Napoleon vs Duke of Wellington



  • Napoleon’s invasion of Russia robbed history of a showdown of Napoleon and the Duke fighting a campaign in Spain.

    Although I believe the Duke would have fought a rearguard action while working his way toward the safety of the Spanish coast.


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017

    As to your vote, I’d argue that when I get to pick them makes a difference. Napoleon before the invasion of Russia was not the same man who left Russia a year later with taters of his army behind him. Wellington learned a lot about how to handle an army in the field while advancing through Spain. So, my picks would be Napoleon before Russia, Wellington afterwards.

    I know, really controversial picks there…  😛

    -Midnight_Reaper


  • Liaison TripleA '11 '10

    Was it the strength of the man or the competence of their army?

    Would Wellington have won if commanding Napolean’s troops against his own army and vice versa?


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16

    Napoleon in attack and Wellington in defence? :?


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @Gargantua:

    Was it the strength of the man or the competence of their army?
    Would Wellington have won if commanding Napolean’s troops against his own army and vice versa?

    I don’t know much about Napoleon’s command style or methodology, other than his reputed skill at concentrating his forces against selected parts of enemy coalitions.  I know Wellington a bit better; there’s a chapter on him in John Keegan’s book The Mask of Command.  His personality, and his command style, were businesslike, austere, precise and calm; he liked to get straight to the point, he expressed himself in concise and well-crafted sentences, and he had a first-rate analytical mind.  He could not have been more different from the other British demi-god of the Napoleonic Wars, Admiral Nelson, who was quite flamboyant and something of an egomaniac, and whose affair with Lady Emma Hamilton scandalized British society.  One of my favourite stories about Wellington – it may even be a true one – is the one which claims that when he entered Brussels after defeating Napoleon at Waterloo he was greeted by a huge crowd of grateful citizens; one of his officers riding alongside him commented to Wellington that he must be feeling very pleased at receiving such a warm welcome.  Wellington, ever the realist, replied: “No.  If I’d lost, they would have hanged me.”


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 '12

    Ooof, hard choice.

    I’ve read a fair amount about the Napoleonic Wars, and one thing that keeps me wondering about Napoleon’s supposed skill was the total incompetency of many of his opponents.  They often formed up their armies in obviously vulnerable ways that Napoleon only had to try to exploit.

    Also Napoleon often made some bone headed decisions that by luck and the sheer determination of his troops paid off, namely the decisions to make an all-out frontal attack in both Austerlitz and Borodino battles.

    Wellington’s record is harder to judge IMO since was basically fighting kind of a harass/keep-away campaign in Spain against lesser French commanders.  The only time Wellington was in command in the main fray was the 100 Days Campaign/Waterloo.  And his leadership there wasn’t particularly brilliant, indeed, the fact that Napoleon even had a chance against the superior Allied armies was due in large part to Wellington and Blucher stupidly separating their forces, allowing Napoleon to wedge them apart for a time.  Wellington’s main achievement at Waterloo was to stake his forces to a good defensive position and hold.  And he would have been crushed by Napoleon if the French pursuit force under Grouchy had kept closer to the main body and blocked Blucher from flanking Napoleon late in the day.

    So hard to say.  I think I would choose Napoleon if I were in a desperate situation and needed decisive action.  Wellington would seem more appealing if time was on my side.


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