A discursive look at Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, plus a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

History as Farce [2] - Eylau, Tilsit, Spain...

Never buy a used car from this man, or any of his relatives

Very pleased to get back to the DVD of the French TV mini-series of the pantomime history of the Napoleonic Wars. Last night there were a lot of dealings with the Tsar (seems a nice man, but there's going to be real trouble over Poland, I think), and the Spanish royal family (despicable - Ferdinand VII even speaks with his mouth full, which is a dreadful thing to witness - at least as horrifying as the battle scenes). And then Murat and half a dozen cavalrymen rode through Spain setting fire to thatched cottages - thatched cottages being one of the things Spain is famous for, of course. Tilsit was excellent - much embracing by Napoleon and Alexander on the barge, while the extras of both armies stood on the shore and shouted "Hurrah" on the count of three.

Throughout, the infertility of Josephine and the very apparent fertility of Maria Valewska and a number of other spectacular young ladies kept us all gripped, and Fouché and Talleyrand skulked around and explained the subplots - boo, hiss! About an hour into my session last night, Jean Lannes died, and in his death scene made a very impressive speech about his love for the Emperor, and his fears concerning the long term implications of His Majesty's foreign policy. All authentically quoted from Max Gallo's novel. At this point I was starting to doze off, but I'll be getting back to it to see what happens next.

Napoleon is definitely not a man to trust too much - I'm beginning to have real misgivings about him - but he is certainly more trustworthy than his immediate family, especially that Mme Murat. Very entertaining - I would not recommend it as educational material, but it's excellent fun throughout. The interior sets are really stunning - at one point Talleyrand is summoned to Napoleon's study, which is about the same size as the Parc des Princes, and has to look around to find him. Maybe 25mm scale buildings would not be oversized on the tabletop after all?

More soon.


  1. Do you mean to suggest the Corsican Ogre may not be a gentleman of the utmost probity and good character?

  2. Well, I'm trying hard to keep an open mind, but it is not looking promising on that score.

  3. Poor Nappie always getting bad press, I for one feel sorry for him!!