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Battle of Dresden, 1813

Posted By Jonathan Webb On August 9, 2009 @ 11:36 pm In Gunpowder Era | 6 Comments

Karl Philipp Furst zu Schwarzenberg versus Napoleon Bonaparte: An Allies army under Schwarzenberg fears Bonaparte more than they fear the army he leads. Can one man really overcome such overwhelming numbers? Click on images below to view; first image opens video presentation and second image opens [1] PowerPoint presentation. [2] | Legend |
Unfortunately, the success at Dresden was almost immediately negated by the disaster at Kulm. Bonaparte once said that “A man has his day in war as in other things; I myself shall be good for it another six years, after which even I shall have to stop”. He stated this in 1805, which means the triumph at Dresden came two years after he claimed he would have to stop. Whether Bonaparte was better or worse as a commander as time went on and when his true prime was is still hotly debated.
It is impossible to evaluate Bonaparte’s performance in this battle because it was not won by his tactical ability. Granted, his maneuvers in this battle were solid; he strengthened the wings and pounced on the weaker Allied wings while depending on his entrenched but outnumbered center to survive. The Allied left was crushed while the right held on to a single town which Bonaparte had not determined how he would capture yet. However, his mere presence is responsible for inspiring the French soldiers and intimidating the Allies into an unexpected withdrawal despite numerical superiority and contested strong points. Assuming Bonaparte was correct and that he was well past his prime by Dresden, his maneuvers of previous campaigns and wars proved more than a substitute in this particular battle.
As I have already made clear, Bonaparte’s battles and campaigns are a treat to animate. Another reason I am always eager to animate his engagements is the wealth of accurate, specific information found in West Point’s Military History and Atlas of the Napoleonic Wars. Before I began animating this battle, I received feedback pointing out that I could better detail the landscape of the animations. Looking back at some previous animations, I noticed the landscapes of some animations are quite dull while others are quite elaborate. I decided that I would put a better effort into this aspect to make the animations more visually appealing. I hope Dresden was a good first step towards this improvement.
- Jonathan Webb
Works Consulted
Chandler, David. The Campaigns of Napoleon. New York: MacMillan, 1966.
Dupuy, Trevor N. The Harper Encyclopedia of Military History: From 3500 BC to the Present, Fourth Edition. New York: HarperCollins, 1991.
Esposito, Vincent J. and John Robert Elting. A Military History and Atlas of the Napoleonic Wars. New York: Praeger, 1965.
Lawford, James Philip. Napoleon: the Last Campaigns 1813-1815. New York: Crown, 1977.


Allied soldiers: http://napnuts.tripod.com/napwars/frameaustriainf.htm
French soldiers: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grande_Arm%C3%A9e
Karl Philipp Furst zu Schwarzenberg: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Karl_Philipp_F%C3%BCrst_Schwarzenberg
Laurent de Gouvion Saint-Cyr: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laurent,_Marquis_de_Gouvion_Saint-Cyr
Napoleon Bonaparte: http://wil3.typepad.com/funny_pictures/2005/08/napoleon_bonapa_1.html

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