How the French revolution made revolution in military science? The French revolution gave part 1to Europe (and Russia) not only new ideas and changes in the political relations. Revolution happened also in military science.
Revolutionary wars brought sweeping changes both in strategy and tactics, and in all organization of army.
Actually these changes in France were about to happen from the middle of 18 century. At least, new tactical schemes were theoretically discussed. They entered practice with revolution and the subsequent foreign intervention. Not under the influence of theories, and forcedly. By the end of 18 century noblemen almost forced out the bourgeoisie from officers of the French army. Having left the bourgeois, even to the rich, younger, an unter - officer ranks. Revolution seriously undermined noble shots.
Then - a postrevolutionary mess: voluntariness of service, selectivity of commanders and distrustfulness to old officers. The commanders nominated from bottoms are often not competent, and soldiers got out of hand in revolutionary outlaws. Result: absence of discipline and disabled army.
The new army apprehended many pluses from old.
The old French army was distinguished:
- effective system of fortresses;
- fine artillery;
- organized back;
- excellent engineering case and General Staff;
- rather soft (in comparison with the reference then Prussian) the treatment of the soldier, without the discipline of the rod;
- socially uniform army - mainly the lower class of citizens, with a peculiar psychology: existence of a certain consciousness, national consciousness, self-respect; soldiers dueled!
- the army is mononational; it is a little foreigners also they in separate divisions.
Still the revolutionary government began to put the clamps. In 1793 the general compulsory military service is declared.
Before revolution the army is completed, as well as neighbour`s - recruitment. Then - volunteers. The first was rejected with revolution, the second - behind inefficiency. Transition to a general duty gave the sharp, many times, growth of number. At the expense of which won the first victories.
And then Bonaparte who came to the power brings order to the country and, naturally, to army. But return to old forms of the organization and tactics was impossible. And it is not necessary.
It is possible to assume that if soldiers were not beaten - it and it was not required? And with revolution became impossible. But personal qualities of the soldier allowed to rely on consciousness and a collectivism. Of course, the discipline was supported also by usual methods. Did not hesitate and shoot. But the main rate - on education and responsibility.
Soldier`s courts of honor where “understood“ noticed in cowardice. In total as it is necessary: to guilty allowed to speak. And either forgave, or flogged directly in part...
Cult of the old soldier. The former soldier could become an unter... all! Now growth to officer ranks became possible.
Napoleon in every possible way ennobled veterans, from campaigns in the press before personal acquaintance and even correspondence.
Authority of commanders. Earlier the officer separated from soldier`s weight:
- origin (nobleman) and class arrogance;
- often weak knowledge of military science (purchase of ranks; the acquaintance across Russia signing up in service from the early childhood).
Now in officers rose from the lower ranks. Sometimes to generals.
Naturally, such officers have other attitude towards soldiers. To the contrary, the commander for soldiers - not something separate, and same as they, but more skilled, competent and authoritative.
Napoleon seriously cared for veterans. In Russia kept elite Old guard. At promotion Bonaparte emphasized a priority of old soldiers. Probably, it was dictated entirely by a pragmatism - to lift fighting capacity, to achieve implicit submission. But it worked. Napoleon`s authority on army was high, in guard - is indisputable.
The new organization of army proved to be quite effective already in revolutionary wars. Later, at Bonaparte - especially. But it complicated use of linear tactics. Demanding that “the soldier was afraid of a stick more, than bullets“.
Actually in France argued on the best tactics for a long time. Revolution did not leave to the French military leaders of the special choice. It was necessary to work with what was.
After an initial mess reforms began. The semi-crews uniting old royal battalions with again gathered were formed.
At Bonaparte the infantry regiment uniting three types of military forces became the main tactical unit: infantry, cavalry, artillery. Difference from old type of the organization (which neighbors still adhered): at linear construction maneuver all line. Here it is more preferable the small compact armies soldered by training and ideal obedience. The striking factor - synchronous fire. Not aim, but dense.
This system which showed efficiency was accepted practically by all Europe. And it did not suit revolutionary army at all. But by itself the idea of attack by a chain came.
The rarefied system:
- less close line suffers from dense fire;
- can quicker come;
- is more maneuverable on the district;
- flexibly “flows round“ obstacles;
- uses obstacles for shelter; there is no
- a solid volley, but individual aim firing is possible.
But everything has also minuses. Usually they - the back of pluses:
- the chain is much less operated;
- is high responsibility of the certain soldier who is not directed by a dense system;
- is high a role of the authority of the commander conducting soldiers on counter fire out of a system;
- is difficult to lift soldiers in attack from - for shelters behind which they, naturally, try to hide.
The main complexity appeared to direct a loose system to the opponent. In near fight was better, but it is necessary to reach still! The average between a loose system and the dense line was found: column. Noticed that under fire soldiers are more confident in a dense column in which similarity they get off.
The column as fighting construction was known, but is not especially usable before the French revolution. In new conditions it was effective. We remember Suvorov: “There are godless, windy, mad frantsuzishka. They are at war on Germans and others columns. Whether is to us it happened against them, it is necessary to beat to us them with columns“.
Great Suvorov allowed use of columns and against Turks, in need of break. Noting that the need in that was not yet.
The column was used together with a loose system. Ahead a chain of shooters, part - with the cut weapon. Their task - aim fire, it is desirable on commanders. Quickly approaching, the column is developed in the attacking order. Everything is dynamic!
Business of the commander - the general coordination in the battlefield, strategy on theater of war. Conditionally: “from above“ strategic tasks are set. On places tactics, ways of the decision are defined by commanders. The role of identity of the soldier, commanders of all levels grows.
The army breaks on small (in comparison with former) parts. Large divisions gather for the night and to fight; on march move separately. There is no need for camp for a lodging for the night, the billeting in the settlement is possible. The army will not run up! It is clear, that thefts, marauding and desertion not to avoid. But unlike Prussian army, supervision was not required for each soldier. In normal conditions there was enough self-discipline, a collectivism and the authority of commanders. And it is mobility!
The field artillery - facilitated mobile is entered. Even before revolution the French artillery passed from “private carrying“ to own horses. Similar reforms went in Russia …