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!
We left Napoleon in late 1795, having broken the back of the Paris insurgency with a “whiff of grapeshot”. For his efforts he was made Commander of the Army of the Interior, the largest armed force in France, with the rank of general de division. He changed his name from Buonaparte to Bonaparte. He is 26 years old. Josephine. It is around this time that Napoleon first meets Marie Joesphe Rose Tascher de la Pagerie whom he decided to call Josephine. She was 32, 6 years older than N, and had two children from her previous marriage. In this show we talk a little about:
how she came to meet Napoleon
her relationship with Paul Barras
her marriage to Napoelon in 1796 â€“ within six months of meeting!
In the next show, we’ll start to cover the Italian Campaign of 1796 as Napoleon continues his rise to power and eternal fame!
And don’t forget, if you are new to Napoleonic study, then you really must buy a copy of David’s recent book:
Welcome to the first episode of Napoleon 101! David and I are very excited about creating this show and the rest of the series.
For this first episode, we thought we’d start by giving you a bit of a taste-tester. Before we get deep into the nitty-gritty of his life and career, we’ll take you on a quick journey of what makes Napoleon such an interesting topic for us. For example, we cover:
How and when did we first get interested in Napoleon?
If you are new to Napoleon, then we hope this show will give you a taste to learn more. If you are already an experienced hand, then we hope you will enjoy hearing a couple of Napoleon geeks tell the story that you are already familiar with.