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Colonel Marbot
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"Old Hickory" vs. "El Presidente" Bonaparte

Sat May 13, 2017 1:12 am

I am sure that many of you would be enthusiastic over a set of expansion scenarios for Wars of Napoleon. 1808, 1809, 1812, 13 & 14 would all be interesting in differing ways. The scenarios included with Wars of Napoleon are well received and there is no doubt that scenario scale was preferable to their older cousins included in “Napoleon’s Campaigns.”

But for me, the prospect of “What if” scenarios is even more attractive. In 1810, after the Danube Campaign and before he had decided to wage a renewed war against Russia, Napoleon contemplated another Asian > India campaign. He did not have the perfect war machine that he had had from 1805-1808, but still in 1810 it was far better than what he had had in the Egyptian Campaign when he had been turned back at Acre. Could he have gotten to India and would his army have been able to defeat the combination of Indian kings and the British Occupation Army?

Such a scenario would probably take an impractical amount of work in terms of the map, but my dream “What if” scenario would use a pre-existing map. Here goes: It is 1810, emboldened by Napoleon’s attack on Spain, The Mexican war of Independence begins. It continues through that decade. In 1815 after his loss at Waterloo, Napoleon retreats to Malmaison and contemplates his future. Davout has raised another 100K men in Paris and is urging a continuation of the struggle. Grouchy has retreated with his wing of the Armee du Nord. Rapp is withdrawing with his forces untouched from the Rhine. Ney, Soult and even Murat (from Naples) all understand that each of their future is in the hands of the Emperor.

But Napoleon has no stomach for another fight on French soil. He will leave and will decide between the U.S. and Mexico who had sent him envoys with an invitation. Although this is open to some debate, when he goes to the coast, many suspect he is, in fact, on his way to Mexico. When the English apprehend him, he asks permission to continue his journey but is denied. But “What if”… What if the English, smarting from the recent War of 1812 had decided to send a “time bomb” to the American shores in the form of Napoleon Bonaparte, along with a select unit of Imperial Guard and a cadre of his most loyal generals? They would have known that sooner or later Napoleon would have challenged U.S. hegemony.

Of course Mexican revolutionaries would have given Napoleon the presidency as they later offered it to Joseph Bonaparte in 1820 and eventual to their poor choice of Maximilian. What would Napoleon have done as the newly appointed “El Presidente” of Mexico?

Reform the government, modernize the economy, conscript, reform and train the military? Of course. And then what?... skirmishes against the Apache to harden them? Colonization of California? Or…. Would his former “French” cities of New Orleans and St. Louis be too alluring for him? Would Napoleon try to buy back the Louisiana Purchase, claiming that he did not know that he was giving the American’s such a one sided deal? …. America paid 3 Million for land they had expected to pay 15M for. And when the US refuses to give him back New Orleans and St. Louis?

So Napoleon sends a small army under his leadership with Soult, Ney, and Suchet as divisional commanders, Drouot in charge of the Guard, Grouchy or Murat his Cavalry and Rapp with a force on the West Coast…. Davout remaining at the War Ministry in the capital.

America would have responded with “Old Hickory” and his Tennessee boys, with as many Army regulars as could be mustered. (And remember that America had been embroiled with Spain in Florida in 1820). America’s population was twice that of Mexico at that time, but could the U.S. stand up against Emperor? Well, I would love to have the opportunity to see. And Ageod already has the Civil War II Map that could be used. <smile>

So what are your thoughts? Would Old Hickory be able to stand against L’Empereur?

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Captain_Orso
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Re: "Old Hickory" vs. "El Presidente" Bonaparte

Sat May 20, 2017 8:42 am

Hmmm... first some thoughts in general.

The North American map in CW2 is setup for 2 week turns. The original Napoleon's Campaigns map was also setup for 2 week turns, and when WON was conceived with 1 week turns, a new map was needed, practically quadrupling the number of regions. I recall during WON development, that Pocus had to undertake some major changes--I have no idea exactly where--to fit movement on the WOM map to 1 week turns, because originally it worked as if the regions were still setup for 2 week turns. So, if the CW2 map were to be used, it would have to be with the CW2 engine, which would actually make an NIA (Napoleon In America :D ) expansion a CW2 expansion, and not a WON expansion.

Not being a well-rounded historian, by any means of the term, I did do a bit of Wikipedia'ing on the Louisiana Purchase and the Haitian Revolution, and i came up with a different backstory for NIA. Firstly, I like the idea of colliding fates when it comes to alternate histories. So I found, Napoleon: "I'm bored, let's go take back the Louisiana Purchase", a bit too contrived, especially after France was factually out of Napoleon's hands.

So I thought, plant a seed of conflict, and let it mature. So here's my alternate history. With the Haitian Revolution already more than 10 years disrupting much needed profits from sugar, coffee and other important trade (4 Situation in 1789 "In 1789 Saint-Domingue produced 60% of the world's coffee and 40% of the world's sugar imported by France and Britain") , Napoleon decided to make a virtue of a necessity, and offered the Revolutionaries not only their freedom, but French Citizenship under the conditions they either worked for 10 years in Haiti on the sugar and coffee plantations, or (with the growing importance of cotton) 15 years working cotton plantations in Louisiana, after which they would be given enough money and land in Louisiana to start a new life in freedom; "Liberté, égalité, fraternité pour tous!". Besides, he found it more than disagreeable supporting the Bourgeoisie in their imperialistic position on Saint-Domingue as plantation and slave owners.

The end of the revolution on Saint-Domingue and the expansion of cotton production in Louisiana, seemed a very profitable win-win situation for Republican France, were it not for the fact that it was a very large thorn in the side of a rapidly growing United States of America. Not only did French Louisiana effectively stand as a wall to any further westward expansion of the US on their own continent, the example of Free Negroes not only working for their own profit, but actually being given freedom and citizenship, grated on Southern sensibilities. "The world is spinning on it's head in Louisiana" Thomas Jefferson; whether spoken in distaste or base jealousy is debated.

Growing numbers of slaves escaping across the Mississippi to freedom spurred plantation owners and local militias to patrol the banks of the River of Freedom, and occasionally mount excursions to the western banks to "repatriate" escaped slaves, and occasionally so-called Free French Negroes. Especially former Saint-Domingue Revolutionaries refused to standby and watch their enslaved and free brothers kidnapped from French soil and thrown into slavery, and formed Freedom Militias to not only patrol the wester banks of the Mississippi, but also assist escaped slaves to cross into Louisiana. Although forbidden to set foot on US soil to assist escaped slaves, the Freedom Militias were knows to say, "if their legs are ankles-deep in the Mississippi, the rest of their bodies are free as well".

Inevitably Freedom and Plantation Militias skirmished on both banks of the Father of All Rivers, but even on the river itself. Many in Washington waited on an excuse to send federal troops to the western reaches of the US to "protect the sovereign soil of Americans and their property", and in voices, less and less hushed, an excuse would either happen or be manufactured.

Revolutions are about to clash.

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Colonel Marbot
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Re: "Old Hickory" vs. "El Presidente" Bonaparte

Sun May 21, 2017 12:53 pm

@Captain Orso

Thank you. I enjoyed reading your alternate history and yes, I see this to be quite plausible. I found your information about how important Haiti's economic production of coffee and sugar to be very interesting. I had not understood that Haiti was that strong. With so many European powers within the Caribbean, including the Dutch, I would have guessed production of have been more balanced between their possessions.

In America we think of the Civil War as the time when the succession movement began and the conflict between the free states, and the slave-states, but there was also a very strong succession movement in the 1820s when Jackson was president and yes, your portrayal of the Mississippi as a freedom river is interesting.

Not being a game designer, I do not have a feel for map scale and game design. My consumer-only thoughts have been, give us the most detailed map that is practical, set the game scale and calculate practical march distance and then modify that by the terrain type, weather, etc. of that terrain transverse. I wonder if gaming will ever get to the point where we are playing on maps without arbitrary boundaries.... where we just draw march pathways and the game calculates how far and were the unit goes and calculates zones of control and supply all based on surrounding terrain, composition of opposing forces and distance to those forces..

It sounds as if you were involved early with the WON development. Thank you for your contributions to the game and your continued support. Your custodianship of this forum with your insight of the game has been vital for many of us.

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Captain_Orso
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Re: "Old Hickory" vs. "El Presidente" Bonaparte

Mon May 22, 2017 11:23 pm

Colonel Marbot wrote:@Captain Orso

Thank you. I enjoyed reading your alternate history and yes, I see this to be quite plausible. I found your information about how important Haiti's economic production of coffee and sugar to be very interesting. I had not understood that Haiti was that strong. With so many European powers within the Caribbean, including the Dutch, I would have guessed production of have been more balanced between their possessions.


Glad you enjoyed that. It was kind of fun figuring a way for Louisiana to remain French, and although I've hardly scratched the surface, what I've read has left hundreds of question in my mind as to why things turned out the way they did, especially why the French Republic sided with the Bourgeoisie plantation owners after the revolution.

About the economic, you have to read that carefully. The wording is tricky, "1789 Saint-Domingue produced 60% of the world's coffee and 40% of the world's sugar imported by France and Britain", the key being "imported by France and Britain", which says nothing about what other colonies of other nations produced. It also means, that Britain and France did import coffee and sugar from other places too.

Colonel Marbot wrote:In America we think of the Civil War as the time when the succession movement began and the conflict between the free states, and the slave-states, but there was also a very strong succession movement in the 1820s when Jackson was president and yes, your portrayal of the Mississippi as a freedom river is interesting.


Descent, rebellion, and secession are cornerstones of the American Revolution, which was not the war with Britain, but the experiment of self-government, not only of individual states, but of all states together under a single constitution. From the War of Independence, to Shay's Rebellion, and on to the Civil War and to this day, the greatest contributing factor has always been the economics of the wealthy over the masses.

And the experiment continues, more today than ever before. Since a nearly unknown senator just over a year ago reminded the American people that they truly have the power of government in their hands, if they only have the will to exercise it, politics have started to move more than they have in the previous decades in which democracy has been continuously replaced by an oligarchic rule by the elites, literally huge corporations and the 1% over the rest. The most poignant example I know of, of how this came to be, was inadvertently given by an historian who noted about the reading of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address by an actor who was know is one of the best portrayers of Lincoln, spoke the last line with stress on the conjugations, " that government of the people, by the people, for the people", but he believe that Lincoln put the intonation differently: "and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth". Whether true or not, it is how the Founding Fathers intended it to be.

This is what made the idea so interesting to me. It would have been a conflict with many parallels to the American Civil War. Each side waving their banners of freedom and justice, while the true foundation of the conflict would be economics and expansionism, just like it was historically in the Civil War. But enough digression.

Colonel Marbot wrote:Not being a game designer, I do not have a feel for map scale and game design. My consumer-only thoughts have been, give us the most detailed map that is practical, set the game scale and calculate practical march distance and then modify that by the terrain type, weather, etc. of that terrain transverse. I wonder if gaming will ever get to the point where we are playing on maps without arbitrary boundaries.... where we just draw march pathways and the game calculates how far and were the unit goes and calculates zones of control and supply all based on surrounding terrain, composition of opposing forces and distance to those forces.


The CW2 map loans itself well to the large campaigns waged during that war. But with the era of rail transportation yet far in the future, and steamboats being still in their infancy, a conflict conducted in the wilds of the Mississippi Valley would hardly allow for supplying such large forces. Foraging would not be possible, for there would be no agricultural basis from which to forage.

So the first real question is, what would the conflict really look like, and when? My alterant-history dealt mostly with how the conflict might be start on the surface, but the real point of conflict would be the US being blocked from expanding westward, which I doubt the US would long suffer.

France would have a bustling New Orleans and what ever infrastructure could be expanded from there, possibly more up the Red River than the Mississippi. But what of the 90% of Louisiana above that? Would France being able to exploit the resources of the expanses of Louisiana? Would France allow US settlers to migrate into the Great Plains to expedite population growth and development, and then have another Texas situation in Missouri, "Remember the Rolla!(?!?), when conflict breaks out along the southern Mississippi?

With the Mississippi being the only supply line the French would have, it would be a tentative prospect at the most. Not something one could risk a large army on.

Early in the 19th century, the US would be only marginally in a better situation, having to send supplies from the East Coast, probably down the Ohio River, but it would be an inland route, safe within its own territory. But the US would be starting without much of a standing army. At any rate, nothing like what France might be able to send, maybe.

Another very important question would be, naval power, since France would be sending supplies and troops from Europe, unless the French population in Louisiana had grown so greatly, which it might have. There might a fairly sizeable Franco-African population, who might be highly motivated to fight any chance of the US taking Louisiana, for fear of being forced 'back' into slavery for some. France might well take the conflict to there where it might do the most harm to the US, much the same as the British did in the War of 1812. Louisiana itself, aside from New Orleans, might be relegated to a backwater of the conflict with France, staging it's part of the war out of Saint-Domingue onto the Southern Atlantic coast.

And who would France be? Would alt-hist have Napoleon Bonaparte, or a Bourbon King attempting to retain some semblance of a meaningful monarchy on the world stage? So many questions.

Colonel Marbot wrote:It sounds as if you were involved early with the WON development. Thank you for your contributions to the game and your continued support. Your custodianship of this forum with your insight of the game has been vital for many of us.


Not as much as with CW2, but I was there. I'm always glad to help out, where I can.

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