The Napoleonic Wars (PARTS 1-6)

published on June 30, 2020

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in December 1804 in the Cathedral of

Notre Dame in Paris

Napoleon Bonaparte crowned himself

Emperor of the French Europe had never

seen such a sudden and dramatic rise to

power a son of impoverished Corsican

nobility – military dictator of France

in little more than ten years

revolution and war had cleared

Napoleon's path to the throne war would

dominate his 10-year reign a conflict

unprecedented in history that would

leave millions dead and a continent in

turmoil

[Music]

eight months after Napoleon's coronation

the French Empire and it's Spanish Ally

were at war with Britain and Napoleon

had assembled an army of a hundred and

eighty thousand men along the channel

coast but as long as the British Royal

Navy ruled the Seas invasion was

impossible but nor could Britain

challenge France on land and so British

Prime Minister William Pitt tried to

build a European coalition against

Napoleon using diplomacy and gold

Britain would prove Napoleon's most

steadfast enemy and it's press delighted

in relentless mockery of the French

Emperor Britain and France were old

rivals in Europe and overseas but now

Pitt feared Napoleon's conquests had

made France too powerful the French

Emperor had to be defeated and Europe's

balance of power restored if there was

ever to be lasting peace Pitt found

willing allies in Europe among monarchs

who despised Napoleon as a product of

the French Revolution and a dangerous

threat to the existing order Austria

harbored the deepest grievances having

seen her influence in Germany and Italy

steadily eroded by French victories the

final straw came in May 1805 when

Napoleon had also crowned himself king

of Italy in Milan Austria Russia Sweden

and Naples joined Britain in an alliance

known as the third coalition and devised

an ambitious plan for a series of joint

offensives against France the main

attack would be made by a combined

Ostrow hands across the Rhine into

France but Napoleon got word of their

plans and reacted with typical speed and

decision

he was determined to strike first before

the Allies could join forces and ordered

his army now renamed that cult army to

march to the River Rhine his target was

the Austrian army of general Mac which

had made a premature advance against

Bavaria a French ally and was now

dangerously isolated from the other

allied armies Napoleon ordered marshal

Miura his famously flamboyant cavalry

commander to make faint attacks through

the Black Forest while the rest of his

army advancing at speed enveloped Mack's

army from the north that summer

Napoleon's Grande army was at its most

formidable well trained highly motivated

its regiments at full strength what's

more it had been newly reorganized

according to the core system later

imitated by virtually every army in the

world

each Corps commanded by a marshal was a

mini army of fifteen to thirty thousand

soldiers with its own infantry cavalry

artillery and supporting arms such as

reconnaissance engineers and transport

this meant each core could march and

fight for a limited time independently

allowing Napoleon to break with the old

doctrine of keeping his army

concentrated and advanced with his Corps

widely dispersed

this helps to disguise his real

objective and increased movement speed

because the army could advance along

multiple roads and live off the land

taking its supplies from scattered

villages rather than relying on

slow-moving supply wagons when the

enemy's main force was located the army

could quickly concentrate for battle

this is how Napoleon's army was able to

move that a speed that often surprised

and disorientated his enemies Mac didn't

realize the danger he was in until it

was too late

Napoleon's fast-moving Corps crossed the

Danube behind him and surrounded his

army

Mack launched a series of poorly

coordinated counter-attacks but despite

some desperate fighting the Austrians

couldn't break out of the trap Mack

hoped that Kutuzov's Russian army could

arrive in time to save him but the

Russians were still 160 miles away and

so at home on the 19th of October just

six weeks into the war Mack surrendered

his army to Napoleon

the French took nearly 60,000 Austrian

prisoners and Napoleon had struck his

first devastating blow against the

coalition Russian general Mikhail

Kutuzov

was an experienced and wary commander

more cautious than Mac his army was

exhausted after its 900 mile march from

Russia but hearing of the Austrians

surrender at home and knowing he wasn't

strong enough to face Napoleon alone he

immediately ordered a retreat

Napoleon pursued the Russians fought

several sharp rearguard actions but

could not save the Austrian capital

Vienna which the French occupied on the

12th November

Kutuzov slipped away to all words in

today's Czech Republic where he was

joined by reinforcements as well as

Emperor Alexander of Russia and Emperor

Francis of Austria in person

Napoleon was furious that could herself

had escaped by now his army was also

exhausted and far from home with winter

approaching he needed to force a

decisive battle quickly fortunately for

him the overconfident 27 year old

Russian Emperor sought the glory of

battle overriding the concerns of his

veteran commander general Kutuzov with

the Allied army closing in Napoleon

ordered his Corps to rapidly concentrate

on a battlefield he had carefully

selected near the town of Austerlitz

Napoleon oversaw the dispositions of his

army late into the night

then grabbed a few hours sleep beside a

campfire dawn would mark the first

anniversary of his coronation as Emperor

and promised a battle that would make or

break his young Empire

[Music]

the morning of the second of December

1805 was cold and bright with a heavy

mist two armies of near equal size faced

each other across a seven mile wide

battlefield but the Allies held the high

ground of the pratzen heights while

French Third Corps under marshal dabbu

was still marching to the battlefield

seeing Napoleon's thinly stretched right

flank the Allies planned a large-scale

attack from the pratzen heights to

steamroller the French right before

swinging round to envelop Napoleon's

army little did they know

Napoleon was counting on his weak right

wing luring the Allies into just such a

move whereupon he would launch his own

attack on the prancin heights to cut the

Allied army in half his bold plan relied

on his correct prediction of allied

movements the speedy arrival of Davos

third Corps on his right and a perfectly

timed counter-attack the battle began

around 7 am as Austrian troops of

general kind mayor's advanced guard

clashed with French troops defending the

village of telmex

in the face of overwhelming odds

the French fought stubbornly and bravely

but gradually they were forced back but

the Allies instead of carrying out their

great enveloping attack did nothing the

morning mist and the late arrival of

orders had led to confusion and delay

and it was another hour before the first

three allied columns were on the move

soon fierce fighting erupted around so

Conan's village and castle marshal Devas

Corps which had just force marched 70

miles in two days now arrived to

strength of the French right wing around

9:00 am his lead Infantry Brigade

appeared suddenly through the mist and

retook tonin's before being driven back

in turn by Austrian has ours two more of

Davos brigades reinforced French troops

at circle needs

as the mist began to clear napoleon saw

that as he'd hoped the allied left was

moving off the pratzen heights and he

ordered martial suits forth core to

begin its attack to the alarm of Allied

commanders to French infantry divisions

until now hidden by the mist was

suddenly seen advancing straight towards

the Allied center

general Kutuzov was forced to hurriedly

organize the defense of the heights

using troops of four column

two hours of bloody fighting followed

musket fire was so rapid and furious

that both sides were soon low on

ammunition and turned to the Banat

by 11:00 am the French with the

advantage in training and discipline had

secured the heights and driven a deep

wedge into the allied position to the

north the giant cavalry battle developed

while the Russian force from general

Baratheon's advanced guard

captured the village of bas minutes

before it was halted by cannon fire from

the san tong hill a decisive charge by

six regiments of french heavy cavalry

finally drove back the Allies allowing

marshal lands five Corps to move forward

and seize blasts of its and Krug

now grant you Constantine commanding the

Russian Imperial Guard LED forward this

last allied reserve in a desperate bid

to reclaim the pratzen heights a

battalion of the French fourth line

regiment was charged down by Russian

guard cavalry losing its Eagle standard

in bloody fighting

Napoleon who'd moved up to the heights

sent in his own Guard cavalry in this

grim melee between the elite Horsemen of

both armies the French finally prevailed

Napoleon had broken the allied center

now to close the trap on the allied

left-wing still locked in heavy fighting

around so coordinates around 2 pm

Napoleon ordered four divisions to swing

south and cut off their retreat general

books Houghton commanding the Allied

Left only now saw the danger he was in

attacked from three sides the only

escape was South many of his troops were

forced to flee across frozen ponds

French artillery opened fire trying to

smash the ice with their cannonballs

about 200 men and dozens of horses

drowned in the freezing water but not

the many thousands of Napoleon's

propaganda

the French Emperor had won a brilliant

victory his army had taken more than

10,000 prisoners and captured 45 enemy

standards thousands of dead and wounded

of all sides littered the battlefield

many left untended for days the Battle

of the three Emperor's as it became

known was a crushing blow to the third

coalition as Russian forces retreated

back to Russia Francis the first of

Austria was forced to accept a

humiliating settlement with France

agreeing to pay a 40 million franc

indemnity and give up more territory in

exchange for peace but meanwhile news

had reached Napoleon of a disastrous

franco-spanish defeat at sea off cape

trafalgar British Admiral Lord Nelson at

the cost of his own life that

masterminded a victory so complete that

it ensured British naval dominance not

just for the rest of the war but for the

next 100 years

Britain master of the sea napoleon

unbeatable on-land

the whale and the elephant neither able

to challenge the other in its own domain

when William Pitt receives news of

Napoleon's victory at Austerlitz he's

supposed to have said roll up that map

of Europe it will not be wanted these 10

years a month later

Pitt was dead but his warning that

Europe faced another 10 years of war and

upheaval was to prove prophetic in

December 1805 at the battle of

Austerlitz napoleon bonaparte emperor of

the french won a crushing victory

against the joint forces of austria and

russia napoleon now dominated Europe

able to hand out spoils as he saw fit in

February 1806

he sent an army led by marshal Messina

to overthrow the King of Naples who were

dared to side with his enemies and gave

his throne to his own brother Joseph

instead another brother Louie who was

made king of Holland his German allies

Bavaria and Burton Berg were elevated to

the status of kingdoms while Napoleon

made himself protector of the

Confederation of the Rhine a new

alliance of German states that would

contribute 60,000 troops to his army in

recognition of the new reality Emperor

Francis of Austria formally dissolved

the holy roman empire founded by

Charlemagne a thousand years before but

now without influence or purpose Austria

had been humiliated France remained at

war with Britain Sweden and Russia

but in the summer of 1806 all eyes were

on Prussia

[Music]

the Prussian King Frederick William the

third regarded Napoleon with deep

mistrust and had been about to join the

coalition against him when news arrived

of its disastrous defeat at Austerlitz

he was heavily influenced by his wife

the celebrated and popular Queen Louise

who detested France and Napoleon she led

the influential war party at the

Prussian court matters came to a head

over Hanover a German state which had

belonged to British King George the

third been occupied by the French and

given by Napoleon to Prussia as

compensation for other territorial

changes now the Prussians learned that

Napoleon had secretly offered to give

Hanover back to Britain in exchange for

peace Frederick's advisors now persuaded

him that war was the only honorable

course but Prussia then made a basic

strategic blunder sending an ultimatum

to Napoleon without consulting its new

allies in the fourth coalition their

forces were too far away to help Prussia

who would now face Napoleon's Grande

armée with just the small state of

Saxony for support

[Music]

in 1806 the prussian army had a fearsome

reputation that dated back fifty years

to the reign of Frederick the great

Napoleon a student of history regarded

it with respect but Prussia's army had

been allowed to rest on its laurels its

generals were old its staff work

hindered by bureaucracy and personal

rivalries its movements ponderous and

predictable Prussian soldiers however

could be relied on to fight with pride

and determination while Prussian cavalry

was regarded as amongst the best in

Europe in October 1806 Napoleon invaded

Saxony with an army of a hundred and

sixty-six thousand men and two hundred

and fifty-six guns

advancing in three columns the French

crossed the mountain forests of the

Turing evolved along roads carefully

Rekha noted by scouts and spies Napoleon

intended to threaten leipzig and force a

decisive battle with the Prussian army

which he believed was near gira the

Prussians were in fact further west

concentrating near air force on the west

bank of the river Salah its commander

the Duke of Brunswick had hoped to

threaten the flank of Napoleon's advance

but wrong-footed by the speed of the

French he now ordered a retreat north to

find a new defensive line on the 10th of

October at Saalfeld Marshall lands fifth

Corps clashed with a Prussian advance

guard commanded by Prince Louis

Frederick the Kings chasm

the Prussian force was routed and Prince

Louie himself killed in combat with a

quartermaster of the French tenth whose

arse

three days later LAN made contact with a

large Prussian force near Jana and sent

news to Napoleon the French Emperor

believing he'd found the main Prussian

army rapidly issued orders for his Corps

to concentrate for battle at llena

bernadotte's first core and davos third

core were to cross the sala and fall on

the prussian flank from the north but

Napoleon was wrong

LAN faced a 35,000 strong Prussian

rearguard commanded by General Howe

handler the main Prussian army 52,000

men under the Duke of Brunswick was

further north moving straight into the

path of Davos 3rd Corps the Battle of

llena began at 6:30 am on the 14th of

October in thick fog marshal lands 5th

corps already had a toehold on the

plateau west of the town and river his

first task was to drive back the

Prussians and win room for the rest of

the French army arriving by the hour to

deploy his infantry led the way and

fierce fighting broke out for the

villages of cos beta

cluesive it's a loot Sirona

meanwhile OSHA rose seventh core

advanced through a ravine emerging onto

the plateau on lands left flank while

salts fourth core climbs deep tracks to

form on his right

Napoleon joined LAN in the center of the

battlefield organizing a 25 gun battery

to support the attack on verts and

Halligan the village was one but then

lost to a determined Prussian

counter-attack

on the right around 10 am

salts infantry secured close of its but

was counter-attacked on its right flank

near road Egan a decisive charge by

salts light cavalry drove off the

Prussians routing their infantry and

capturing two enemy colors as 6th Corps

began to arrive on the plateau its

fearless but impetuous commander marshal

ney ignored orders and dived into the

fighting around vitsin Heilig on

becoming briefly cut off by a Prussian

counter-attack and having to be rescued

by Guard cavalry general Howe and lower

was expecting the arrival of 15,000 more

troops under general Rochelle at any

moment until then he remained largely

inactive shoring up his line and

ordering limited counter-attacks but he

had run out of time Napoleon had begun

the day with just 25 thousand men by

12:30 a steady stream of reinforcements

that brought his strength up to 96

thousand as the Emperor rode past the

Imperial Guard one young soldier eager

to be sent into action called out

forward napoleon stopped and demanded to

know who had spoken then rebuked the

soldier as a beardless youth who ought

not to offer advice until he too had

commanded in 30 battles

but the moment had arrived

although the guard to its frustration

remained in reserve the other French

Corps were ordered forward in a general

attack the Prussian army began to give

ground at first it kept its discipline

but then disintegrated into a general

rout harrah's cavalry were launched in

pursuit

riding down and sabering hundreds of

fleeing Prussians general Rachelle's two

divisions finally arrived at the worst

possible moment they briefly held up

fifth cause advance but were soon

outflanked broken up by cannon fire and

charged down by French could se Aires

[Music]

meanwhile 12 miles to the north near our

state marshal dafu was marching

Southwest expecting to fall on the

Prussian left wing at yenna

instead he encountered the Duke of

Brunswick Maine Prussian army heading

north to take up new positions Davos 3rd

corps 27,000 men and 48 guns was about

to face odds of two to one while

bernadotte's first corps which had

orders to support davao was nowhere to

be seen

Davao nicknamed the iron marshal showed

no signs of alarm he formed his first

division into a defensive line centered

on the village of Hasan housen his

infantry forming squares to repel a

series of cavalry charges by general

blue hairs advance guard

his other two infantry division's

arrived to strengthen the light standing

firm in the face of repeated Prussian

attacks but Prussian movements were slow

and poorly coordinated nor did they use

their numerical advantage to try and

outflank davu at a crucial moment the

Duke of Brunswick was shot through the

eyes but wound that proved fatal King

Frederick William himself took command

several Prussian unit's remained

uncommitted but the King convinced he

faced the main French army under

Napoleon dithered around 12:15 marshal

de veau counter-attacks the Prussian

army turned and fled

Dabu had won a stunning victory against

the odds but as a heavy price his core

suffered 25% casualties

one man in four killed or wounded while

inflicting twice as many losses on the

Prussians

[Music]

when news reached Napoleon that marshal

davu had engaged and defeated the main

Prussian army he reacted first with

disbelief then heaps preys upon the iron

marshal later awarding him the title

Duke of our stat marshal Bernadotte

in contrast was nearly court-martialed

for failing to support davu Napoleon's

army began a masterful pursuit of the

beaten Prussians giving them no time to

regather their strength two weeks after

the twin battles of llena our stott

Napoleon's troops led by Devas heroic

3rd Corps entered Berlin the next day

General Howe and loja surrendered at

Prince law at Lubeck general Blucher and

20,000 Prussians were driven out of the

city in heavy fighting and forced to

surrender while 25,000 Prussians

besieged at Magdeburg surrendered to

marshal ney brush's army had been

devastated by a Napoleonic blitzkrieg in

just 33 days Prussia had lost 20,000

dead 140,000 prisoners

800 guns and 250 standards

it was a humiliation that proud

Prussians like general blue care would

neither forget nor forgive

unlike Saxony King Frederick William

refused to make peace with Napoleon he

continued to hold out in East Prussia

trusting in the approaching Russian

armies to rescue his kingdom despite

another glorious victory for Napoleon

and the Grande armée the war was not won

yet

[Music]

one week before Christmas 1806 french

emperor napoleon bonaparte arrived in

the polish city of warsaw then part of

prussia

a year had passed since his great

victory over the Austrians and Russians

at Austerlitz and two months since he'd

hammered the Prussians at yenna but

Russia still had powerful forces in the

field the most important of which was

the Russian first army commanded by

General Bennigsen Napoleon would not be

master of Europe until it was defeated

and Russia and Prussia forced to make

peace

but that winter Napoleon's first

attempts to trap Bennigsen hippo tusks

got bogged down in think polish mud

the Russians withdrew to buy our stock

the French army half-starved and frozen

was ordered into winter quarters while

in Warsaw Napoleon began a famous affair

with a young Polish noblewoman Marie

Valeska in the late 18th century the

once-mighty polish-lithuanian

commonwealth had been swallowed up by

its neighbours Russia Austria and

Prussia in a series of annexations known

as partitions until in 1795 a third and

final partition wiped Poland off the map

now polish Patriots looked to Napoleon

as their savior praying that his

victories against their occupiers would

lead to the rebirth of a Polish state

Marie Valeska became Napoleon's mistress

in order to further this course

ordinary French soldiers however had

little love for Poland it was

impoverished freezing and they missed

home desertion rates soared there were

even a hundred cases of suicide marshal

ney commanding 6th Corps sent patrols

towards house Berg looking for better

quarters what they found were Russian

and Prussian soldiers on the move they'd

stumbled into a surprise winter attack

by Bennigsen Napoleon quickly made a

track for the Russian army ordering May

and Bernadotte to retreat and lure

Bennigsen West but he led the rest of

the army north to fall on his flank and

rear

[Music]

but the Russians captured a French

courier carrying the Emperor's orders to

marshal Bernadotte

Bennigsen now warmed of the trap ordered

a retreat fighting a series of rare

guard skirmishes against the pursuing

French but he refused to give up the

city of königsberg without a fight and

turned to give battle at a loud

the Battle of a Lao fought over two days

was one of the most brutal of the

napoleonic wars fought in freezing

conditions with neither side backing

down

marshal OSHA rose seventh corps

advancing into the face of a snowstorm

lost its way and was cut to pieces by

Russian cannon fire five French eagles

were lost

Napoleon's army was only saved by a

devastating massed cavalry charge by ten

thousand horsemen led by the fearless

marshal Mira and remembered as one of

the great cavalry charges in history at

a Lao for the first time as Emperor

Napoleon failed to win a clear victory

on the battlefield he and the Russians

covered up the true scale of their

losses but both sides are estimated to

have lost a third of their armies in the

carnage after the horrors of allow both

armies sought time to rest and recover

meanwhile the newly formed French 10th

Corps under martial law Febvre

besieged Danzig held by 13,000 Prussians

under general calculus the city came

under heavy French bombardment and

infantry assault after eight weeks with

no prospect of reinforcements the

Prussian garrison surrendered on the

27th of May Napoleon's northern sea

flank was now secure against any

possible Russian landing the French

Emperor now commanded an army 190,000

strong against just 115,000 Russian and

Prussian troops

but it was Bennigsen who moved first

launching a surprise attack against nays

sixth call on the 5th of June ney

conducted a brilliant fighting

withdrawal and escaped Bennigsen having

lost the element of surprise and with

Napoleon advancing retreated once more

four days later at Hales bird the French

lost ten thousand men in a botched

assault against Russian defenses but the

Russians continued their retreat the

next day

Napoleon thought Bennigsen would head

north to Koenigsberg but instead he

retreated northeast keeping to the east

bank of the ala River

so when napoleon's army marched north

it was marshal lands reserve corps on

his right flank that next encountered

the russian army near the small town of

Friedland

[Music]

in the late afternoon of the 13th of

June Russian cavalry Scouts informed

general Bennigsen that they'd found a

single French Corps at Freedland

Bennigsen decided he had time to cross

the alo river and smash this isolated

Corps before the rest of the French army

could arrive to save it but he ordered

his army to begin crossing the river

Marshall land commanding 16,000 man and

facing 46,000 Russians sent an urgent

message to Napoleon but he was under

attack from the main Russian army then

he fought a skillful delaying action

hiding the weakness of his force behind

a large screen of skirmishes while

gradually yielding ground to the enemy

land was still holding off the Russians

because darkness fell that night Russian

engineers built three pontoon bridges at

Freedland to speed the movement of

troops over the river but Bennigsen was

taking a huge risk

if this turned into a major battle his

army would have to fight with its back

to the river and the steep banks of the

Mill Stream dividing its left wing from

its right Bennigsen had also badly

underestimated the speed at which

Napoleon's called army would react the

first French reinforcements arrived that

night

the Emperor himself wasn't far behind

[Music]

[Music]

by Dawn the 14th of June about 40,000

Russians had crossed to the west bank of

the algorithm Bennigsen ordered an

attack on the village of Heinrich Stav

to turn the French left flank but French

cavalry reinforcements led by general

GRU she intercepted the Russians in more

than an hour of charge and

counter-charge the French horsemen

finally drove the Russians back marshal

mati airs 8th score now arrived to

reinforce the French Center

in short Lockwood general Odie knows

elite Grenadier division fort stubbornly

against the Prince parity on his left

wing there was outnumbered by the

Russians and gradually pushed back

around noon on a sweltering day Napoleon

himself arrived

he was soon followed by first Corps

commanded by General Victor standing in

for the wounded marshal Bernadotte as

well as nays 6th Corps and the Imperial

Guard under marshal Bessy air

the date the 14th of June held special

significance for Napoleon it was the

seventh anniversary of his great victory

over the Austrians at Marengo but good

omen he declared the battle then entered

a lull as Napoleon assess the situation

saw Bennigsen 'he's dangerous position

and issued orders for an attack to take

advantage of it

Bennigsen meanwhile who was tormented by

ill health throughout the day saw that

he now faced the full might of

Napoleon's army and issued orders for a

retreat

[Music]

but before Bennigsen retreat could get

underway at 5:30 pm 3 salvos from the

French guns signaled the start of

Napoleon's attack it was led by neighs

6th Corps on the right wing who first

cleared Bhagwati ons infantry from Salt

Lake wood but as neighs troops left the

cover of the trees they came under heavy

fire from Russian Canon across the river

as the French attack faltered Prince

Bagration rallied his men and launched a

cavalry counter-attack neighs call

retreated but now general Victor's 1st

Corps came up on his left its artillery

commander general Sonam on advanced with

30 guns blasted the Russians of

point-blank range with case shot

hundreds of Russians were moaned down

within minutes under this onslaught but

gratins men began to waver and then

retreat around 7:00 pm the Russian

Imperial Guard launched a desperate

counter-attack to try to halt the French

advance on freedom but they were

outnumbered and outgunned as exploding

shells began to start fires in Freedland

the french centre and left-wing joined

the attack with its only escape route

under threat the entire russian army

began a panicked retreat towards the

river but Friedman's houses and bridges

were now ablaze and the town became a

deadly trap for the Russians many were

drowned trying to cross the river others

killed or captured north of Friedland

some units were able to escape across a

fort or along the riverbank but there

was no disguising the Russians terrible

defeat

the Battle of Friedland was one of the

most decisive victories of Napoleon's

career at the cost of 10,000 casualties

he had inflicted twice as many losses on

the Russians about 20,000 men killed

wounded or taken prisoner

40% of Bennigsen sarpy the Prussians

abandoned Konigsberg the next day which

was occupied by suits fourth Corps while

Bennigsen shattered army retreated

across the river Neman into Russia Czar

[Music]

Alexander's advisers implored him to

make peace with Napoleon he accepted

their advice and a ceasefire was agreed

[Music]

Alexander and Napoleon met for the first

time aboard a raft in the middle of the

river Niemann near Tilsit and developed

an immediate rapport Tilsit proved to be

one of history's great diplomatic

summits as the two emperor's fated each

other for days with banquets parades and

concerts then discussed affairs late

into the night a friendship of sorts

developed while Russia's former Ally

King Frederick William of Prussia was

left out in the cold and it was Prussia

who would lose most in the treaties of

Tilsit signed two weeks later one-third

of Prussian territory was taken away to

create the new kingdom of Westphalia to

be ruled by Napoleon's 22 year old

brother zero and the Duchy of Warsaw to

be ruled by the King of Saxony which

polish Patriots hoped would prove a

stepping stone on the road to their own

state polish troops were recruited into

the Grande armée with Polish Lancers

even forming part of Napoleon's elite

imperial guard Russia only had to give

up the Ionian Islands as Alexander

accepted an alliance with Napoleon that

left the French Emperor Master of Europe

Alexander even agreed to join the

Continental System Napoleon's economic

blockade of Great Britain which banned

British ships and goods from all French

controlled ports the system had been

established the previous winter by

Napoleon's Berlin decree Napoleon hoped

that by cutting off British trade with

Europe he'd cause financial chaos and

political upheaval in Britain allowing

him to make a favorable peace there was

just one problem

the Continental System didn't work not

only was it impossible to enforce and

undermined by widespread smuggling the

system damaged French trade just as much

as British trade the decisive weapon in

this economic war would prove to be the

British Royal Navy which that summer

ensured its continued naval dominance by

launching a preemptive strike against

the neutral Danish fleets at Copenhagen

capturing their warships before they

could fall into napoleon's hands Royal

Navy squadrons blockaded all major

French ports seizing any ships trading

with France while insuring British

merchants could continue to trade

overseas in relative safety

the Navy even seized the tiny Danish

island of Heligoland as a base for

smuggling British goods into Europe but

most disastrously for Napoleon the

Continental System would draw him into

two conflicts that proved ruinous phase

Empire the first would be fought in the

Iberian Peninsula where Napoleon decided

to force Britain's ally Portugal to join

the Continental System

in November 1807 French troops supported

by their Spanish Ally invaded the

country the Portuguese royal family fled

to their colony of Brazil as the French

occupied Lisbon without a fight

it looked as though Napoleon had won yet

another easy victory but the Peninsular

war was just beginning

[Music]

in the autumn of 1807 french emperor

napoleon bonaparte

dominated Europe he had humbled Austria

and Prussia and sealed an alliance with

Russia of the major powers only Britain

still defied him safe from invasion

thanks to its powerful Navy Napoleon had

ordered all territory controlled by

France or its allies to stop trading

with Britain the so-called Continental

System or blockade designed to wreck

Britain's economy and force its

government to make peace but neutral

Portugal had continued to trade with its

historic ally Britain so Napoleon sent

an army under general Juno to occupy the

country and force it into line the

invasion was supported by Frances ally

Spain

though privately Napoleon held Spain's

rulers in contempt the Bourbon royal

family was decadent and corrupt the king

and crown prince loathed each other

while the country was effectively run by

chief minister manuel Godoy the Queen's

lover Spain

Napoleon concluded was backwards

militarily weak and incompetent they

governed and he devised a plan to seize

control of the country

in the spring of 1808 under the pretext

of guarding Spain against the British

French troops took up strategic

positions around the country the Spanish

people saw the French military presence

as the latest in a long line of

humiliations and held chief minister

manuel Godoy responsible there were

riots at the palace of Aram where Godoy

was nearly lynched Napoleon invited the

Spanish royal family and Godoy to take

refuge in the French city of Bayon and

sent marshal Mira and fifty thousand

troops to restore order in Madrid

but on the 2nd of May 1808 the people of

Madrid rose up against your ass soldiers

it became known as the dost DeMaio

uprising immortalized by the artist

Francisco Goya this scene shows mama

Luke's of Napoleon's Imperial Guard

attacked by the citizens of Madrid a

hundred soldiers were killed

the French responded ruthlessly shooting

down dozens in the streets at executing

more than a hundred by firing squad

meanwhile in Bayonne Napoleon forced

King Carlos to abdicate had bestowed the

title king of Spain on his own brother

Joseph

[Music]

that summer as Napoleon forced a new

modernizing constitution on Spain and

his brother Joseph entered Madrid as its

new king

the Spanish reacted with fury the French

weren't just arrogant foreigners

trampling on their national honour they

were godless atheists who during the

French Revolution had rejected the Pope

and Catholic Church

Napoleon priests swarmed the peasants

was the very Antichrist himself revolts

erupted across the country the Spanish

army was joined by militias and

partisans who attacked French troops and

killed collaborators French soldiers

carried out savage reprisals no mercy

was shown the countless atrocities

horrified Francisco Goya had led to his

famous disasters of war series

at first it seemed the French would

easily put down the revolt Girona

Valencia and Zaragoza were besieged by

French troops while the Spanish army of

Galicia was routed by marshal Bessy air

at the Battle of Medina Del Rio Seco but

8 days later as general dupa and three

French divisions withdrew from Cordova

slowed down by wagons piled high with

loot they were surrounded and belen by

general Castaignos army of Andalusia and

forced to surrender the Spanish took

18,000 French prisoners about half of

whom later died of starvation Berlin was

a humiliation for France her first major

defeat since Napoleon became Emperor

France's enemies across Europe were

delighted Napoleon was incandescent with

fury the situation went from bad to

worse the Portuguese joined the revolt

while fierce Spanish resistance forced

the French to abandon the sieges of

Valencia Girona

and Sarah Gotha Spain's new king Joseph

Bonaparte was even forced to flee the

capital the British assisted the revolt

which the Spanish now called a war of

independence by shipping weapons to

Spain using the Royal Navy on the 1st of

August a small British army commanded by

Sir Arthur Wellesley landed in Portugal

to aid their revolt on the 17th of

August he beat a small French force at

releases then four days later beat

Juno's main army at the Battle of Vomero

but Wells Lee's newly arrived superior

say Hugh Dalrymple then agreed to

repatriate juno and his army to france

with all their arms and plunder using

british ships in britain the generous

terms were seen as it is grace and

scandal a subsequent inquiry exonerated

Wellesley the future Duke of Wellington

but Dalrymple never held command again

Napoleon decided the only way to sort

out the situation in Spain was to go

there himself he assembled a hundred and

thirty thousand reinforcements including

many of his best troops and on the

seventh of November led a second

invasion of Spain most Spanish troops

were inexperienced were often badly

equipped and led and their armies had no

coherent strategy they were no match for

the Grande armée which burst across the

Ebro River and inflicted heavy defeats

on the Spanish at Bourgas and to Dale at

a two-day Air Marshal lands 3rd Corps

avenged the defeat at Berlin by smashing

the army of general Castaignos sending

it fleeing in two directions napoleon

pushed on rapidly

north of Madrid 8,000 Spanish held the

mountain pass at Zama Sierra Napoleon

impatient to break through to the

capital ordered forward the Polish late

horse of the guard in an attack of

almost suicidal bravery they charged the

Spanish guns head-on

and enabled the French to take the pass

four days later after Napoleon

threatened to obliterate the city Madrid

opened its gates to his army unaware of

the disaster engulfing Spanish forces a

20,000 strong British Army commanded by

Sir John Mohr had just arrived in

Salamanca after a 300 mile march from

Lisbon with another smaller force on

route from caronia the British Army was

inexperienced but in contrast to most

Spanish forces it was well-trained

organized and led

[Music]

as news reached more of the Spanish

collapse he nevertheless planned to

divert French forces by attacking

Marshall salts isolated second Corps and

threatening Napoleon's communications to

pogos and France at Sahgal on the 21st

of December the British 15th US ours

advanced overnight through winter frost

and made a dawn attack on a French

cavalry Brigade routing it in one great

charge but as more prepared a full-scale

attack on sults Corps he received news

that Napoleon was advancing rapidly

towards him with his main army from

Madrid

while to French core under marshal LAN

began a second bloody siege of Zaragoza

Napoleon saw a chance to get to grips

with the British at last intending to

trap more between his own forces and

salts second Corps he force marched his

troops over the icy guadarrama pass in

the midst of a blizzard more are facing

odds of more than two to one immediately

ordered a retreat planning to march 250

miles to the coast

where's army could be evacuated by the

Royal Navy for both sides

the race to the sea was an exhausting

slog through mountains mud a bitter cold

many fell by the wayside as British

discipline collapsed leading to looting

and drunkenness except among the

rearguard which fought several skillful

delaying actions have kept the French at

bay soldiers of Britain's elite 95th

rifles were prominent in these

skirmishes this specialized Light

Infantry Regiment wore green uniforms

for better concealment and were one of

the few units on any side armed with

rifles unlike the standard smoothbore

musket rifles had spiral grooves in the

barrel that spun the bullet as it was

fired making them slower to load but

much more accurate

in one legendary incidents during

Moore's retreat as cacabelos rifleman

Tom Plunkett picked out and shot dead a

French general at 400 yards some say

further thanks to the skill of the

rearguard and the desperate pace of the

retreat the British kept one step ahead

of the French on New Year's Eve

Napoleon received grave news from Paris

rumours of plots and Austria mobilizing

once more for war the Emperor

immediately left for France taking many

of his best troops with him and

entrusted marshal salt and second corps

with finishing off the British the

pursuit continued but on the 11th of

January 1809 mores ragged army reached

caronia for Sir John was exhausted army

the Spanish port meant supplies rest and

the prospect of rescue but few ships

were there to meet them on the 11th

fortunately the British had been able to

blow up bridges behind them to delay

marshal suits advance and three days

later on the 14th of January the naval

transports arrived allowing more to

begin embarking his cavalry and

artillery

but the very next day salts army

appeared on the hills south of Caronia

taking up positions of the heights of

Pena's guido where he cited his main

battery of cannon half of mors army

deployed in a defensive line two miles

south of the city with two divisions

held back to protect his right flank

both armies were roughly 16,000 strong

the French had four regiments of

dragoons while the British cavalry was

already aboard ship but the broken

terrain of walls hedges and olive trees

made it a battlefield ill-suited to

cavalry salts plan was to attack the

British right flank and trapped Moore's

army against the sea around 2 pm the

French artillery opened fire then

mermaid's infantry division advanced

supported by Lihue sayz dragoons on his

left Moore had been unsure if salt would

attack and had just ordered Paget's

division to begin embarkation now he

hurriedly canceled that order ordering

Paget instead to bring up his men to

reinforce his open flank and Fraser's

division to take up position on the

heights of Santa Margherita the French

advanced through hedges and over walls

with heavy firing from skirmishes on

both sides then the British

counter-attacks

the forty-second Highlanders and 50th

foot charged into the village of Albania

and drove the French out but in confused

fighting they in turn were soon pushed

back to their own lines

Sir John Moore was close to the front

line observing developments urging on

officers and men but as he ordered up

the guards brigade to reinforce the line

he was hit in the shoulder by a

cannonball

he remained conscious but it was obvious

the wound was fatal and he was carried

back to the city suit sent forward

Merrill's division to support the attack

on Albania Scottish general Sir John

Hope had taken over command of the

British Army from the dying more and he

ordered forward two battalions of

infantry to meet the French attack

Paget's division led by skirmishes of

the 95th rifles arrived to shore up the

British right flank the terrain was so

bad for horses that French dragoons

chose to dismount and fight on foot but

were slowly pushed back by the British

Paget's advance threatened the flank of

mermaid's attack on Elvina

and he too was forced to withdraw while

the attack on the right by della bards

infantry secured a foothold in the

village of Piedra longer but got bogged

down in heavy skirmishing around 6 pm

dusk fell and firing died out across the

battlefield news that the British line

had held reached more shortly before he

died in Kiruna around 8 pm that night

the British lit campfires and posted

sentries then silently withdrew to

caronia to begin embarkation the next

morning the French found the enemy

positions abandoned

but they were slow to take advantage

it wasn't until noon that they were able

to bring up six Cannon and get them into

position overlooking the Bay of Caronia

the British had almost completed their

evacuation by the time the French guns

opened fire in a hurried departure a few

British transports ran aground and two

were set on fire but overall losses were

light a small Spanish garrison held

Karuna waiting until the British fleet

had escaped to sea before surrendering

[Music]

[Music]

whether Moore's retreat to Caronia was a

British disaster or miraculous escape is

still debated and did he abandon Spain

in its hour of need or draw off

Napoleon's main force buying time for

others

either way Britain's only army had been

saved and would return to fight another

day

while Napoleon now faced the prospect of

a long war on the Iberian Peninsula and

renewed conflict with Austria a war on

two fronts that would challenge his

empire like never before

Napoleon had blundered in Spain but it

was years before the scale of his

mistake was evident then he would say I

embarked pretty badly on this affair I

admitted the immorality showed to

obviously the injustice was too cynical

the whole of it remains very ugly

[Music]

in 1809 France under Napoleon Bonaparte

was the most powerful nation in Europe

but the French Emperor's invasion of

Spain and Portugal the previous year had

failed to deliver the easy victory he'd

expected and with many of Napoleon's

best troops and commanders now tied down

in Spain an old enemy prepared to

challenge France once more

[Music]

Austria had been preparing for war with

France since her last humiliating defeat

at Austerlitz in 1805 now with Napoleon

busy in Spain and a British promise of

cash subsidies plus a supporting attack

in northern Europe it looked like the

ideal time to strike this time Austria's

armies would be led by Archduke Charles

Emperor Francis's younger brother at 37

he was 2 years younger than a bolian but

already had 15 years experience of high

command and he was learning from past

defeats he'd begun to reform the

Austrian army along French lines copying

Napoleon's Corps system and introducing

new infantry tactics

Napoleon warned by his spies that

Austria was preparing for war left Spain

and raced back to Paris arriving on the

24th of January 1809 the French army in

Germany commanded by marshal Bertier who

would need urgent reinforcements so

Napoleon summoned units from Spain

called up young conscripts and soldiers

from his German allies in the

Confederation of the Rhine the Cong

d'armes was no longer the finely honed

instrument of 1805 but with Napoleon at

its head it was still a formidable force

Archduke Charles ordered diversionary

attacks in Poland and northern Italy but

launched his main attack against Frances

ally Bavaria on the 10th of April it

came a week earlier than Napoleon had

expected and caught the French Emperor

by surprise

Charles was relying on a rapid advance

but a last-minute change of plans

torrential rain and a slow-moving

baggage train slowed progress to a crawl

marshal Beth ei was a brilliant chief of

staff to Napoleon but an indecisive

field commander his forces were too

widely dispersed that marshal Davos 3rd

corps was dangerously isolated at

Regensburg Charles ordered his Corps to

converge and destroy it but on the 17th

of April Napoleon arrived at Donovan to

take over command he immediately ordered

a vote to withdraw from his exposed

position it was too late for him to

escape without a fight

now whose Third Corps was one of the

best in the cold armed a and in a

fast-moving battle across wooded hills

the heroes of our stand

threw back the Austrians despite the

heroism of general major liechtenstein

badly wounded leading his troops forward

3rd corps escaped the encirclement

the Battle of Tigan has was the start of

Napoleon's so-called four-day campaign

first he used marshal lefebvre's

Bavarian seventh corps and a provisional

corps under marshal LAN to drive a wedge

into the austrian army then he pursued

its left-wing towards lands who'd

believing he was following the main

austrian army french troops and their

German allies stormed the towns bridge

to win a hard-fought victory but

Napoleon realized that Archduke Charles

was not at LANs hood and that once again

he'd left marshal davu to face the main

enemy force sending marshal Bessy air in

pursuit of the Austrian left-wing

Napoleon swung north falling on the

Austrian fourth Corps a tecmo the French

and their German allies won their fourth

victory in as many days

but Charles's main force was still

intact and hoping to keep it so he

ordered a rapid retreat across the

danube the French pursued storming the

walled city of Regensburg which they

knew as rat is born with its vital stone

bridge Napoleon put marshal LAN in

charge of the assault when the attack

faltered LAN threatened to lead the next

charge in person and his men suitably

chastised took the city during the siege

Napoleon was hit in the foot by a spent

bullet causing widespread alarm but it

proved to be a superficial wound

stubborn Austrian resistance had allowed

Archduke Charles and his army to escape

across the Danube Napoleon had cut the

Austrian army in half but both sections

now retreated in good order towards

Vienna

Napoleon led his forces in pursuit

detaching lefebvre's Bavarian Corps to

deal with a popular revolt in Turrell

and 3rd corps and the virgin burg 8th

corps to guard his line of

communications

Charles chose not to defend the capital

which surrendered on the 13th of May

after a short bombardment instead

Charles and the Austrian army lay in

wait across the Danube Napoleon was now

down to 80,000 men facing 110,000

Austrians

[Music]

Charles's army had fought bravely and

well throughout the campaign but

Napoleon still had a low opinion of

Austrian troops and decided to attack

on the night of the 20th of May French

engineers hastily built a series of

floating bridges between the river

islands of the Danube and French troops

began to cross

[Music]

by noon the next day Napoleon had most

of Mussina's fourth Corps and his

cavalry across the river about 24,000

men and 40 guns holding the villages of

Aspern a nestling Napoleon expected the

Austrians to retreat once more and that

he'd only faced a rearguard but reports

soon arrived that the entire Austrian

army was advancing against him in five

attack columns 90,000 men and 300 cannon

the situation got even worse the

Austrians began to float heavy barges

and obstacles downriver to smash through

the flimsy French bridge each time

Napoleon's only supply route was cut off

for several hours causing critical

delays to the arrival of reinforcements

and ammunition the battle began around

2:45 pm as infantry of the Austrian

first column attacked Aspern the village

was soon under attack from three sides

general Mali tours French garrison clung

on desperately fighting hand to hand in

the streets and suffering 50% casualties

to support the defenders of Aspern

Napoleon ordered cavalry to charge the

Austrian third column but they could not

break through the Austrian infantry

closed up in their battalion mass

formation at 6:00 pm Archduke Charles

ordered General Vella guards 2nd column

to take Aspern at any cost

Charles himself rode among the front

ranks urging the men forward in

ferocious fighting the Austrians took

the village napoleon immediately sent in

newly arrived reinforcements to

recapture it about the same time the

Austrian fourth column began its attack

on the village of Esley where marshal

LAN had taken charge of defenses while

he waited for his own court across the

Danube the first Austrian assault was

repulsed

the veteran French cavalry commander

general disbanded led his curious in

pursuit but was hit by grapeshot

and died of his wounds

around 9:00 pm the Austrian fifth

column finally arrived in position and

made its first attack against Tesla

which was thrown back by lands troops as

night fell

firing died out across the battlefield

and men got what rest they could among

the dead and the wounded

overnight second Corps and the Imperial

Guard crossed the Danube to reinforce

Napoleon's army which now numbered

seventy one thousand and a hundred and

fifty guns but then the bridge broke

again leaving de whose 3rd Corps still

waiting to cross nevertheless Napoleon

decided to attack using second Corps to

break the Austrian Center but first a

spur would have to be retaken heavy

fighting broke out in the village before

dawn by 7:00 am it was back in French

hands nestling fresh Austrian attacks

were fought off by general LaSalle's

cavalry and units of the young guard

with both flanks secure Napoleon

launched his main attack in the center

with man's second Corps Austrian guns

poured fire into the advancing French

ranks general salty lair leading the

attack a hero of Austerlitz and yenna

had his foot blown off that proved fatal

Archduke Charles sent his grenadiers

reserve forward to strengthen the line

the French infantry and the torrential

fire began to fall back at this critical

moment the French bridge over the Danube

was broken again halting the vital flow

of reinforcements and ammunition to

Napoleon's army by 2:00 pm the French

had been driven out of Aspern once more

heavy fighting continued in Esley which

was briefly captured by the Austrians

then retaken by the young guard

Napoleon knew his army could do no more

at 4:00 pm he ordered his exhausted

cavalry to make a blast charge to keep

the enemy at bay

then gave the order to retreat Archduke

Charles whose own army had suffered huge

losses and was low on ammunition was

content to watch the French withdraw to

the island of loba in the final moments

of the battle marshal land one of

Napoleon's finest commanders and closest

friends was hit by a cannonball that

smashed both his legs he died of his

wounds a week later it was a deep blow

to the Emperor

[Music]

the two-day battle of Aspern Esley was

Napoleon's first major defeat caused by

his overconfidence and hasty planning

both sides suffered heavy losses and

Napoleon avoided a much greater disaster

only because of the exhaustion of the

Austrian army the French Emperor had

learned new respect for the Austrians

under Archduke Charles they had fought

bravely with greater confidence

organization and leadership within days

of his defeat Napoleon had summoned

reinforcements to join him on the Danube

and began planning his revenge

in May 1809 the Austrians had defeated

Napoleon's army in the bloody battle of

asper his enemies took heart after years

of French military dominance it seemed

the tide was turning at the last three

weeks later Pope Pius the seventh

excommunicated Napoleon for annexing pay

for land another propaganda coup phase

enemies but in the wake of its victory

Austria hesitated not sure whether to

seek peace or continue the war while

Napoleon responded with a hurricane of

activity he summoned reinforcements to

join him near Vienna the army of Italy

under his stepson agenda born a and 11th

Corps under marshal Marmol who together

driven Archduke John's Austrian army out

of North Italy as well as marshal

bernadotte's Saxon 9th corps Napoleon's

army grew from ninety thousand to a

massive 164 thousand men and 544 guns to

take on Charles's army of one hundred

and twenty eight thousand and four

hundred and fourteen guns six weeks

after his first attempt had ended in

defeat Napoleon ordered his army to

cross the river once more this time his

engineers had built solid bridges across

the Danube to ensure there was no repeat

of the disasters of Aspern for the

French army Napoleon declared the Danube

no longer exists the stage was set for

the largest battle yet seen in European

history

[Music]

on the evening of the 4th of July in

heavy rain the French began crossing

from the island of low bow not towards

the devastated villages of Aspern at

esli but east towards grouse ends our

stove which was soon ablaze from French

shelves

Archduke Charles have left only a small

advance guard to delay the French by

Dawn General Mussina's 4th Corps and

hooda knows 2nd corps were driving those

troops back winning space for the French

army to deploy

at 1:00 pm a Polian was ready to begin

his advance across six miles of flat

cornfields towards the main Austrian

position an escarpment known as the foie

gras 100 meters behind the RUS back

stream as general La Salle's light

cavalry and Mussina's 4th Corps swung

left to guard the flank Boudinot 2nd

Corps and Davos 3rd Corps advanced

towards the vague Ram bernadotte's Saxon

core and Oh Jen's army of Italy filled

the center

at 6:00 pm unsure of the enemy's

strength Napoleon ordered a full-scale

assault against the vagrant Plateau but

his troops met determined Austrian

resistance along the line by dusk the

Saxon ninth Corps had pushed into the

village of Dutch Phaedra the Saxon

infantry wore white uniforms like the

Austrians and as darkness fell were

mistaken for the enemy and fired on by

friendly units the Saxons panicked and

fled with heavy losses

Napoleon's attempt at a quick

breakthrough had failed that night both

armies slept in the open while Charles

and Napoleon planned their next moves

[Music]

on the second date napoleon planned for

Davos third corps to lead the attack

rolling up the Austrian flank while his

other Corps pinned down the enemy with

local attacks but to the Emperor's fury

he learned that overnight without orders

marshal Bernadotte had withdrawn his

battered Saxons from had a clan which

the Austrians now occupied attack Lao

was a crucial strong point in the center

of the battlefield Napoleon gave orders

for its immediate recapture but the

French and Saxon attack failed with

heavy losses the Austrians had their own

problems Archduke Charles knowing he

faced a superior enemy had decided his

only chance of victory lay in an all-out

dawn attack he was relying on his

brother

Archduke John reaching him with thirteen

thousand reinforcements in time to

support the attack on the left but by

Dawn there was still no sign of him

what's more as fourth Corps began its

assault on grosso firm on time 3rd Corps

which had received its orders late was

still getting into position holding up

the entire Austrian right wing

Charles had to tell fourth court or

bought its unsupported attack until the

other Corps were ready with the

Austrians paralyzed by delays at 10:00

am de veau began his attack a fierce

infantry battle erupted in the village

of McGruff noisy do well in the fields

dragoons and her czars fought a giant

whirling cavalry battle as each side

tried to outflank the other

and a vouz core took the village that

they couldn't stop the austrians

withdrawing to a strong new position on

the varam escarpment meanwhile a serious

threat had developed to napoleon's left

flank and rear clean aus 6th Corps had

driven back the outnumbered French with

some units advancing as far as s linked

dangerously close to napoleon's vital

river crossings napoleon urgently needed

to reinforce his left flank but he was

also determined to hold back his

reserves for a decisive attack so he

ordered Mussina's 4th corps to march

across the battlefield and reinforced

the left a huge redeployment like this

right in front of the enemy who was high

risk so marshal bézier was ordered to

lead a cavalry attack straight against

the enemy centre casualties were high

even marshal Basia at his horse killed

under him to the alarm of his men but

the enemy was kept busy while 4th corps

completed its redeployment and forced

clean house corps to fall back

[Music]

[Music]

Napoleon now assembled a grand battery

of more than 80 cannon in the center of

the battlefield this was one of

Napoleon's trademark tactics a

concentration of artillery to blast the

enemy line and pave the way for a

decisive French attack

the grand battery fired an estimated

15,000 rounds setting lights of the corn

fields around 1:00 pm

Napoleon ordered a general attack as de

feu continued to batter at the enemy

flank 4th Corps would advance on the

left 2nd corps on the right while in the

center General McDonald would lead

forward 8000 men of the army of Italy

formed up in a giant three-sided square

to secure his flanks

but despite the terrible French

cannonade Austrian 3rd Corps and

grenadiers zuv the reserve met the

French advance with torrential fire

McDonald's giant square was cut to

pieces its men mowed down on mass by

cannon fire the attack stalled but the

Austrian army battered by relentless

French attacks was near breaking point

every part of the line was under

pressure from the French Archduke

Charles determined above all to keep his

army intact ordered a retreat

the Austrian withdrawal was disciplined

and well-executed polian had his victory

but his army was also so shattered by

fatigue and heavy losses it was unable

to launch any effective pursuit

[Music]

the Battle of Agra was a brutal slugging

match the biggest bloodiest battle yet

seen in European history French victory

came at unprecedented cost an estimated

37 and a half thousand casualties

against forty one and a half thousand

Austrian four days later French troops

caught up with the retreating Austrians

that's nine as the fighting escalated

Charles knew he could not withstand the

French a second time and asked for a

ceasefire but he had not consulted his

older brother Emperor Francis who was

furious when he heard the news not least

because long awaited British support was

finally on the way three weeks after the

Battle of snipe the largest amphibious

force Britain had ever assembled

35 ships of the line and 39,000 troops

landed at Volker an island on the

Scheldt estuary its aim was to destroy

French shipping and naval stores but

following the successful bombardment and

capture of Blessington British

commanders let the initiative slip from

their grasp their force was bottled up

by French troops on the marshy Dutch

coast where it was decimated by fever

and dysentery

about 4,000 died many more became

permanent invalids the survivors were

evacuated back to England in December

Emperor Francis informed of the British

debacle and persuaded by his generals

that Austria couldn't fight on made

peace with Napoleon in October

Austria signed the Treaty of shaumbra

giving up territories of the French

Empire Bavaria Saxony the Duchy of

Warsaw and Russia in total the Austrian

Empire was stripped of three and a half

million subjects forced to pay an

indemnity limit its army to one hundred

and fifty thousand men and join

Napoleon's Continental System which

meant ending all trade with British

ships and merchants Archduke Charles

meanwhile one of Napoleon's more skilled

opponents had fallen out so bitterly

with his brother Emperor Francis that he

never held active command again Napoleon

had won another crushing victory

but the whir whirring science for the

French Emperor his enemies were learning

while he would increasingly have to rely

on young conscripts to fill the gaps

left by veterans killed or wounded on

campaign few could have guessed in 1809

but Napoleon had just fought his last

victorious campaign

if you'd like to learn more about

Napoleon's major battles or campaigns

our sponsor Osprey publishing has nearly

200 titles on the Napoleonic Wars

written by specialist historians and

covering everything from the history of

elite units to tactics weapons and

uniforms visit their website to find out

more

thanks to history March for creating the

battle map visit his own youtube channel

for more great military history videos

and huge thanks to all our patreon

supporters for making this series

possible find out how you too can appear

in the credits get early access and vote

for future topics at the epic history TV

patreon page

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