Napoleon's naval breakthroghs.

Bach has said that if bonaparte paid attention to naval tech, he could've won.

I'm intrigued; does anyone wish to elaborate?
 
Im guessing that he meant that if Napoleon had strengthened the French fleet like he did the army they could have put up a better fight against the Royal Navy and forced a draw with Britain or out right invasion and victory. But thats just an off the cuff guess.
 
Arch-Angel said:
Im guessing that he meant that if Napoleon had strengthened the French fleet like he did the army they could have put up a better fight against the Royal Navy and forced a draw with Britain or out right invasion and victory. But thats just an off the cuff guess.
I doubt it, because he tried that. The French navy sucked.
 
Steam and Submarines?

Suppose that Napoleon had invested in some steam tugs? On a windless day, these tugs tow boatloads of troops across the English Channel before anyone can do anything about it. What happens next?
There was also a possibility of using primitive submarines (I believe one was demonstrated in France, IIRC,) to blow up British warships on the blockade--once again on a windless day. This wouldn't have been a war-winner--but doing it at the same time the invasion fleet is steaming across the Channel could have added even more chaos.
 
French naval aristocracy

Another important POD which you'd need to give Napoleon a more effective French Navy is for there to have been a greater retention of pre-Revolution French navy officers, since the skilled naval leaders traditionally came from the aristocratic classes. Hence, OTL, after 1793 France's navy proved no match for the RN, since the majority of worthy naval officers were decimated by the Terror.
 
I'd say with a better recruitment and training (which would have required better officers to do the training, so a return or retention of pre-revolutionary commanders would be called for) the French navy could have become a more serious threat to Britain. If Napoleon had invested anything like the means he poured into his army into his fleet, he could have turned out not one, but many Pomones. If he had kept in touch with the inventors of his day, he could have had shell-firing cannon. If he had for one second given thought to what he needed rather than what he wanted, he could have concentrated on facing the British fleet in his home waters. It would take more than that for the French flag to rival the Union Jack on the high seas (I don't think that'd be an option at that point), but if he had managed tp deliver a crushing blow to, say, the Channel Fleet in 1795-1800 he could probably have managed a more favourable peace. Britain might also be more reluctant to face him again.

However, the development required would have had to take place in the revolutionary era rather than Napoleon's own. Not easy.
 
carlton_bach said:
I'd say with a better recruitment and training (which would have required better officers to do the training, so a return or retention of pre-revolutionary commanders would be called for) the French navy could have become a more serious threat to Britain. If Napoleon had invested anything like the means he poured into his army into his fleet, he could have turned out not one, but many Pomones. If he had kept in touch with the inventors of his day, he could have had shell-firing cannon. If he had for one second given thought to what he needed rather than what he wanted, he could have concentrated on facing the British fleet in his home waters. It would take more than that for the French flag to rival the Union Jack on the high seas (I don't think that'd be an option at that point), but if he had managed tp deliver a crushing blow to, say, the Channel Fleet in 1795-1800 he could probably have managed a more favourable peace. Britain might also be more reluctant to face him again.

However, the development required would have had to take place in the revolutionary era rather than Napoleon's own. Not easy.
Very hard.

The easiest way to do it might be to replace Boney with, say, hoche. He hated the english, and would focus on beating them. OTOH, he might try setting up a british republic, which isn't that likely to work.
 
Melvin Loh said:
Another important POD which you'd need to give Napoleon a more effective French Navy is for there to have been a greater retention of pre-Revolution French navy officers, since the skilled naval leaders traditionally came from the aristocratic classes. Hence, OTL, after 1793 France's navy proved no match for the RN, since the majority of worthy naval officers were decimated by the Terror.
I was under the impression that the Navy was pretty much left alone during the Terror, as ships were so rarely at port, and officers were so few, they were not seen as a threat.

And according to a book I read on this subject, the problem lay in the fact that for years before the Revolution, France's navy had been largely neglected, or at least not advanced as much as Britain's. It also said that, during the Revolution, the French Navy was extremely expanded, but not as much as needed.
 
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