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Subject: Jomini's Art of War
Godofgamblers    7/15/2009 3:33:08 AM
I recently stumbled upon this work on the net. You can read the book online here: h*tp:// It is a great primer for understanding Napoleonic war. I have never really understood the secrets to Napoleon's success; perhaps this book will enlighten me.
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Heorot    stbretnco   7/17/2009 5:33:51 PM

"never in his successes did he commit to a battle on ground of the enemy's choosing."

At Waterloo, he let Wellington choose the ground. And he lost.
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stbretnco       7/17/2009 5:52:25 PM

"never in his successes did he commit to a battle on ground of the enemy's choosing."

At Waterloo, he let Wellington choose the ground. And he lost.

Precisely my point.
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Herald12345       7/20/2009 3:19:41 AM

And from the top

Jomini is much more important in teaching ACW generals than in explaining the Napoleonic wars. Added to that the Mexican war practice.

Often overlooked along with Jomini is that the US Army studied his march rates and logistics studies as well.

Napoleonic armies did engage in trench warfare but were more mobile operationally ? ACW armies tend to be more tied to rail or river/sea supply lines (cos they had them).^1 An entrenched army is a thing to send a couple of Corps to outflank then you can then fight a maneuver battle (as in the great entrenched camp the Russians got maneuvered out of in 1812), or besiege rather than assault, but at for example Borodino, Leipzig, Dresden and I think Vitoria there were fieldworks. There are also a lot of fortresses in most of the European theatres. The big entrenchment is of course the lines of Torres Vedras but also Cadiz and Walcheren.

The US  wagon road network was terrible. Longstreet wanted Lee to maneuver south of Little Round Top at Gettysburg, but how could Lee maneuver  a corps or even a division there when his wagon train was scattered, cavalry missing, and he was out of ammo? Meade was in supply and he wasn't going anywhere. Corps maneuvering was a very risky thing against an enemy with a rail network and a cavalry screen behind him.

I also think that there may be a geographic one ? the US was much more wooded that most the  Napoleonic battlefields so a shallow trench and big breastwork is feasible whereas in more settled areas in Europe a trench is a 5 foot deep ditch which takes a while to build. And a technological one ? ACW troops had more spades and picks  available to the infantry. No idea why but they did.

The reason was that spades were easy for US foundry makers and iron workers to make. The iron was plentiful and blacksmiths were everywhere.   I would argue that by the Crimean War, Europeans were in much same position ahead of the Americans. Not so much during the Napoleonic era where steam hammers were rare and black smiths didn't have as much good uron stock. The steel was just more plentiful and of better quality after the 1840s. In the ACW I would argue that the ax and the pick were alos more important that the shovel. Virginia clay is and pine is TOUGH. 

Don?t overate the rifled musket in the ACW ? see Griffith and Nostworthy, - most were not used much above 200m and then by snipers. Tactical practice generally seems to be very similar to Napoleonic wars, or less given the terrain. Effective range for canister is ~600m (spherical case/shrapnel is I think closer to 1200m and round 1500m with ricochet so infantry in trenches unless below ground would get blown away. A good battery could burst fire 3 rounds per minute.

Is that before 1863?

Start doing the maths on the comparable effect of artillery and muskets on the battlefield and you see why Napoleon liked lots of cannon in masses and why both a thin line and advanced skirmishers (preferably with rifles) become very important.

A thin line is harder to drop a shell on.

If you are in trenches you don?t need mortars ? one howitzer per battery will do the job.

Example:  Fort Sedgewick
Example: Vicksburg
They dug deep and often with overhead cover;  Grant's soldiers did.

The chief metric for a Napoleonic army absolutely NOT rate of fire. It is fire discipline. Oman was wrong.

I agree with this. 

From Frederick the Great?s experiments at 50 paces 50% of a battalion volley will hit a battalion sized target. At 75 paces 25% and at a hundred you miss. It takes about 20 seconds to reload a musket in a hurry and they have horrible misfire rates that become truly madly horrible if you mess up a step.  Like Herald says a running (or quick marching) man can cover more than 50 paces in 20 secs. If you fire at range the other guy will close with loaded muskets to a range that they will become devastating before you can reload and you know it (and normally ran away from the French column that i

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Herald12345    Would someone be so kind as to put a track on    7/21/2009 5:07:41 AM
a couple of guys?
Call me crazy, but the "Sun Tzu's Waterloo" thread on this forum page is better than Sun Tzu and Jomini.

DPioneer and LandArmyNavy and check to see if they are one and the same? The grammar analyzer I use says they are very similar.
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Herald12345    NAILED.   7/21/2009 7:14:09 AM

Your charges are unwarranted and outrageous. I'm not that good.
Such traps are so easy to set.
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Herald12345    You are a perveyor of falsehood......    7/21/2009 8:32:10 PM
as well as a psychotic, Terence.

Seek professional help.

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stbretnco    Herald   7/21/2009 8:37:29 PM
Terrance has been trolling around here and AKO for a  number of years with his delusions of competency.
His style has changed slightly over the years, but a grammar analysis is not required.
Same bubba, same tired tripe.
Terrance, did Lock-Mart ever take you up on your strategic troop transport concept?
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Herald12345    StBretNCO reply.   7/22/2009 3:14:25 AM
Thanks for the heads up. I just want to return to Jomini and GoG's question which is the subject of the thread. I am not a land warfare expert, but I do like to contribute and talk to experts who do know, so I can learn.
To that end:

The gist of it is that Henry Halleck and Dennis Mahan are the Americans who taught Jomini and it was Grant who stumbled on to Clauswitz by accident. Lee, by his too rigid technical adherence to Jomini (as well as Jefferson Davis), failed to adapt to the realities of his changing curcumstances in a political war. In some respects the only modern war maker in that entire leadership, besides Sherman, was Abraham Lincoln. Things are desperate for you, indeed, when the President is a better general than his generals.
Feel free to tear into that simplification, anybody, who has better knowledge, please.

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Godofgamblers       8/12/2009 11:48:40 PM

These are great links! Thanks, herald, i just noticed these now.

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jastayme3       9/30/2009 2:57:03 PM

I've just started reading up on the US Civil War. As I understand it, they started engaging in trench warefare near the end of the civil war because of the dire losses caused on the battlefield by artillery and small arms. Why did Napoleonic era soldiers not employ trench warfare I wonder?

Trench warfare is siege warfare. It is used when it is necessary to reduce a city.
In the eighteenth century it was often necessary to stop to do this. The great increase in size of armies made it possible to detach an observation force and still have enough men left to campaign. Paradoxically by WWI armies and firepower grew even bigger-so big as to ensure that there was no longer any maneuver room and thus siege warfare returned(interestingly it did so in Holland the ancient home of sieges).
 In Napoleanic times they did use temporary earthworks at times. But they usually left them either in an advance or retreat. They also did use "trench warfare" in sieges, but sieges were not necessary as often as they once were.
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