Charming facts about Napoleon

Before a great battle he slept in a chair with one foot on a table

He read Goethe, wrote love letters, short stories, and collected whole countries’ masterpieces into a museum he built to store them (now called the Louvre)

He loved classical architecture from the Greco-Roman era

He never said “an army marches on its stomach” but did obsess about shoes

He never won a battle at sea

He lost four(?) battles on land, one with ‘water’ in the name – and Acre, Russian campaign, and Lepzig.

He commissioned the grandest scientific expedition of his day, to learn about Egypt

He conquered Italy/Naples, Switzerland, Spain, Holland, “Germany”/“Poland”, Austria/Hungary (alliance), Denmark/Norway/Sweden (alliances), and Egypt. He also beat the Turks.

He never landed in England. Didn’t get Portugal. Didn’t win in Russia.

Nelson beat him at Trafalgar and died the same day

His masterpiece is considered Austerlitz, in Austria, where he beat the Russian and Austrian empires in a single battle

The strategy of the central position

L’attaque de la derriere

His hallmarks:

  • be fast
  • keep forces concentrated
  • single language, single supply line, single communication corridor
  • singular decision-making
  • decentralized execution
  • fearless of numerical odds
  • divide the enemy
  • fight where you have the advantage, even if the time is not of your choosing

Meet the troops themselves

Inspire the spirits of the troops

Keep a reserve, deploy it late

Engage early and wait for the decisive moment

Attack again after a victory

Page 1, Line 1 of the Rules of War: “Do not march on Moscow” (not in his book)