Warfare in the Age of Napoleon

Warfare in the Age of Napoleon

Introduction

            Napoleonic wars strategy and tactics might share some distinct similarities with the way the Westerners took to war[1]. The duo employed impeccably elaborate strategies designed to strike the enemies at their weakest point. [2]The secret to Napoleon’s numerous victories has always been a matter of interest to myriad scholars. The scenario prompted the need to study his war tactics which were later discovered to share some resemblance to the western war strategies[3]. The following is an argument in support of this statement.

Argument

            The Western War tactics and strategies were best utilized in the first world war. Critics dubbed the First world war the “most glorious battle since the Napoleonic wars”, and they are not wrong to think so[4]. The first world war was filled with strategies, tactics, maneuvers and weaponry that can be traced back to the reign of Napoleon. This was reflected in the warfare of the western front region that encompassed European Countries ranging from Belgium to Luxembourg[5].

This is the first aspect in which the Western Warfare is related to the Napoleonic wars. They both to some extent involved great sieges into European region. The western region was invaded by the Germans during world war one. Napoleon led to a great siege into some European Countries such as Belgium. The invasions are bound to be similar in many ways because they involved sieges into some western countries[6].

Another aspect in which the Western warfare showed great resemblance to the Napoleonic war was in the literal firearms and weaponry used[7]. Since the first world war took place almost a century after the Napoleonic war, the Western Countries had adopted some of the strategies used against the French during the Napoleonic war[8]. This can be seen in the use of firearms, although the technology of the first world war was advanced to the extent that it saw improved versions of the firearms employed in the Napoleonic war[9].

Critiques have gathered sufficient evidence to believe that the weaponry used by the Western Front during the first world war had striking similarities to those used by the Napoleonic army men during the siege into Eurasian Countries[10]. Historians were able to trace the design of the firearms especially rifles back to the age of Napoleon. The improvement in technology saw a marked difference in improvements. This can be noted in the firearms of the first world war firing multiple rounds per second, having greater recoil velocity and increased aiming ability. The inspirations for the designs was however based on Napoleonic war[11].

Another aspect that was employed by the westerners which showed some striking similarities that can be traced back to the Napoleonic warfare was the strategies used in the war. Napoleon was famous for his war strategies that involved striking the opponent at the center where he least expects it[12]. This, in turn, forcesd him to use his most capable army men who were, in most cases, the last line of defense. After weakening the opponents, he then moved on to launch a full-on attack on them. He achieved the objective through some acts of maneuver and deception. Such attacks were known to have devastating effects on the morale of the states under siege. As a result, the impulsiveness of his enemies contributed to their immediate downfall[13].

In order to hold off the invading German army during the events of the first world war, the Western Front needed to adopt similar strategies, not a hundred percent similar but adopting some useful aspect of the Napoleonic strategies[14]. The German numbers were against them. Adopting strategies similar to that of Napoleon was their only shot at fighting back.

Refutation

Other critiques and historians have reason to believe that the warfare methods adopted by the westerners were in no way similar to the Napoleonic strategies. The carder backed up the claim by stating that the wars took place in far-off different timelines and under circumstances so dissimilar that are hard to prove any link between the war strategies[15]. However, it is worthwhile noting that Napoleon led the French army. France is one of the countries of western Europe. Given the sheer commonness in the geographic region, distinct similarities prevailed between the war strategies used.

Conclusion

The western war strategies were strikingly similar to the strategies employed by Napoleon due to the advancement in technology. The strategies used by the western countries mainly during the first world war were likely to be improved versions of Napoleonic Strategies.

Bibliography

Bonura, M. A. “A French Way of Warfare.” Under the Shadow of Napoleon, 2012, 11-40. doi:10.18574/nyu/9780814709429.003.0002.

Creveld, M. V. “Napoleon and the Dawn of Operational Warfare.” The Evolution of Operational Art, 2010, 9-32. doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199599486.003.0002.

Dodge, T. A. Warfare in the age of Napoleon: 4. London: Leonaur, 2011.

[1] . A. Bonura, “A French Way of Warfare,” Under the Shadow of Napoleon, 2012, xx, doi:10.18574/nyu/9780814709429.003.0002.

[2] Bonura, “Shadow of Napoleon,” 45-34.

[3] Bonura, “Shadow of Napoleon,” 45-34.

[4] Bonura, “Shadow of Napoleon,” 45-34.

[5] M. V. Creveld, “Napoleon and the Dawn of Operational Warfare,” The Evolution of Operational Art, 2010, 23-34, doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199599486.003.0002.

[6] Creveld, “Operational Warfare,” 23-34.

[7] T. A. Dodge, Warfare in the age of Napoleon: 4 (London: Leonaur, 2011), 36-45.

[8]Dodge, Age of Napoleon, 36-45.

[9] Dodge, Age of Napoleon, 36-45.

[10] M. A. Bonura, “A French Way of Warfare,” Under the Shadow of Napoleon, 2012, 45-34, doi:10.18574/nyu/9780814709429.003.0002.

[11] Bonura, “Shadow of Napoleon,” 45-34.

[12]Bonura, “Shadow of Napoleon,” 45-34.

 

[13] M. V. Creveld, “Napoleon and the Dawn of Operational Warfare,” The Evolution of Operational Art, 2010, 23-34, doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199599486.003.0002.

[14] Creveld, “Operational Warfare,” 23-34.

[15] T. A. Dodge, Warfare in the age of Napoleon: 4 (London: Leonaur, 2011), 36-45.

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