French victory, Treaty of Pressburg
* Consolidation of the French Empire
* Creation of the
Confederation of the Rhine
* Dissolution of the
Holy Roman Empire
French satellites :
COMMANDERS AND LEADERS
Karl Mack von Leiberich
William Pitt the Younger
Viscount Nelson †
* v * t * e
War of the
* Proposed Invasion of the
* v * t * e
* THIRD COALITION * Anglo-Spanish War * Russo-Persian War * Franco-Swedish War * FOURTH COALITION * Russo-Turkish War * Gunboat War * Finnish War * Dano-Swedish War * Anglo-Turkish War * PENINSULAR WAR * Anglo-Russian War * FIFTH COALITION * Anglo-Swedish War * FRENCH INVASION OF RUSSIA
* SIXTH COALITION
* Swedish-Norwegian War
* SEVENTH COALITION
* West Indies Campaign * Adriatic campaign * 1st Java * Indian Ocean * 2nd Java
The WAR OF THE THIRD COALITION was a European conflict spanning the
years 1803 to 1806. During the war,
Great Britain had already been at war with
On 26 December 1805, Austria and
* 1 Prelude
* 1.1 From Amiens to the
* 2 Ulm campaign
* 4.1 Preliminaries * 4.2 Battlefield * 4.3 Allied plans and dispositions * 4.4 French plans and dispositions * 4.5 Battle is joined * 4.6 "One sharp blow and the war is over" * 4.7 Endgame
* 5 Italian Campaign
* 5.1 Invasion of
* 6 Results * 7 See also * 8 Notes * 9 References * 10 External links
Europe had been embroiled in the French Revolutionary Wars since 1792. After five years of war, the French Republic subdued the armies of the First Coalition in 1797. A Second Coalition was formed in 1798, but this too was defeated by 1801, leaving Britain the only opponent of the new French Consulate .
FROM AMIENS TO THE THIRD COALITION
In March 1802,
Bonaparte's expeditionary army was destroyed by disease in Haiti, and
subsequently swayed the First Consul to abandon his plans to rebuild
France's New World empire. Without sufficient revenues from sugar
colonies in the Caribbean, the vast territory of Louisiana in North
America had little value to him. Though
Despite issuing orders that the over 60 million francs were to be
spent on the construction of five new canals in France, Bonaparte
spent the whole amount on his planned invasion of England . _ In
The Plumb-pudding in danger_ (1805),
James Gillray caricatured
overtures made by
Fanning the flames of the outcry resulting from d'Enghien's death and
the growing fear over increasing French power, British Prime Minister
William Pitt spent 1804 and 1805 in a flurry of diplomatic activity
geared towards forming a new coalition against France. Pitt scored a
significant coup by securing a burgeoning rival as an ally. The Baltic
was dominated by Russia, something Britain had been uncomfortable with
since the area provided valuable commodities like timber, tar, and
hemp, crucial supplies to its
Meantime, the lull in participating in active military campaigning
from 1801–04 permitted Bonaparte to consolidate his political
powerbase in France. 1802 saw him proclaimed Consul for Life (his
reward for having made peace with Britain, albeit briefly), as well as
the establishment of a meritorious order, the
Legion of Honour . Then,
in May 1804, Bonaparte was proclaimed Napoleon, Emperor of the French
and crowned in
Notre Dame Cathedral on 2 December 1804. He also
created eighteen _Marshals of the Empire _ from among his top
generals, securing the allegiance of the army.
_LA GRANDE ARMéE_ AT BOULOGNE
See also: Napoleon\'s planned invasion of the
Prior to the formation of the Third Coalition,
The men at Boulogne formed the core for what
RUSSIAN AND AUSTRIAN ARMIES
The Russian army in 1805 had many characteristics of ancien régime military organization: there was no permanent formation above the regimental level, senior officers were largely recruited from aristocratic circles (including foreigners), and the Russian soldier, in line with 18th-century practice, was regularly beaten and punished to instill discipline. Furthermore, many lower-level officers were poorly trained and had difficulty getting their men to perform the sometimes complex manoeuvres required in a battle. Nevertheless, the Russians did have a fine artillery arm manned by soldiers who regularly fought hard to prevent their pieces from falling into enemy hands.
Archduke Charles , brother of the Austrian Emperor, had started to reform the Austrian army in 1801 by taking away power from the Hofkriegsrat , the military-political council responsible for decision-making in the Austrian armed forces. Charles was Austria's best field commander, but he was unpopular with the royal court and lost much influence when, against his advice, Austria decided to go to war with France. Karl Mack became the new main commander in Austria's army, instituting reforms on the infantry on the eve of war that called for a regiment to be composed of four battalions of four companies rather than the older three battalions of six companies. The sudden change came with no corresponding officer training, and as a result these new units were not led as well as they could have been. Austrian cavalry forces were regarded as the best in Europe, but the detachment of many cavalry units to various infantry formations precluded the hitting power of their massed French counterparts.
Finally, a significant divergance between these two nominal allies is often cited as a cause for disastrous consequences. The Russians were still using the old style Julian calendar , while the Austrians had adopted the new style Gregorian calendar , and by 1805 a difference of 12 days existed between the two systems. Confusion is purported to have ensued from the differing timetables regarding when the Allied forces should combine, leading to an inevitable breakdown in mutual coordination. However, this tale is not supported in a contemporary account from a major-general of the Austrian army, who tells of a joint advance of the Russian and Austrian forces (in which he himself took part) five days before the battle of Austerlitz, and it is explicitly rejected in Goetz's recent book-length study of the battle.
European strategic situation in 1805 before the start of the Ulm Campaign and the war.
In August 1805, Napoleon, Emperor of the French since May of the
previous year, turned his army's sights from the
English Channel to
AUSTRIAN PLANS AND PREPARATIONS
General Mack thought that Austrian security relied on sealing off the
gaps through the mountainous
Aulic Council decided to make Northern
FRENCH PLANS AND PREPARATIONS
In both the campaigns of 1796 and 1800,
Murat and Bertrand conducted reconnaissance between the area
bordering the Tyrol and the Main as Savary , chief of the planning
staff, drew up detailed road surveys of the areas between the Rhine
and the Danube. The left wing of the
Grande Armée would move from
Hanover and Utrecht to fall on
Württemberg ; the right and centre,
troops from the Channel coast, would concentrate along the Middle
THE FRENCH INVASION
The French invasion in late September and early October caught the Austrians unprepared and severed their lines of communication.
On 22 September, Mack decided to hold the
Iller line anchored on Ulm.
In the last three days of September, the French began the furious
marches that would find them at the Austrian rear. Mack believed that
the French would not violate Prussian territory, but when he heard
that Bernadotte 's I
BATTLE OF WERTINGEN
The strategic situation from 7 to 9 October. With Kutuzov too far away to offer significant aid, the Austrians found themselves in a precarious position. Main article: Battle of Wertingen
Realizing the danger of his position, Mack decided to go on the
offensive. On 8 October, he commanded the army to concentrate around
Günzburg and hoped to strike at Napoleon's lines of communication.
Kienmayer to draw
For reasons not entirely clear, Mack ordered Auffenburg on 7 October to take his division of 5,000 infantry and 400 cavalry from Günzburg to Wertingen in preparation for the main Austrian advance out of Ulm. Uncertain of what to do and having little hope for reinforcements, Auffenburg was in a dangerous position. The first French forces to arrive were Murat's cavalry divisions – Klein's 1st Dragoons, Beaumont 3rd Dragoons, and Nansouty's cuirassiers . They began to assault the Austrian positions and were soon joined by Oudinot 's grenadiers, who were hoping to outflank the Austrians from the north and west. Auffenburg attempted a retreat to the southwest, but he was not quick enough: the Austrians were decimated, losing nearly their entire force, 1,000 to 2,000 of which were prisoners. The Battle of Wertingen had been an easy French victory.
The actions at
Wertingen convinced Mack to operate on the left bank
HASLACH-JUNGINGEN AND ELCHINGEN
The demoralized Austrian army arrived at
Ulm in the early hours of 10
October. Mack was deliberating about a course of action to pursue and
the Austrian army remained inactive at
Ulm until the 11th. Meanwhile,
The 32nd Infantry Regiment in Dupont's division marched from Haslach
Ulm and ran into four Austrian regiments holding Bolfingen.
The 32nd carried out several ferocious attacks, but the Austrians held
firm and repulsed every single one of them. The Austrians flooded the
battle with more cavalry and infantry regiments to
Jungingen hoping to
score a knockout blow against Ney's corps by enveloping Dupont's
force. Dupont sensed what was happening and preempted the Austrians by
launching a surprise attack on
Jungingen that captured at least 1,000
prisoners. Renewed Austrian attacks drove these forces back to
Haslach, which the French managed to hold. Dupont was eventually
forced to fall back on Albeck, where he joined d'Hilliers's troops.
The effects of the
Battle of Haslach-Jungingen on Napoleon's plans are
not fully clear, but the Emperor may have finally ascertained that the
majority of the Austrian army was concentrated at Ulm. Accordingly,
At this point in the campaign, the Austrian command staff was in full
confusion. Ferdinand began to openly oppose Mack's command style and
decisions, charging that the latter spent his days writing
contradictory orders that left the Austrian army marching back and
forth. On 13 October, Mack sent two columns out of
Ulm in preparation
for a breakout to the north: one under General Reisch headed towards
Elchingen to secure the bridge there and the other under Werneck went
north with most of the heavy artillery. Ney hurried his corps forward
to reestablish contact with Dupont. Ney led his troops to the south of
Elchingen on the right bank of the
BATTLE OF ULM
Other actions took place on the 14th. Murat's forces joined Dupont at
Albeck just in time to drive off an Austrian attack from Werneck;
together Murat and Dupont beat the Austrians to the north in the
direction of Heidenheim. By night on the 14th, two French corps were
stationed in the vicinity of the Austrian encampments at Michelsberg,
right outside of Ulm. Mack was now in a dangerous situation: there
was no longer any hope of escaping along the north bank, Marmont and
the Imperial Guard were hovering at the outskirts of
Ulm to the south
of the river, and Soult was moving from
Memmingen to prevent the
Austrians escaping south to the Tyrol. Troubles continued with the
Austrian command as Ferdinand overrode the objections of Mack and
ordered the evacuation of all cavalry from Ulm, a total of 6,000
troopers. Murat's pursuit was so effective, however, that only eleven
squadrons joined Werneck at Heidenheim. Murat continued his
harassment of Werneck and forced him to surrender with 8,000 men at
Trochtelfingten on 19 October; Murat also took an entire Austrian
field park of 500 vehicles, then swept on towards Neustadt and
captured 12,000 Austrians. General Mack surrenders his army at
Ulm . Napoleon's strategic encirclement of the Austrians, in
conjunction with the
Battle of Austerlitz
Events at Ulm were now reaching a conclusion. On 15 October, Ney's troops successfully charged the Michelsberg encampments and on the 16th the French began to bombard Ulm itself. Austrian morale was at a low point and Mack began to realize that there was little hope of rescue. On 17 October, Napoleon's emissary, Ségur , signed a convention with Mack in which the Austrians agreed to surrender on 25 October if no aid came by that date. Gradually, however, Mack heard of the capitulations at Heidenheim and Neresheim and agreed to surrender five days before schedule on 20 October. 10,000 troops from the Austrian garrison managed to escape, but the vast majority of the Austrian force marched out on the 21st and laid down their arms without incident, all with the Grande Armée drawn up in a vast semicircle observing the capitulation.
BATTLE OF TRAFALGAR
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The main French fleets were at Brest in Brittany and at
Toulon on the
Mediterranean coast. Other ports on the French Atlantic coast
contained smaller squadrons . In addition,
The British possessed an experienced and well-trained corps of naval
officers. By contrast, most of the best officers in the French navy
had either been executed or dismissed from the service during the
early part of the
French Revolution . As a result, Vice-Admiral
Pierre-Charles Villeneuve was the most competent senior officer
available to command Napoleon's Mediterranean fleet. However,
Villeneuve had shown a distinct lack of enthusiasm to face Nelson and
Napoleon's naval plan in 1805 was for the French and Spanish fleets
in the Mediterranean and
Cádiz to break through the blockade and
combine in the
West Indies . They would then return, assist the fleet
in Brest to emerge from blockade, and in combination clear the English
Early in 1804, Admiral Lord Nelson commanded the British fleet
blockading Toulon. Unlike
William Cornwallis , who maintained a tight
blockade of Brest with the Channel Fleet, Nelson adopted a loose
blockade in hopes of luring the French out for a major battle.
However, Villeneuve's fleet successfully evaded Nelson's when his
forces were blown off station by storms. While Nelson was searching
the Mediterranean for him, Villeneuve passed through the Straits of
Villeneuve returned from the West Indies to Europe, intending to break the blockade at Brest, but after two of his Spanish ships were captured during the Battle of Cape Finisterre by a squadron under Vice-Admiral Sir Robert Calder , Villeneuve abandoned this plan and sailed back to Ferrol.
Napoleon's invasion plans for England depended entirely on having a sufficiently large number of ships of the line before Boulogne , France. This would require Villeneuve's force of 32 ships to join Vice-Admiral Ganteaume 's force of 21 ships at Brest, along with a squadron of five ships under Captain Allemand, which would have given him a combined force of 58 ships of the line.
When Villeneuve set sail from Ferrol on 10 August, he was under
strict orders from
The same month, Nelson returned home to England after two years of duty at sea, for some well-earned rest. He remained ashore for 25 busy days, and was warmly received by his countrymen, who were understandably nervous about a possible French invasion. Word reached England on 2 September about the combined French and Spanish fleet in the harbour of Cádiz. Nelson had to wait until 15 September before his ship HMS _Victory_ was ready to sail.
On 15 August, Cornwallis made the fateful decision to detach 20 ships of the line from the fleet guarding the channel and to have them sail southward to engage the enemy forces in Spain. This left the channel somewhat denuded of ships, with only eleven ships of the line present. However, this detached force formed the nucleus of the British fleet that would fight at Trafalgar. Initially this fleet was placed under the command of Vice-Admiral Calder, reaching Cádiz on 15 September. Nelson joined the fleet on 29 September to take command.
The British fleet used frigates to keep a constant watch on the harbour, while the main force remained out of sight 50 miles (80 km) west of the shore. Nelson's hope was to lure the combined Franco-Spanish force out and engage them in a "pell-mell battle". The force watching the harbour was led by Captain Blackwood, commanding HMS _Euryalus_ . He was brought up to a strength of seven ships (five frigates and two schooners) on 8 October.
At this point, Nelson's fleet badly needed provisioning. On 2
October, five ships of the line, _Queen_ , _Canopus_ , _Spencer_ ,
_Zealous_ , _Tigre_ , and the frigate _Endymion_ were dispatched to
Meanwhile, Villeneuve's fleet in Cádiz was also suffering from a serious supply shortage that could not be readily rectified by the cash-strapped French. The blockades maintained by the British fleet had made it difficult for the allies to obtain stores and their ships were ill fitted. Villeneuve's ships were also more than two thousand men short of the force needed to sail. These were not the only problems faced by the Franco-Spanish fleet. The main French ships of the line had been kept in harbour for years by the British blockades with only brief sorties. The hasty voyage across the Atlantic and back used up vital supplies and was no match for the British fleet's years of experience at sea and training. The French crews contained few experienced sailors, and as most of the crew had to be taught the elements of seamanship on the few occasions when they got to sea, gunnery was neglected. Villeneuve's supply situation began to improve in October, but news of Nelson's arrival made Villeneuve reluctant to leave port. Indeed, his captains had held a vote on the matter and decided to stay in the harbour.
On 14 September,
On 18 October, Villeneuve received a letter informing him that
Vice-Admiral François Rosily had arrived in
The weather, however, suddenly turned calm following a week of gales. This slowed the progress of the fleet departing the harbour, giving the British plenty of warning. Villeneuve had drawn up plans to form a force of four squadrons, each containing both French and Spanish ships. Following their earlier vote to stay put, the captains were reluctant to leave Cádiz and as a result they failed to follow closely Villeneuve's orders (Villeneuve had reportedly become despised by many of the fleet's officers and crew). As a result, the fleet straggled out of the harbour in no particular formation.
It took most of 20 October for Villeneuve to get his fleet organised, and it set sail in three columns for the Straits of Gibraltar to the south-east. That same evening, the ship _Achille _ spotted a force of 18 British ships of the line in pursuit. The fleet began to prepare for battle and during the night they were ordered into a single line. The following day Nelson's fleet of 27 ships of the line and four frigates was spotted in pursuit from the north-west with the wind behind it. Villeneuve again ordered his fleet into three columns, but soon changed his mind and ordered a single line. The result was a sprawling, uneven formation.
The British fleet was sailing, as they would fight, under signal 72 hoisted on Nelson's flagship. At 5:40 a.m., the British were about 21 miles (34 km) to the north-west of Cape Trafalgar, with the Franco-Spanish fleet between the British and the Cape. At 6 a.m. that morning, Nelson gave the order to prepare for battle.
At 8 a.m., Villeneuve ordered the fleet to _wear together_ and turn back for Cádiz. This reversed the order of the Allied line, placing the rear division under Rear-Admiral Pierre Dumanoir le Pelley in the vanguard, or "van." The wind became contrary at this point, often shifting direction. The very light wind rendered manoeuvering all but impossible for the most expert crews. The inexperienced crews had difficulty with the changing conditions, and it took nearly an hour and a half for Villeneuve's order to be completed. The French and Spanish fleet now formed an uneven, angular crescent, with the slower ships generally leeward and closer to the shore. Villeneuve was painfully aware that the British fleet would not be content to attack him in the old-fashioned way, coming down in a parallel line and engaging from van to rear. He knew that they would endeavour to concentrate on a part of his line. But he was too conscious of the inexperience of his officers and men to consider making counter movements.
By 11 a.m. Nelson's entire fleet was visible to Villeneuve, drawn up in two parallel columns. The two fleets would be within range of each other within an hour. Villeneuve was concerned at this point about forming up a line, as his ships were unevenly spaced and in an irregular formation. The Franco-Spanish fleet was drawn out nearly 5 miles (8 km) long as Nelson's fleet approached.
As the British drew closer, they could see that the enemy was not sailing in a tight order, but rather in irregular groups. Nelson could not immediately make out the French flagship as the French and Spanish were not flying command pennants.
The six British ships dispatched earlier to
Nelson's famous signal
The battle progressed largely according to Nelson's plan. At 11:45, Nelson sent the famous flag signal, "England expects that every man will do his duty " He had instructed his signal officer, Lieutenant John Pasco , to signal to the fleet the message "England confides that every man will do his duty." Pasco suggested to Nelson that _expects_ be substituted for _confides_, since the former word was in the signal book, whereas _confides_ would have to be spelt out letter-by-letter; Nelson agreed to the change.
The term "England" was widely used at the time to refer to the United
Kingdom, though the British fleet included significant contingents
As the battle opened, the French and Spanish were in a ragged line headed north as the two British columns approached from the west at almost a right angle. The northern, windward column of the British fleet was headed up by Nelson's 100-gun flagship _Victory_. The leeward column was led by the 100-gun _Royal Sovereign_, the flagship of Vice-Admiral Cuthbert Collingwood . Nelson led his line into a feint toward the van of the Franco-Spanish fleet and then turned toward the actual point of attack. Collingwood altered the course of his column slightly so that the two lines converged at the line of attack.
Just before his column engaged the allied forces, Collingwood said to his officers, "Now, gentlemen, let us do something today which the world may talk of hereafter". Because the winds were very light during the battle, all the ships were moving extremely slowly, and the lead British ships were under fire from several of the enemy for almost an hour before their own guns could bear. Situation at 1200 hours as the Royal Sovereign was breaking into the Franco-Spanish line
At noon, Villeneuve sent the signal "engage the enemy", and _Fougueux_ fired her first trial shot at _Royal Sovereign_. _Royal Sovereign_ had all sails out and, having recently had her bottom cleaned, outran the rest of the British fleet. As she approached the allied line, she came under fire from _Fougueux_, _Indomptable_ , _San Justo_ and _San Leandro_, before breaking the line just astern of Admiral Alava's flagship _Santa Ana_, into which she fired a devastating double-shotted raking broadside .
The second ship in the British lee column, _Belleisle_ , was engaged by _Aigle_ , _Achille_ , _Neptune_ and _Fougeux_; she was soon completely dismasted, unable to manoeuvre and largely unable to fight, as her sails blinded her batteries, but kept flying her flag for 45 minutes until the following British ships came to her rescue.
For 40 minutes, _Victory_ was under fire from _Héros_ , _Santísima Trinidad_ , _Redoutable_ and _Neptune_ ; although many shots went astray others killed and wounded a number of her crew and shot away her wheel, so that she had to be steered from her tiller belowdecks. _Victory_ could not yet respond. At 12:45, _Victory_ cut the enemy line between Villeneuve's flagship _Bucentaure_ and _Redoutable_. _Victory_ came close to the _Bucentaure_, firing a devastating raking broadside through her stern which killed and wounded many on her gundecks. Villeneuve thought that boarding would take place, and with the Eagle of his ship in hand, told his men: "I will throw it onto the enemy ship and we will take it back there!" However, Admiral Nelson of _Victory_ engaged the 74 gun _Redoutable_. _Bucentaure_ was left to be dealt with by the next three ships of the British windward column _Temeraire_ , _Conqueror_ and _Neptune_ . Trafalgar Battle, situation at 13h
A general mêlée ensued and, during that fight, _Victory_ locked masts with the French _Redoutable_. The crew of the _Redoutable_, which included a strong infantry corps (with three captains and four lieutenants), gathered for an attempt to board and seize the _Victory_. A musket bullet fired from the mizzentop of the _Redoutable_ struck Nelson in the left shoulder and passed through his body lodging in his spine. Nelson exclaimed, "They finally succeeded, I am dead." He was carried below decks and died at about 16:30, as the battle that would make him a legend was ending in favour of the British.
_Victory_ ceased fire, the gunners having been called on the deck to fight the capture but were repelled to the below decks by French grenades. As the French were preparing to board _Victory_, the _Temeraire_, the second ship in the British windward column, approached from the starboard bow of the _Redoutable_ and fired on the exposed French crew with a carronade, causing many casualties.
At 13:55, Captain Lucas , of the _Redoutable_, with 99 fit men out of 643 and severely wounded himself, was forced to surrender. The French _Bucentaure_ was isolated by the _Victory_ and _Temeraire_, and then engaged by _Neptune_, _Leviathan_ and _Conqueror_; similarly, the _Santísima Trinidad_ was isolated and overwhelmed without being rescued, surrendering after three hours. Trafalgar Battle, situation at 17h
As more and more British ships entered the battle, the ships of the allied centre and rear were gradually overwhelmed. The allied van, after long remaining quiescent, made a futile demonstration and then sailed away. The British took 22 vessels of the Franco-Spanish fleet and lost none. Among the taken French ships were the _Aigle_ , _Algésiras_ , _Berwick_ , _Bucentaure_, _Fougueux_, _Intrépide_ , _Redoutable_, and _Swiftsure_ . The Spanish ships taken were _Argonauta_, _Bahama_, _Monarca_, _Neptuno_ , _San Agustín_ , _San Ildefonso_, _San Juan Nepomuceno_ , _Santísima Trinidad_ , and _Santa Ana_. Of these, _Redoutable_ sank, _Santísima Trinidad_ and _Argonauta_ were scuttled by the British and later sank, _Achille_ exploded, _Intrépide_ and _San Augustín_ burned, and _Aigle_, _Berwick_, _Fougueux_, and _Monarca_ were wrecked in a gale following the battle.
As Nelson lay dying, he ordered the fleet to anchor as a storm was predicted. However, when the storm blew up many of the severely damaged ships sank or ran aground on the shoals . A few of them were recaptured by the French and Spanish prisoners overcoming the small prize crews or by ships sallying from Cádiz.
BATTLE OF AUSTERLITZ
The main body of the Napoleonic French army followed the remains of
the Austrian army towards
The following day, Mortier ordered Gazan to attack what they believed
to be a Russian rear guard, at the village of Stein. This was a trap
on the part of Kutuzov, laid for the sole purpose of convincing
Mortier that he had retreated further toward Vienna, when he had
actually crossed the
Battle of Schöngrabern (also known as the Battle of
Hollabrunn) occurred a week after the battle at Duerenstein. On 16
November 1805. near Hollabrunn in Lower Austria. The Russian army of
Kutuzov was retiring north of the
After Hollabrun, the armies gathered on the plains to the east of
The northern part of the battlefield was dominated by the 700-foot (210-metre) Santon hill and the 850-foot (260-metre) Zuran hill, both overlooking the vital Olmutz -Brno road that ran across a west-east axis. To the west of these two hills was the village of Bellowitz, and between them the Bosenitz Stream went south to link up with the Goldbach Stream, the latter flowing astride the villages of Kobelnitz, Sokolnitz, and Telnitz. The centerpiece of the entire area were the Pratzen Heights, a gently sloped hill about 35 to 40 feet (11–12 m) in height. An aide noted that the Emperor repeatedly told his Marshals, "Gentlemen, examine this ground carefully, it is going to be a battlefield; you will have a part to play upon it".
ALLIED PLANS AND DISPOSITIONS
Allied (red) and French (blue) deployments at 1800 hours on 1 December 1805.
An Allied council met on 1 December to discuss proposals for the battle. Most of the Allied strategists had two fundamental ideas in mind: making contact with the enemy and securing the southern flank that led to Vienna. Although the Tsar and his immediate entourage pushed hard for a battle, Emperor Francis of Austria was in a more cautious mood, and he was seconded by Kutuzov, the main Russian commander. The pressure to fight from the Russian nobles and the Austrian commanders, however, was too strong, and the Allies adopted Austrian Chief of Staff Weyrother's plan. This called for a main drive against the French right flank, which the Allies noticed was lightly guarded, and diversionary attacks against the French left. The Allies deployed most of their troops into four columns that would attack the French right. The Russian Imperial Guard was held in reserve while Russian troops under Bagration guarded the Allied right.
FRENCH PLANS AND DISPOSITIONS
Days before any actual fighting,
BATTLE IS JOINED
The battle began around 8 a.m. with the first allied column attacking the village of Telnitz, which was defended by the 3rd Line Regiment. This sector of the battlefield witnessed heavy action in the following moments as several ferocious Allied charges evicted the French from the town and forced them on the other side of the Goldbach. The first men of Davout's corps arrived at this time and threw the Allies out of Telnitz before they too were attacked by hussars and re-abandoned the town. Additional Allied attacks out of Telnitz were checked by French artillery.
Allied columns started pouring against the French right, but not at the desired speed, so the French were mostly successful in curbing the attacks. In actuality, the Allied deployments were mistaken and poorly timed: cavalry detachments under Liechtenstein on the Allied left flank had to be placed in the right flank and in the process they ran into and slowed down part of the second column of infantry that was advancing towards the French right. At the time, the planners thought this was a disaster, but later on it helped the Allies. Meanwhile, the lead elements of the second column were attacking the village of Sokolnitz, which was defended by the 26th Light Regiment and the _Tirailleurs_, French skirmishers. Initial Allied assaults proved unsuccessful and General Langeron ordered the bombardment of the village. This deadly barrage forced the French out, and around the same time, the third column attacked the castle of Sokolnitz. The French, however, counterattacked and regained the village, only to be thrown out again. Conflict in this area ended momentarily when Friant 's division (part of III Corps) retook the village. Sokolnitz was perhaps the most fought over area in the battlefield and would change hands several times as the day progressed.
"ONE SHARP BLOW AND THE WAR IS OVER"
The decisive attacks on the Allied centre by St. Hilaire and Vandamme split the Allied army in two and left the French in a golden strategic position to win the battle.
Around 8:45 a.m., finally satisfied at the weakness in the enemy
A dense fog helped to cloud the advance of St. Hilaire's division, but as they went up the slope the legendary 'Sun of Austerlitz' ripped the mist apart and encouraged them forward. Russian soldiers and commanders on top of the heights were stunned to see so many French troops coming towards them. Allied commanders were now able to feed some of the delayed detachments of the fourth column into this bitter struggle. Over an hour of horrendous fighting left much of this unit decimated beyond recognition. The other men from the second column, mostly inexperienced Austrians, also participated in the struggle and swung the numbers game against one of the best fighting forces in the French army, finally forcing them to withdraw down the slopes. However, gripped by desperation, St. Hilaire's men struck hard once more and bayoneted the Allies out of the heights. To the north, General Vandamme 's division attacked an area called Staré Vinohrady and through talented skirmishing and deadly volleys broke several Allied battalions.
The battle had firmly turned to France's favor, but there was still
much fighting ahead.
By 1400 hours, the Allied army had been dangerously separated.
Meanwhile, the northernmost part of the battlefield was also
witnessing heavy fighting. Prince Liechtenstein's heavy cavalry began
to assault Kellerman 's lighter cavalry forces after finally arriving
at the correct position in the field. The fighting originally went
well for the French, but Kellerman's forces took cover behind General
Caffarelli's infantry division once it became clear Russian numbers
were too great. Caffarelli's men halted the Russian assaults and
permitted Murat to send two cuirassier divisions into the fray to
finish off the Russian cavalry for good. The ensuing melee was bitter
and long, but the French ultimately prevailed. Lannes then led his V
Napoleon's focus now shifted towards the southern end of the
battlefield where the French and the Allies were still fighting over
Sokolnitz and Telnitz. In an effective double-pronged assault, St.
Hilaire's division and part of Davout's III
General panic now seized the Allied army and it abandoned the field
in any and all possible directions. Russian forces that had been
defeated by the French right withdrew south towards
Meanwhile, in Italy, a French force under St. Cyr was still
manoeuvring on the frontier of the
Kingdom of Naples . The French were
being carefully watched by an Anglo-Russian force entrusted with
defence of the kingdom. After the Battle of Austerlitz, the Russians
INVASION OF NAPLES
On 9 February 1806, Masséna invaded the
Kingdom of Naples and two
days later, the Bourbon king of Naples, Ferdinand IV also fled to
Sicily, protected by the British fleet.
Ferdinand had hoped for a repeat of the events of 1799, when a
popular uprising in
However, all was not going to plan for the French. Supply problems
meant that Reynier's II
By July, Masséna had still failed to take
Gaeta due to poor
logistical management of the French artillery, slight reinforcements
from the British by sea and a series of successful sorties by the
Neapolitan garrison against the French sappers. With only Reynier's
small force in
Following the surrender, Masséna was ordered south by Joseph to
support Reynier's II
All the participants of the War of the Third Coalition. Blue: The Coalition and their colonies and allies. Green: The First French Empire , its protectorates, colonies and allies.
Austerlitz and the preceding campaign profoundly altered the nature of European politics. In three months, the French had occupied Vienna, decimated two armies, and humbled the Austrian Empire. These events sharply contrast with the rigid power structures of the 18th century, when no major European capital was ever held by an enemy army. Austerlitz set the stage for a near-decade of French domination on the European continent, but one of its more immediate impacts was to goad Prussia into war in 1806 .
In Italy, the political situation would remain unchanged until 1815,
with the British and Sicilian troops guarding the Bourbon King
* ^ For the diplomatic history see Paul W. Schroeder, _The
Transformation of European Politics 1763–1848_ (1996). pp 210–86
* ^ Chandler p. 304.
* ^ Chandler p. 320.
* ^ Herring, p. 101.
* ^ Thomas J. Fleming (26 June 2003). _The Louisiana Purchase_.
John Wiley and Sons. pp. 129–. ISBN 978-0-471-26738-6 . Retrieved 19
* ^ Either Antoine Boulay de la Meurthe (The Oxford Dictionary of
Quotations), deputy from Meurthe in the
* ^ Robert Goetz, _1805: Austerlitz:
* Brooks, Richard, ed. (2000). _Atlas of World Military History_. London: HarperCollins. ISBN 0-7607-2025-8 . * Chandler, David G. (1995). _The Campaigns of Napoleon_. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-02-523660-1 . * Dupuy, Trevor N. (1993). _Harper Encyclopedia of Military History_. New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 0-06-270056-1 . * Fisher, Todd; Fremont-Barnes, Gregory (2004). _The Napoleonic Wars: The Rise and Fall of an Empire_. Oxford: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1-84176-831-6 . * Kagan, Frederick W. (2006). _The End of the Old Order_. Cambridge: Da Capo Press. ISBN 0-306-81137-5 . * Masséna, André; Koch, Jean Baptiste Frédéric (1848–50). _Mémoires de Masséna_ (in French). V. Paris: Paulin et Lechevalier. Retrieved 20 May 2009. * McLynn, Frank (1997). _Napoleon: A Biography_. New York: Arcade Publishing. ISBN 1-55970-631-7 . * Schroeder, Paul W. (1996). _The Transformation of European Politics 1763–1848_. Oxford U.P. pp. 210–86. , diplomatic history of Europe * Uffindell, Andrew (2003). _Great Generals of the Napoleonic Wars_. Kent: Spellmount. ISBN 1-86227-177-1 .
_ Wikimedia Commons has media related to WAR OF THE THIRD COALITION _.
* _ Maude, Frederic Natusch (1911).