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How significant was the role of
Napoleon himself to his success
in 1809?
By Amra Hussain, Rachel Starling and Husna Maryam…read more

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Napoleon made strategic changes to his army in order to have an advantage over his
Napoléon Bonaparte made the decision to be both the Head of State and Commander of the Army.
· This was of military advantage to Napoleon as it saved time considering he did not need to consult
anyone regarding his military decisions. Furthermore Napoleon had the resources that a state
owns at his disposal.
Napoléon had access to resources due to the efficiency of his state.
· Napoleon could not match the material resources of his combined allies, however, bureaucratic
reforms meant that France was the most efficient state in Europe. As a result, French resources
were more readily accessible when required.
· By contrast, enemies relied on conscription and taxation which failed to ensure the availability of
necessary resources need to counter Napoleon.
Napoleon had a more professional army.
· Napoleon did not have aristocrats at high ranks and beatings as a means of discipline. Napoleon's
construction of his army and his disciplinary system insured a more organised enthusiastic army
· Napoleon had professional staff, several distinct sections and departments, each dealing with a
well defined area of responsibility, such as troop movements and intelligence, personnel and
records, and legal affairs, plus special staffs for each arm of service.
Napoleon's army lived off the land
· As a result the army did not have to carry food provisions with them. This reduced luggage
allowed for agility and a more rested army.…read more

Slide 3

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His Abilities
One of his main strengths over other generals was the fact that he boosted and maintained the
morale of his troops through propaganda and reward. Without Napoléon's ability to raise morale he
would not have had the loyalty of the army. Napoleon deliberately showed an interest in the needs of
his men meaning they were healthy and content, hence in a better position to fight.
"in war the moral is to the physical as three is to one,"
· Napoleon changed the hated assignats to silver coinage.
· Napoleon portrayed himself as a man of humanity who understood his troops were people. This
was achieved through his insistence on walking the line of troops before a battle and recognising a
veteran or two and taking to them of old times, a human touch.
· Napoleon also understood the value of praise and monetary rewards. Hence he bestowed on his
men praise and rewards such as medals as with the Legion De'Honour he instigated. Napoleon
ordered a widespread awarding of campaign medals.
"With a handful of ribbons I can conquer all of Europe"
He was able to fight under various terrains, weathers and climates.
Napoleon also possess an incredible capacity for work. He continually worked an eighteen to twenty
hour day. When necessary he could work for up to three days without rest. He took great interest in
even the smallest measures under his command and used his mental abilities to think out military
problems days or even months in advance.
Good at exploiting enemy weaknesses.
· (Rachel-research a battle as an example)…read more

Slide 4

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Military Genius
Napoleon was able to recognise and utilise effective strategies
· Use of columns
It made his troops less vulnerable and predictable.
· Use of heavy cavalry
· Use of concentrated artillery
· Use of Corps
Battle of Annihilation:
Manoeuvre warfare-He used the combination of cavalry movement and
fast infantry movement to bring about the defeat of superior forces while they
were still moving to their intended place of battle.
Attrition warfare…read more

Slide 5

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Military Genius
Napoleon developed a more fluid intelligent system of warfare in order to
improve strength, ease, and agility.
Napoleon developed Fredrick the Great's corps system to be heavily advantageous in many battlefields.
· In 1800 Napoleon permanently organized the army into corps, the corps d'armée. .
· A division was a force of around 30,000 men usually consisting of artillery, cavalry and infantry.
· With this number of men, Napoleon would be able to fight effectively.
· He only had to feed in 30,000 at a time.
· It allowed Napoleon to mass the bulk of his forces to effect a penetration into a weak section of
enemy lines without risking his own communications or flank.
Napoleon used a method of columned infantry
· A military column is a formation of soldiers marching together in one or more files in which the file is
significantly longer than the width of ranks in the formation.
· The essential idea behind not fighting in a horizontal line was relying less on an exchange of fire and
more on the use of bayonet charge as it required less training
· It allowed the army to drive through enemy lines through sheer weight of numbers.
· It would most definitely intimidate the opponents.
· His troops would be less vulnerable.
Napoleon…read more

Slide 6

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Main Tactics
"Strategy is the art of making use of time and space."
Battle of annihilation
Battle of manoeuvre (66 % of his battles)
It required some superiority in numbers.
The main force held the enemy ' s attention to his front , while another force fell upon one of his
flanks, and then rolling up the rest of the line. The cavalry was sent in pursuit. The advantage of
this tactic was that it inflicted a major defeat on the enemy at minimal cost. But things could go
wrong. A movement of reserves in the enemy's rear could thicken up the threatened flank. Enemy
deployed with a ridge or wood on his flank would be immune to this method. Austerlitz , Jena , and
Eylau, were all essentially battles of manoeuvre .
Battle of attrition (33 %)
It was a frontal match in which firepower was poured into the enemy in enormous amounts until
he appeared to be weakening , and then great masses of men would be thrown in to smash their
way through his lines. Such a battle was costly affair, but there were times when no other course
was possible. There was much that could go wrong in such a battle.…read more

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