Wednesday, March 25, 2015

"the Ogre"

Bonaparte the Ogre ...
Napoleon hesitated to order full mobilization, for he was well aware that the vast majority of the people were wholly opposed to a renewal of hostilities. 
As a gesture to public opinion - and to win time - the Emperor at once put out peace feelers toward the Allied governments, hoping that their growing disillusionment with the House of Bourbon and the festering political divisions within their ranks would play into his hands and persuade at least a few to accept a fait accompli and acknowlege Napoleon as the ruler of France.

Any such hopes were soon dashed ino oblivion.  Seven days before the Emperor reached Paris, the representatives of the Powers met at Vienna to outlaw the Emperor and to pledge over half a million men for the destruction of "the Ogre" once and for all.  On March 25 a formal treaty of alliance was signed between England, Austria, Prussia and Russia, and the Seventh Coalition came into being, backed by a promise of &pound five million in English gold.  Prussia and England at once put a joint force of 150,000 men into the field, and the other governments began their preparations.  All negotiations with Napoleon were broken off.

~ D. Chandler, The Campaings of Napoleon, p. 1014

Friday, March 20, 2015

Palace of the Tuileries

Napoleon enters the Tuileries
On March 20 Napoleon entered the Palace of the Tuileries, and was once more in control of the apparatus of government, though he never regained his old absolute power.  Revolutionary figures from the dim past -- Carnot and Constant -- were persuaded to serve in his government, but the Chamber remained aloof and cautious.  Napoleon and the State were never again synonymous, and the Emperor could no longer repeat the proud claim of Louis XIV: "L'etat, c'est moi."  Vast efforts were made to rally the Parisians behind the new regime, culminating in June 1 in a huge celebration entitled Le champ de mai.  The civic part of the ceremony proved a ludicrous fiasco, but the military parade that followed was as impressive as ever.

~D. Chandler, The Campaigns of Napoleon, Page 1012.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Bourbon's flee

The Royal Family. From left to right: Charles, Count of Artois, Louis XVIII, Marie Caroline, Duchesse of Berry, Marie Thérèse, Duchesse of Angoulême, Louis Antoine, Duke of Angoulême and Charles Ferdinand, Duke of Berry.

Small incidents sometimes sway great events.  Just as James II of England is reputed to have decided that his cause was hopeless when he overheard one of his sentries whistling "Lillibullero" -- the marching song of William of Orange's rebels --- so the Bourbon Government noted with growing concern the signs of popular alienation.  In addition to humorous lampoons, grimmer slogans of Jacobin origin appeared overnight on the walls of Paris: "Down with the Priests!  Down with the nobles!  Death to the Royalists!  Bourbons to the scaffold!"  Exacerbated by the hard conditions of economic inflation, the Paris mob and metayers were once agani becoming restive.  Serious rioting in the streets of the capital was not calculated to cheer the heirs of St. Louis, already hypnotized by Napoleon's seemingly inexorable advance, and on March 19 the Royal Court decamped from Paris and fled for the Belgian frontier and renewed exile.  Over one hundred days were to pass before they regained their capital.

~ D. Chandler, The Campaigns of Napoleon, page 1012

Sunday, March 15, 2015


promotional image used for Command Zone invitation

Initiating what I hope to be a more regular thing, COMMAND ZONE, a home-based game time.

My eldest son has been itching to have an invite game time for some of his friends, likewise I have been wanting to put lead on table.  Hence this game plan.  Photos to follow the event.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

"in an iron cage"

Marshal Ney
Meanwhile the Bourbon Government vainly issued orders for the Emperor's arrest and dispatched increasing numbers of troops to intercept his journey.  Marshal Ney promised Louis XVIII the he would return to Paris with Napoleon "in an iron cage," but when his forces met the Emperor near Auxerre on March 14 the old attraction again proved too strong and the men once more destered en masse, followed by their commander.  In Paris some wit posted a large notice in the Palace Vendome: "From Napoleon to Louis XVIII.  My good brother -- there is no need to send any more troops -- I have enough."

~ D. Chandler, The Campaigns of Napoleon, page 1012

Friday, March 13, 2015

A look back at 100 Days Campiagning Nr. 7

The fifth installment of the 100 days campaign was run in 2005, before I was introduced to blogging here.

The game again included allowance for destroying bridges, something that I would not now include.  Many of these 'metaled' roads have significant bridges which even destroyed would still be able to be formed into crossings.  None of the rivers in the region are as significant as the Danube, which in 1809 formed a real barrier to armies of the age.

First in the campaign came a major action at Braie le Compte.

this time more promotional images were made to tell the story on the Arcadian Guild site

while the normal panorama shots were still made for the players
Rather than post all about the plans, I shall highlight the different map symbols used to identify troops after they have been encountered on the battlefield.

France map
British Map
The campaign actions again led to a battle at Brussels, this time with both Allied and Prussian armies facing off against the French.

promotional view, showing off the new smoke and burning effects

greater detail of the burning effect, I like how the pond looks in this shot also

late in the battle, the French could not win the day ...
The combined forces held their ground in Brussels.

Prussian map
Unable to push out the forces in Brussels, Bonaparte was forced to abdicate ... again.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Brilliant Opportunist

Napoleon at balcony addressing the crowds
The advance toward Paris continued in an atmosphere of general jubilation.  At every stop Napoleon harangued assemblies of local people, adapting the tone of his address to suit the tastes of his varied audiences.  To countrymen he promised security of land and tenure; to townsfolk he guaranteed fiscal reform; to everybody he spoke of peace and prosperity.  Napoleon was at all times a brilliant opportunist.

~ D. Chandler, The Campaings of Napoleon page 1012

Wednesday, March 04, 2015


Napoleon & the 5th Regiment of the Line
The First real crisis took place at Laffrey, fifteen miles south of Grenoble, where the small band of adventurers found themselves faces by the 5th Regiment of the Line.  Bloodshed was narrowly averted by the coolness of the Emperor, who once again displayed his personal power over soldiers.  Advancing alone be bared his breast to the leveled muskets.  "Soldiers of the 5th, you can shoot your Emperor if you dare!  Do you not recognize me as your Emperor?  Am I not your old General?"  Noticing the growing hesitation, Napoleon won over the waverers by repeatedly adding a piece of blatantly untrue propaganda.  "It is not ambition which brings me among you.  The forty-five best heads of the Government of Paris have called me from Elba and my return is supported by the three first powers of Europe."  With one accord the soldiers broke ranks and flocked forward, shouting "Vive l'Emereur."  The crisis was past an the moment was decisive -- for the first units of the army had rallied to Napoleon and he was consequently once more a force on the international scene.  Grenoble opened its gates and the citizens gave Napoleon a rapturous welcome, while the local dignitaries feverishly sought their old tricolor sashes and locked away the Bourbon insignia.  At St. Helena the Emperor reminisced: "Before Grenoble I was an adventurer; at Grenoble I was a ruling Prince."

~ D. Chandler, The Campaigns of Napoleon, p. 1011

Sunday, March 01, 2015

The Devil is Unchained

re-en-actors in 2014
On February 26 [1815], Napoleon set sail from Elba, accompanied by Generals Bertrand, Druout and Cambronne, the thousand men of his personal guard and four cannon.  On the first day of March, the Emperor once more set foot on French soil near Cannes.  His arrival took the authorities by surprise; the news took four days to reach Paris, and nine to be relayed to London, but gradually an apprehensive and astounded Europe learned "the devil is unchained."  The French people -- on whose reaction everything depended -- remained calm and observant, awaiting a sign before commiting themselves one way or the other.
If the popular reaction was at first restrained, the local authorities significantly made little effort to apprehend the newcomer. Massena was immediately informed by semaphore telegraph at Marseilles but took no decisive action.  Profiting from the universal hesitation Napoleon pushed inland, selecting for his advance the difficult mountain route to Grenoble -- purposely avoiding Marseilles and teh department of Provence with its traditional Royalist sympathies.