I agree. His worst mistake was attempting a campaign against russia, despite having in some respects a superior force: The simple matter of logistics, length of battle front, the russian scorched earth policy, and winter environmental conditions his army wasnt prepared for all combined to hand him his hat and a defeat.
That, and the English all combined to defeat this little general.
His biggest mistakes were in spain and russia, mark has already said about the russian campaign but in spain the french seized power but could not defeat the spanish nationalism leading to the guerilla war, bad governing by one of napoleons brothers and marshal murat lead to the spanish generally fighting back!
Russia easily and of course, Waterloo. Should of never fought that day, becuase of the rain which did not allow him to put his artillery in the position he wanted. Also, I remember hearing something about his cavalry being affected by something... anyone know? Other than that, I think Napoleon was a brilliant man. =/
russia was a big factor out of the estimated 655,000 troops that crossed the vistula in 1812 only 93,000 came back. a loss to any army of around 562,000 men is going to leave huge gaps in experience. he brang back 250 artillery pieces from the 1300 he took there. and over 200,000 horses were lost. his cavalry was never as good after russia.
the penisular war sapped reserves away when they might of been of use elsewhere.
at waterloo the rain effected his artillery greatly.
the only thing i can thing of that might of effected his cavalry was when NEY attacked the british center with it. 12 seperate cavalry charges were made between 4:00pm and 6:00. They attacked infantry who were formed in sqaure as well as artillery, they also recieved enfailaiding fire from La Haye Saint farm buildings and the Hougoumont estate.
in the final stages of the attacks Marshall Ney had led 77squadrons ; about 12,000 horsemen in what was thought to be one of the largest mass cavalry attacks of all time. 2/3 of the men in that charge were killed.
he did a very good job at destroying napoleons cavalry.
The English manage to save themselves from a very messy situation by winning the Battle of Trafalgar, but the mighty Russian Generals Winter and Distance were his greatest undoing. Leipzig and Waterloo were made possible by what Russia did to Napoleon's armies. Without the invasion of Russia, Napoleon and his dominance most certainly would have lasted longer.
Very interesting facts about Ney man, thanks. Napoleon is classified as the top man whose personality is what brought him and his empire down. His greed for more land and power =/ Don't get me wrong though, he was a phenominal military leader and tactician. Napoleonic wars are fascinating to study, and what i noticed is how a few people said "if only (name) had been there" It reminded me of the theory about the 'Miracle Man' when us Americans talk about Thomas Jackson in the Civil War and if he had survived, would the south of won. Back to Napoleon though! heh
apparently one reason napoleon gave for going to russia was he needed more grazing land for cavalry, and waterloo ended pretty much as expected, the british army did some tests which were shown on the history channel over here that proved that the heavy rain made his artilley, very close to useless due to many of the cannonballs sinking in the mud and exploding with little effect. had he of had less prussians to deal with, better weather and more men it would of been quite interesting and perhaps closer finish?
It was not russia that defeated him. It was not England. He was defeated in his own words, by the Spanish ulcer. There is a book on that issue.
As far as I know, many of the soldiers of the Grand Armé sent to Russia, weren't even French. Many of them came from allied nations.
Unlike in the campaigns in Spain (which he conquered, but never dominated) and Portugal, (which he was never able to conquer at all), most of the soldiers were in fact french, because of the proximity.
No other place in Europe was so devastated as the Iberian Peninsula.
The Russian campaign, took some months and was a defeat. The Iberian peninsula took five years. There were victories and defeats, but no definitive victories, and no definitive defeats. When the British stepped in, and the allied armies started their advances, it was the begining of the end. Napoleon was defeated by the same thing that defeated Hitler. A war in two fronts.