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Die Oorlog van die Derde Koalisie - Geskiedenis

Die Oorlog van die Derde Koalisie - Geskiedenis

Die Oorlog van die Derde Koalisie het begin toe Groot -Brittanje op 18 Mei 1803 oorlog teen Frankryk verklaar het in die oortuiging dat Napoleon die Verdrag van Amiens oortree. Die Sweed en die Russe het by die Britte aangesluit om oorlog teen Frankryk te verklaar. Die eerste jaar is die oorlog feitlik uitsluitlik op see uitgevoer.

Die Oorlog van die Derde Koalisie - Geskiedenis




Napoleon ontvang die sleutels tot die stad Wenen en mdash 13 November 1805

Oorlog van die Derde Koalisie 1805

Ook gespel die Oorlog van die 3de koalisie , hierdie oorlog was deel van die Napoleontiese oorloë .


Sommige historici sê dat die oorlog van die derde koalisie 1805 - 1807 gevoer is, en bevat dus wat andersins onder die Oorlog van die Vierde Koalisie . Hier is dit apart.

Wanneer is die oorlog van die derde koalisie gevoer?

Die Oorlog van die Derde Koalisie het van 23 September 1805 tot 26 Desember 1805 plaasgevind.

Wie het die oorlog van die derde koalisie geveg?

(Brittanje, Rusland, Swede, Oostenryk en Napels)

Napoleon ontvang die sleutels van die stad Wene, 13 November 1805

Olieverf op doek deur Anne Louis Girodet, 1808

Gebeurtenisse wat tot die oorlog van die Derde Koalisie gelei het
Op 25 Augustus 1805 sluit Beiere 'n verdrag met Frankryk. As gevolg hiervan het Oostenryk by die bondgenote teen Frankryk aangesluit.

8 September 1805 - Oostenryk val Beiere in, 'n Franse bondgenoot

Groot gevegte en gebeure tydens die oorlog van die Derde Koalisie

23 September 1805 - Napoleon verklaar oorlog aan Oostenryk

25 September - 20 Oktober 1805 - Slag van Ulm . Franse oorwinning.

25 Oktober 1805 - Frankryk dryf die Oostenrykse leër uit München

13 November 1805 - Franse troepe betree Wene, Oostenryk

2 Desember 1805 - Slag van Austerlitz . Franse oorwinning.

10 Desember 1805 - Verdrag van Br nn , tussen Frankryk en Beiere. Beiere was nou 'n koninkryk.

15 Desember 1805 - Verdrag van Sch nbrunn , tussen Frankryk en Pruise. Sommige gebiede is geskommel, maar die uiteinde was dat Frankryk Hannover aan Pruise gegee het om Groot -Brittanje van Pruise te vervreem.

26 Desember 1805 - Verdrag van Pressburg

Kyk hier vir die verskillende Koalisies wat gevorm is om teen Frankryk te veg.


Die Oorlog van die Derde Koalisie - Geskiedenis

Kommentaar
Die War of the 3rd Coalition begin met die inval van Oostenrykse troepe in Beiere op 8 September 1805 en eindig met die Vrede van Pressburg op 26 Desember 1805.

Sommige dateer aan die begin van die oorlog toe Brittanje op 16 Mei 1803 oorlog aan Frankryk verklaar. As gevolg hiervan vorm die Franse Armée d ’Angleterre die kamp van Boulogne op die kanaal.

Deur formele verdrae op 11 April 1804 te onderteken, kom die 3de koalisie (aan die begin tussen Groot -Brittanje, Rusland en Oostenryk) tot stand.

Die derde koalisieoorlog het die volgende veldtogte:

  • Austerlitz -veldtog: 24 September 1805 (Grand Army begin die Rynrivier na Duitsland oorsteek) tot 4 Desember 1805 (wapenstilstand van Austerlitz).

1805/10/08 Aksie van Wertingen Franse oorwinning

Frankryk Oostenryk
Murat/Lannes Auffenberg
Verliese: Totaal 319 (13) Totaal 3900 (13)

1805/10/11 1ste geveg van Haslach (geveg van Albeck, Slag van Haslach-Jungingen) Franse oorwinning

Frankryk Oostenryk
Dupont Mack
Troepe: 6000 (7), 5279 (13) 23000 (13)
Verliese: Totaal ongeveer 1000 (13) KIA 400 (13)
WIA 1100 (13)
Gevangenes & gt4000 (13)

1805/10/14 Slag van Elchingen Franse oorwinning

Frankryk Oostenryk
Ney Riesch
Troepe: 18831 (verloof: 8000) (13) 15000 (13)
Verliese: Totaal 1589 (13) KIA+WIA 4000 (13)
MIA+Prisoners 3000 – 4500 (13)

1805/10/15 Bestryding en beslaglegging op die Michelsberg -hoogtes Franse oorwinning

Frankryk Oostenryk
Ney

1805/10/15 2de Geveg van Haslach Franse oorwinning

Frankryk Oostenryk
Lannes

1805/10/20 Kapitulasie van Ulm Franse oorwinning

Frankryk Oostenryk
Napoleon Mack
Troepe: 27000 (7)

1805/10/29 – 1805/10/31 2de Slag van Caldiero Franse oorwinning

Frankryk Oostenryk
Masséna Aartshertog Charles

Kommentaar
Sommige bronne beweer dat hierdie stryd besluiteloos is.

1805/11/05 Combat of Amstetten Franse oorwinning

Frankryk Oostenryk/Rusland
Murat Kienmayer/Bagration
Troepe: 6700 (13)
Verliese: Rusland:
KIA+WIA 400 (13)
Gevangenes & lt700 (13)
Oostenryk:
Gevangenes 1000 (13)

1805/11/08 Bestry van (Maria-) Zell Franse oorwinning

Frankryk Oostenryk
Heudelet de Bierre (Davout) Merveldt
Verliese: KIA+WIA & gt200 (13)
Gevangenes 3000 (13)

1805/11/10 – 1805/11/11 Slag van Dürenstein (Slag van Dürnstein) Franse oorwinning

Frankryk Rusland
Mortier Kutusov
Troepe: 10062 (13) 15000 (7), 24687 (13)

1805/11/15 – 1805/11/16 Maneuvres van Oberhollabrünn (Hollabrünn) en Slag van Schöngrabern Franse oorwinning

Frankryk Rusland
Murat, Lannes Bagrasie
Troepe: 45806 (13), teenwoordig by die Slag van Schöngrabern: 20661 (13) 7300 (13)
Verliese: Totaal & gt1200 (13) KIA & gt1200 (13)
Gevangenes 1448 (13)

Kommentaar
Scott Bowden verduidelik in die aanhangsel van sy boek “ Napoleon en Austerlitz ” (sien bibliografie) waarom die “ tradisioneel getoon het dat die sterkte van die Russies/Oostenrykse weermag wat te Austerlitz teenwoordig was (85000 troepe) te hoog is.

1805/12/02 Slag van Austerlitz (Slag om die drie keisers) Franse oorwinning

Frankryk Oostenryk/Rusland
Napoleon Kutusov (tsaar Alexander I)
Troepe: 73200 (1), 73000 (7 & amp11), 74595 (13) 85400 (1 en amp7), 85000 (11), 72789 (13)
Verliese: Totaal 9000 (1)
KIA+WIA 8279 (13)
KIA 2000 (3), 1300 (7), 1288 (13)
WIA 7000 (3 en amp7)
Gevangenes 573 (7)
Totaal 27000 (1), 28900 (13)
WIA+KIA 15000 (3)
KIA 7000 (13)
Gevangenes 11000 (3)

Kommentaar
Die boek “ Napoleon en Austerlitz ” (deur Scott Bowden, sien bibliografie (13)) sê dat die sterkte van die Russies/Oostenrykse weermag wat by Austerlitz teenwoordig was (85000 troepe) te hoog was.


Verwagtinge oor die verwante saak

Gelyktydig met die intensivering van die Pruisiese militêre voorbereidings, kon die Deense minister verslag doen oor die verwagtinge oor die uitkoms van die oorlog met Frankryk. Hy was persoonlik oortuig dat die geallieerde magte sou seëvier. Hy het hierdie aanname onder meer op sy eie waarnemings gegrond. (13) Op sy reis terug na Berlyn het hy die geleentheid gehad om 'n Russiese regiment, wat in Mecklenburg gevestig is, te vergroot. Op hierdie ontmoeting met die Russiese soldaat het hy geskryf:

“C ’est à l ’unanimité qu ’on m ’a fait l ’éloge de la disipline, de l ’ordre et du bon esprit militaire des troupes […] Leurs officiers réunissent les procédés les plus honnêtes à la meilleure conduite. Le soldat quoique soumis à la subordination la plus sevère et la plus exacte, n ’en est pas moins l ’objet de l ’attention suivie et vigilante de ses chefs. Le traitement des malades doit être parfait. La ration des troupes payée par l ’Empereur est d ’un demie livre de viande et de trois livres de pain par jour, et on a le plus grand soin de faire constamment vivre le soldat chambrée. Le régiment que j ’ai vu à Baitzenburg n ’était pas trop élevé les hommes paraissaient forte, robustes, endurcis à la fatigue, ayant la tenue, la démarche et la tournure très militaire […] leurs armes me semblent très légères, la baïonnette fort longue. ” (14) (“ Sonder uitsondering het mense oral met my gepraat om die dissipline, orde en goeie militêre gees van die troepe te prys [...] Hulle offisiere kombineer die eerlikste prosedures met die beste optrede. die strengste en veeleisendste beheer, die soldate is nogtans die aandag van die naaste aandag en waaksaamheid. Die behandeling van die gewondes is waarskynlik perfek. Die rantsoene vir die troepe wat deur die keiser betaal word, sluit 'n half pond vleis en drie pond brood per dag, en die grootste sorg word geneem om seker te maak dat die soldate warm is. Die regiment wat ek in Baitzenburg gesien het, was nie besonder bekend nie, maar die manne lyk sterk, taai, verslaaf en het baie milita gehad. uniforms, dra en aspek […] hulle arms lyk vir my baie lig, die bajonette baie lank. ”)

Die verwagtinge is verder opgewek deur die verslae van die oorlogsteater wat die Pruisiese hoofstad bereik het. Aartshertog Charles was in die offensief in Noord -Italië, terwyl die Russiese generaal Mikhail Kutuzov sy posisies in Sentraal -Europa dapper verdedig het. (15) En die verslag oor die uitwissing van die Franse vloot by Trafalgar, wat Berlyn op 19 November bereik het, was ook nie sonder effek nie. (16)

Terselfdertyd het berigte oor die Grande Armée gesê dat die Franse magte aan siektes en 'n gebrek aan voorraad ly. Die feit dat hierdie verslae onakkuraat, oordrewe en teenstrydig kon wees, het geen invloed gehad op die onmiddellike entoesiasme en gewaarwording wat dit in Berlyn geskep het nie. Daarom, vanuit die Pruisiese hoofstad, het alles belowend gelyk vir die geallieerde saak.


Napoleon se verowering van Europa: die oorlog van die derde koalisie

Napoleon, wat in die somer van 1805 in Engeland sou toeslaan, het 'n koalisie van Europese moondhede teëgekom wat vasbeslote was om sy territoriale ambisies te beperk. Tog, in minder as honderd dae, het Napoleon se leërs van die Engelse kanaal na Sentraal-Europa opgeruk en die leërs van Oostenryk en Rusland verpletter-die eerste stap in sy verowering van Europa. In hierdie sprekende nuwe verslag demonstreer Schneid hoe dit moontlik was. Schneid beskryf hoe Napoleon se oorwinning oor die Derde Koalisie die gevolg was van jare lange diplomatieke voorbereiding en die stigting van Franse alliansies. Hy speel af op die heersende toestande van die Europese staatstelsel en die interne politiek van die Heilige Romeinse Ryk om Frankryk se strategiese posisie te verbeter.

Hierdie oorlog moet verstaan ​​word in die konteks van die Franse Revolusie en die invloed daarvan op groot en klein Europese state. In sommige gevalle het Napoleontiese diplomasie in ander lande teruggekeer na die tradisionele en historiese verhoudings van Frankryk, en hy het voordeel getrek uit jarelange mededinging en vyandighede om bondgenote bymekaar te maak en wiggies te skep. Schneid benader die veldtog vanuit 'n breë diplomatieke, ekonomiese en militêre perspektief, insluitend nie net die Franse perspektief nie, maar ook die standpunte van die ander betrokke moondhede. Hierdie sprekende verslag onthul dat die pad na Wene gebaan is lank voordat Napoleon se leërs die vyande teen hulle opgetrek het.


Oorlog van die Vierde Koalisie (1806-1807)

In die War of the Fourth Coalition (1806-1807) het Napoleon in 1806 Pruise verslaan by Jena en Auerst & aumldt, en Rusland by Friedland in 1807, en die gevolglike vrede van Tilsit was die hoogtepunt van Napoleon se mag. In die veldtog teen Pruise het Napoleon die vinnigste oorwinning behaal, met slegs ses dae tussen die begin van die Franse opmars op 8 Oktober 1806 en die beslissende veldslae op 14 Oktober. Die Russe sou 'n moeiliker teenstander wees, en dit sou twee afsonderlike veldtogte verg om hulle te verslaan.

In 1805 het Napoleon te kampe gehad met die Derde Koalisie, wat gebaseer was op Oostenryk, Rusland en Brittanje. Die Pruise het uit hierdie oorlog gebly, hoewel hulle teen November 1805 besluit het om by die Geallieerdes aan te sluit. Op hierdie punt blyk Napoleon geïsoleer te Wene, en staan ​​voor 'n dreigende nederlaag deur die hande van 'n groter Oostenryk-Russiese leër. Dit alles het op 2 Desember 1805 verander toe Napoleon miskien sy indrukwekkendste oorwinning op Austerlitz behaal het. Die Oostenrykers is uit die oorlog gedwing en die Russe moes terugtrek na Pole.

'N Maand voor hierdie oorwinning het die Pruise ingestem om by die Derde Koalisie aan te sluit (Verdrag van Potsdam, 3 November 1805), as Napoleon nie met vredesvoorwaardes instem nie. 'N Pruisiese gesant, Christian de Haugwitz, het net voor die geveg by die hoofkwartier van Napoleon aangekom. Hy het 'n virtuele ultimatum van Frederik Willem III van Pruise gedra, maar het geen kans gehad om sy eise te stel voor die slag van Austerlitz nie. In plaas daarvan moes hy Napoleon gelukwens en wag vir die Franse eise. Die Pruise moes noodgedwonge instem om Cleves, Ansbach en Neuch & acirctel oor te gee in ruil vir Hannover, en moes 'n alliansie teen Brittanje sluit. Die verdrag is op 15 Desember 1805 deur Haugwitz ooreengekom, maar eers op 24 Februarie 1806 deur Berlyn bekragtig.

Aan die begin van 1806 was Napoleon in 'n baie sterk posisie. Oostenryk was uit die oorlog, Pruise was gekuier en vredesonderhandelinge was aan die gang met Rusland. Binne 'n paar maande het die posisie verander. Die onderhandelinge met Rusland het uiteindelik misluk, terwyl 'n reeks beleidsrigtings die Pruise ontstel het. In Junie is die Heilige Romeinse Ryk ontbind. Die stigting van die Konfederasie van die Ryn in Julie bedreig Pruisiese invloed in Duitsland. Napoleon se noodlottige fout was om Hannover terug te bied aan Brittanje as deel van 'n wyer vredesooreenkoms. Pruise sou 'n ander gebied as vergoeding aangebied word, maar hierdie aanbod het die vredesparty in Pruise verswak en die invloed van die oorlogsparty verhoog.

Hierdie party het koningin Louise ingesluit, wat deur Napoleon beskryf is as 'die enigste man in Pruise' en generaal Hohenlohe. Die koning was 'n belangrike lid van die vredesparty, maar vroeg in Augustus was sy beperkte wilskrag verval en op 7 Augustus 1806 het die Pruise besluit om oorlog toe te gaan.

Pruise

Die Pruisiese besluit is geheim gehou, en Napoleon het nie ontdek dat hulle hul leër tot September mobiliseer nie. Sy eie leër was nog steeds ontplooi in die suide van Duitsland, na die oorlog van die Derde Koalisie. Napoleon het dus ongeveer 160 000 man laat strek van die Ryn tot by die Donau en langs die rivier die Main, hoofsaaklik in vriendelike Beiere. Die hoofkwartier van die weermag was in München. Die Grande Arm & eacutee was waarskynlik op sy hoogtepunt in 1805-6. Die meeste soldate was veterane van die Ulm- en Austerlitz -veldtogte, hul leiers was van die hoogste gehalte en die weermag was baie goed georganiseer.

Die Pruisiese veldleër was van dieselfde grootte, met 171 000 man beskikbaar. Die moraal in die weermag was baie hoog, hoofsaaklik as gevolg van die nalatenskap van Frederik die Grote, maar die tegniese vermoë van die weermag was baie erger. Die hoë bevel was 'n besondere swakheid en het regtig 'n sterk monarg nodig gehad om dit te laat werk. Met 'n swak monarg soos Frederick William III, kibbel die senior bevelvoerders oor die presedent en argumenteer eindeloos oor wat hulle moet doen.

Die Pruisiese planne

Die Pruisiese leër het 'n gemengde bevel gehad. Koning Frederik William was die opperbevelhebber, en hy het die leër vergesel, maar hy het dit nie gelei nie. Hy is vergesel deur die bejaarde veldmaarskalk Richard Mollendorf, wat as sy adviseur gedien het, maar geen amptelike pos gehad het nie. Die amptelike bevelvoerder van die leër was Karl Wilhelm Ferdinand, hertog van Brunswick. Tweede vir hom was prins Hohenlohe, wat dikwels tydens die veldtog in 'n semi-onafhanklike rol opgetree het. Die grootste deel van die veldtog het beide Brunswick en Hohenlohe onder bevel van 70 000 man gehad.

Hierdie gemengde bevel sou die Pruisiese leër amper gedurende die hele oorlog lamlê. Dit het begin voordat die geveg begin het, toe die Pruisiese hoë bevel probeer het om 'n strategie vir die komende oorlog op te stel. Die basis van al hul besprekings was die eienaardige oortuiging dat Napoleon in die verdediging sou bly, sodat die Pruise kon besluit waar en wanneer hulle sou aanval.

Die Pruise het in September begin met 'n inval in Sakse. Die Saksiese leër was genoodsaak om by hulle aan te sluit en het hulle nog 20 000 man gegee (waarvan die meeste onder Hohenlohe gedien het). Hierdie stap het Napoleon gewaarsku oor die komende oorlog en het die Pruise baie onwillige bondgenote gegee.

Die hertog van Brunswick wou suid-wes vorder na Erfurt en W & uumlrzburg, deur Sakse na Stuttgart. Sy doel was om die Franse te vang voordat hulle kon konsentreer, of as dit nie hul kommunikasiekanale na Frankryk bedreig nie.

Hohenlohe wou 'n soortgelyke opmars maak, maar verder ooswaarts, in die rigting van Hof en Bamberg. Hierdie plan het dit minder aanbeveel, aangesien dit 'n vooruitgang na die regterkant van die Franse posisie sou behels en nie hul kommunikasiekanale bedreig het nie. Vir Hohenlohe was die belangrikste verdienste dat dit sy eie leër sou betrek het.

'N Derde plan is voorgestel deur Massenbach, een van drie Pruisiese stafhoofde. Hy stel 'n formele opmars voor van Hof suid na die Donau en dan terug na Sakse. Die doel van hierdie maneuver is hoogstens onduidelik.

Miskien is die mees verstandige plan voorgestel deur Scharnhorst, wat toe as stafhoof van Bl & uumlcher gedien het. Hy wou ooswaarts in die rigting van die Russe terugtrek, terwyl hy 'n reeks vertraagde aksies beveg. Die gekombineerde Pruisiese en Russiese leërs sou dan die Franse aanskakel.

Scharnhorst se plan is as te verdedigend afgemaak. Massenbach se voorstel is ook vinnig uit die weg geruim. Die keuse was dus tussen Brunswick se opmars na die suidweste of Hohenlohe se vooruitgang suid. Na 'n reeks onomwonde oorlogsrade wat in September plaasgevind het, het die koning uiteindelik 'n soort besluit geneem. Ongelukkig was dit 'n kombinasie van kenmerke van albei planne, so daar sou 'n vooruitgang suid-wes en 'n vooruitgang na die suide wees.

Daar is begin met die komplekse taak om gedetailleerde skriftelike bevele aan elke eenheid in die weermag uit te reik, maar op 27 September is hierdie eerste plan laat vaar en die plan van Brunswick is aangeneem. 'N Hele nuwe stel skriftelike bevele was nodig.

Hierdie tweede plan het slegs tot vroeg in Oktober geduur toe dit duidelik geword het dat Napoleon nie in die verdediging bly nie. Die weermag het reeds na Erfurt beweeg, maar nuwe oorlogsrade is gehou. Op 5 Oktober is 'n verkenner gestuur, en op 8 Oktober keer hy terug na die raad en berig dat Napoleon blykbaar vorder na Bayreuth en Coburg, die eerste stadiums van 'n inval in Sakse uit die suide. Dit sou hom op die linkerflank van die Pruise plaas en moontlik die pad na Berlyn onbewaak laat. Nog 'n ander plan was nodig.

Brunswick besluit om sy leër wes van die Saale te konsentreer en probeer om die Franse in hul flank aan te val. Sy belangrikste leër is op 9 Oktober soos beplan in Erfurt gekonsentreer en het daarna suidooswaarts na Blankenhain gevorder. Hohenlohe sou 'n pos inneem in Rudolstadt, op die linkeroewer van die Saale en tien kilometer suid van Blankenhain. 'N Klein verkenningsmag sou baie verder na die suidooste by Hof gelaat word. Hohenlohe het die bedoeling van Brunswick grotendeels geïgnoreer en prins Louis Ferdinand na Saalfeld, suid van Rudolstadt en Tauenheim se Saksiese afdelings suidoos na Auma en Schleiz verskuif. Die Pruise was dus minder goed gekonsentreerd as wat Brunswick bedoel het, en Hohenlohe se verspreide afdelings was direk in die pad van die oprukkende Franse.

Napoleon se planne

Napoleon het ook verskeie planne oorweeg, maar as die onbetwiste opperbevelhebber van sy leërs kon hy tot 'n vaste gevolgtrekking kom en by sy planne hou. Sy doel was om die Pruise te verslaan voordat die Russe by hulle kon aansluit. Hy het dus 'n voorskot nodig gehad wat hy vinnig kon gebruik en wat dit vir die Pruise moeiliker sou maak om veilig terug te trek. Sy grootste probleem om te besluit wat om te doen, was dat hy nie die Pruisiese optrede kon verstaan ​​nie. Hy het aangeneem dat hulle sou verwag dat hy sou aanval, soos hy altyd gedoen het, en kon dus nie verstaan ​​waarom die Pruise bereid was om hul hoofleër in so 'n geïsoleerde posisie in die weste te plaas nie. Sy grootste bekommernis was dat hulle 'n geheime ooreenkoms met die Oostenrykers aangegaan het en dat die Oostenrykse leër wat onlangs verslaan is, die Franse sou aanval sodra die grootste deel van die Grand Arm & eacutee in Pruise aangegaan was, of 'n ooreenkoms met die Britte wat 'n leër op die noordelike kus van Europa. Die alternatief was dat die Pruise ongelooflik dwaas was, en uiteindelik moes Napoleon op hierdie latere geloof optree en seker maak dat hy die Pruise verslaan het voordat iemand anders kon ingryp.

Die eerste lyn van vooruit was oos van Wesel aan die Ryn. Dit sou die langste beweging vir die Franse leërs behels, en sou min moontlikhede bied om 'n terugtog van Pruise te voorkom, en dit sou maklik ontslaan kon word. Die volgende was 'n konsentrasie in Frankfurt en 'n opmars noordoos deur die Fulda Gap. Dit het 'n duidelike roete na Pruise gegee, maar weereens sou daar 'n vertraging ontstaan ​​namate die weermag weswaarts uit sy kampe in Oostenryk beweeg en die weermag 'n reeks groot riviere sou moes oorsteek. Weereens sou die Pruise maklik ooswaarts kon terugtrek na hul bondgenote.

Die derde plan was die een wat Napoleon aanvaar het. Dit was vir 'n konsentrasie in Bamberg, in die middel van die huidige Franse posisie. Die verenigde leër sou dan noord/ noord-oos na Sakse vorder, wat moontlik die Pruise kan oorskry. Die Franse gaan dan deur na Leipzig en dan Berlyn, op 'n lyn wat hulle tussen die Pruise en die Russe sou plaas. Napoleon het middel September ten gunste van hierdie plan besluit toe hy Berthier meedeel dat die bedryfslyn waarskynlik langs die Main-rivier na W & uumlrzburg sal loop.

Die enigste probleem met hierdie plan was dat die Franse oor die beboste heuwels van die Th & uumlringerwald moes kom, wat slegs met drie passe oorgesteek kon word. Napoleon het besluit om sy leër in drie kragtige kolomme te verdeel, wat parallel oor die heuwels sou vorder. Hierdie formasie het bekend geword as die 'battailon carr & eacute', 'n reuse bataljonplein. Hy het geglo dat die Pruise hoogstens twee van die drie passe sou kon verdedig. As hulle dit gedoen het, sou die derde kolom die Pruise van die kant af of van agter af aanval. As slegs een pas geblokkeer is, dan konvergeer die ander twee kolomme die blokkeerkrag. As die Pruise probeer om al drie passe met kleiner magte te blokkeer, sou elke kolom in staat wees om deur te veg. By hierdie geleentheid het Napoleon die Pruise eerder oorskat, wat al drie passe onbewaak gelaat het.

Die veldtog

Die Franse opmars het op 8 Oktober begin. Murat se ligte kavallerie loop voor elke kolom en soek na die Pruise. Die oostelike (regter) kolom was onder leiding van Soult's IV Corps. Ney's VI Corps was die volgende en 10 000 Beiers het gevolg, vir 'n totaal van 50,000 man.

Die sentrale kolom was onder leiding van Bernadotte se I Corps, met Davout se III Corps daarna en die reserwe kavallerie en die grootste deel van die wag agter, altesaam 70 000 man.

Die westelike (linker) kolom is gelei deur Lannes se Vth Corps, met Augereau se VII agter, 'n totaal van 40 000 man. Terwyl die drie kolomme in die heuwels was, was daar min of geen kontak tussen hulle nie. Elke kolom sal na verwagting enige mag van 30 000 man of minder verslaan, en as hulle groter Pruisiese magte raakloop, kom die ander kolomme uit die heuwels en kom hulle te hulp.

Teen die einde van 8 Oktober het die koppe van die drie kolomme Coburg (links), Lobenstein (middel) en M & uumlnchberg (regs) bereik. Die enigste Pruise wat teëgekom is, was klein kavalerie -buiteposte.

Die eerste groot geveg het op 9 Oktober plaasgevind toe die sentrale kolom die geïsoleerde bevel van Tauenzein by Schleiz raakloop. Die gevolglike slag van Schleiz was 'n maklike Franse oorwinning, en Tauenzein moes noodgedwonge terugtrek. Teen die einde van die dag nader die linkerkolom Saalfeld, die sentrum beweeg verby Schleiz en die regterkant naby Hof.

Die Pruise was nou bewus daarvan dat die Franse hulle oortref en die Th & uumlringerwald oorsteek. Tauenzein trek terug, terwyl prins Louis by Saalfeld berig dat daar Franse kampbrande in sy suide was. Hohenhole het besluit om voor te berei om die Saale oor te steek om Tauenzein te ondersteun. Prins Louis het bevele ontvang dat hy lees dat dit sy rol is om Saalfeld so lank as moontlik te beklee terwyl die weermag 'n nuwe pos agter hom inneem.

Om 10 uur op 10 Oktober is prins Louis aangeval (Slag van Saalfeld). Ongeveer 'n uur later het hy bevele gekry om terug te keer na Rudolstadt, maar toe was dit te laat - die geveg was reeds te fel. Die geveg duur nog 'n paar uur, maar die Franse begin toe die oorhand kry. Prins Louis het persoonlik 'n kavalerieklag gelei en is dood. Daarna het die Pruisiese moreel ineengestort en die oorlewendes het van die toneel gevlug.

Na die geveg het die Pruise besluit om af te tree. Hohenlohe trek terug na Jena, waar sy Saksiese troepe op 12 Oktober 'n kort paniek beleef het. Brunswick en die koning het hul opmars na Erfurt laat vaar en in plaas daarvan verder ooswaarts by Weimar gekonsentreer. Teen die einde van 10 Oktober het Napoleon geglo dat die Pruise van plan was om ooswaarts te beweeg, die Saale oor te steek en 'n posisie in te neem by Gera aan die Elster, waar hulle sy pad na Leipzig kon blokkeer. Hy het sy korps beveel om noordwaarts na Gera te beweeg, in die hoop om die Pruise se pad te blokkeer. As die plan van Hohenhole van 9 Oktober in werking getree het, sou Napoleon se besluit suksesvol gewees het.

Op 11 Oktober het dit duidelik geword dat daar geen Pruise rondom Gera was nie, en dat hul hoofleër steeds iewers in die weste of noordwes moes wees. Napoleon het nog baie min akkurate inligting, en op 11 Oktober het hy besluit dat die Pruise waarskynlik rondom Erfurt sou konsentreer.

Op 12 Oktober beveel Napoleon Murat met die kavalerie om na Leipzig te ondersoek. Die res van die weermag sou na links draai om weswaarts te kyk, gereed vir 'n opmars na die Pruise. Bernadotte en Davo & ucirct uit die sentrale kolom sou nou die regtervleuel van die weermag vorm, met Davo & ucirct heel regs van die lyn na Naumberg en Bernadotte aan sy linkerkant op pad na Kosen, albei plekke met brûe oor die Saale. Lannes en Augereau, uit die linkerkolom, sou die middelpunt vorm en koers na die brûe by Jena en Kahla. Die regterkolom is verdeel. Soult is beveel om na Gera op die Elster, oos van die hoofleër, te verhuis om te kyk of daar moontlik Pruise in die rigting beweeg. Ney is 'n entjie verder wes na Mittel-P & oumlllnitz geplaas, met bevele om verder weswaarts te beweeg om Lannes te ondersteun indien nodig. Op hierdie punt verwag Napoleon dat hy op die 14de die Saale sou oorsteek en op die 16de 'n geveg om Erfurt sou voer.

Napoleon se eerste bevele vir 13 Oktober was dat Bernadotte by Davo & ucirct en Ney aangesluit het om na Lannes te beweeg. Vroeg daardie oggend het hy 'n reeks verslae ontvang wat hom oortuig het dat die Pruise nou van plan is om noordwaarts na Magdeburg terug te trek in plaas van noord-oos na Leipzig. Napoleon het sy bevele verander in reaksie op hierdie moontlike stap. Davo & ucirct was nog steeds by Naumberg aan die regterkant. Bernadotte en Murat se kavallerie is beveel om na Dornburg, verder suid op die Saale, te trek. Dit sou 'n leemte vul wat tussen Lannes en Davo & ucirct oopgaan. Soult is beveel om een ​​afdeling na Jena te stuur terwyl die res van sy korps noordwes beweeg het om te beskerm teen 'n beweging op Leipzig. Augereau is beveel aan Jena, Ney na Roda (net na die suidooste) terwyl Napoleon verhuis het om by Lannes by Jena aan te sluit.

Toe Napoleon na Jena beweeg, ontmoet hy 'n boodskapper van Lannes wat berig dat hy 10,000-15,000 Pruise noord van Jena gevind het en dat nog 20,000-25,000 meer in die weste tussen Jena en Weimar was. Napoleon het nou geglo dat hy die hoofliggaam van die Pruisiese leër gevind het en dat die Pruise waarskynlik van plan was om Lannes aan te val. Hy stuur 'n derde stel bevele uit. Murat was nog op pad na Dornburg, net soos Bernadotte. In hierdie stadium is Bernadotte beveel om Lannes te ondersteun as hy die geluid van swaar gevegte hoor. Soult en Ney is beveel om hul hele korps na Jena te bring. Davout sou van Naumburg weswaarts vorder en die Pruise by Jena vanuit die noorde aanval.

Terwyl hierdie bevele uitgereik is, beset Lannes die stad Jena. Daarna het hy na die Landgrafenberg, 'n steil heuwel wat bokant die stad getrek het, beweeg. Die eerste botsings met die Pruise het plaasgevind toe Tauenzein se voorhoede van die heuwels af gedwing word en terug in die nabygeleë dorpe. Lannes het besluit om die besit van die hoë grond te probeer behou, alhoewel hy geglo het dat hy baie minder was. Napoleon het kort daarna aangekom en het met hierdie besluit saamgestem. Hy beveel die res van die Lannes -korps om op die hoogtes te beweeg, ondersteun deur die keiserlike garde. Die skuif is na donker gemaak om dit vir die Pruise te verberg. Die indrukwekkendste was die moeite om 'n paar swaar artillerie op die heuwel te skuif, 'n stap wat die Franse vereis het om die kwaliteit van die enkelsnit wat op die heuwel gelei het, in een nag te verbeter. Oornag het die Franse gewere en versterkings op die Landgrafenberg beweeg, gereed om die volgende dag 'n groot geveg te voer.

Jena en Auerst & aumldt

Napoleon sou na verwagting op 14 Oktober 'n groot geveg voer, maar nie die stryd wat werklik plaasgevind het nie. Hy het geglo dat hy die grootste deel van die Pruisiese leër in die noorde van Jena in die gesig staar. Die rol van Davo & ucirct en Bernadotte was om noordwaarts en weswaarts te gaan om 'n blokkerende posisie agter die Pruise in te neem om seker te maak dat nie een van hulle uit die lokval ontsnap nie.

Trouens, die hoofliggaam van die Pruisiese leër was reeds verder noord as wat Napoleon geglo het. Hy was op die punt om Hohenhole se flankwag (slag van Jena) aan te val, terwyl die enkele korps van Davo en ucirct die belangrikste Pruisiese mag onder die hertog van Brunswick (slag van Auerst & aumldt) raakloop. Bernadotte het homself in die skande gesteur deur bevele om met Davo & ucirct saam te werk te ignoreer, en het in plaas daarvan die dag tussen die twee gevegte marsjeer en aan geen van hulle deelgeneem nie.

Die slag van Jena (14 Oktober 1806) was 'n verbasend harde stryd, veral omdat die Pruise nogal baie minder was. Hulle beste kans op 'n aansienlike oorwinning was verlore voordat die geveg selfs begin het, toe Napoleon en Lannes se korps op die Landgrafenberg kamp opgeslaan het, met 'n nog groter Pruisiese mag. Die geveg begin kort na 06:00 toe Lannes in die middel aanval, met Augereau en Soult 'n bietjie later in aksie. Na 'n paar harde stryd het die Franse die Pruise teruggedruk na Vierzehnheiligen, wat die ruimte vir die res van die leër geskep het. Aan die regterkant van die Frans loop Soult Holtzendorff raak en suidwaarts beweeg na die geluid van die gewere. Hierdie tweede fase van die stryd eindig ook met 'n Franse oorwinning en Holtzendorff tree af, wat Soult vry laat om by die hoofgeveg aan te sluit. Die derde fase van die geveg is veroorsaak deur Ney, wat reguit in die geveg gedompel het, ver voor die Franse lyn gevorder het en gered moes word. Ney se beskuldiging het 'n leemte in die Franse lyn gelaat, wat die Pruise probeer uitbuit het, maar op 'n belangrike oomblik het hulle gestop om te wag vir versterkings. Die Franse kon met Ney kontak maak en die gaping in hul lyn beperk. Uiteindelik het Napoleon vroegmiddag 'n algemene aanval geloods wat die Pruisiese linies verbreek het en hulle tot 'n duur toevlugsoord gedwing het. Die Pruise en Sakse het 10 000-11 000 dood of gewond en 15 000 gevangenes verloor, byna twee derdes van die oorspronklike weermag. Die losstaande mag van R & uumlchel het aangekom nadat die hoofgeveg verby was, en het kortliks met die agtervolgende Franse bots, voordat hy gedwing was om self uit die veld te vlug.

Verder noord is 'n tweede geveg gevoer. Die enkele korps van marskalk Davo & ucirct het die grootste deel van die terugtrekkende Pruisiese leër raakgeloop. Davo & ucirct het weswaarts van Naumburg gevorder, die Saale by K & oumlsen oorgesteek en die oprukkende Pruise raakgeloop. Die Franse in die minderheid was swaar onder druk in 'n geveg wat grootliks rondom die dorpie Hassenhausen gevoer is (hoewel die geveg bekend geword het as die slag van Auerst & aumldt), maar die Pruise kon nooit hul hele leër in die geveg bring nie en die hertog van Brunswick was redelik vroeg in die geveg dodelik gewond, wat die koning van Pruise in ondoeltreffende bevel van die leër gelaat het. Die Pruise is uiteindelik gedwing om terug te trek nadat Davo & ucirct 'n effektiewe aanval geloods het. At first the Prussians managed to retreat in good order, but they then ran into the defeated remnants of Hohenlohe's army retreating from Jena and the army began to fall apart.

Napoleon didn't realise that this second battle was being fought until it was over. When he returned to his camp Napoleon was met by one of Davoût's staff officers, who reported the outcome of the battle. At first Napoleon refused to believe that he had misjudged so badly, and told the messenger that 'Your marshal must be seeing double'. It soon became clear that Davoût had indeed fought the larger battle, and in the following day Napoleon paid tribute to his subordinate in the Fifth Bulletin of the Grande Armée - 'On our right, Marshal Davoût's corps performed wonders. Not only did he contain, but he pushed back, and defeated, for more tha three leagues, the bulk of the enemy's troops, who were to debouch through Kösen'. Davoût was also given the honour of leading the grand entry into Berlin.

The Pursuit

In the immediate aftermath of the battle the French pursuit was quite limited. Murat reached Weimar in the west and Bernadotte was at Apolda, to the north, but he arrived too late to stop the fleeing Prussians from escaping to the north and north-west. Napoleon's plan for the pursuit was to have part of his army directly press the Prussians as they retreated north, while a second part of the army moved along a line a little further to the east, passing through Halle and Dessau. Murat, Soult and Ney carried out the first task while Bernadotte's fresh corps began the flank march. Augereau, Lannes and Davout were to join him after a few days of rest.

On 16 October Murat was at Erfurt, where he captured 9,000-14,000 prisoners. On 17 October Bernadotte helped restore some of his reputation, when he defeated the Duke of Würtenberg with the Prussian reserve force at Halle. In this battle the Prussians lost 5,000 of their 13,000 men. By the following day the resting corps had joined the chase and by the 20th the French had reached the Elbe. On the same day Frederick William left the army and headed east towards the River Oder and relative safety with the Russians. Hohenhole was left in command of what was left of the army. The Prussian army now split into two main forces. Blücher was in the west, heading towards Brunswick, with Lubeck on the Baltic as his eventual destination. The main army under Hohenhole attempted to move north-east to Stettin on the River Oder, where he hoped to join the Russians.

On 21 October the French began to cross the Elbe. The Prussians attempted to destroy a bridge over the river at Wittenberg but the locals prevented them from doing this and Davout was able to get his entire corps over the river. To his left Marshal Lannes managed to repair a burnt bridge and had the cavalry and the first of his infantry over by the end of the day. Thirty miles to the west of Davout Bernadotte managed to find enough boats to cross the river at Bardy and was over by the morning of 22 October. On the same day Ney, Soult and Murat were close to Magdeburg. Ney was given the task of besieging Magdeburg, which surrendered on 11 November.

The main army now focused on Berlin. By 24 October the French reached Potsdam, and on the following day Napoleon visited the tomb of Frederick the Great, one of the few commanders he admitted to admiring. After his visit he looted the church, taking Frederick's sword, general's sash, Ribbon of the Black Eagle and the standard of the Prussian Guards. The French made their formal entry into Berlin on 27 October, with Davout's corps at the head of the army in recognition of his achievements at Auerstädt. A few days later Augereau arrived with the Prussian prisoners of war, and in an attempt to increase the humiliation of the Prussian army he forced them to march through the city and past the French embassy. The humiliation of the arrogant young noblemen of the Prussian Chevalier Guard was apparently quite popular in Berlin.

After the occupation of Berlin the French armies began to split, with some heading for the Oder to guard against any Russian intervention while the rest headed west to deal with the remains of the Prussian army. Jerome's IX Corps joined the advance, moving from Dresden up to Frankfurt-on-Oder. Murat and Lannes made for Stettin. On 26 October the Prussian flank guard was defeated at Zendenick, and on 28 October Hohenhole surrendered the remains of his army to Murat's cavalry at Prenzlau.

The only remaining intact Prussian army was the small force commanded by the Duke of Weimar and Blücher. This army was heading for Lübeck, where they hoped to find Swedish reinforcements and perhaps escape by sea to Britain. This army was around 22,000 strong. It was being followed by Bernadotte with 12,000 men, with Soult a day behind. Blücher reached Lübeck on 5 November, but before he could make the city secure the French attacked (6 November). The city fell and was looted by the victorious French. Scharnhorst and 10,000 men surrendered. Blücher escaped, but was forced to surrender on the following day having run out of both food and ammunition. Another 8,000-10,000 men surrendered with Blücher. On the same day 600 Swedish troops were captured. Bernadotte clearly made quite an impression on the Swedes for in 1810 he was elected Crown Prince of Sweden. He ended the Napoleonic Wars fighting against his former master, survived to become King Carl XIV of Sweden and Norway and founded a dynasty that still survives.

At the end of a short campaign Napoleon had destroyed the Prussian army and occupied all of Prussia west of the Oder, but he had failed to capture Frederick William, who escaped into the German half of Poland, where he received support from the Russians, and under pressure from his wife refused to consider peace. For the first time one of Napoleon's military triumphs had failed to lead to a political triumph, and he was forced to take the war east into Poland.

Pole

Napoleon was now faced with the dangers of a campaign against Russia, which would have to be fought at a great distance from France, and with potential enemies on both flanks. On his left the danger came from Britain and to a lesser extent from Sweden, but Napoleon didn't expect the British to risk landing an army on the north-western coast of Europe, and believed that he had enough troops in France to deal with any attack that did happen. On his right the danger came from Austria, defeated in 1805 but still quite powerful. Any Austrian intervention while Napoleon was engaged in Poland could have been very dangerous. In order to deal with this threat the French army in Italy was expanded, in the expectation that this threat to their southern border would prevent them from acting in the north.

The Russians had two armies in the field at the start of the campaign, both under the overall command of the elderly Field Marshal Mikhail Fedorovich Kamenski. The first army, under General Bennigsen, was around 55,000-66,000 strong. The second, under General Buxhöwden, was made up of the Russian divisions that had been defeated at Austerlitz, and was around 36,000-37,000 strong. It arrived in the Polish theatre late in December. There was also a small Prussian army that had survived the disasters of 1806, but this only consisted of the corps of General Lestocq, and was no more than 15,000 strong.

At the start of the campaign Napoleon's army was split in two. He had 80,000 troops (Davout, Lannes, Augereau and Jerome) available for the initial advance, while a similar number of men (Bernadotte, Ney and Soult) would become available as they returned from crushing the last embers of Prussian resistance in the west.

In November 1806 Napoleon decided to take up winter quarters on the east bank of the Vistula. This would mean he wouldn't have to cross a major river at the start of the campaign of 1807, the Prussians wouldn't be able to recruit in their Polish lands and the army would be able to cover the sieges of Danzig, Stralsund and Kolberg, important fortresses on the Baltic coast. He wasn't entirely sure where the Russians were in early November, but he was confident that his troops could reach Warsaw before them.

The advance to the Vistula passed off without any problems. In the centre Davout's III Corps was to advance to Posen and then Warsaw. On the right Jerome's IX Corps (under the command of Murat) was to advance towards Kalisch and watch the Austrian border. On the left Lannes and Augereau were both to advance towards Thorn on the Vistula, Lannes from Stettin and Augereau from Berlin. On the far left Mortier's VIII Corps was to guard the North Sea coast against any possible landings. As the rest of the army arrived from the west Ney and Bernadotte would be sent towards Thorn and Soult and Bessière's cavalry towards Warsaw.

In the meantime Napoleon was carrying on peace negotiations with the Prussians, but his terms were very severe. The Prussians were to withdraw their remaining troops to the east of the Vistula. The French were to be allowed to occupy the west bank of the river around Warsaw and a series of key fortresses. Finally the Prussians would ensure that all Russian troops left their territory. King Frederick William was willing to consider even these harsh terms, but Queen Louise was not, and she was able to override her husband and by the end of November the Prussians had officially rejected Napoleon's terms.

Pultusk and Golymin

As the French advanced they found small parties of Prussians, who they forced to retreat. Lestocq retreated into Thorn, but all he could do was watch as the French advanced past him towards Warsaw. The first contact with the Russians came on 27 November when Murat encountered some Cossacks to the west of Warsaw. On the Russian side Bennigsen had actually reached Warsaw ahead of the French but he decided not to defend the city. On 28 November the Russians retreated to Praga, on the eastern bank of the Vistula, and that evening Murat occupied Warsaw.

On 1 December the Russians began a general retreat from the Vistula. Bennigsen decided to pull back and join up with Buxhowden's army. Bennigsen withdrew to Ostrolenka, around forty miles to the north of Warsaw, while Buxhowden halted thirty miles to the east. The French followed up, and by 8 December Davout's III Corps had crossed the Vistula and was occupying the small triangle of Prussian land between the Vistula and the Bug while Lannes and V Corps held Warsaw and Praga. Thorn had fallen on 6 December, and the French line now ran largely along the Vistula. Ney's VI Corps was around Thorn. Augereau's VII Corps was just to the west of Warsaw. Only Bernadotte (I Corps) and Soult (IV Corps) were still to arrive, and they were both around Posen.

Benningsen now decided that he had retreated too far, and decided to try and hold the line of the Bug and try to retake Thorn. Both moves failed. Lestocq found Thorn too strong held to attack, while on 10 December Davout began to cross the Bug, close to his junction with the Vistula. By the morning of the 11th Davout held a strong bridgehead on the north bank of the Bug and the Russians had retreated east across the River Ukra, which flows south into the Bug three miles east of the junction of the Bug and Vistula. The Russians attempted to occupy Modlin, just to the north of the French bridgehead on 11 December, but were repulsed. After that failure the Russians decided to try and defend the line of the Ukra. Murat reported that they were retreating across the River Narew, the next tributary of the Bug east of the Ukra, and in response Napoleon issued orders for a general pursuit, but it was quickly clear that this wasn't the case. Napoleon altered his plans and prepared to force his way across the Ukra.

The new orders were issued on 15-16 December. Ney was to move east from Thorn to Gollub. Initially Bernadotte was to replace Ney at Thorn, but he was then ordered to follow Ney with two of his three divisions. Soult, who was now over the Vistula, was ordered to advance east to Plonsk. Augereau was also ordered to move to Plonsk. Davout was to move most of his men to the north bank of the Bug. Lannes was to occupy the south bank of the Bug. At the same time the Russians were moving towards the Ukra, and their line soon stretched along the river.

The French began to move on the night of 23-24 December. Napoleon visited Davout at the mount of the Ukra and ordered a night attack, which was carried out successfully (combat of Czarnowo, 23 December 1806). At the other end of the French line the Prussians attempted to retake Biezun on the Ukra, having lost the place on 19 December. The resulting combat of Biezun (23 December 1806) was a crushing French victory. The Prussians were forced to retreat to the north-east and within a few days they had been forced to retreat towards Konigsberg and away from the Russians.

After their defeat at Czarnowo the Russians decided to retreat towards Ostrolenka. Napoleon tried to cut off their lines of retreat in an attempt to win a decisive victory, but his plans misfired. On 26 December Marshal Lannes ran into Bennigsen's army at Pultusk, while Augereau and Davout ran into Gallitzen's rearguard further to the north-west at Golymin. Soult's corps moved too slowly to take part in the fighting at Golymin, while Ney was pushing the Prussians away to the north east. The battle of Pultusk saw the French outnumbered by the Russians, while the battle of Golymin reversed that. In both cases the battles were inconclusive, and the Russians were able to continue their retreat. The French briefly attempted to follow, but on 28 December Napoleon halted the pursuit and ordered his men into their winter quarters.

Jankovo and Eylau

Napoleon expected that he would be left alone in his winter quarters, but he did plan for any Russian move against his centre or right. He would be surprised on both counts. On 2 January Buxhowden held a council of war and the Russians decided to go back onto the offensive, and to launch that offensive against the French left wing in East Prussia. At this point Buxhowden was the senior Russian commander, with Bennigsen officially serving under him, but after floating ice broke the bridge linking the two Russian armies Bennigsen broke camp and led six divisions north. This might have been something of a gamble, but in mid-January Buxhowden was recalled and Bennigsen given command of the army.

The Russians moved in a large loop that took them behind the forest of Johannesburg before they turned west to advance across West Prussia. This took them past Ney's corps and towards Bernadotte, who wasn't expected to be attacked - Napoleon believed that any Russian moves would come further south.

While Bennigsen was moving into East Prussia Ney was ignoring Napoleon's orders not to make any offensive moves and instead advanced north from his assigned area towards Konigsberg. Although Napoleon blamed Ney for the start of the Russian offensive, this was unfair, as the Russians had already drawn up their plans before Ney moved forward. Ney's move also provided Napoleon with some warning of the Russian move after the leading Russian units ran into some of Ney's men on 19 January. This gave Bernadotte enough warning to mass some of his men and his men clashed with the Russian advance guard at Mohrungen (25 January 1807).

It took several days for Napoleon to realise what was going on. As late as 26 January he believed that the Russians were planning to go into winter quarters in front of Ney. On the following day the penny finally dropped and Napoleon realised that Bennigsen was planning to defeat his left wing, cross the Vistula and potentially force the entire French army to retreat to the west. Napoleon now put in place a plan that could have led to the decisive battle he desired. The bulk of his army was ordered out of winter quarters. Davout, Augereau and Soult and Murat's cavalry were to move up the River Alle. Bernadotte was ordered to pull back south-west towards Thorn, but he never received that order and remained where he was close to the River Passarge.

Napoleon's plan might have succeeded, but on 31 January a copy of his orders was captured by the Russians, and reached Bennigsen on 1 February. He ordered a retreat, and the Russian army retreated out of the French trap. Napoleon caught up with the Russians at Jonkowo (3 February 1807) but this was an inconclusive battle. On the night of 3-4 February the Russians resumed their retreat, heading towards Preussich Eylau.

On 7 February Napoleon caught up with the Russians at Preussisches Eylau. A fierce battle broke out in the town that evening, probably caused by an accidental clash between a French baggage train and Russian troops in the town (Napoleon later claimed this fighting was deliberate). The main battle of Eylau took place on the following day. At the start of the battle the Russians had 67,000 men, the French only 45,000 men, but Ney and Davout were expected to arrive during the day. Soult was posted on the French left and Augereau on the right. Soult was soon under severe pressure and Napoleon ordered Augereau to launch an attack. This went badly wrong - in a blizzard Augereau's column wandered off course and ended up in front of a battery of seventy Russian guns. Augereau's corps suffered very heavy damaged and was forced to retreat. The Russians followed up and Napoleon was nearly captured. After his close call he ordered Murat's cavalry to charge the Russian centre. The French cavalry smashed through the Russian centre and then safely returned to French lines, attacking the Russian artillery on the way back. As daylight faded Davout's corps appeared in strength and began to push back the Russian left. Lestocq's Prussians then arrived and halted this French advance. Ney was last to arrive and made some progress before nightfall ended the battle.

Both sides suffered heavy losses at Eylau, but the French probably had the worst of the fighting and may have suffered as many as 25,000 casualties. Overnight the Russians withdrew, but Napoleon's army was too battered to pursue. The French claimed to have won a major victory, but the battle was at best a draw. The entire winter campaign had ended in disappointment for the French, who had failed in their attempts to win a decisive battle that might have ended the war. The two sides now finally went into winter quarters. The French successfully besieged Danzig, but the main armies didn&rsquot begin to move until the summer of 1807.

Friedland

The final stage of the campaign was fought between the rivers Passarge and Alle. Both rivers run north through the campaign area. The Passarge ran generally north/ north-west past Deppen, Lomitten and Spanden into the Frisches Haff or Vistula Lagoon, a coastal lagoon that runs parallel to the coast, with Konigsberg at the eastern end and the mouth of the Vistula just past the western end. Danzig is just a little further to the west.

The Alle is a little further to the east. In its upper reaches it runs north, parallel to the Passarge. It then turns north-east and flows past Heilsberg and Friedland before flowing into the westward flowing River Pregel. The Pregel flows west into Königsberg.

At the end of the winter campaign of 1806-1807 the French had taken up a position along the Passarge, with a presence on the upper Alle and a large army besieging Danzig. Marshal Ney was in the most exposed position, with his corps posted around Guttstadt on the Alle

The Russians were based further down the Alle, with their advance guard (under Prince Bagration) at Launau, where the river turned north-east to flow towards Heilsberg. There was also a Prussian force 15,000 strong on the lower Passarge.

Napoleon was unwilling to make his move until Danzig had fallen. By mid-May the fall of the city was certain, and he began to prepare for an advance on 10 June. He had thought that the Russians might have risked a battle in an attempt to save Danzig, but he didn&rsquot expect them to make any move after the fall of the city.

He was thus caught out by surprise when Bennigsen launched a major attack on Ney's isolated corps on 5 June. The Russians planned a complex operation with no fewer than six separate columns. Some were given the task of keeping the French pinned in place on the Passarge while the rest were to envelope Ney.

Although the French were caught out, they responded quickly. Ney in particular was a master of the fighting retreat, and by the end of 6 June the Russian offensive had run out of steam. Further back Napoleon organised a full scale response to the attack, ordering most of his army onto the move. On the Russian side Bennigsen equally quickly realised that his plan had failed, and on the evening of 7 June ordered his troops to retreat. At first he hoped to fight at Guttstadt on 9 June, but after reaching that position he decided it wasn't strong enough. Instead he continued to retreat north, along the right bank of the Alle towards Heilsberg, with a rear guard on each bank of the river. On the same day Napoleon crossed the Passarge at Deppen and moved towards Guttstadt. By the time he arrived the Russians were gone, and there were only some minor skirmishes around Guttstadt.

The first major battle of the campaign came on the following day. The Russians had a strong position at Heilsberg, with defence works on both sides of the river. The battle of Heilsberg fell into three phases. The first saw the French push the Russian rearguard out of its positions on the left bank of the Alle. The second saw the main assaults on the Russian redoubts, by Soult's infantry, all of which were beaten off. The third was a last evening attack on the Russian position, carried out by the late-arriving Lannes. At the end of the day the French had been repulsed and had suffered the heavier losses, but on the following day the French threatened to outflank the Russian position and Bennigsen decided to continue his retreat down the Alle.

Napoleon continued to misjudge his opponent. His first assumption was that Bennigsen would cross to the left bank of the Alle somewhere downstream, and probably concentrate at Domnau, between the two rivers, from where he could block the French route to Königsberg. He decided to try and beat the Russians to that city, now the last major place in Prussian hands. Murat and Soult were ordered to march directly for Königsberg. Davout was to move on their right, while the main body of the army headed for Domnau. Lannes was sent towards Friedland to prevent the Russians from retreating east across the Alle.

Early on 13 June Napoleon discovered that there were no Russians at Domnau. He assumed that this meant they were sticking to the right back of the Alle after all, and would be heading north to the River Pregel, before heading west towards Königsberg. In fact Bennigsen was concentrated at Friedland, and Lannes was heading towards a potential trap. Late on the afternoon of 13 June the French and Russian advance guards fought in Friedland, and the Russians took possession of the town. Overnight Bennigsen began to move troops from the right to the left bank of the Alle, while Lannes moved most of his corps up.

The final battle of the war came at Friedland on 14 June. The Russians took up a rather vulnerable position on the left bank of the river, with the Alle at their backs and their position split in two by the steep sided valley of the Mill Beck. The battle fell into two phases. In the first the Russians had a chance to inflict a defeat on Lannes, while Lannes had the task of keeping the Russians on the west bank until Napoleon could rush reinforcements to the area. Lannes came out on top in this part of the battle, and by noon the French probably had more men on the battlefield. Bennigsen missed a chance to retreat back across the river as Napoleon prepared for his attack. The second phase of the battle began at 5.30pm when Ney's Corps attacked the Russian left. Over the course of the next few hours the Russian left was forced back into Friedland, while the right was pinned down north of the Mill Beck. The Russians suffered very heavy losses, but they were saved from a total disaster by the discovery of a ford downstream from Friedland late in the day. Even so they lost at least 20,000 men, a third of Bennigsen's force, and three times the French losses.

In the aftermath of the battle the French pressed the Russians back towards their borders. As the French reached the Niemen Tsar Alexander sent an envoy to open peace talks. The two Emperors famously met on a raft in the middle of the Nieman at Tilsit, where they formed an unexpected alliance. The resulting Treaty of Tilsit effectively saw Napoleon and the Tsar divide Europe into French and Russian spheres of influence. The Russians agreed to join the Continental System, and to recognise the new Kingdoms created by Napoleon. Napoleon abandoned his Turkish allies and agreed to give the Russians a free hand in the European provinces of the Ottoman Empire. The Russian claim to Finland was acknowledged (and the area was conquered in the Finnish War of 1808-1809). In return the Russians agreed to join the Continental System, to take part in the capture of Gibraltar and to force Denmark and Sweden to join the Continental System. British agents discovered the terms of these secret agreements, and this triggered the second British attack on Copenhagen, carried out to prevent the French from getting the Danish fleet.

Prussia was the main victim at Tilsit. She lost all of her lands west of the Elbe, the fortress of Magdeburg and their Polish provinces. The western provinces became part of the Kingdom of Westphalia, to be ruled by Napoleon's brother Jerome. The Polish lands became the Grand Duchy of Warsaw, officially ruled by the King of Saxony, but effectively ruled by Napoleon's representative.

Afsluiting

The War of the Fourth Coalition ended with Napoleon at the height of his powers. He now dominated an area that ran from the Pyrenees to the borders of Russia and south into Italy. In the course of two years Austria and Prussia had been humbled, and Russian turned from a determined foe into an ally. For a brief period Britain stood alone, and Napoleon's position in most of Europe remained effectively unchallenged until the 1812 invasion of Russia. The one Austrian attempt to stand up to him ended after his final major victory, at Wagram in 1809. However at the other end of Europe Napoleon made a foolish attempt to take over Spain and Portugal, triggering the long Peninsular War. Napoleon's relationship with Tsar Alexander was also less secure than he originally hoped, and even by 1809 Napoleon was beginning to lose faith in the partnership.


Creating the Confederation

The Confederation was a virtual satellite of the French Empire with Napoleon as its “Protector” and was intended to serve as a buffer against any future aggression from Austria, Russia, or Prussia against France (a policy that was an heir of the French revolutionary doctrine of maintaining France’s “natural frontiers”). The formation of the Confederation was the final nail in the coffin of the Holy Roman Empire and subsequently its last Habsburg emperor, Francis II, changed his title to simply Francis I, Emperor of Austria. On August 1, the members of the confederation formally seceded from the Holy Roman Empire and on August 6, following an ultimatum by Napoleon, Francis II declared the Holy Roman Empire dissolved. Francis and his Habsburg dynasty continued as emperors of Austria.

Contemporary propaganda engraving depicting the first meeting of the Confederation of the Rhine on August 25, 1806. Napoleon, “Protector” of the Confederation, is visible in the background, wearing the largest hat.

The original members of the confederation were 16 German states from the Holy Roman Empire. They were later joined by 19 others, forming a territory that totaled more than 15 million subjects and provided a significant strategic advantage to the French Empire on its eastern front. Prussia and Austria were not members. Napoleon sought to consolidate the modernizing achievements of the revolution, but, above all, he wanted the soldiers and supplies these subject states could provide for his wars.

Napoleon consolidated the various smaller states of the former Holy Roman Empire, which had allied with France into larger electorates, duchies, and kingdoms to make the governance of non-Prussian and Austrian Germany more efficient. He also elevated the electors of the two largest Confederation states, his allies Württemberg and Bavaria, to the status of kings. According to the founding treaty, the confederation was to be run by common constitutional bodies, but the individual states (in particular the larger ones) wanted unlimited sovereignty. Instead of a monarchical head of state, as was the case under the Holy Roman Emperor, its highest office was held by Karl Theodor von Dalberg, the former Arch Chancellor, who now bore the title of a Prince-Primate of the confederation. As such, he was President of the College of Kings and presided over the Diet of the Confederation, designed to be a parliament-like body although it never actually assembled. The President of the Council of the Princes was the Prince of Nassau-Usingen.

The Confederation was above all a military alliance: in return for continued French protection, member states were compelled to supply France with many of their own military personnel (mainly to serve as auxiliaries to the Grande Armée), and contribute much of the resources needed to support the French armies still occupying western and southern Germany.

The Confederation was at its largest in 1808, when it included 35 states. Some sources cite slightly different numbers because several member states merged consequently, some sources count all the separate member states, while others cite numbers following the mergers. Only Austria, Prussia, Danish Holstein, and Swedish Pomerania stayed outside, not counting the west bank of the Rhine and the Principality of Erfurt, which were annexed by the French Empire. The Confederation of the Rhine collapsed in 1813, in the aftermath of Napoleon’s failed campaign against the Russian Empire. Many of its members changed sides after the 1813 Battle of Leipzig, when it became apparent Napoleon would lose the War of the Sixth Coalition.


The French Revolution & Napoleonic Wars

With hostile neighbors joining forces, learn how France continued to prevail against European threats in the War of the Second Coalition in this lesson.

With hostile neighbors joining forces, learn how France continued to prevail against European threats in the War of the Second Coalition in this lesson.

Increasing its influence over Europe, France won the War of the Third Coalition and expanded its territory discover key battles and conquests in this lesson.

Increasing its influence over Europe, France won the War of the Third Coalition and expanded its territory discover key battles and conquests in this lesson.

Continuing the zenith of Napoleonic might, France defeated Prussia and Russia in the War of the Fourth Coalition discover the details in this history lesson.

Continuing the zenith of Napoleonic might, France defeated Prussia and Russia in the War of the Fourth Coalition discover the details in this history lesson.

Although France defeated Austria and the United Kingdom in the War of the Fifth Coalition, this period marked the beginning of the end for Napoleon.

Although France defeated Austria and the United Kingdom in the War of the Fifth Coalition, this period marked the beginning of the end for Napoleon.

The Peninsular War, a theater of the Napoleonic Wars, was a major turning point for the European powers against France find out how in this history lesson.

The Peninsular War, a theater of the Napoleonic Wars, was a major turning point for the European powers against France find out how in this history lesson.

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Napoleon's conquest of Europe : the War of the Third Coalition

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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.

France and Austria signed a truce on 4 December and the Treaty of Pressburg 22 days later took the latter out of the war. Austria agreed to recognize French territory captured by the treaties of Campo Formio (1797) and Lunéville (1801), cede land to Bavaria, Wurttemberg, and Baden, which were Napoleon's German allies, and pay 40 million francs in war indemnities. Venice was also given to the Kingdom of Italy. It was a harsh end for Austria, but certainly not a catastrophic peace. The Russian army was allowed to withdraw to home territory and the French encamped themselves in Southern Germany. The Holy Roman Empire was also effectively wiped out, 1806 being seen as its final year. Napoleon created the Confederation of the Rhine, a string of German states meant to serve as a buffer between France and Prussia. Prussia saw these and other moves as an affront to its status as the main power of Central Europe and it went to war with France in 1806.

In Italy, the political situation would remain unchanged until 1815, with the British and Sicilian troops guarding the Bourbon King Ferdinand in Sicily and the Napoleonic King of Naples controlling the mainland. In 1808, Joachim Murat became the King of Naples, after Joseph Bonaparte became King of Spain. Murat made various attempts to cross the Strait of Sicily, which all ended in failure, despite once managing to secure a foothold in Sicily.