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Finally to Mr. Charles E. Points of Information 1. Because this book shifts constantly back and forth through , however, "Napoleon" is used throughout to avoid confusion. For brevity and color this text follows French practice by using " Having grown up before the Revolution brought in its ruthlessly logical metric system, Napoleon and his contemporaries continued to use the old, highly variable French units of weights and measures. He reckoned short distances by toises 6 French feet , long distances by ligues leagues, roughly 3 miles.
The "foot" with which he measured the height of his soldiers was 9 "lines" three-fourths of an inch longer than our foot; consequently, a soldier standing just 5 feet tall by French measurement would be almost 4 inches taller by ours.
Members of Napoleon's family are mentioned in the text but not always described. Lucien, the next son after Napoleon, was a political creature of intelligence, energy, ego, and considerable perversity. The key figure in Napoleon's coup d'etat of 18 Brumaire November 9, , he soon clashed with Napoleon and spent the following years in exile. He rallied to Napoleon in but was too much a stranger in France to have much influence. Of the three sisters, Elisa was the oldest and homeliest; when Napoleon gave her Tuscany and the tiny states of Lucca and Piombino to rule, she showed herself a talented administrator and a gifted patron of the arts.
Caroline was pretty and treacherous. Pauline, the youngest, was beautiful and giddy, free-living, frank, and goodhearted. Loyal to Napoleon, she sent him one of her best cooks to cheer his exile on St. As a family, the Bonapartes were greedy for money, prestige, and Pauline excepted authority. One of history's finest examples of irony is Napoleon's comment on their claims in "When I listen to you, I can almost believe that His Majesty our father of blessed memory must have bequeathed us crown and realm.
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The son of high nobility, he had been lamed by a childhood accident; his family barred him from his inheritance and thrust him into the Church. He welcomed the Revolution but had to take refuge in the United States during the Terror.
In all of his employments he was absolutely corrupt and selfish, working shamelessly to enrich himself from any source.
A man of unprepossessing appearance but great style and charm, he was a born intriguer with an amazing ability to get others to do his work, whether routine or dirty. His efforts to ensure himself a peaceful existence after the style of a wealthy pre-Revolutionary nobleman have often been mistaken for patriotism. Sickness and hardship practically destroyed the last two during Other emigre units formed in England but were wiped out by Hoche during an attempted invasion in Conde maintained a small force until , serving with both Austrians and Russians.
Saint-Cyr observed that his headquarters was elaborate enough for an army of , Survivors formed the Chasseurs Britanniques Regiment in the British service; others took service with various foreign armies. Upon becoming Emperor, Napoleon permitted practically all emigres to return and commissioned some of them in his foreign regiments. Some, like Narbonne, served him loyally, albeit with an occasional jest; others, like Bourmont, would betray him. The chapter opening illustrations are by the late Herbert Knotel, the acclaimed authority on European uniforms.
Edward J. Krasnoborski, master cartographer to the Department of History, U. Military Academy, prepared the endpaper map. Prologue I have shown the Emperor, Monsieur le general Pino, the report which you have sent me.
It is essential that you write your reports more legibly, and especially show the date plainly; that which you have written is not clear; one cannot tell whether it is the 11th, the 21st, or the 22d. Besides the date, it is always necessary to show the hour at which you write, and the place. Chasseurs a cheval in dark green, jaunty hussars in brown-and-blue, white-and-blue, and greenred-and-yellow, they were the leading squadrons of the cavalry screen that shrouded the swift northward advance of the Emperor Napoleon's Grande Armee.
Close behind the leading brigade, his white uniform a dazzle of gold braid, lace, and galloons, rode Marshal Joachim Murat, the army's cavalry commander. Probably he halted impatiently in the Zietz market square while his staff interrogated the local postmaster, minister, and mayor as to the whereabouts of the Prussian and Saxon armies for which his troopers were probing. Somewhere in Zeitz, at any rate, an inconspicuous civilian sifted through the gawking townspeople, identified himself as a French spy, and reported that the principal enemy army lay to the west and south around Erfurt.
A staff officer fished pen, paper, and portable inkwell from his saddlebags, settled himself at a chair and table outside a nearby beer hall, and quickly converted the spy's report into several copies of a message to the Emperor. Murat handed one copy to an aide-de-camp, who buckled it carefully into the sabretache dangling from his sword belt, then put his eager horse into a gallop southward. A second copy went to a scar-faced brigadier of Murat's guides.
A horse was found for the spy, and spy and brigadier pounded off together in the aide's wake. Ten minutes later another aide spurred away with orders to follow a different road from that taken by his comrades. A final copy went into the staff records folder, with the name of each messenger and the date and hour of his departure. The roads southward were filled with the infantry of Marshal Jean Bernadotte's I Corps, pressing forward through a low haze of dust and the hanging smell of sweat, onions, and rank French tobacco.
Along the principal road waited a string of small cavalry detachments serving as estafettes; when the messengers' horses tired, they replaced them with troopers' mounts at those relay stations-the distinctive fawn-amaranth-and-white uniforms of Murat's aides and guides were authority enough for such an exchange. On into the deepening night they galloped, to be halted at last outside the city of Gera by a challenge from vedettes of the 1st Hussar Regiment, temporarily serving as Napoleon's escort,' their faded sky-blue uniforms almost invisible in the gloom.
Directed to a nearby chateau, they were passed in by sentinels from the grenadiers of the Imperial Guard, tall, fierce-eyed veterans in lofty bearskin caps. And so they came to a quiet room where beside a crackling fire their Emperor worked over his orders for the next day.
Beside him was a stocky older officer in equally simple uniform, Marshal Louis-Alexandre Berthier, Napoleon's chief of staff. Around them the quiet officers of the advance echelon of the Imperial Headquarters came and went. Even while Napoleon minutely interrogated the spy and the aides-decamp, their messages went into the routine staff processing.
In the next room, where the Emperor's situation map lay spread across a banquet table, lighted by candles at each corner, Chef d'Escadron Louis Bacler d'Albe of the Topographical Engineers shifted pins with heads of various colors to indicate the last reported positions of the enemy and Murat's cavalry screen. Each messenger was given a receipt showing the time and place he had made delivery. All had the same word-the enemy was massing to westward around Erfurt and Weimar.
Finally, his questioning finished, the Emperor turned to Berthier and began a rush of rapid, harsh-accented orders, seemingly too swift for pen to follow. Unperturbed, Berthier made quick entries in a green-covered notebook. The dictation over, he turned to his waiting staff. Breaking down Napoleon's general operations order, Berthier drafted specific orders for each of the major units involved. The finished versions were presented to the Emperor for any necessary corrections and additions and his approval.
That secured, additional copies were written out, aides and staff officers summoned to deliver them. Meanwhile, Berthier went ahead with supplementary orders to ensure that the supply trains and supporting units further to the rear were properly redirected to follow the Grande Armee's westward wheel.
One such order, dealing with the resupply of shoes and overcoats, went through the rear echelon of Imperial Headquarters, two days of ordinary marching approximately 60 miles farther south, and then on south and west to the Grande Armee's administrative headquarters, where Intendent General Pierre Daru wrestled with a chaotic logistical situation.
Daru started what stocks he had been able to collect forward in requisitioned wagons and dispatched another urgent appeal to the Ministry of the Administration of War. Reaching the fortress city of Strasbourg, his courier handed this message to the local director of the Telegraph Service, who sent it off along the line of semaphore signal towers to Paris.
At the Ministry, somehow, things always went more slowly than they should, but eventually a bored commissaire des guerres took notice of the message and summoned an equally bored clerk. First, that their Officers are Aristocrats; secondly, that they cheat them of their Pay. Once English politicians had, for reasons sufficient unto politicians, skragged Marlborough, the French came surging back to bring Louis XIV's endless wars to an acceptable conclusion. At first there were victories such as Fontenoy, but this Louis was the original roi faineant, careless and contemptuous of everything except his own idle pleasures.
Competent generals grew old and died. For those females were Louis's mistresses: They ruled France and its armies utterly with a pout, a smile, a flutter of eyelashes, a twitch of the hips. The best of ministers and generals must give way to their whims or give place to their favorites. French armies and not a few French generals got an ill fame for greedy, brutal looting and for being, as one unknown Paris gutter poet suggested, "more hungry than bold. Clermont was an incompetent officer who doubled in brass as a roue abbot of the Benedictine Order, the sort of commander who would insist on finishing his lunch before taking measures to meet an enemy attack, but his report on the condition of his troops was exact enough: "[T]his poor army is in a miserable state In short, we are in an inconceivable mess; no discipline, either among the officers or the men; hardly any officers with their [units].
But Montcalm died of wounds at Quebec; Lally was falsely accused of treason and judicially murdered in Paris. In the muddle of that war a small, overconfident French army, acting together with the so-called Army of the Holy Roman Empire' and commanded by one of Pompadour's pet generals, had been demolished at Rossbach in by a smaller Prussian force under Frederick the Great.
As battles went, Rossbach was nothing extraordinary, and the French had known defeat before. But this was the first time they had experienced it at the hands of Prussian troops, and Frederick had accomplished it with casual, almost contemptuous, expertise. The shame of it went deep among thoughtful Frenchmen; for some French officers, already unhappy with the collapse of French prestige, it was the proverbial last straw.
Once the Seven Years' War was finished, those officers-much like German officers after World War I-forced a series of studies, experiments, and reforms. First among them was Etienne Francois de Choiseul, an able soldier-diplomat who took over the War and Navy ministries during His greatest stroke was to take possession of the infantry and cavalry regiments and companies, converting them from their colonels' and captains' private little business enterprises into permanent military organizations, and making the royal government responsible for the provision of recruits, remounts, and rations.
That suppressed a world of abuses, though possibly at the sacrifice of certain personal ties between the better aristocrat officers and their plebian soldiers. It also involved the establishment of a definite system of administration and accountability for military funds, and the introduction of regimental quartiers-maftres quartermasters to handle supplies and records. To those reforms Choiseul added a cascade of lesser improvements, including the designation of the marechaussee as a military police; the founding of the veterinary school at Alfort; and a reorganization of the militia.
The next strong Minister of War was Claude Louis de SaintGermain, who backed Gribeauval's rearming of the artillery, organized the army medical services on a military basis, formed territorial divisions, stopped the sale of commissions, created ten provincial military schools, reduced the royal guards, and generally tightened the army's organization. Unfortunately, he also tried to introduce Prussian-style discipline, including corporal punishment-normally in the form of blows with the flat of a saber-for routine disciplinary problems.
Colonel Louis-Marie, Viscomte de Noailles, commanding the Regiment des Chasseurs a Cheval d'AI- sace, thought that before applying any such punishment he should find out for himself "what effect strokes with the flat of the sword may have on a strong, courageous, well-balanced man, and how far his obstinacy could bear this punishment without weakening.
The friend complied, to the extent of one blow, which he felt was quite enough to administer, let alone receive. The standard punishment for a minor offense was twenty-five blows across the back, well laid on before the assembled regiment. Philippe-Henri, Marquis de Segur, who held the War Ministry from into , strengthened the Corps of Artillery, organized the Army Staff Corps, and continued with the eradication of service abuses.
His work was continued into by a "Council of War" of senior officers, which simplified the army's command system and worked on new regulations. There also were highly talented officer-scholars, such as the brothers Jean and Jean-Pierre du Teil, who taught that artillery must be employed in mass and coordinated with infantry. Napoleon was one of their prized lieutenantstudents. Pierre Bourcet achieved international distinction for his works on staff organization and functioning and on mountain warfare.
Jacques, Comte de Guibert's Essai General de Tactique, which called for citizensoldiers and a war of maneuver, was a resounding sensation though the author later retracted most of it. Guibert also pressed for the adoption of Prussian organization and tactics, having succumbed to the hallucination, then popular among European intellectuals, that Frederick was an enlightened and liberal ruler.
In a more practical sense, Marshal Victor de Broglie-one of the very few French commanders to win some credit from the Seven Years' War-worked with his troops to make the French Army flexible, substituting skirmishers and small, handy columns for the former long, brittle lines of infantry, and individual "fire at will" for the former massed volleys.
His trial maneuvers were carried out in a very modern fashion, with realistic situations, skeleton "enemy" forces, umpires, and comprehensive final critiques. The reformers' efforts showed some definite results: French artillerymen, engineers, and staff officers were widely admired. Embryonic infantry and cavalry divisions appeared.
The French expeditionary force in the United States during our Revolutionary War proved efficient and well-administered. The paperwork covering its embarkation was amazingly modern, down to duplicate company rosters. Unfortunately, however, these soldier-reformers had come too late: Their best efforts merely plastered over the cracks in an army that, like the French nation, was collapsing from within. In the long run their work would not be wasted; Napoleon, his marshals, and the Grande Armee would profit richly from it.
But for the present it was mostly hard work thrown away. Neither Louis XV nor Louis XVI really supported these efforts at military reform, the first being too idle-minded, the second lacking any interest or knowledge. In fact, they continually thwarted the process. Bourcet's insistence that candidates for the staff corps must pass examinations and undergo a probationary period was most unacceptable to the haute noblesse: Gilded high-born youth has always considered prestigious staff positions its natural perogative.
Probably the majority of the senior officers felt threatened by these reforms and used their influence at court, through whatever vertical or horizontal advocates they might possess, to thwart them. Right up until the Revolution, Louis XVI had personal control of half of the officer appointments and promotions.
Since he knew nothing of matters military but was easily influenced-especially by Marie Antoinette, his giddy-pated queen-military efficiency and the good of the service were seldom his principal considerations. Under all this cross-hauling was the fact that the French Army actually had two different, increasingly contradictory missions.
In addition to defending the realm against all enemies, foreign and domestic, it was the sole livelihood of much of the French nobility, especially of the minor nobility, "poor, ignorant, and brave, whose only trade and sole resource was war. Louis XIV had grown up amid their rebellions; during their so-called Fronde outbreaks of to , he and his mother had been forced to flee Paris. One of the greatest French nobles, Louis II, Prince of Conde, close kinsman to Louis, could find it honorable-within his conception of that term-to take service under the King of Spain and wage war against France.
Not surprisingly, once in authority Louis XIV proceeded to break the French nobility utterly to his service.
They not only learned to come to heel but also to lie down, roll over, and play dead on command, and to beg for every tidbit of royal favor. In return, he granted them the privilege of officering his armies and expended them freely in his unceasing wars. They served honestly by their lights. When finally his wars were done, most of them had only old wounds that ached in the chill and rain, estates ruined by neglect while they were away, and personal fortunes gutted so that they might stay on active duty even in those last days when the King could no longer pay their wages.
A few had made fortunes from royal gifts, embezzlement, or discreet looting, usually in the form of exaggerated "contributions" levied on occupied territory. It was held that an army commander should see that everything "was done with order. No pillaging, but he should not quibble too much with his officers over their little profits. The French "nobility" of that age, with its various forms, types, meanings, and local variations, is too complex a social organism for full dissection here.
The great families were the "court nobility," those who had entry to the King's court on everyday occasions. They used their advantage aggressively, hunting pensions, donations, appointments, and whatever else might be squeezed from the King's treasury, and they monopolized the highest ranks in the armed forces. The King felt that his regiments should be commanded by noblemen who were qualified by their birth and by the services of their ancestors, regardless of their own personal military abilities or lack thereof.
Such favored individuals might serve briefly as lieutenants and captains often on leave and seldom with troops before becoming full colonels. The minor nobility, unless they attracted attention by some showy deed of unusual valor, were fortunate if thirty years of hard, competent service brought them promotion to major. Marshal Saxe snarled over this double standard: In France a young noble considers himself badly treated by the court if a regiment is not confided to him at the age of fifteen or twenty years.
This practice destroys all emulation in the rest of the officers and the poor nobility, who are almost certain never to command a regiment, and, in consequence, to gain the more important posts whose glory is a recompense for the trouble and suffering of a laborious life. These "Commoners" were not the village drunkard's bastards but rather sons of the high middle class-intelligent, hardworking, soundly educated, and backed by family wealth.
A good many had come into the army while it still was possible to download a company; most of them served well. The nobility felt the challenge that they offered: Not only did the nobles seek to bar more bourgeois officers from entering the service-this was the main objective of that regulation requiring all officer candidates to prove four generations of noble ancestry-but unofficial pressures were applied to force serving officers of bourgeois origin out of the army.
They were accused of assorted offenses of commission and omission; specifically they were blamed-without a shred of proof-for the French defeat at Rossbach. Much fuss was made over the fact that Frederick the Great had only noblemen for officers.
He didn't, but after the Seven Years' War he threw out almost all of the nonnobles he had used. The nobles' defenses against the bourgeois officer tightened and thickened.
The "four generations" requirement was extended to would-be officers of the provincial militia and admittance to the Artillery and Engineer schools. Even the loophole allowed sons of nonnoble officers who had won the Cross of Saint Louis was narrowed. There was a third category of officer-the officiers de fortune, promoted out of the ranks for unusual bravery or long-term competence. Earlier, they might have been promoted as far as their abilities could take them.
Now, they seldom rose beyond the grade of lieutenant, usually in the infantry grenadier companies or as regimental porte-drapeau color bearer. Some aristocratic officers valued them: They were reliable, they knew their duties-and they knew their place. They could barely live on their pay and were routinely snubbed by their fellow officers.
Even so, they could hardly be poorer than many of the minor nobles; frequently, they were better educated, some of those back-country "hobereaux" sparrow hawks being almost illiterate despite their titles. In fact, officiers de fortune came from all levels of French society; some had been soldats-gentilshommes gentlemen rankers , men of good family who had enlisted as privates because of utter poverty or personal disgrace.
Another route to a commission was to serve as a gentleman-cadet. Each regiment had a few such boys between fifteen and twenty who were nominated by the colonels and appointed by the King. They had to be nobly born or the sons of senior officers or of captains who had been decorated with the Cross of Saint Louis. They had to perform all enlisted men's duties except fatigue details and win promotion through all the NCO grades; they were allowed three failures and would be sent home after a fourth.
Kellermann came finally to his baton by this route. In short, the officers of the Royal Army were an ill-assorted lot, cherishing mutual resentments. Absolute and blind obedience to their King was the basis of their military spirit, but discipline was another matter entirely. At best, it was a sort of etiquette set up by the War Ministry, not to be taken too seriously. All officers considered themselves gentlemen and therefore basically equal regardless of military rank and grade.
Of course, bourgeois officers and officiers de fortune were definitely less equal, and scions of the haute noblesse a lot more equal, than the rest. Except when in action or drilling troops, officers of higher grade but lower social status were expected to defer to junior officers of more illustrious family. Even Davout was unruly as a lieutenant. There was a constant stew of solicitation for favors, pensions, and promotions outside the normal system of awards and of efforts to gain the attention of, and influence with, members of the court nobility or the royal family.
Such potent aid could help the individual officer's career tremendously, but it had a decidedly adverse effect on the morale of the army as a whole. Such court intrigue and favoritism could thrust a stranger into a regiment as its lieutenant colonel, blocking normal promotion, or rescue a scoundrel from deserved and overdue punishment.
Many of the officers were bone-poor, living always on the edge of hardship, where the replacement of a dead horse or the download of a new uniform would plunge them desperately into debt. Sometimes they could get a free meal at their colonel's mess it was an ancient lordly custom to keep open table for subordinates , but the reformers condemned this practice because officers abandoned their companies to enjoy such leisurely feasts. As a lieutenant, Jean-Baptiste de Rochambeau'Z and another young officer existed for some time chiefly on potatoes and lard.
Davout's mother lived in a rented farm cottage and used the village mill and oven to make her own bread. But to be an officer was a living and an honorable one. The royal government's object was to maintain enough officers' positions to give every nobly born young gentleman who deserved it a commission when he reached a suitable age.
Thus the needs of the aristocracy, not the size of the army, determined the number of officers. In there were 9, active officers to , enlisted men. Reportedly the officers subdivided as 6, nobles, 1, commoners, and 1, officiers de fortune. Added to these was a horde of inactive officers, retired officers, would-be officers, and officers a la suite.
Reputedly Regiment Deux Ponts had forty-two lieutenant colonels a la suite.
To avoid absolute confusion, they were forbidden to go into the town where that regiment was stationed unless invited. This surplus of officers forced the over-officering of companies and regiments, many companies having a capitaine en second in addition to the usual captain and lieutenants. Such collections of underworked officers, many of whom served only for survival and not out of a taste for military life, did not make for efficiency.
Too many officers were bored, neglected their men, and kept away from their units as much as possible. Peacetime administration and training was left to the majors who often had no estate except their commission and so would stay with the regiments while the colonels and lieutenant colonels went about their private affairs and the other officiers de fortune.
But these men, having no real hope of further promotion, eventually lost their zeal and grew gray in mind and body. The sergeants managed most of the instruction, drill, and administration, which goes far toward explaining how ex-sergeants like Massena, Soult, and Augereau knew what to do with the regiments the Revolution thrust upon them. Nowhere was this surplus of officers more apparent and more painful than in the vast number of generals.
In , for an army of , men 9, of them officers there were 18 marshals of France, lieutenant generals, and marechaux de camp. Only a fraction of these could be employed; fortunately, many of them did not want to serve during winter or bad weather.
Even so, drastic measures had to be taken to keep down the number with the armies. Too many of them-creatures of Pompadour or Du Barrywere incompetent, grasping, and insubordinate, interested only in their own pomp and comfort. Their luxurious equipages blocked the roads, used up food and forage, and disheartened the hungry, weary soldiers who had to guard them.
During retreats they might have the unintended virtue of slowing the enemy's pursuit. Hussars seldom could resist stopping to plunder stalled baggage wagons and coaches!
But to send unwanted, useless generals back from the army was to loose a wild scene at Versailles. Many captains didn't know the names of even three of their men. Food usually was poor: very few officers concerned themselves with its quality or serving; in peacetime, the cost of the men's hair powder, candles, and whiting for white uniforms and crossbelts was taken out of their far from generous ration allowance.
Discipline became more Prussian; punishments were savage. A soldier who struck an officer had his offending hand chopped off before he was hanged.
Outside their barracks, soldiers often found themselves barred from public gardens along with dogs, lackeys, and children, and generally cold-shouldered. It was before the Congress got around to making such exclusion illegal in the United States. There were more particular complaints.
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It had been normal for two soldiers to share a barracks bed, but for some reason-probably economythis number had been increased to three, which was almost unendurable in hot weather. Small as it was, in most regiments the officers subjected it to more or less illegal stoppages in modern parlance, took a cut of it , usually disguised as a download, at inflated rates, of nonregulation items of uniform and the like. As in other European armies, soldiers might be excused from training in order to work as laborers, especially on governmental construction projects, but their officers kept their military pay while they were so employed.
Finally, though men enlisted for six or eight years, they might be forced to serve for an indefinite additional period. One result was few reenlistments; officers experienced increasing trouble in keeping good NCOs and grenadiers. Another was heavy desertion, sometimes as much as one-third of the enlisted men in one year. The Prussian and Austrian armies were full of French deserters. Steininger, who had vast experience in this business, remembered that the average citizen pitied and helped deserters, the monks at the St.
Bernard monastery giving them better treatment than they did beggars and vagabonds. You did have to watch out for the peasants in frontier districts, since they often were bounty hunters.
There was a lighter side. Girard, of the Regiment Neustrie, was an intelligent young man whose determination to educate himself made him a corporal after a mere five years' service. On garrison duty at Wissembourg, he made many civilian friends, including a book dealer's daughter "who completed my education.
He asked for a pass to attend it, was refused, and-with some misgivings-slipped out of the barracks with the help of his squad to attend anyway.
Since officers from his regiment would be there, his sweetheart disguised him en femme in one of her outfits. He was an immense success, his captain being the first to request the privilege of dancing with him.
Then a hussar officer cut in, only to be elbowed away by the major of the Neustrie Regiment. The major was most gallant, but pressing; the civilian friends had some trouble separating him from his intended conquest. Back in the barracks he found that there had been an unscheduled bed check. Next morning, a hungover and disappointed major abruptly sentenced him to the conventional twenty-five blows for a night's AWOL.
The senior captain interceded because of Girard's excellent record. Thereupon the major, in a tone which had nothing of the past evening's tenderness, demanded where he had been. I was the young lady you danced with so often, plied with refreshments, tried to.
Other armies of that day did much the same, and indeed it would be hard to draw any sort of line between a recruiting sergeant's routine wheedling and his frequent downright lying.
Officers with considerable estates might be able to get some of their tenants' sons to enlist. But most recruits came from the nation's froth and dregs: adventurers of all sorts, deserters from other armies, criminals released from prison on condition that they enlist, men on the run from their creditors or woman trouble, incapable artisans, and apprentice drunkards.
A good recruiter had an eye for them all and worked on them with cajolery, wonderful lies, wine, food, and sometimes a cooperative doxy. The regular recruiter-usually an officer detailed from his regiment with a sergeant and a drummer or two, to literally "drum up" recruits-would be a showy figure, striding proud as Hector, hat or helmet cocked to one side, sword jutting from his hip, clad "to four pins There was a definite difference between such authorized "recruiters" and the freelance racoleur, who gathered recruits for any army that would pay him for bringing them in.
Those gentlemen sometimes were out-and-out crimps, luring or even kidnapping unsuspecting men into their "fours" bakehouses , where they were held until someone often an authorized recruiter bought them. The racoleur had no nationality and worked along the thin edge of the law. Even so, he was far more respectable than the embaucheur, who attempted to persuade soldiers to desert and enlist in a foreign army. If caught in the act, the latter could expect a quick trial and quicker execution, yet the trade persisted.
The infantry at the beginning of included the Vieux Corps, the regiments of Picardy, Piedmont, Navarre, Normandy, and Maine, all organized in , and of Champagne, formed in After them came Auvergne and five other Petits Vieux Corps and the rest of the infantry regiments, French and foreign.
Saint-Germain cut this to five companies per battalion but made the companies larger. Many officers agreed with Guibert and Saint-Germain that the Prussian "linear system" ordre mincee had proved itself unbeatable throughout the Seven Years' War. Infantry was to fight in lines three ranks deep, thus utilizing its available fire power. In its simplest form, long lines of infantry held the center; artillery spaced itself out along the battle line; and cavalry covered the flanks.
Movements were slow and precise. Infantry fire was tightly controlled, each battalion firing on order as a sort of battery. This was bitterly opposed by officers favoring a "perpendicular system" ordre profond , who asserted that it was stupid to attempt to convert Frenchmen into ersatz Prussians. The sensible infantry formation was a line of battalions in column, covered by swarms of skirmishers.
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They had considerable preliminary disagreement among themselves as to the best size and composition of the columns. Artillery should be employed in mass, and part of the cavalry held in reserve to exploit success. Infantry should be trained in individual marksmanship. The two "schools" wrangled continuously, to the point of giving the infantry a split personality.
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Both systems were tested in maneuvers; very large columns proved impractical, and linear tactics made a very good show. Consequently their adherents wrote the infantry drill regulations of and , which did not mention skirmishers, were complicated, and included some showy but useless movements.
When the wars came, columns and skirmishers were revived. French experience in North America during the Seven Years' War our French and Indian War and the American Revolution undoubtedly had much to do with the Royal Army's organization of twelve regular battalions of chasseurs a pied light infantry.
Light infantry had been the elite arm of General George Washington's Continental Army; the excellent British light infantry had shared the elite status of the British grenadiers. However, it is easy to overestimate the real magnitude of American influence on French military organization and tactics. Comparatively few Frenchmen served in North America. But a large part of the French Army had suffered indignities from Austrian or Prussian light troops since and had studied their operations.
Those battalions and the chasseur companies of the French infantry regiments were intended-along with the new chasseurs a cheval-to take over the work formerly done by the disorderly "Free Corps" legions that France had raised for each war in a generally unsuccessful attempt to match the enemy's irregulars.
Four battalions of the first were formed out of the infantry regiments Royal Italien and Royal Corse Corsica.
These were still considered foreign troops, and as such retained their higher pay and other distinctions. The others were recruited as far as possible from mountain or forest areas and took their names from the regions in which they were recruited: Provence, Dauphine, Corse, Alpes, Vosges, Cantabre, Pyrenees, Bretagne, Cavennes, Gevaudan, Ardennes, and Roussillon. These probably were inspired by the German and Austrian jaegers rather than American riflemen. It is notable that the French never adopted the American and English custom of forming rifle battalions and regiments.
These chasseurs would become the Grande Armee's famous senior regiments of light infantry. The French cavalry was under repair and reconstruction.
Its record through all the century's wars had been lackluster at best. It maneuvered and frequently charged at the trot because the cavalry captains, who owned their companies' horses, refused to wear them out by galloping. There were occasions, as at Minden in , when it did attack gallantly, but seldom with much success. Equitation had achieved the status of an esoteric art, to be displayed with suitable ceremony in the riding hall, with little application to teaching Trooper Gros-Jean how to nurse his horse through a long, hungry campaign.
The cavalry thus was overripe for modernization, which Choiseul proceeded to administer. The process was temporarily obstructed by the cavalry officers, who protested the wear and tear on their horses involved in testing new maneuvers, but they were squelched when Choiseul abolished their proprietorship.
The new regulations provided for formations only two ranks deep; maneuvers were to be simple and rapid; cavalry would charge at the gallop and put its trust in its cold steel.
These reforms did not otherwise touch the heavy cavalry one regiment of carabiniers a cheval, twenty-four of cavalerie appreciably, but the eighteen dragoon regiments were put through several changes.
In , in imitation of much earlier British practice, each regiment had been given a "light" company for scouting and outpost duty. Three years later those companies were detached and regrouped into six green-uniformed regiments of chasseurs a cheval. Since they proved a promising substitute for the more expensive hussars, six more regiments were added. The six regiments of hussars had been the most active and handy of all the cavalry, but were mostly foreigners. The 1st Regiment was still "The Bercheny" after its founder, the Hungarian nobleman Ladislas Berchenyi, who had come to France with veteran hussars, refugees from Austrian rule and religious persecution, in Only two of Napoleon's marshals, Davout and Grouchy, began their careers as cavalry officers.
Ney had been a competent sergeant of hussars, Murat a private and something of a yardbird in the chasseurs A cheval.
Augereau claimed to have had considerable cavalry service. More than any other branch of the Royal Army, the cavalry had a reputation to regain. It would achieve that and far more, but only after an even more intense time of troubles.
The Royal Corps of Artillery might be acknowledged among the world's finest, but its organization remained an amazing anachronism. Long considered part of the infantry, it did not attain the full status of a separate arm until , and even then a few odds and ends of absolute independence apparently were not put straight until As late as the seven existing artillery regiments were still officially assimilated with one infantry regiment and required to mark their equipment with its designation.
Each regiment was, in effect, a school as well as a combat organization. Artillery officers were carefully and thoroughly trained, their education beginning with service as enlisted men until they mastered the rudiments of their profession, but also stressing mathematics and the manufacture of weapons and ammunition. Like the Engineers with whom they shared the informal title armes savantslearned arms they were expected to pass both practical and written examinations, a requirement that set them quite apart from cavalry and infantry officers.
Consequently, artillery officers tended to be men who had neither high birth nor family influence to aid their careers but did have the intelligence and industry to make their own way.
Lieutenant Napoleon Bonaparte was an excellent if slightly exotic, being from just-conquered Corsica example of these petty nobles, as was Marmont. There was even an unusual proportion of officers out of the middle class who had managed to penetrate the tightening restrictions on their commissioning.
Artillery being an arm that required much plain hard physical labor, its enlisted men were bigger and stronger than the average infantryman and drew the same "high" extra pay as infantry grenadiers.
The drivers and horses that moved the guns, however, were provided by civilian contractors. The Corps of Artillery also included several companies of Miners, who worked in conjunction with the artillery during sieges, and companies of ouvriers artificers , who built and repaired artillery vehicles and gun carriages.
One enlisted artilleryman, Victor Perrin, made marshal, though he served initially as a bandsman rather than a gunner. Artillery employment had tended to be on the slow and stately side, in large part because its guns had been the long, heavy weapons of the Valliere "system. These "battalion guns" supposedly stiffened the infantry formation, but frequently they were little better than useless.
The average infantry battalion commander didn't know what to do with them and so either gave his little artillery detachment senseless orders or left it to look out for itself during the battle's surge and countersurge. But French artillerists had noted the bold, swift handling of English and German guns at Minden and were rearming themselves with the more mobile Gribeauval cannon and restudying their tactics.
Just as the Royal Corps of Artillery had only recently escaped from its incarceration in the infantry, so the Royal Corps of Engineers had sometime earlier established its independence from the artillery. It was a small organization of staff officers, carefully trained in their excellent engineering school at Mezieres. As in the artillery, its officers were largely from the minor nobility and middle class.
A number of them were Huguenots, by tradition conscientious, studious, and hard-working, but still considered something outside polite society and so the target of snobbery and discrimination in the infantry and cavalry. Promotion in the engineers being largely by merit, they could expect reasonably fair treatment as officers of that arm.
In addition, this book presents three new standard classes that perform martial maneuvers, as well as new feats and prestige classes. Product History If you want a fun but controversial product, you've come to the right place. It did this through maneuvers , specific one-shot effects that the Tome of Battle martial adept could initiate.
The vaguely Asian-themed maneuvers are the 4e equivalent of Encounter Powers, used up over the course of a melee combat and recharged through a specific action that each class can take.
The intent was to give martial characters meaningful choices to make each round. While martial adepts were well-balanced in the game as a whole, fitting into the perceived power curve of different classes somewhere around the upper-middle, they are certainly more tactically interesting to play than the feat-driven fighter class. For a game whose traditions are predicated on fighters wading into battle, that rubbed some players the wrong way.
The Nuts and Bolts of Maneuvers.
Martial adepts can learn stances, each an ongoing special ability that lasts until they choose a new stance. Stances give a specific thematic advantage; for instance, a stance might allow you to hover, or protect you with a shield of fire, or allow you to run faster than normal. Only one stance can be active at a time, but a character can change between available stances as a swift action. The result is that a character using stances has several interesting, highly themed options for an ongoing combat effect to choose from.
While a cleric could conceivably spend two standard actions casting two buff spells in a combat, a martial adept could have the equivalent of several buff spells instantly available but only be able to choose one at a time.
There are three basic types of maneuvers: Boosts are an instant augmentation that usually improve attacks. Counters are immediate defensive actions that block or shield against incoming attacks. Strikes are special attacks that draw their special effect from each discipline's teachings.
Speaking of which, the Book of Nine Swords has nine disciplines, each themed after a particularl legendary sword, each with its own flavor: Three New Classes Drive the Action. To become a martial adept, you needed to be one of the three new classes: Crusader, Swordsage, or Warblade. Each has different flavor.
Crusaders are holy or unholy warriors, the equivalent of paladins or rangers, who worship a god and seek out foes whom their religion finds unpalatable. Swordsages are also called "blade wizards," a less robust warrior who focuses on truly magical effects produced by their weapons. Warblades are the fighter equivalent, purely martial warriors who lack supernatural abilities but who can dish out prodigious damage in a fight. As expected, numerous feats and a few new skill uses support these new classes.
Feats focus on expanding and improving the new maneuvers and stances, giving characters more focused power or greater overall options in a fight.
Many feats can only be selected if you know maneuvers in a particular style. Eight new prestige classes support these characters. Characters can channel feral animals as a bloodclaw master, channel githyanki secrets as a bloodstorm blade, embrace stealth as a shadow sun ninja, and the like.
While not the extensive list of options for prestige classes that more established classes offer, these do a good job of opening up new specialties for martial adepts. The Book of Nine Swords is a tremendously fun book in live play. Characters created with these rules provide the ass-kicking competence you want from your heroes, while giving a martial player greater and more interesting tactical options on a round-for-round basis. Even if you choose not to include them as player character classes in your game, it's worth investigating for important NPCs.
The new approach may well catch jaded players off-guard and delight them with a fun fight. About the Creators. In those two decades he worked on material for lines such as Spelljammer, Forgotten Realms, Ravenloft, and Planescape.
Matthew Sernett is an award-winning author and game designer who has worked in the game industry since Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to kevin. Customers Who Bought this Title also downloadd. Reviews 0. Please log in to add or reply to comments.
D&D 3.5 - Tome of Battle - Book of Nine Swords [OEF].pdf
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Family Gaming. Virtual Tabletops. STL 3D Model. Wizards of the Coast. Pay What You Want. Follow Your Favorites! Sign in to get custom notifications of new products!Chapter 1: Welcome to the Realms The sensible infantry formation was a line of battalions in column, covered by swarms of skirmishers.
Stance: A stance is a special type of maneuver. Ney had been a competent sergeant of hussars, Murat a private and something of a yardbird in the chasseurs A cheval. The Assembly also attempted to straighten out the army's pay accounts, but this well-meant measure promptly backfired: In many regiments the enlisted men got out of hand when their claims were not accepted and paid off immediately. Crusaders follow the Sublime Way, seeking to perfect their combat skill to better serve their deity.
The newcomers would then denounce everything their predecessors had done and insist on applying their own pet ideas.
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