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The French Revolution Notes

History Notes > The Warfare of the French Revolution Notes

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The French Revolution

French Revolution

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Contents???Past questions Quotes o Sources o Recruitment o Warfare Chronology o Wars o Events Principal sources o The Encyclopedie o Some Few Brief Principles of Tacticks o The Levee en Masse o The Ungrateful Son, the Punished Son o La Patrie en Danger Secondary sources o The Coignet Diary o Jacques the Fatalist o The Mercer Wilson Journal Changes to warfare o Total war o Tactics o Administration o Recruitment - Britain o Recruitment - France o Occupation o Logistics o The British Army o The French Navy o The state o The law o Medicine The war at sea o Essentials o Tactics o Strategy

Quotes Sources

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3???Without discipline, troops are liable to indulge in "plundering and chaos". o The Encyclopedie. If battle can be avoided, "it is not excusable to risk the lives of so many brave soldiers". o The Encyclopedie. Looking after the wounded "is a duty prescribed by humanity of which we need not remind French generals". o The Encyclopedie. 'For a victory to be complete, you must go on to attack the enemy's strongholds.' o The Encyclopedie. Artillery is 'but an accessory'. o The Comte de Guibert. A 'declaration of total war'. o TCW Blanning on the Levee en Masse. "Aren't soldiers supposed to get killed?" o The landlady in Jacques the Fatalist, by Denis Diderot.

Recruitment??"No man will be a sailor who has contrivance enough to get himself into jail... A man in jail has more room, better food and commonly better company". o Dr Samuel Johnson. "We have just seen the arrival of fifteen young men eager to serve their country. But what condition they have come in!" o A complaint from Parthenay in 1794. "It is not men we lack, but weapons!" o General Bernard. The British soldier "has no superior in the world; fortunately there are only a few of him". o A French officer. Defend the constitution against the "visionary phantoms of modern Illuminati". o Birmingham's High Bailiff congratulating volunteers.

Warfare???

"From this day and this place commenced a new epoch in the world's history". o Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Valmy, 20th September 1792. The Revolution "set in motion new means and new forces". o Carl von Clausewitz. "They are laying the country waste". o Lieutenant Villiers, 1795. And "as we received no victuals, we were obliged to live from pillaging". o The dairy of artilleryman Bricard. The 'rape of Europe'. o Charles Esdaile. "You must ensure, as a matter of principle, that war feeds war".

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4????o Napoleon to Marshal Soult in 1810. "The French soldier is not an automaton". o Report to the Military Committee of the Constituent Assembly. "The bullet misses, the bayonet does not." o General Aleksandr Suvorov. "I not consider this to be a proper time period to alter the equipment of the army or to try experiments" o Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington. "Our Emperor makes war not without our arms but with our legs". o Common Napoleonic saying. "An army marches on its stomach". o Napoleon Bonaparte. "Never was a kingdom less prepared for a stern and arduous conflict". o A contemporary on Britain. "The ports, the ships of war, and even merchantmen, will be exposed to mutinies and insurrections". o A letter to the Minister of Marine. "Les aristocrates a la lanterne!" o Cries of the mutineers at Brest. "It is revolution, not insurrection". o The Captain of Le Northumberland, when asked if his crew was in mutiny.

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5 Chronology Wars 1618 - 1648 - Thirty Years' War. 1642 - 1651 - English Civil War. 1648 - 1653 - The Fronde. 1672 - 1678 - The Dutch War. 1688 - 1697 - The Nine Years' War (King William's War or the War of the English Succession). 1702 - 1713 - The War of the Spanish Succession. 1733 - 1738 - The War of the Polish Succession. 1739 - 1748 - The War of Jenkins' Ear and the Austrian Succession (starting in 1740). 1756 - 1763 - The Seven Years' War. 1775 - 1783 - The American War of Independence.

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Events 1697 - Proposal for the abolition of the British army 1745 - Battle of Fontenoy 1777 - Jean-Baptiste Greuze exhibits Le Fils Ingrat 1778 - Le Fils Puni 1779 - Franco-Spanish fleet gain control of the Channel 1781 - Segur Ordinance 1782 - Battle of the Saintes 28th August 1789 - National Assembly gives the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen 1790 - La Capricieuse lock up their officer as a counter-revolutionary 20th September 1792 - Battle of Valmy 1792 - National Convention passes Edict of Fraternity ; Jemappes August 1793 - Levee en masse 1793 - Revolution in one country 1st June 1794 - Glorious First of June July 1794 - Thermidorian Reaction October 1795 - Vendemaire Rising 1795 - Creation of the Directory; Quota Act creates limited naval conscription 1796 - The Seaman's Narrative published; abortive Irish expedition 1797 - Translation of Comte de Guibert's tactics manual published 1798 - Jourdan Law; Battle of the Nile 1799 - Consulate established; La Patrie en Danger exhibited 1804 - Berlin Decrees; First Empire 21st October 1805 - Battle of Trafalgar May 1809 - Napoleon decrees that marauders are to be shot 1814 - Defeat of Napoleon French Revolution

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Principal sources The Encyclopedie???

Denis Diderot's work was not simply intended to be a compendium of knowledge. o But an affirmation of belief in reason.
? A defence of liberty.
? An attack on obscure and irrational customs. The entry for military discipline stresses the importance of rules and protocols for keeping troops in order. o Without discipline, troops become a rabble.
? Unable to fight.
? With a propensity for "plundering and chaos". o Discipline is what set the Romans and Greeks apart from the barbarians.
? It must be drilled into troops by an officer.
? To whom they owe blind obedience. The entry on victories praises great and decisive victories. o But notes that there is more to being a great general than victories.
? One may win victories and not be great.
? Many great generals have few victories to their name.
? For many mediocre leaders, gambling on a victory in open combat is the only way to clinch a campaign. o Open battle is a risky tactic that must be avoided at all costs.
? If it can be avoided, "it is not excusable to risk the lives of so many brave soldiers". o Sadly, nowadays the art of preserving the lives of troops has been lost.
? Most generals simply do not take this into account. A number of factors can lead to a great victory. o More troops, surprise, better tactics, terrain, superior troops, or simply not making mistakes.
? It is still often unclear who has won a battle. The trick is to capitalise on a great victory. o Marshal de Saxe advises pressing forth and annihilating an enemy.
? Instead of giving him time to regroup and recover. o The enemy must be pursued and harassed. The victor has a number of duties ascribed to him by humanity.

French Revolution

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