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Why Napoleon Was Seemily Undefeatable

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"All warfare is based on deception." Sun Tzu

On 25th Dec 1805 Napoleons forces moved east to engage the Austro-Russian forces. While doing so, Napoleon employed a number of counter-intelligence strategies, such as using his light Calvary to screen his army's movement and numbers. Though the strategies he used are now out of date the basic concept is still relevant too our modern battlefields. When engaging his enemies he did so in a way that was almost as revolutionary as his countries change in government. Employing strategies not seen on the battlefields of Europe before his time. Additionally the fact that Napoleon wasn't beaten for nine years straight also helped contribute to the picture of a seemly unbeatable military commander. However his defeat in Russia would soon dispel any quality of invincibility.

'If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle' . From an early stage in his military career, Napoleon Bonaparte, was directed by his commander Baron Du Teil, to undertake deep studies of the military art as a whole. Rather than just those subjects specifically relevant to his Corp. As Napoleon continued to study the ideas from different sources gradually began to consolidate, into the 'kernel of truth' . And little by little the concepts and strategies of war, which would govern the rest of his military life, began to emerge. Napoleon wasn't so much as an original thinker as an individual with an ability to mesh all the concepts theories that he had previously studied into viable military strategies. He also had the courage and wit to apply them on the battlefield to devastating effect.

One of the strategies employed by Napoleon's forces was a linear tightening of the frontage of his army. As the distances decreased between him and his foe Napoleons forces would begin to converge on that single point. Napoleon used this formation to concentrate his forces on the battlefield. One of the quotes Napoleon was most famous for was "The principles of war are the same as those of a siege. Fire must be concentrated on a single point. And as soon as the breach is made the equilibrium is broken and the rest is nothing." This principal also draws similarities to the blitzkrieg Strategy that was used by the Germans in World War Two to devastating effect. The basic intent of blitzkrieg was to break through enemy lines, attacking easy targets of opportunity, while avoiding the enemy's stronger defensive positions. Then as fast as possible disrupt and destroy the enemies Headquarters and logistical support. Effectively destroying the enemies' ability to coordinate any effective resistance, making them easy targets for the slower, artillery supported infantry.

"Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as the night, and when you move, fall like a lightning bolt" In this quote Sun Tzu refers to, two main aims: the security of Ones plans and the speed and mobility of the offensive. He stress's the importance of denying the enemy usable intelligence, and when attacking the maintenance of tempo and the capitalization of surprise. Additionally these principals are not restricted to a Sun Tzu's "Art of War" they are also taught to today's future military leader's as Part of The Principals of War and Manoeuvre Warfare . It is also noted that Napoleon crafted his own strategies around these same principals. For Example in the months leading up to the Battle of Austerlitz on December 1805, Napoleon employed a number of measures to limit and invalidate of the enemies Intel. One of these strategies was to employ light cavalry consisting of "Hussars, lancers, and Chasseurs" Ahead of the hurrying columns of infantry and artillery, the cavalry would spread out and form a dense mobile screen through which the enemy's patrols could not penetrate. This moving curtain disguised Napoleons operational lines and at the same time protected his lines of communication which snaked back to his operational base where the depots, hospitals, and Head quarters were initially situated. This cavalry curtain



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