How Good Was Napoleon?

Surrender of Madrid (Gros), 1808. Napoleon enters Spain’s capital during the Peninsular War By Jonathon Riley | Published in History Today Volume: 57 Issue: 7 2007 Serving general and military historian Jonathon Riley uses his personal knowledge of command to assess Napoleon’s qualities as a strategist, operational commander and battlefield tactician. By 1805, the year that […]

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AMX-40

The Brenus armor package coupled with the dozer blade would probably increase the combat weight of the AMX-40 to something like 46 metric tons. The AMX-40 was a French prototype main battle tank. Its development began in 1983 as a clean sheet design. Four prototypes had been produced by 1986, and the design was offered […]

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Automitrailleuse Panhard et Levassor Type 178

A Panhard 178B. The APX3B turret is of the latest type with a rear episcope. Rear view showing the position of the second driver; the hull, despite having been repainted with a number belonging to the third production batch. Panhard 178B/FL1, French Indo-China, 1947. Panhard 178 tank hunter with the Renault turret designed by Engineer […]

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Louis François Boufflers, duc de (1644 -1711)

Maréchal de France. He spent most of his adult life in the French Army, joining as a young officer in 1662. He fought especially well in command of a regiment of royal dragoons in the Dutch War (1672-1678), which brought him to the notice of his superiors and of the king, Louis XIV. Boufflers rose […]

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Battle of France 1940

The development of the battle plan for Fall Gelb from the original plan developed by OKH. The Battle of France, spanning May 10 to June 22, 1940, was the brilliant triumph of Germany’s Fall Gelb (“Case Yellow”) invasion plan, which brought about the ignominious defeat of the forces of France, Britain, Belgium, and the Netherlands. […]

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French Tank Doctrine

In August 1939, during a conference on the use of armored units held by the 511th Tank Regiment at Verdun, French and German doctrines were compared. The Germans, it was said, preferred mass engagement on a broad front. It was predicted they would use large tank formations on favorable terrain and try to take the […]

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Indochina 1945–1954

During the period 1945-1954, France fought to regain control over its possessions in Indochina: Cochinchina, Annam, Tonkin, Cambodia, and Laos. These were occupied by Japan during World War II and then witnessed the rise of an anticolonial movement led by local communists. France’s postwar weakness significantly complicated its military efforts- including the use of airpower-in […]

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Etienne Marie Antoine Champion Nansouty, comte de (1768–1815)

Nansouty’s cuirassiers charging at the Battle of Friedland on 14 June 1807. Nansouty was one of Napoleon’s foremost heavy cavalry leaders. He served in most of the Emperor’s battles and earned respect for his deliberate and devastating charges. Although Nansouty was considered by many to be overly cautious, he was a commander who prided himself […]

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Louis XIV on Offense, 1672-1673

The crossing of the Rhine at Tolhuis (now a suburb of Nijmegen) on 12 June 1672 – painting by Adam Frans van der Meulen. Fighting began in early May 1672, as 118,000 French infantry and 12,000 cavalry crossed into the Netherlands in three armed columns. The main French force of 50,000 was led by Marshal […]

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French Bombers 1939-42

Although the French had been early pioneers of military aviation and had developed important combat aircraft during World War I, few French designs played important roles in World War II. The most significant French bomber was the Liori et Olivier LeO 451. Introduced in 1937, this medium bomber, crewed by four, was driven by two […]

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