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French troops in Spain
« le: 27 octobre 2017, 18:46:25 pm »

The Napolun website has this to say about French troops in Spain:

According to David Gates there was a tremendous variety in the quality of soldiers that Napoleon committed to the Peninsula at various stages of the war. The first French army to march into Spain in 1808, for example, was predominantly composed of inexperienced conscripts.

Baron de Marbot writes: "But it was easy to perceive how astonished they were at the sight of our young infantry soldiers. The moral effect was wholly to our disadvantage, and as I compared the broad chests and powerful limbs of the Spaniards who surrounded us with those of our weak and weedy privates, my national pride was humbled. Though I did not foresee the disasters which would arise from the poor opinion of our troops on the part of the Spaniards, I was sorry that the Emperor had not sent into the Peninsula some veteran regiments from the Army of Germany."

Bessiers' corps contained just 2,000 reasonably seasoned soldiers, whilst the cavalry was particularly weak, out of 12 troopers, a mere 1,250 had had any real previous experience. Junot's "Army of Portugal" was little better either, only half approached veteran status. Bloodbaths like Eylau, wiped out much of the cream of the French army and by the time the Peninsular War was in full swing many of the troops that had won Austerlitz and Jena were dead.
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