French to learn from their defeats

#2
Whilst we like to slag off the French on this website, and none more than I (despite or maybe because Madame mnairb is French), French troops generally fought bravely (often suicidally so) and were the betters of the Prussians, Austrians and Russians in numerous battles in the Napoleonic Wars. Napoleon himself said that there was no such thing as a bad soldier, only a bad commander and the poor poilu certainly had more than his fair share of bad commanders in the Franco-Prussian war and the First and Second World Wars. The French casualties in the First World War were higher than ours and, when they finally mutinied in 1917, did not refuse to fight, just to be sent into poorly planned attacks which were causing hundreds of thousands of unnecessary casualties - they were quite happy to defend.
 
#4
mnairb said:
Napoleon himself said that there was no such thing as a bad soldier, only a bad commander...
...or a dead commander.
Forward The 95th and thank you Mr Baker! :D
 

Biped

LE
Book Reviewer
#6
Boy, have they got a lot of studying ahead of them!
 
#7
Remember the rules of French Warfare:
1/ France's armies are only victorious when not led by a Frenchman
2/ France can win, but only if an ally does most of the fighting
3/ When incapable of victory, claim someone else's
4/ When in doubt, send an ally
 

TheIronDuke

ADC
Book Reviewer
#8
Slightly off topic, but had me in stitches when the penny dropped.

Somebody recently told me the French Navy have a new recruiting slogan.

"To the water. The hour has come"

Which didnt mean a thing till I did the translation...

"à l'eau, c'est l'heure"


Give it time...
 
#9
Apologies if this has been heard before, but in the current thread I felt it appropriate.

"The French military's state of alert has today been raised from Level 4 (Run away) to Level 3 (Hide). This is a serious escalation of the readiness state, and is only lower than Level 2 (Surrender) and Level 1 (Collaborate). This change has been provoked by a major fire at the French white flag factory, which has effectively paralysed their armed forces."

:D
 

Trans-sane

LE
Book Reviewer
#11
Bugger squares. A few claymores and the army will have fresh meat in the field for ages.
 
#12
mnairb said:
Whilst we like to slag off the French on this website, and none more than I (despite or maybe because Madame mnairb is French), French troops generally fought bravely (often suicidally so) and were the betters of the Prussians, Austrians and Russians in numerous battles in the Napoleonic Wars. Napoleon himself said that there was no such thing as a bad soldier, only a bad commander and the poor poilu certainly had more than his fair share of bad commanders in the Franco-Prussian war and the First and Second World Wars. The French casualties in the First World War were higher than ours and, when they finally mutinied in 1917, did not refuse to fight, just to be sent into poorly planned attacks which were causing hundreds of thousands of unnecessary casualties - they were quite happy to defend.
I agree with you - but you ai't gonna get any sense of proportion on this sticky :D :D
 
#13
Bonaparte was not feeling well at Waterloo he was suffering from a bad attack of the farmers (Giles ie piles).
I imagine that having to travel about on horseback did not help this. Having said that Bonaparte was a true genius and his legacies, good and bad, are still to be seen today but Wellington selected the battlefield and the French delayed the kick-off because of the overnight rain. These French officers should learn to be more careful where you fight and not let your enemy choose the battlefield. I suppose the French should at last admit that with victories like this who need defeats.

For all those who have not already done this, try typing "French military victories" into Google and carry through the search..
 

TheIronDuke

ADC
Book Reviewer
#14
Mr_Deputy said:
hahah nice one. Ello Sailor.
Your Frog is obviously better than mine. It took me almost 24 hours till the penny dropped and I snotted all over the steering wheel.
 
#15
TheIronDuke said:
Slightly off topic, but had me in stitches when the penny dropped.

Somebody recently told me the French Navy have a new recruiting slogan.

"To the water. The hour has come"

Which didnt mean a thing till I did the translation...

"à l'eau, c'est l'heure"


Give it time...
That was Miles Kington in Lets Parler Franglais
 
#16
'I agree with you - but you ai't gonna get any sense of proportion on this sticky' - thanks Rickshaw Major, but I knew what I was getting into when I wrote the post. Having studied French history I shake my head in disbelief at the sheer stupidity of a lot of French politicians and Senior Officers.

My wifes' father was a French officer who was killed in Algeria and my mother-in-law used to get a book of remembrance every year commerating those local men who had been killed on active service since 1945. Those killed in Indo-China filled nearly the whole of the book (and no, it wasn't just the Foreign Legion that fought there), Algeria took up the last couple of pages.

Bravery they had buckets of, it was common sense and good leadership that was sorely lacking - if the locals don't want you there, there's no point in staying.

Mind you, the Wehrmacht had everything going for it and still lost and went on fighting until Hitler led them over the cliff.
 

Trans-sane

LE
Book Reviewer
#17
Yes they died in huge numbers. Yes they died bravely. But they still lost largely due to the colossal arogance of the guy giving the orders.

Napoleon's columns managed to defeat all comers by being able to absorb casulaties until they got into bayonet range and could start gutting people. This didn't work against us Brits because we fired in platoon volleys- probably as a means of conserving rounds. "They came on in the same old way and we defeated them in the same old way." according to Wellington.

Add to the fact that the angry corsican midget considered the duke of boots a bad general despite the fact he administered a truely professional shoeing to the french armies in portugal and spain in the peninsular campaign.

Or to steal another famour phrase "Lions led by donkeys" but for a lot longer and more consistently than us brits.

Edited for mong spelling... Twice. Bugger and all that.
 
#18
As Trans-sane rightly says, Napoleans columns absorbed casualties until they got into bayonet range. However, whereas the French attacked in column, the British fought in line and could always bring more firepower to bear (the equivalent of the naval 'crossing the T'). In battle, British troops always inflicted up to 50% more casualties on the French than they received - possibly because their training and marksmanship was better. Napoleon only ever met Wellington in battle at Waterloo so was probably relying on watered down action reports from defeated Generals to form his opinion.
 
#20
Apparently the Arc de Triomphe is engraved with a plethora of French military feats of arms, not triumphs or victories, feats of arms. These include

Badajoz
Talavera
Ciudad Rodrigo
Salamanca
Toulouse

etc. All of the above have something in common with the Battle of Waterloo, the French Army lost. You will apprently also see Agincourt and Crecy.

Still as I was told and as I have already stated they are not regarded as victories but feats of arms, I just don't think they are very glorious feats of arms as far as the French are concerned.
 

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