Based on extensive research, and including twenty detailed maps, this study is unique in its focus on the wars of both the French Revolution and Napoleon. Owen Connelly expertly analyzes them both to provide a broader context for warfare.
Examining the causes of the wars, and how the practices of warfare during this period were to influence mode of combat throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Connelly also establishes trends discernable in the First and Second World Wars and examines key issues including:
* the impact of the population explosion on armies and war
* the legacy of the ancient regime impact on revolutionary armies
* the impact of the Revolution on leadership, strategy, organization and weaponry
* Was Napoleon’s leadership style unique, or could another have played his role?
* contributions from the governments of the early Revolution, the Terror, the Directory and the Napoleonic regime
* What did twenty-three successive years of war accomplish?
* Was this era a turning point in the history of warfare?
In early July 1809 Napoleon crossed the Danube with 187,000 men to confront the Austrian Archduke Charles and an army of 145,000 men. The fighting that followed dwarfed in intensity and scale any previous Napoleonic battlefield, perhaps any in history: casualties on each side were over 30,000. The Austrians fought with great determination, but eventually the Emperor won a narrow victory. Wagram was decisive in that it compelled Austria to make peace. It also heralded a new, altogether greater order of warfare, anticipating the massed manpower and weight of fire deployed much later in the battles of the American Civil War and then at Verdun and on the Somme.