Military Subjects: Battles & Campaigns

The Maneuver of Vilna

By: General H. BONNAL

Translated by: Greg Gorsuch

 

The SPIRIT

OF

MODERN WAR
______________________

THE

Maneuver of Vilna
______________________


SUMMARY STUDY

ON

THE STRATEGY OF NAPOLEON

AND

HIS MILITARY PSYCHOLOGY

From January 1811 to July 1812



PARIS

MILITARY LIBRARY R. CHAPELOT and Co.
PRINTERS-PUBLISHERS
30, Dauphine Passage and Street, 30

___

1905
All rights reserved.



FOREWORD

 

"The results of all my movements
 gather 400,000 men on a single point."
Napoleon to Davout, the 26 May 1812.


This study, made for the use of senior officers of the College of War, has taken ten years.

It is not, as The Maneuver of Jena and The Maneuver of Landshut, already published, an analysis of official documents of any kind for the preparation of the campaign and for the operations, which had taken place since their inception to end of the strategic period considered.

It's goal, less extensive, is mainly to identify in the Imperial correspondence of the years of 1811 and 1812 the spirit of the war of groups of corps, said today, a war of armies, as it has formed in the brain of Napoleon under the impact of concrete ideas which all aimed at destroying the military forces of Russia.

As such, this study is for those officers whose skills and previous work predispose them to reason about the higher aspects of the war.

The Napoleonic plan of 1812 has inspired the proposed operations, developed by von Moltke, in anticipation of the campaigns of 1866 and 1870.

We may believe that this plan will remain for a long time as a model, offered by the general staffs called by circumstances, to make plans for war.

Despite its splendor, the plan of 1812 failed because the enterprise itself was marred by folly.

The invasion of Russia by a Western power is inconceivable today even with the railways and telegraphs, of armed operations, strong autonomous organizations in all services, as well as territorial commands of the rear.

                                                                                                                                       H. B.

26 May 1905

 

 

Placed on the Napoleon Series: September - December 2010

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