Despite the tremendous technological advances of the modern era, scholars of military strategy still study the tactics of a general whose armies at one time dominated all of continental Europe: Napoleon. In general, Napoleon’s tactics were based on innovation and the element of surprise. His main objective was the complete destruction of the enemy’s main body. He achieved this feat in different ways according to the situation at hand, but the general principles behind his tactics were the same: keep the enemy at a disadvantage and maintain the initiative.
In battle, Napoleon’s tactics often diverged from the accepted battle plans of the day, one of the reasons for his immense success. Where the situation allowed, he often severed enemy supply lines and communications, creating confusion and putting his enemy at a significant disadvantage before the battle even began. When Napoleon had the luxury of superior numbers, one of his maneuvers was to create a diversion with some of his troops while secretly moving most of his forces around the enemy, enveloping the opposing army. Whenever his forces were outnumbered, he relied on other tactics, one of which was to wedge his army between two concentrations of enemy troops. His forces could then converge on one group at a time, in each case enjoying superior numbers.
Napoleon’s victories in battle did not result only from the tactical surprises he inflicted on his enemy on the battlefield; Napoleon also made notable changes in the manner in which his armies functioned off the battlefield. Most notably, his soldiers learned to live off the land instead of dragging around mile-long baggage trains, as was the custom at the time. This mobility allowed his armies to march faster than the other armies of the day, giving him the ability to make surprising strategic moves that were so crucial for his victories in battle.
Which of the following, if true, would most weaken the author's statement that Napoleon's tactics were based on innovation and the element of surprise?
A) Napoleon's enemies often used his attack patterns when fighting against him after their allies had been defeated by Napoleon using those same tactics.
B) Napoleon was eventually defeated by the unexpected attack of several armies of countries he had previously occupied.
C) Further studies of Napoleon's battle plans show that he always planned every attack carefully and never strayed from those plans during battle.
D) Memoirs of Napoleon's enemies often reported that Napoleon's troops were unpredictable in battle and performed new and unexpected feats.
E) Battle plans of a British general were found showing a planned attack on Napoleon's troops using a strategy previously thought to be one of Napoleon's design.
In this example, the battle plan thought to be Napoleon's could possibly have been copied from a British general, showing that Napoleon's tactics were not innovative. Although it is not obvious that Napoleon copied the attack plan, this answer choice is the only one which offers the possibility of weakening the author's statement.
What may be inferred about other armies during Napoleon's time from the tactics Napoleon used to fight against them?
A) They lacked resourceful and creative generals.
B) Their weaponry was not as effective as that of Napoleon.
C) They never defeated Napoleon.
D) They were not self sufficient.
E) They were no different in structure from Napoleon's armies.
Which of the following is stated in the passage as Napoleon's goal in warfare?
A) obtaining wealth and power
B) surprising the enemy
C) destroying most of the enemy's troops
D) dominating all of continental Europe
E) maintaining the initiative
The author mentions the general principles behind Napoleon's tactics to
A) show that, despite the variety of methods he used, Napoleon had a system underlying his decisions
B) show that Napoleon always operated on the basis of well defined plans
C) compare Napoleon's actions with the accepted battle plans of the day
D) point out that Napoleon was not as flexible in his choice tactics as is commonly presumed
E) argue that Napoleon's tactics were the result of previous planning and not reactions to the activity of his enemies