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: