Opinions vary widely as to Napoleon’s tactical ability. In terms of overall strategy, the man was perhaps the greatest who ever lived. But when it came down to the tactics of the individual battle, historians like Alan Schom have painted Napoleon as basically lucking his way through a series of quasi-massacres thanks to his elite forces unexpectedly punching a hole through the enemy lines at the right time, turning total defeat into sudden victory.
That doesn’t seem quite a fair assessment to me. Warfare is messy and nasty and very very loud. The best you can do is set up the field so that your dudes have more chances to do something interesting than their dudes can and then manage the chaos as best you are able. Napoleon did that better than just about anybody for a period of ten years, while simultaneously doing everything he needed to do to run an Empire.
Still, the man did run forces into the center of an enemy line an awful lot… Ah well.
– Count Dolby von Luckner
Relevant Archival Episodes:
Standard Policy I
Standard Policy II
Standard Policy III