March 4, 2018:

Chandler on Napoleon:

  1. The French armies were modern national armies, with a very different moral orientation than the feudal armies of their opponents.
  2. The French lived off the land while the others were tied to depots and clumsy supply trains. This gave the French enormously superior mobility which is the primary reason for the victories at Ulm, Austerlitz and elsewhere.
  3. The French soldiers fought to maintain their gains from the Revolution, particularly the land redistribution.
  4. The logistical and communication constraints of the era made it impossible to centrally direct armies of the size wielded in 1812-1813. The subsequent disasters are to considerable degree the result of these logistical and communication constraints.
  5. Napoleon's subordinates after the high point of Jena-Auerstadt were largely incapable of independent decision; and since Napoleon was unable to personally direct armies of such enormous size, the overall quality of leadership declined.
  6. Napoleon's need for central control was a corollary of his dictatorship.
  7. Napoleon's own powers of generalship declined over the course of his career.