NAPOLEON is regarded as one of history's greatest generals alongside the likes of Lee, Patton, Rommel and Julius Caesar. He was certainly the greatest of his period, as is demonstrated from his rise from the Corsican middle-
It was his skill as a politician as much as anything which reserved him a place in history. He was the darling of the French people and the army. On his way back from exile in Elba the royalist armies sent out to capture him refused to harm their Emperor and ended up joining his ranks. As Wellington said shortly before Waterloo, "His hat on the field is worth 50,000 men".
His superb multi-
Although the Russians were taken somewhat by surprise to find that the army they had come to relieve no longer existed, they still had superior numbers and a better position on the Pratzen Heights, three miles west of Austerlitz.
Austerlitz is held up as one of Napoleon's most decisive and strategically brilliant victories, not least by the man himself. However, given the facts which have emerged since the battle, it seems not so much a miracle of military genius as a foregone conclusion.
Alexander was relatively inexperienced and was in command of a very pick-and-
Austerlitz is the latest Napoleonic battle to receive the Peter Turcan treatment, the last effort from this section of the PSS stable being Waterloo which got an excellence award in the November issue back in the good 1980s.
For those of you who don't remember it, didn't get it or have lost, burnt or eaten that issue, I will give you a run-down on the playing system again.
Napoleonic wars were one of the most interesting periods of warfare. Large armies were not uncommon when the world was still gripped by the imperial fever. The techniques involved had to encompass use of both fairly ancient modes of war such as lancers and more progressive technology like muskets.
This not only made it difficult for the generals of the period, but also for anyone trying to simulate the strategies involved. Among the more interesting details that Dr Turcan takes into account are the fragile chain of command and intelligent corps commanders.
This means that not only might your your orders not get to the specified corps but when they arrive - which can take several hours - the local commander may decide he has special knowledge of which you are not aware and simply bin them.
All of the offensive and defensive plays of the time are supported, with individual units adopting line column and square formations to suit the situation. The morale of the combatants is also very important.
Orders are issued in plain English using a system which actually makes sense and adds to the realistic feeling of the simulation. I say simulation because this is not just a wargame, but a highly accurate account of a historical situation. The attention to detail is superb.
The graphics are wonderful but they're not just gloss, you need to look around to find out what's going on - there is no overhead map depicting units.
The day is broken up into units of 15 minutes, perhaps because this is a nice manageable unit in terms of movements and overall gametime, but perhaps also because Napoleon once said "A battle may be won or lost in a quarter of an hour".
To my knowledge this series is the only worthwhile simulation of Naopleonic warfare and I only hope it will continue.