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
Ulm-Austerlitz Campaign, 1805
1805 began, Napoleon was planning to cross the English
Channel and invade Great Britain with 2000 ships and
200,000 soldiers. The French and British were at war
once again: irreconcilable enemies struggling for dominance
on the continent of Europe.
the end of summer, Napoleon paraded his soldiers along
the Channel shore, then, to everyones surprise,
ordered them to turn their backs on England, and march
and Russia had joined Britain in an alliance to destroy
him. On September 10, Austria attacked French-controlled
Bavaria. Tens of thousands of Russian soldiers lumbered
forward to unite with their Austrian allies.
soldiers marched deeper and deeper into Europe. Waiting
were two enemy armies that outnumbered them almost two
to one. The Russians and Austrians planned to defeat
the French by sheer force of numbers.
Napoleon saw at once the flaw in the allied strategy.Their
forces were widely dispersed across the continent. By
moving quickly, he could strike at the Austrians before
the Russians arrived.
He will swing in across Germany and cut off the
leading Austrian forces before the Russians can come
up. His plan is just hit first, hit with mass forces,
and catch these boys before they can all link up.
less than six weeks, the French reached the Danube,
catching the Austrian army of General Karl Mack by surprise.
While his enemy wavered, Napoleon struck the decisive
He comes down behind 'em and any sensible general
would have run. But the Austrian General there, Mack,
decided to make a fight of it so he held his position
and Napoleon just whipped his army around him and
isolated him and forced him into surrender just in
a matter of days.
the battlefield near Ulm, 27,000 men surrendered on
October 19. Mack had lost almost his entire army. "I
did not intend to fight any but the English," Napoleon
told the defeated Austrian General, "until your
master came along and provoked me. All empires come
to an end." Now nothing stood between Napoleon and Vienna.
have accomplished my object," Napoleon wrote. "I have
destroyed the Austrian army by simply marching."
Napoleon moved with this great speed, 200,000
men marching 500 miles in 40 days
So there he
has already defeated half the Austrian army.
November 14, Napoleon led his soldiers into Vienna,
the capital of the ancient Austrian Empire. The Emperor
Francis I had fled, leaving his palaces and gardens
to the enemy. Bonaparte triumphantly paraded through
the winding streets. Two months before, he had been
encamped on the English Channel. Now, the Viennese elders
were giving him the keys to their city. But his triumph
had been shadowed by a disaster.
October 21, the British Admiral Horatio Nelson had caught
a French and allied Spanish fleet at Trafalgar and
utterly destroyed it at the cost of his own life. Great
Britain had lost its greatest sailor, but never again
would the French challenge the might of the British
no longer had a fleet he could count on, and now, in
December 1805, the Grand Army itself was in danger.
Although Napoleon had crippled the Austrian army and
driven the Emperor from Vienna, his conquest threatened
to become his undoing.
It is winter, it is December, it is cold. Hes
surrounded by a hostile population. The Russians are
coming to help the Austrians. His troops are dwindling
in number and in supplies. He was almost a thousand
miles from Paris.
of Europe had become a deadly trap. He was deep in the
center of the continent; Prussia was now threatening
to declare war. And on November 22, the Russian and
Austrian armies finally united into a single fighting
force 90,000 allies against 75,000 Frenchmen.
You might say any sensible man would have stopped
and perhaps done a deal with the Russians and the
Austrians. He really had two choices: either to go
back or go forward. Napoleon would never go back.
So he thought, "One more battle."