My attempt to crystallize the changes that mattered for the Op Art of Wars evolution away from Classical Style strategies is shared here in part using OSG Title : 7 Days of 1809 Along with a reading of two books shared below. This video encapsulates what I think read …;) LOL. But enough idle chatter.
As modes of communication changed during this early part of the Century, weapon ranges increased, battles became larger and wars were fought over increasingly bigger territories, the idea of the basic unit of an Army being a Regiment started to move to something more robust and easier to command, the Division. While other generals explored new technology, and new weapons, Napoleon strove to leverage existing technology, and innovation in Command and Armed Force structure to wrest battlefield advantage from his enemies. He worked around constraints not within them.
The idea of self contained armies became a reality during this time and thus the Corps was born.
This concept was a driving force that provided much of Napoleons success for a period of time. In doing so he drove campaigns to decisive points that achieved his ultimate political, strategic and campaign goals. No longer could his enemies avoid battle.
The Battle of Abensburg – Eckmuhl in April 1809 was fought using all the current tools at Napoleons table. He had built upon his earlier success in 1806, and begun to make his General HQ, and Corps sing in harmony. His enemies had not been sitting still, they too reluctantly embraced these new concepts of Corps based maneuver, and distributed control. Embraced is likely too strong a word. Attempted to use is better. They could not bring the force to bear as needed in the way Napoleon could. It would not be until the Battle of Wagram that the lessons served by Napoleon were appreciated and understood.
In this first series of images in the video we look at the actual Historical locations of forces and how Napoleon moved in wide sweeps with his able Generals.
We shall also see how with hindsight being 20/20 what difference that might make with a 2nd set of images from my solo play of the game.
As reference material I read one book on the Operational Art that dealt directly with the 1809 and 1806 campaigns as well as other battles (Napoleons Last Victory and the Emergence of Modern War ) , then another that looked at command evolution- Command in War thanks to Eric Walters great suggestions.
These are more thoughts and understanding gleaned from the books in conjunction with this play of 1809. In a follow up post I shall share the battle details and attempt to highlight some of the aspects that made the play of 1809 so very different from 1806 as a direct result of the reading from these two titles and a better overall understanding of what was going on in military practice at this time.