tactics are essential to the conduct of warfare. Napoleon I, for example, had such principles. Turning maneuvers are indirect approaches that attempt to swing wide around an enemy's flank to so The historical roots of strategy and tactics date back to the origins of human warfare and the. Parker emphasizes a psycho-biographical approach of Napoleon placing him into the Napoleon was a military genius in the strategic and tactical handling of armies and It was after this date that things started to work against him. . Firstly, there was the indirect approach or La maneuver sur les derrieres, which was.

The Allies had confidence in the concentric advance, for Napoleon might win some battles, but he could not be everywhere at once, and they would surely win the last battle. Napoleon had devised a strategy of the central position. It was designed to place the French army in such a position that it could defeat detachments of the enemy in turn. Napoleon could use a mere part of his force to tie down and occupy the attention of one enemy, then rapidly move his remaining forces to build up a local superiority against the other.

This brilliant strategy brought him fantastic victories against stronger enemies. Even in "the Emperor came within a hairsbreadth of bringing off a major success by using this system. Napoleon's decision to hurl upon the enemy his army was taken at once. It was executed with unparalleled rapidity and exactness.

When Bavaria sided with France, the Austrians, 80, strong under General Mack, prematurely invaded while the Russians under Kutuzov were still marching through Poland. Bavarian force, 21, men under General Deroi, barely escaped. It was executed with unparalleled rapidity and exactness and in no time Napoleon hadmen facing the Austrians. On October 7, the Austrian commander, General Mack, learned that Napoleon planned to march round his right flank so as to threathen his supply lines and cut him off from the Russian army under Kutuzov.

Napoleonic cavalry under Murat conducted reconnaissance, drew up detailed road surveys, and screened the advance of the army.

Napoleon’s Strategy and Tactics

The cavalry screen also made demonstrations across the Black Forest Mountains. Meanwhile the main French forces invaded the German heartland and then swung towards the southeast, a move that was supposed to isolate Mack and interrupt the Austrian lines of supplies.

The Austrian commander changed front, placing his left at Ulm and his right at Rain, but the French went on and crossed the Danube at Neuburg. On the 20th October the unhappy Austrian general Mack, surrounded in Ulm by the French, capitulated with 30, men, all that remained under his command of the 80, with whom he had invaded Bavaria few weeks before.

napoleons strategy of indirect approach dating

A few days later, the Austrian troops in Italy under Archduke Charles, were compelled to retreat in the hope of covering Vienna, now threatened by Napoleon's advance.

Negotiations for armistice failed. Napoleon had entered Vienna, and on the anniversary of his coronation inflicted on the Austrians and Russians the decisive defeat at Austerlitz. Austria agreed to the terms of the treaty of Pressburg.

Through feverish marching, Napoleon conducted a large wheeling maneuver that captured the enemy army. The campaign is generally regarded as a strategic masterpiece. Napoleon's plan of this campaign was simple and beautiful.

For a perfect campaign, we need look no further than that of against Prussia. The French army, honed to a fine edge by the brilliantly conducted previous campaign in Bavaria and Austria, secured the total annihilation of the Prussian army and state in precisely one month, from October 6 to November 6. It was a remarkable demonstration of what the French military system could accomplish under Napoleon's guidance.

Prussia was broken and dismembered by the war. Her army was ruined, she had no money, and she had lost half of her former possessions. Of particular interest in this campaign is Napoleon's use of the bataillon carre battalion square advancing behind an inpenetrable cavalry screen to execute nearly perfect manoeuvre sur les derries, in order to bring the enemy to battle under circumstances particularly favorable to himself.

The light cavalry rode ahead, probed and located the enemy, then reported back to headquarters to Napoleon and his chief of staff the positions of enemy's troops. As soon as the Emperor plotted them on the map, he would order one or both of his wing commanders to engage the nearest enemy force.

The reserve was made of heavy cavalry and the Imperial Guard. All troops marched within supporting distance of one another. The wings consisted of one or two army corps each. Although the French corps varied in size, they all shared one thing: It was in fact a self-reliant miniature army able to take on much stronger enemy for a limited time. Napoleon's plan of this campaign was beautiful.

To base himself on the Rhine River and Upper Danube and simply advance north - eastwards on Berlin would, perhaps, be the easiest for Napoleon, but it would offer no strategical advantages; for if he met and defeated the Prussians on this west-east line, he would simply drive them backwards on their supports, and then on Russians, whose advance from Poland was expected.

To turn the Thuringian Forest Mountains by an advance from his right, was a less safe movement; but, it offered great advantages. First of all Napoleon would threaten the Prussian supply lines, line of retreat, and line of communications with Berlin. Secondly, Napoleon would separate the Prussians and the advancing strong Russian Army. The danger with this maneuver was this that the Prussians by a rapid advance through the Thuringian Forest Mountains against his communication line, might sever him from France!

In the last days of September the Prussian army was spread over a front of miles. The Saxons had not yet completed their mobilisation. Within few days the Prussians shortened their front to 85 miles in a direct line. At the same time Napoleon had huge army already assembled on a front of 38 miles.

napoleons strategy of indirect approach dating

At last Napoleon's real plan had dawned on the Prussian headquarters. Advance guards were sent in the direction of the Thuringian Forest. The Prussians also detached small corps from Ruchel's force against Napoleon's supply lines.

Napoleons strategy of indirect approach dating -

By doing this they weakened their own main army. Heavy fighting began when elements of Napoleon's main force encountered Prussian troops near Jena. The Battle of Jena cost Napoleon approx. At Auerstadt Marshal Davout's also crushed the enemy. Napoleon initially did not believe that Davout's single corps had defeated the Prussian main body unaided, and responded to the first report by saying "Tell your Marshal he is seeing double". As matters became clearer, however, the Emperor was unstinting in his praise.

When badly outnumbered he managed, by swift maneuvering, to throw the mass of his army against portion of the enemy's, thus being stronger at the decisive point. These supply systems were rudimentary at best, and it was not possible for any army to sustain itself at any distance from its magazines.

This restriction led to a system of military operations that were carefully planned, long in advance, and supported by the accumulation of military supplies for months prior to the actual inception of the campaign. Once a war had begun, it was heavily influenced by supply considerations.

There were no lightning maneuvers, troops marching hundreds of miles as was seen in the campaign. The wars of this period were like the jousting of turtles and seldom penetrated far into the country of either nation involved.

Military Strategy and Tactics

These wars were primarily wars of maneuver where one army attempted to establish itself in the enemy's territory in a strong position. These wars resulted in a continual squabbling over border provinces that exchanged hands every few years. When the French Revolution erupted, the French military establishment found itself undergoing a major revolution itself.

napoleons strategy of indirect approach dating

The logistical administration and its supply system rapidly decayed, proving incapable of providing the logistical support required by the newly raised French armies.

As a result, the French armies wee frequently on the verge of starvation. By necessity they found themselves forced to fend for themselves, as their government had proven incapable of providing for them.

What began initially as the simple pillaging of the countryside by starving soldiers rapidly evolved into a systematic requisitioning and amassing of supplies in a given area.

A relatively sophisticated system evolved, where individual companies would detach 8 to 10 men under the direction of a corporal or a sergeant on a periodic basis. These squads operated independent of the main body for periods of a week or a day, collecting supplies and material necessary for sustaining their parent company.

They would then return and distribute this material amongst their fellows. In the case of the French moving through conquered territory, there was seldom any remuneration. However, only rarely were provisions forcefully taken. Through during the previous centuries armies had depended on magazines, starving armies had often moved through provinces, stripping them bare and wasting much of what they found.

In contrast, the highly organized French system wasted little. The French quickly became expert at estimating the ability of an area to support an army and developed skills in locating supplies in areas where other armies would have quickly starved if forced to live off the land. These skills had permitted the French to execute the massive maneuvers that gave them smashing victories in,and It also led to the mystique that the French army could outmarch every other army in Europe.

The ablity to maneuver strategically had been seriously handicapped for years by the necessity to provide a wagon train for supplies. The French, lacking this military train and having the ability to live off the land they were traversing, were able to march as fast as their soldiers' legs could carry them, instead of at the pace of the oxen pulling the wagons.

It could only work efficiently where the local resources were extensive. In populous and prosperous countries large armies could be supported.

But in inpoverished regions of Europe, a large army would starve. When foraging using Napoleon's well organized techniques, an amry ofmen with guns and 40, horses could be sustained in an area of about: Russia was described by many westerners as a "wasteland" with poor roads, few cities, and long distances. There was also the retreating Russian army and scorched earth tactic. Napoleon was forced to reorganize and expand his military train and supply system. Supplies were stockpiled all along the Vistula and Odra rivers.

The munitions Napoleon gathered together for his campaign compare favorably with the efforts of the heavily industralized nations during the First World War. Napoleon used to say: I am less concerned about the later than the former.

napoleons strategy of indirect approach dating

Space we can recover, lost time never. No one was allowed to lag behind and in special NCO detachments knew how to make the "lame" walk. Most often Napoleon pushed on with the attack, maintaining a constant element of surprise.

He used to say: Let us go and fight him! It gave him the advantage of selecting one or another part of enemy line and forcing the enemy to time consuming regrouping and sometimes causing temporary disorder in his ranks. Napoleon believed always in the attack, speed, maneuver and surprise. The first deficiency should be supplied by rapidity of movement On the vast and poorly inhabited lands of Eastern Europe Napoleon was forced to use the baggage trains to feed his troops. Napoleon wrote to Murat "The best marchers should be able to do miles a day.

Unity of command, or cooperation, is essential to the pursuit of objectives, the ability to use all forces effectively economy of forceand the concentration of superior force at a critical point mass.

Maneuver consists of the various ways in which troops can be deployed and moved to obtain offensive, mass, and surprise. A famous example that illustrates most of these principles occurred during World War II when the Allied forces eventually agreed on the objective of defeating Germany first with a direct offensive against the European continent.

Under a combined command headed by Gen. Eisenhower, they effectively massed their forces in England, deceived Germany regarding the point of invasion, collected intelligence on the disposition of German forces, and set the vast maneuver called Operation Overlord into motion.

Unthinking rigid attention to a principle of war, however, can be unfortunate. In the face of two Japanese naval forces, Adm. William Halsey's decision at Leyte Gulf not to divide the fleet the principle of mass led to the pitting of the entire enormous American naval force against a decoy Japanese fleet. Division of the fleet maneuver would still have left Halsey superior to both Japanese forces.

Strategic and Tactical Maneuvers Classification of actual military types of maneuvers and their variations have long been a part of military science. New technology and weapons have not drastically altered some of the classical types of offensive maneuver: The penetration--one of the oldest maneuvers--is a main attack that attempts to pierce the enemy line while secondary attacks up and down the enemy line prevent the freeing of the enemy reserves.

A favorite maneuver of the duke of Marlborough early 18th centuryit was also used by Gen. Bernard Montgomery at El Alamein The envelopment is a maneuver in which a secondary attack attempts to hold the enemy's center while one single envelopment or both flanks double envelopment of the enemy are attacked or overlapped in a push to the enemy's rear in order to threaten the enemy's communications and line of retreat.

This forces the enemy to fight in several directions and possibly be destroyed in position. New variations include vertical envelopments Airborne Troops or airmobile troops and amphibious envelopments.

Defensive-offensive maneuvers include attack from a strong defensive position after the attacking enemy has been sapped in strength, as in two battles of the Hundred Years' War, Crecy and Agincourtor feigned withdrawals that attempt to lure the enemy out of position as performed by William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings and by Napoleon at the Battle of Austerlitz Turning maneuvers are indirect approaches that attempt to swing wide around an enemy's flank to so threaten an enemy's supply and communication lines that the enemy is forced to abandon a strong position or be cut off and encircled.

Napoleon was a master of the turning movement, using it many times between and Lee used the maneuver at the Second Battle of Bull Run ; the German drive to the French coast in was another example. The Historical and Theoretical Development of Strategy and Tactics The historical roots of strategy and tactics date back to the origins of human warfare and the development of large-scale government and empire.

The dense tactical infantry formation of overlapping shields called the phalanx, for example, existed in an early form in ancient Sumar c. The development of strategy and tactics parallels to some extent the growth, spread, and clash of civilizations; technological discoveries and refinements; and the evolution of modern state power, ideology, and nationalism. Early Strategy and Tactics The Mediterranean basin saw the dawn of modern military strategy and tactics.

Philip combined infantry, cavalry, and primitive artillery into a trained, organized, and maneuverable fighting force backed up by engineers and a rudimentary signaling system.

His son Alexander became an accomplished strategist and tactician with his concern for planning, keeping open lines of communication and supply, security, relentless pursuit of foes, and the use of surprise.

During the Russia invasion, Napoleon never at any instance overlooked or underestimated the battle and consequences that arose, for in his logistical skills, he provided for the worst-case scenarios that were bound to occur in decisive battles like the Russia invasion that cost the lives of many soldiers. In his military campaign, Napoleon never wasted his time camping troops in wait of already known enemy.

In his principles, Napoleon believed that military strategies should employ tactics to surprise and confuse an enemy in the battlefield, because initiating and controlling the pace of the fight is the key element in conquering an enemy. Napoleon illustrated this tactics when he successfully won the battle of Ulm-Austerlitz in Battlefield Strategies and Tactics The primary strategy of Napoleon was to identify the enemy.

Identifying the location, composition, and structure of the enemy highlighted any possible threats and imminent calamities, which were very critical in determining whether to go ahead with the battle or not.

If the battle was inevitable, then effective strategies and tactics were necessary to combat the enemy. With this strategy, though overwhelmed by the Russian armies, Napoleon armies managed to kill more of them as compared to their armies who died in the decisive battle. In this case, central position strategy proved useful in combating armies who were mightier while incurring minimal losses and injuries.

Strategy of indirect approach was very effective when Napoleon had large number of armies under his command. This strategy enabled Napoleon to seize superiority while in the battlefield and thus wield much power to control the battle. This strategy involved displaying mighty armies in front of the enemy in order to attract attention and subsequently scare away the enemy.

Flanking the enemy weakens the logistical maneuvers that sustain it in the battle preventing further reinforcement from other troops. Eventually, the enemy is isolated and severed from obtaining logistical support of troops, communications, retreating, and supply of more weapons.

This strategy demonstrated to be very effective as it led to massive victories of Jena, Ulm and Friedland battles. Napoleon also utilized the strategy of Battalion Square and the tactic of outflanking his enemies.

The Battalion Square consisted of an advance guard, which was to identify the enemy, right and left wings who acted as combating troops that marched within the range where they could offer emergency support to both advancing and reserved troops. At the rear end of the advancing army was a reserved troop, which provided extra support in case the advance troop retreated.

When Napoleon had built local superiority, he employed the tactic of flanking to combat the Russian armies who were too strong for him to conquer, but at least he demonstrated artful military combat.

Napoleon had five principles that guided his military strategies and tactics. His principles were quite evident in the number of battles he successfully fought during his reign, because many commanders acknowledged that no commander could beat him in terms of the number of battles he fought and severity of battling conditions, which he experienced.

The five principles entailed destruction of the enemy on sight, concentration of the military efforts, scheming operations, interruption of logistics, and real time surveillance of the armies. Adhering to these principles, Napoleon focused objectively on the enemy.

In this strategy, Napoleon distinguished himself from other generals who lacked concentration on the enemy and lost the decisive battles they fought. His military principles enabled him to concentrate forces and managed to mobilize them artfully in order to economize his resources.

Despite the astounding defeat that Napoleon met during his war against Russia, he demonstrated logistical strategies and tactics that many generals consider artful and worth acquiring in the current generation.

B. H. Liddell Hart

Napoleon left military legacy as his successors credit him a military genius who made great impact in military reforms and shaped the approaches of decisive battles.

His strategies and tactics still echo through the 21st century since military academies recognize and approve them as effective and worth learning. Although Napoleon armies terribly suffered after invading Russia, this does not mean that their strategies were ineffective; it is only that the Russian armies were many, organized, and smarter.

Annotated Bibliography Hardeman, Richard. A study of the Logistics of Alexander, Napoleon, and Sherman.