First Italian Campaign |
The Egyptian Campaign |
Second Italian Campaign |
The Ulm-Austerlitz Campaign |
The Prussian Campaign |
The Peninsular War |
The Austrian War |
The Russian Campaign |
From Lützen to Elba |
The Waterloo Campaign
Italian Campaign, 1796-97, continued
Austrians fortified a narrow wooden bridge in Lodi with fourteen
cannons and three battalions, and dared Bonaparte to cross
it. Bonaparte ordered a simple frontal assault on the bridge.
Everything depended on the courage of his men. He had earned
their admiration with his rapid string of victories. Now he
would find out if he also had their faith.
Victory always goes a long way. The more they win the harder
they are to stop. His troops were pretty well hepped up.
They'd been chasing Austrians now for weeks. And they went
are no tactics at all. The troops come in so enthusiastically
and so quickly, it surprises the enemy. Its just a
question of enthusiasm, everyone throws themselves into
it, everyone risked death.
his men facing withering enemy fire, Bonaparte was in the
thick of it.
was actually laying in the cannon, which is a corporal's job.
But he was always up there with em.
is a man with absolute courage. He is wherever he is needed.
If he's needed up at the very front to encourage people,
takes physical risks and even if cannon balls fall close
to him, and this happened on several occasions, he is not
French made it halfway across the bridge but fell back under
a vicious hail of fire. Bonaparte urged them forward and,
in a final charge, they stormed across. The Austrian guns
they thought they were safe behind the river holding the
bridge and all at once the French come across the bridge
and beat the living bejesus out of them. It's a real
spectacular job. It wasn't a big battle. The casualties
were not particularly heavy, but he had imposed his will
on his own men and the enemy both.
was not a great victory. The Austrian army had in fact escaped.
But Bonaparte had won the respect and devotion of his men.
came out all sweaty and grimy and covered with gunsmoke.
The troops liked that. They began calling him the Little
Corporal right there. It was, "You identify with us." Youre
is the moment when he becomes convinced that he has a lucky
star and that hes been chosen to accomplish great
havent seen anything yet," Napoleon told one of
his generals. "In our time, no one has the slightest
conception of what is great. It is up to me to give them an
battle at Lodi convinced Napoleon Bonaparte that he was a
man of destiny. "From
that moment," he said, "I foresaw what I might be. Already
I felt the earth flee from beneath me, as if I were being
carried into the sky."
he ruled in Italy, Bonaparte never stopped chasing the
Austrians. Throughout the autumn of 1796, he whittled
away the Austrian army with victories at Castiglione,
Bassano and Arcole. In March 1797, just two months after
routing the enemy at Rivoli and driving them from northern
Italy, he crossed the Alps into Austria itself, and
by April 7, 1797, was within seventy-five miles of Vienna.
by the advancing French armies, the Austrian Emperor sued
for peace. Bonaparte himself negotiated with the Austrian