When we last left Napoleon, he had taken the helm of the Army of Italy and was proving his brilliance in matters of strategy and tactics. In this episode we dicuss:
- The Battle of Lodi
- The Kellerman incident
- The Bridge over Arcola
- The Papal States
- The Battle of Rivoli
- The Treaty of Campo Formio
- Napoleon’s role in the future Unification of Italy
- Josephine’s behaviour while he on campaign
In our next episode, we will follow Napoleon as he enters Egypt!
Napoleon is made Commander-In-Chief of the Army of France in Italy by Paul Barras in March 1796 (one week before he married Josephine). A couple of days later, he leaves to join his new command.
In this episode, we talk about:
Building a winning army
- His key team Berthier, Murat
- The generals he inherited, Massena, Augereau, how he got them onside
- The army he inheried the condition they were in, their track record to date
- How he inspired the troops
- Who he was fighting and why
- The first victory Montenotte
- The lesson of Dego
- The victory at Mondovi and the Armistice of Cherasco, his first peace treaty
- And that was all in the first month!
- guess this is a good time to start talking about the major recurrent themes in Napoleon’s strategy.
- Fast movements, the advantage of surprise
- Flexible strategy, changing tact mid-stream if needed versus slow, rigid opponents
- Attack the center, split the opposing force, then attack the wings
Napoleon in Victory
You can tell a lot about the man from how he acted towards his opponents after a victory
In the next show, we’ll continue the Italian Campaign of 1796 as Napoleon wins the Battle of Lodi and starts to fully comprehend that he has a special destiny!
And don’t forget, if you are new to Napoleonic study, then you really must buy a copy of David’s recent book: