Napoleon Series Archive 2009

Deserting from the enemy

A very interesting article all round, but one thing that struck me was that, if I have understood it correctly, at the peace in 1802 the Austrians returned the French soldiers who had deserted to them and they then came under French military law again.

Two questions:
1) What did armies generally do with enemy soldiers who deserted to them? Did they employ them with their own troops or just detain them in the rear?
2) Was it usual to hand them back to their original country after a peace and abandon them to punishment?

It doesn't seem very fair, nor likely to encourage desertions in the future - or was this the point, since desertion works both ways. I have the impression that it was normal for enemy troops to be encouraged to desert, particuarly if they belonged to a subject nation anyway.

regards,

Susan

Messages In This Thread

Révolution, Empire et mauvais soldats.
Deserting from the enemy
Re: Deserting from the enemy