Napoleon Series Archive 2009

Changing the universal sentiment: did it? How?

Thanks, Art!

Much of what you say certainly seems to agree with much of what I've read of the period. That said...

1. You note that "it is the first time that we see a large massed battery being used just as independently as the other two arms." Are you sure you wish to describe SÚnarmont's massed batteries as being used "just as independently" used as other arms? Really? Did Dupont's division, backed by Victor's entire corps and flanked by the remnants of Ney's corps not constitute support in the eyes of the Russians? On the face of it, that infantry in proximity certainly looks like "support" to me. In fact, it was Dupont's division that executes the attack which forces the Russians from their position, and breaking a powerful Russian counter-attack.

2. You note that "concept of the manoeuvre of General Senarmont was executed in a brilliant military manner". That phrasing seems to me to imply that SÚnarmont had a reasonably full-blown idea of what he was going to do and how he was going to do it from the start. Yet the evidence seems to say that his actions were developed incrementally in a way that reflects his grasp of the circumstances and development of a resolution also developed incrementally. It was certainly brilliant, but seems to me to have developed in an ad hoc fashion rather than been executed according to a plan conceived before its commencement.

3. You state that: "we also see for the first time a large massed battery being used as an offensive tool as the main effort." It is possible that it is necessary to define what quantities of ordnance, or relative ratios of it, constitute "mass". (Some wargame rules struggle unconvincingly with this very question.) Would 10 pieces (Ricci's original quantity) equate to a "mass"? Would 15 pieces be a "mass" (either half of the 30 weapons that SÚnarmont pulls together)? Would 29 pieces? Something else? Without the notion of "mass" defined, it is difficult to establish whether this statement is, in fact, true.

4. Finally, you observe that: " As for changing the universal sentiment of how commanders viewed large massed batteries and the grand manoeuvres for the system for artillery...during the time in question...yes it was an eye opener." If so, my relatively quick search of Google Books did not reveal any hint that gunners' eyes were opened by the demonstration of a new doctrine for applying artillery (see my first post), nor does even Becke's essay really show how this to be. Perhaps I should ask you what aspect(s) of SÚnarmont's performance or accomplishment opened contemporary eyes, and whose, and what evidence is there to support that? I ask in order to distinguish between SÚnarmont's audacity, the drama of the event, the spectacular nature of the achievement, and whether the action was perceived by contemporaries as demonstrating a new artillery tactic they had not before contemplated nor conceived. Your first paragraph seems to suggest that you don't believe that contemporary gunners of any nation considered it as initiating a new French doctrine, but your second paragraph, here, opens that question.

Thanks - Howie

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Dix ans de mes souvenirs militaires, de 1805-1815.
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SÚnarmont at Friedland: New Doctrine?
changing the universal sentiment ...
Changing the universal sentiment: did it? How?
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General Ruty
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Senarmont and change *LINK*
The Camp At Boulogne.