The Prussian Military and its Influence

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Voödoo 6 von Inyanga

Mar 2

Legends are made in an instant and last an eternity but greatness needs to be forged over and over again to keep its edge. If you let it slip, even for one moment, then life, history, and the enemy may pass you by. How Prussia was conquered by France at the Battle of Jena in 1806

1/ For nearly a century before the Battle of Jena–Auerstedt, battlefields all over Europe were dominated by the disciplined might of Prussian Infantry.

2/ Drilled with a fanaticism today’s soldiers can barely imagine, the sons of House Hohenzollern forged their subjects into war winning machines.

3/ But it wasn’t just the drill and discipline that made Prussia great, the Prussian Army fostered tactical innovation, diplomatic excellence, and organizational changes that endured until 1945.

4/ Prussian leaders (notably Frederick II) thirsted for battle, moved with a sense of purpose, and hit the enemy at every turn. The Prussian Army was the ideal by which the armies of the world (including the Continental Army) modeled itself.

5/ By the time of Napoleon however, the Prussian Army had decades of stagnation and bloat. Resting on the laurels of the past, they forgot the lessons that actually made their reputation.

6/ The once vaunted General Staff, created to make decision making faster and more uniform, had grown unwieldy, and resulted in the Prussian Army in 1806 having three commanders at the same time.

7/ As the French, with their allies from the Confederation of the Rhine, Württemberg, and Bavaria advanced into northern Germany, the Prussians moved as quickly as they could to try and meet them. It was too slow.

8/ Despite beginning mobilization weeks before the French, by the time Prussia got its army into the field, the French/Germans were in striking distance of Berlin.

The battle that followed was two battles on the same day.

9/ At Jena, Napoleon faced what he thought was the main body of Prussia, but it was just one wing of the army. At Auerstedt, the Prussians under a collection of Princes, faced a tiny part of the French Amy, thinking it was the main force.

10/ As the sun rose over the field at Jena, Napoleon found himself outnumbered by the Prussians, who occupied a solid defensive position. Instead of retreating, he brought his reinforcements up quickly, at a speed that shocked the stagnant Prussians.

11/ Wheeling his cannon like they were Glocks, and manoeuvring his units like they were toys, he moved the disciplined and well led French/German Army around the battlefield, exerting pressure where it was needed.

12/ The Prussians reinforced Jena slowly, the first main reinforcements arriving as the Prussian line was beginning to waver under the French/German assaults. Napoleon had begun the day with 25,000 men on the field, by noon he has brought 96,000 into contact with the Prussians. 

13/ The Prussian strength had not changed. They were too slow. The energy and bloodlust of the French/German Army was so high, as Napoleon rode by, a Private of the Imperial Guard screamed at him “Forward!” demanding his unit be allowed to charge. A private, yelled at Napoleon.

14/ Napoleon called the private a beardless youth and rode on. A final cavalry charge into the Prussian right flank broke the line, and the fleeing Prussians were harvested like the spring hay by the onrushing French/German army.

15/ At Auerstedt, 12 miles to the north, a mirror universe was unfolding. French Field Marshal Davout’s 3rd French Corps stood on the road as the main Prussian Army approached. Nicknamed The Iron Marshal, he was about to earn his name as his 27,000 men faced the Prussians alone.

16/ Instead of using their numerical advantage, the Prussians under von Blucher, the Duke of Brunswick, King Frederick III, von Scharnhorst, and a myriad of other nobles attacked in small waves, piecemeal and uncoordinated, never trying to outflank the smaller French force.

17/ One by one, the Iron Marshal’s men stacked Prussian bodies on the field at Auerstedt, young men sent to die because their leaders were incompetent. As the battle reached a crescendo, the Duke of Brunswick fell, mortally wounded, shot through the eyes.

18/ Despite having sustained about 25% casualties, the Iron Marshal could sense the Prussians were crumbling, and ordered what remained of his men to fix bayonets and charge the numerically superior Prussians. The Prussians broke, fleeing from the battlefield in panic.

19/ Two weeks later, as the French/German army marched into Berlin, it was Davout’s 3rd Corps that led the parade up to the Königliches Schloß, and to the doorstep of the House of Hohenzollern.

20/ That same year the last king of the Holy Roman Empire formally dissolved the thousand-year-old empire founded by Charlemagne. Simply because the French wanted it more, and worked harder to get it.

21/ There are things that can be enjoyed, and then there are things that need to constantly be worked at. You’ll never be able to go back in time and play high school sports again. Enjoy those memories.

22/ But there are other challenges that face us, and our nation, that need constant attention lest they succumb to atrophy. By looking to the future and the challenges that may come is how we prepare ourselves to meet them, and ensure the next generation has memories to enjoy.

23/ It is easy for us to remember the days when we were as good as we once were, or the Glory Days as that liberal from New Jersey put it, but life moves on, and those that seek to replace you never go away.

24/ This is true not just on an individual level, but a national one as well. The country is where it is because people stopped working for it. They enjoyed their Post-War bliss, and the good times at the end of the Cold War, and stopped paying attention to the Nation.

25/ Yes, there were seemingly insurmountable challenges between political corruption, failure to enforce laws, and a vast media empire arrayed against us, but the fight went on. We just didn’t realize the danger until it was too late. We trusted what had always worked.

26/ We learned from our defeats, and like the French had learned from theirs, and as the Prussians rebuilt themselves into the world’s premier land army, so too did we re-tool. We started to take back media spaces

27/ We started getting judges and sheriffs elected to cement the legacy we seek to impart to our children. We played their game, our way, and we started to win because their Empire is built on hate and grift, and ours is built on love and optimism. They seek to destroy.

28/ We seek to build. As long as week keep fighting and as long as we keep getting stronger and more focused, then one day we, through the force of our determination, will have dragged this nation back to its rightful place. Train hard, the fight never ends and we need you in it.

Footnote: I do understand that Napoleon’s Army was mostly French, but it was also German and I’m not letting them take all the credit.

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