• Saturday, July 4, 2020

Battle Report #15 Ulm-Austerlitz 1805

Discussion in 'Military History & Tactics' started by AUSTERLITZ, Apr 23, 2014.

  1. AUSTERLITZ

    AUSTERLITZ SENIOR MEMBER

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    [​IMG]
    PURSUIT OF KUTUZOV:

    The dramatic french offensive that culminated in the capitulation of ulm had derailed all allied planning.Of mack's army of germany only kienmayer's Corps and part of jellacic's column had managed to escape.106 infantry battalions and twenty six squadrons had surrendered,leaving aside actual combat losses.Napoleon now turned his attention to kutuzov who was approaching with 27,000 men and 11,000 more following close behind.

    But bonaparte couldn't afford to lose time,kutuzov's force had linked up with kienmayer's column and surviving garrisons-around 20,000 austrians.Buxhowden with another russian force of 40,000 was fast approaching.With the violation of ansbach,prussia had finally cast in her lot with the allies and its mobilization of 200,000 prussian troops were in full swing.Another 20,000 russians under bennigsen would eventually join the allied forces.Meanwhile 20,000 austrian troops under archduke john guarding the tyrol had retreated and now attempted to link up with archduke charles and his 90,000 austrians in italy opposing massena.Archduke ferdinand tried to rally some 8000 survivors of ulm in bohemia.Given the time and chance to regroup,the grand coalition could still hurl 400,000 men at napoleon and yet overwhlem him.

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    SUMMARY ABOVE:(Bonaparte intended to directly strike at vienna,hoping to force kutuzov and the surviving austrian forces in the central theatre to be compelled into defending the city heavily outnumbered.But the old fox kutuzov would have none of it.Doggedly refusing to fight ,kutuzov retreated burning every bridge behind him while pursued by the french in a game of cat and mouse.Ney's 6th corps which had seen heavy action and by the terms of the capitulation of ulm had to stay there till 25 october halted..Meanwhile Augereau's 15,000 strong VII corps had arrived at the rhine.With Lannes V corps and soult's IV corps sperheading the pursuit of kutuzov in the centre covered by murat's cavalry reserve,Mortier's 8th corps and Bernadotte's I corps homed in from the north on vienna while Davout's 3rd corps came from the south in a classic battalion carre strategic formation.Marmont's II corps was redirected towards Leoben(see map) which was the main road link to north italy as a precautionary blocking detatchment in case archduke charles sent any reinforcement towards vienna from there.)
    DETAILS ABOVE PICTURE:Skirmishes and rearguard actions by austrian and russian troops at Reid and Lambach(map) slowed the french advance at the cost of over 1000 casulaities to 200 french.Kutuzov under pressure from his austrian allies hoped for a brief stand behind the Enns riverline(map) and positioned his rearguards while the french were busy repairing the bridges over the traun river(map).Kutuzov's main body was at Enns with the austrian column of Merveldt at Steyr further south blocking a crossing in that direction.On 4th november bagration's rearguard burnt the bridge at enns and settled on the opposite bank as the french approached.Faced with this russian riverline defense napoleon hoped for a outflanking move from Davout's 3rd corps to seize the steyr crossing from merveldt's austrian troops .

    On 5th november Davout stormed Steyr and in a brief engagement drubbed merveldt's demoralized troops.The french seizure of this crossing point exposed kutuzov's southern flank at enns and he resumed his retreat.His rearguard gave a good account of themselves at amstteten (see map).Pursuing 3 weary battalions of austrians..the french came across nine battalions of russian infantry and 18 squadrons of cavalry defending a defile with forests covering both flanks.An overconfident murat had led 300 french hussars in a hot pursuit of the austrians when he suddenly came face to face with this force.The french wheeled about trying to retreat when the russian cavalry charged and the french horsemen along with murat had to flee in disorder with 300 killed or wounded before the russian cavalry was halted by french horse artillery.The french soldier Segur writes -'This was a new experience for murat,who realised he was no longer fighting austrians', and who was by this time used to unimpeded success.
    Murat called up reinforcement in form of oudinot's grenadiers while bagration's rearguard was reinforced by miloradovich.In hard fought encounter that lasted into the evening allied casualities were around a thousand russians and thousand austrians to a thousand french.However an outnumbered bagration had performed his duty well and allowed the austro-russian troops to retreat that night.Overall the tenacity of the russian infantry in this first encounter left a deep impression on the french soldiers.

    ''Not one of them surrendered,but defended themselves and even continued to attack us.When the fight was over we had to knock them down with our musket butts''

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    (Marshal Mortier -'The Bear')​

    Unable to pin down Kutuzov,a frustrated napoleon planned a new stroke.Napoleon formed a new 8th corps under mortier at Linz(See map) -composed of Gazan's Infantry division detatched from Lannes V corps(Note V corps had already marched through linz where it had dropped of gazan).The other elements of the 8th corps would be klein's cavalry division formerly part of the cavalry reserve and Dupont's infantry division ,formerly part of ney's 6th corps-these were already marching in the direction of Linz.
    This new 8th corps would move to the north bank of the danube and was intended to block the river crossings to prevent kutuzov from escaping northwards towards reinforcements coming from russia,and thus trap him between mortier(VIII) blocking him from the north,with Bernadotte's( I )corps soon within supporting distance,the main french body of Lannes(V),Soult(IV)and murat coming from centre and Davout(III) from the south.Napoleon's calculations were based on the fact that kutuzov would stand and fight before vienna based on the ferocity of the russian defense at amstteten.However this left mortier out of easy supporting distance on the northern bank if he overextended himself and kutuzov instead retreated faster than expected in the northern direction.

    Meanwhile davout(III) and marmont(II) caught up with and destroyed parts of merveldt's austrian column at mariazell and weyer causing nearly 4000 losses with trifling casualities before continuing on to their objectives set by napoleon.Vienna and Leoben.

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    BATTLE OF DURRENTSTEIN:


    While the bulk of the french army was being concentrated to converge on vienna,the wily kutuzov had no wish to become the second mack.Ignoring political pressure he took the right decision to abandon vienna and retreat to the north bank of the danube.The french had lost contact with the russians after amsstetten.Murat had disobeyed orders from napoleon to march in contact with mortier and surged on ahead in search of the elusive kutuzov.Meanwhile mortier too had been a tad careless,without waiting for dupont and klein to join him he had marched ahead on the north bank of the danube with just gazan's infantry division alone.Thus when kutuzov managed to get his whole force across the danube and interrogated a few french prisoners(who had been swept away while crossing the danube-confirmed by cossack scouts) he knew that Mortier was alone and isolated on the north bank with just 1 division.Here kutuzov planned to bait and annihilate mortier in a set piece ambush similar to the one used by hannibal at trasimene over a thousand years earlier against the romans.Mortier wholly unaware that the whole russian army was facing him was about to walk into a trap.This would be the battle of durrenstein.(map).
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    [Expand image for details]​

    Of his original 26,000 troops kutuzov had detatched 10,000 to the east of krems ( not shown) to keep an eye on any french movements from that sector.He made krems his headquarters and planned to annihilate mortier with the remaining 16,000.
    His plan was thus.The french would be lured into the open plains before krems by what looked to be a small russian force of around 6000 men.(Miloradovich 2500 plus Essen 3600).While this force pinned the french down frontally,the bulk of kutuzov's strike force(10,000) would take the long route behind the high hill plateau unseen by the french and descend in 3 columns(Dokhturov,Schmitt,Strik) on the french flank and rear cutting off and annihilating mortier.It was a bold and excellent tactical plan in conception.A rumor was circulated that the russians were in full retreat to make the bait enticing.

    The flanking columns began their march from Krems through Egelsee on night of the 10th so as to arrive on the french rear at midday on the 11th.However to factors slowed the russian advance.Early snow clogged the ground decreasing movement and while passing through the villages on their way many of the russian troops lost control and formation and went on a looting spree wasting valuable time.Thus my morning Dokhturov's tired troops after slogging through the snow whole night had only reached the head of the passes.They had still to cross the whole plateau before they could get at the french rear.

    Meanwhile Kutuzov unaware of this began his attack as miloradovich(2500) with 6 battalions and 4 guns and some squadrons of mariopol hussars went forward into the attack,essen stayed at stein as a reserve with 3600 men.The russian attack began at 8:00 AM.However the battleground was vineyards which favoured the french defenders and disrupted infantry formations,it also made the cavalry useless which was relegated to hovering idly behind the infantry on the defile along the bank of the danube.Facing them were 3 battalions(1300) of the 4th Line infantry regiment stationed around the village of Rothenhof.As the russian infantry began their attack they were recieved by steady volleys from the 4L but kept coming .The fury of the russian bayonet assaults were unstoppable and the outnumbered 4L was forced into retreat.They rallied once but miloradovich brought in his 2 reserve battalions and 4 6-pounder guns as support.The savage assault from the russian infantry charging with the cries of oorah!oorah! overwhelmed the french and they were sent routing in total disarray as the russians captured rothenhof.The eagle of the regiment was thrown into the danube river to avoid capture.Meanwhile mortier was fortifying Unterloben and Oberloben in expectation of the coming russians.

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    Mortier meanwhile fortified Unterloben.With the 4L in full retreat he had 2 more infantry regiments at his disposal -the 100thLine which he formed up before unterloben with its 3 battalions.He also gave orders for 2 of the 3 battalions of his final regiment 103Line to hurry to reinforce the 100L.Meanwhile all the elite companies of grenadiers from each battalion of the 3 regiments were detatched and merged into a temporary ad hoc force of 574 men.This elite force of grenadiers garrisoned several stone buildings in unterloben.Mortier placed all his artillery facing the main road of unterloben.In the cramped road the russians would have to enter in packed columns-a perfect target for the french gunners.Miloradovich came on nonetheless.Wave after wave of russians hurled themselves on unterloben but the french defenses proved too much.The russians columns were savaged by canister fire from the artillery,flanking fire from the buildings in the village from the grenadiers while being simultaneoulsy subjected to volley after volley from the french line infantry formed.Here unable to progress Miloradovich attempted to use skirmishers in mass, but the russian infantry unused to this came off decidedly worst.A russian officer noted -
    ''Our grenadiers of great height and large plumes were sent to skirmish.The weak and small french shot them from behind the rocks as they wished!''

    Finally after 2 hours of futile heroics Miloradovich finally called off his exhausted men.Of his 2500 original strength only about a thousand remained.Kutuzov remaining far away from the battlefield at krems in an inexplicable act of passivity had not reinforced miloradovich with essen whose reserves were still sitting around stein.

    It was only after miloradovich was calling off his attack that finally the first flanking column began to emerge from the passes over the plateau.Unfortunately as they emerged exhausted and in disorder into the vineyards they were met by shattering volleys from the 4L which in a show of endurance had rallied from their defeat at rothenhof and now poured disciplined musket volleys at the arriving russians.This was too much for the troops of Strik's column,after non stop marching for over 12 hours and in broken formation due to the vineyards they routed after taking this relentless fire from all sides.As the first battalion routed with nowhere to go it crashed into its rear battalion and then onto another causing a chain rout.The whole column lost cohesion and fled like a disorganized mob back along the same mountain pass they had come through.

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    After Strik had been repulsed Mortier sensed there may be more russian troops coming to fall on his rear and began to slowly withdraw,leaving the 4L as a rearguard at recaptured rothenhof the french withdrew.As this process was underway,at around 4.00 PM Dokhturov's centre column finally began to emerge out of the pass.This led to an immediate crisis for the french,low on ammunition and finding their path blocked by thousands of russian troops the french troops desperately tried to cut a way through by successive bayonet charges.Mortier was asked by his staff to escape by boat to avoid capture but he rejected their pleas and led the french attacks in person sabre in hand.Just when things were beginning to look hopeless for the french,rescue came .
    Dupont with his 2nd division had been some distance away but had marched to the sound of the guns.Schimdt's 3rd column had only just begun to form up when the lead regiment of Dupont's division -the elite 9th Light 'Incomparable'-one of the best regiments in the grand armee crashed into it from the rear.The vyalka regiment was the first to bear this savage attack and was annihilated in short order by the relentless assault of the crack veterans of the 9L.They then proceeded to roll up the whole column in a chain supported by the rest of dupont's division.The 9L had already performed superbly at halsach jungingen a few weeks ago where they destroyed several austrian regiments and repeated their performance against the surprised russian forces here.Soon Schimdt's entire column was in headlong retreat back the mountain pass.

    Now dokhturov was beginning to feel the heat.With mortier coming from his front and now dupont advancing from the rear he risked being trapped.Prudently dokhturov disengaged slowy and retreated back into the passes with his column in order.The french utterly exhausted conducted their own retreat from the battle field by 7:00 pm.Mortier was just glad to have lived to fight another day.Battle of durrentstein was over.

    The russians remained in the field and according to 18th century traditions kutuzov declared victory.In reality both sides had suffered heavily in brutal see saw fighting and yet still had something to celebrate.French lost 2300 casualities,gazan's division had been shattered suffering 50% losses.The russians suffered 4000 killed and wounded.Losses being particularly heavy among miloradovich and schimdt's troops.Another 2000 odd troops from strik's column didn't rejoin their regiments and deserted in bands.(possibly newly raised ).
    Both sides had fought hard,the french showed excellent endurance and managed to extricate themselves from a very dangerous situation while causing heavy losses amongst the enemy.For the russians there was disappointment at the failure to annihilate mortier due to lack of timing and co-ordination between the frontal and flanking attacks and kutuzov's failure to reinforce miloradovich.However they had forced mortier back onto the south bank of the danube,given the french a real scare and the first victory in the campaign raised allied morale.Mortier being forced back onto the south bank of the danube nullified napoleon's flanking plan.

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    (Marshal Murat)​
    Kutuzov now seemed relieved and hoped to wait for buxhowden to join him at the danube riverline where all the bridges had been burnt.Meanwhile Vienna had been abandoned and Auersperg with 15,000 austrians guraded the final series of bridges from vienna across the danube.The situation from kutuzov's point of view had stabilized somewhat.
    Meanwhile Murat and Lannes entered vienna unopposed on 12th november.The imperial capital which had never fallen to an enemy in hundreds of years was now in french hands.Suleiman the magnificent had tried twice and failed(1529,1532),Kara mustafe pasha had failed in 1683,Louis XIV 's dream was shattered by marlborough at blenheim in 1704,Frderick's the great bid had ended in defeat at kolin (1757)..but finally napoleon bonaparte had succeeded.
    The capture of vienna yielded huge stocks of munitions and arms to the french.
    Napoleon however was furious at Murat for failing to support mortier and having lost track of kutuzov and marching for the glittering but strategically irrelevant prize of vienna.
    “I cannot approve your manner of march; you go on like a stunned fool, taking not the least notice of my orders. The Russians, instead of covering Vienna, have all retreated over the Danube at Krems. This extraordinary circumstance should have made you realize that you could not act without further instructions.”
    However murat would regain favour with his emperor in a grand show of audacity.

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    Napoleon now planned to seize the remaining crossing over the danube near vienna and outflank kutuzov from the south.Auersperg defnding this bridge with 15,000 austrians had not destroyed it owing to pressure from viennese noble families who would be cutoff in vienna otherwise.After hearing of the french occupation of vienna on the 12th auersperg prepared to blow the bridges on the 13th.When murat and lannes arrived at the scene he saw the bridge defended with cannon and preparations for demolition ongoing.
    ''Nevertheless, by a superb display of bluff and daring, Murat and Lannes carried the day. As Oudinot’s grenadiers crept towards their objective, the two marshals and their aides strode forward in their resplendent uniforms and calmly walked toward the bridge. The outlying picket of Austrian hussars could only gape at this spectacle with never a thought of offering resistance. Without an apparent qualm the party made its way onto the bridge, pushing before them a remonstrating Austrian underofficer of artillery, and under the dazed eyes of the troops on the farther bank proceeded to cross over crying, “Armistice! Armistice!” A parley was opened with the commander, Count Auersperg, and the garrison continued to hesitate until a column rushed the bridge while the marshals leaped among the Austrian gunners and by sheer force of personality prevented them from opening fire. Then it was all over; the grenadiers were among the guns pushing the dazed Austrians away from their pieces and the bridge was won without the loss of a life.''

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    (General Bagration)​

    Napoleon on learning this had a good laugh and forgave murat for his earlier mishaps.Kutuzov meanwhile was shocked by this setback and immediately resumed his retreat with his flank now compromised.He left Bagration with 6,000 rearguard troops to delay the french at hollabrunn(black and white map).Murat leading the french advance guard came across this force blocking his path.Murat decided to continue playing the deception game ,however the sly bagration gave as good as he got.He immediately offered to begin negotiating the terms of the armistice and sent emissaries to kutuzov who sent negotiators to keep murat busy in empty terms while the bulk of the russian army retreated at full speed.Though lannes grumbled 'we would be exchanging bullets not compliments if i had things my way',murat was totally taken in and sent the terms of the so called ceasefire to napoleon.Napoleon was absolutely furious -
    “I am lost for words with which to express my discontent.“You are only the commander of my advance guard and you have no right to conclude an armistice without my order. You have thrown away the advantages of the entire campaign. Break the armistice instantly, and attack the enemy! March! Destroy the Russian army! … The Austrians let themselves be duped over the Vienna bridge, but now you have been fooled by an aide-de-camp of the Tsar!”
    A humiliated murat launched ferocious assault on bagration inflicting 2000 casualities,but bagration succesfully delayed the french allowing kutuzov to slip away.There was no longer any chance of preventing kutuzov from joining Buxhowden and the czar and on 23rd november Napoleon called for a general halt and reorganization for the completely exhausted french who had been on the march nonstop for nearly 2 months.Kutuzov had manged to escape and it was now napoleon who was overstretched and about to be outnumbered.

    NEXT: LEAD UP TO AUSTERLITZ: BATTLE OF AUSTERLITZ.
     
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  2. LeveragedBuyout

    LeveragedBuyout SENIOR MEMBER

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    @AUSTERLITZ As usual, I find myself transfixed while reading your pieces, and the anticipation of your namesake battle continues to build. Did the French use any kind of advanced intelligence gathering techniques for that era? I am always surprised by their precise attacks and bold maneuvers, and if all of this is done without knowledge of the situation, it sometimes comes across as reckless (with the outcome often determined by sheer luck favoring the French, it seems). I realize that a unified command under Napoleon will naturally function better than the coalition forces, but even so, it's extraordinary.

    On a side note, any chance we will see your brilliant analysis applied to any of the 20th century conflicts at some point?
     
  3. AUSTERLITZ

    AUSTERLITZ SENIOR MEMBER

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    ROAD TO AUSTERLITZ

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    (Overall Strategic situation)
    GENERAL SITUATION 25 NOVEMBER 1805:

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    With Kutuzov and Buxhowden uniting,the overall strategic situation had been dramatically reversed.It was now the french who were on the verge of a crisis.Some 90,000 allied troops including the fresh arrived russian imperial guard now faced them at olmutz with a secure LOC through poland back to russia under direct command of the czar Alexander who had assumed defacto control.Archduke John and Archduke charles had joined forces and were retreating from italy towards the austrian heartland with around the same number of troops.The remainder of the corps of merveldt served as a link between these forces.Some 8,000 survivors of Ulm under archduke ferdinand hovered north which served a nuisance value against the french LOC.Meanwhile10,000 followed by another 20,000 (Bennigsen)more russian troops were approaching.Prussian mobilization was nearly complete and the prussian court was drafting an ultimatum letter to france.Swedish/russian/british and neapolitan expeditionary forces had landed in both north germany and naples numbering 25,000 or more in each case and prepared to take the offensive and thus forces had to be allocated to watch these threats.

    Meanwhile the situation of the grande armee itself was far from ideal.It was at the very end of its Line of communications.Stretched thin.Numerous detachments eating up its effective field strength had to be maintained to protect its long LOC.Ney's VI corps and Augereau's VII corps were entirely devoted to this purpose.In the french homeland 2 hastily assembled reserve armies(45,000 total) composed mostly of conscripts around a core of reserve battalions watched the french coast and the rhine frontier.The bavarians had been assigned to watch archduke ferdinand.While Marmont's II corps at Leoben expected to encounter Archduke charles any day.Massena shadowed charles with 40,000 men but didn't have the strength to engage.St. cyr with 15,000 men watched the neapolitan army and the russo-british expedition.
    This left Napoleon with less than 100,000 men in the vicinity of vienna.The corps of Soult,Murat,Lannes,the guard plus Mortier,Davout and Bernadotte within supporting distance.Mortier was positioned to quickly reinforce Marmont.
    This left Napoleon with barely 50,000 troops facing the russians plus bernadotte and davout within supporting distance.

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    PLAN AND COUNTER-PLAN:

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    Bonaparte faced several critical strategic problems ,he risked being caught in a pincer between charles and Alexander and didn't have the numbers to defend against both.Meanwhile the large prussian army would soon be in a position to fall upon his LOC from the north and more russian reinforcements were fast approaching which would only tilt the odds further against him.The Grande armee was overstretched,and the men tired and hungry,the best and logical course of action seemed to be a strategic retreat back towards bavaria which would shorten his LOC,but it would mean admitting defeat and also further marching for the exhausted french and would give prussia time to deploy her full strength against france making allied numbers extremely daunting.
    Napoleon's solution was daring and unconventional.If the allied forces in olmutz could be lured into a hasty ill-advised attack before reinforcements joined them and the prussians became a factor by giving an illusion of french weakness a possible decisive french victory resulting in the destruction of alexander's army would shift the whole momentum back in the french favour.
    To this end Napoleon sent forward Lannes,Murat and Soult totalling 53,000 men as a bait towards the main allied army at olmutz to occupy the pratzen plateau and the neighbouring town of austerlitz.The allies outnumbering this force nearly 2 to 1 would be doubtless tempted to attack.In such a case Napoleon would reinforce his army with davout and bernadotte's Corps by forced marches bringing up his actual battlefield strength to 75,000.Above all Napoleon intended to fight the battle on ground chosen by him and lure the allies into it.

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    (Czar Alexander)​

    Meanwhile the czar and his entourage had joined the army as well as the austrian emperor.Czar was surrounded by several young russian noblemen who espoused him as the saviour of Europe, were eager for action and convinced about the invincibility of russian arms.The dispersion and weakness of the french encouraged this party and the czar was increasingly influenced by them.He wanted to be the first to defeat napoleon in battle,while kutuzov and the austrian emperor advised caution this was eventually overruled.The prestige of russian arms and the emperor couldn't share the glory with the prussians.Thus an offensive was decided upon overuling kutuzov's protests who was relegated to a mouthpiece.The russian nobles were supported by some generals as well as the austrian chief of staff weyrother who were convinced of napoleon's weakness.Now with the offensive decided upon question was where?
    Langeron proposed to march through the mountains and join with archduke ferdinand and attack napoleon's left flank from the north.This would also keep them close to the prussians.However this had several problems,a march through the mountains would be difficult and could be easily disrupted by the french.It would also take the whole allied army away from the main french body for several days while the redeployment was being conducted -ample time for napoleon to retreat and avoid destruction.(Napoleon had considered this possibility and sent a cavalry division as a recon force to alert of any such move)

    The second option was a head on assault on the french.This risked attacking the french on high ground and little prospect of decisive victory as even if defeated the french would only retreat back towards vienna.Finally the third option involved a sweeping attack on napoleon's right flank to sever his communications with vienna.This required no redeployment and on paper seemed the best option.Weyrother propounded this.However even before the allies had decided upon such a plan on 26th november napoleon by 21st november had been ready for such a possibility and was prepared to deal with such an eventuality.(expanded later)

    ALLIED OFFENSIVE BEGINS:NAPOLEON'S DECEPTION

    On 27th November the allied movement began as the allied army moved up came within viewing distance of the french army deployed on the pratzen heights.On the 28th the russian cavalry defeated the french cavalry (working as a screen) in a large skirmish at Wischau taking 500 prisoners.While the encounter had only been a skirmish it had an electric effect in allied headquarters where it was proclaimed as a great victory.Till now what had been hope that the french were too weak to risk a general battle now turned to conviction.To further bait the allies Napoleon sent his spymaster Savary as an emissary to ask for an armistice giving the impression of weakness.On the 30th the czar sent a young noble Dolguruki in return with rather insulting armistice terms which napoleon rejected.Napoleon had met Dolguruki on his outposts preventing dolguruki from getting any look at the french soldiers.In a brief interview Dolguruki was brash and arrogant,while napoleon displayed an uncharacterastic lack of nerve and confidence.On his return Dolguruki convinced of allied success,proclaimed 'The french army is on the eve of its doom'.

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    The final encouragement for the allies came when on that very day,incredibly the french abandoned the high ground of the pratzen heights violating general military wisdom and retreated.The elated allies followed swiftly and occupied the pratzen heights and proceeded to draw up plans for an attack on the french right.

    “All these assorted deceptions had their effect. The young hotheads who were directing Russian affairs allowed their natural presumptions to run away with them. It was no longer merely a question of fighting the French army, but of turning its flank and overwhelming it.”
    In reality the allies were being carefully lured into ground on which Napoleon intended to give battle.He had identified the area as far back as 21st november,pointing to his generals -

    ''Gentlemen,Examine this ground carefully.It shall be a battlefield and you shall all have a part to play upon it"

    These were to soon prove prophetic words.Meanwhile couriers had already reached Bernadotte and Davout ordering them to rejoin the main body.Napoleon realized that he needed not a victory,but a Decisive victory,to reverse the strategic situation.

    This invariably meant having to outflank the allies,however he didn't have the numbers for such an operation.Thus he planned to let the allies outflank themselves.the weak french right wing was an invitation to such an attack.

    'The cunning withdrawal of Soult from the good position of the Pratzen provided the enemy with the apparent opportunity of turning the French flank and interposing themselves between theGrande Arméeand Vienna. Thus, by apparently uncovering his own line of retreat, Napoleon led the Allies to expose their own. In fact, the French possessed a second center of operations in Brünn.The Allies, on the other hand, possessed no such secondary line of retreat; if their Wischau-Olmütz communications were severed their position would be extremely critical.'

    Napoleon intended to bait the allied army into attacking his apparently weak right wing with the bulk of their strength aiming to cut him off from vienna.However reinforcements would arrive mid battle to shore up this front.As the allies weakened their centre by sending more and more troops from the pratzen heights to attack the french right.Hidden french forces would launch a devastating counterattack on the weakened allied centre on the pratzen heights,splitting the allied army in two,regaining the high ground and positioning themselves to be able to descend upon the bulk of the allied forces attacking the french right from the rear.In all the allies were walking into a gigantic ambush.
    The Battle of austerlitz was now imminent.

    NEXT: BATTLE OF AUSTERLITZ.


    Thanks for the encouragement.No advanced techniques,the light cavalry screen collected most information.The precise attacks and bold manuevering were entirely napoleon's own calculations at work and his intuition.Another reason behind the french strategic movements sucess was the battalion carre formation where each corps is usally within mutually supporting distance.This was devised by napoleon for that reason.The 2 reckless incidents-Haslach and durrentstein happened when a part of a corps went out of supporting distance for some reason.

    Next one is german campaign of france-blitzkrieg 1940.
     
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  4. AUSTERLITZ

    AUSTERLITZ SENIOR MEMBER

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    BATTLE OF AUSTERLITZ-I

    [​IMG]
    ALLIED PLANS:The allied commanders led by Weyrother spent the better part of December 1 drawing up the plans for the attack next day.In the council of war ,kutuzov having long mentally resigned his command fell half asleep.Langeron complained Weyrother lectured the generals like a headmaster.Miloradovich and Dokhturov studied the plan carefully,Buxhowden,Przhebievsky listened without a word.The plan called for the bulk of the allied army to descend the pratzen heights in 5 seperate bodies(58,000).An advance guard under General Kienmayer,followed by 3 parallel columns under Przhebievsky,Langeron and Dokhturov and finally by the 4th Column under Miloradovich assault the feeble french right wing anchored behind the goldbach stream.Meanwhile the secondary attack by bagration on the french left flank would pin this down.Once the allies had broken through the french right they would sweep up the french centre and left from the rear ,cutting them off from vienna and annihilating the french army.The russian imperial guard(10,000) strong remained behind the pratzen heights in the centre as a final reserve.
    However sound on paper,it had 2 flaws -Allied calculations counted on french numbers being around 50,000.This was what they could see from the pratzen .The bulk of the french army visible seemed concentrated on the left flank- on 'santon hill'.However unseen by the allied generals beyond the wooded reverse slope of the village of Puntowitz(see map) in the french centre stood 2 divisions of soult's IV corps.(16,000) ,this force which napoleon intended as his counterattack assault force remained hidden from allied eyes due to terrain and fog.Meanwhile On the evening of December 1 Bernadotte had already arrived and Davout too was close behind.Thus The allies in battle would not face 50,000 french but rather 73,000 dramatically changing the odds.
    The other flaw in the allied plan was that it didn't recognize the independent will of the enemy -that napoleon could disrupt their plan with moves of his own and assumed him helpless.This assumed passivity was to be a fatal error when it came to an aggresive and dynamic commander like Bonaparte.

    [​IMG]
    Above u can see the 4 allied columns on the right and centre plus advance guard under Kienmayer(austrian) with Lichtenstein's(austrian) cavalry in support.The imperial guard at the back and bagration on the right.Kutuzov and the 2 emperors stayed with the centre on the pratzen heights.
    On the french side,Soult's IV corps holds centre and right.The divisions of Vandamme and St hilaire are hidden behind Puntowitz.But the feeble detatchments from soult's third division under legrand holding the right wing -barely a few regiments are visible to the allies.The 2 infantry divisions of Bernadotte's I corps of Drouet and Rivaud are arriving.Oudinot's Grenadiers and the Imperial guard form the final reserve are stationed behind the left centre.The french left is fortified on santon hill.It is anchored by the 2 infantry divisions of Suchet and Cafarelli of Lannes V corps(plus integral light cavalry division of the corps under milhaud) and supported by Murat's whole cavalry reserve(Cavalry Divisions of Kellerman,Nansouty,D'Hautpol,Boye and Walther) facing Bagration.

    As the allies finalized their preparations Napoleon spent the better part of December 1 monitoring enemy activity.His primary worry of Davout joining him on time was removed when the marshal visited him on the night,having ridden ahead of his force.He was assured that Leading elements of Davout's III corps would be available for action the next day,having made an epic 80 mile forced march from vienna by forced marching in just over 2 days.Napoleon's mood was calm and confident,after dining with his staff he was engaged in conversation discussing Egypt and Literature.After a brief rest,he had been informed that the austro-russian army had occupied the village of augezd opposite the french right flank(see map).On hearing this,Bonaparte reportedly rubbed his hands with glee boasting -
    ''In twenty four hours that army is mine''

    [​IMG]
    (Plans and counterplan.Napoleon initially toyed with the idea of encircling bagration rather than the allied left-something depicted here but later dropped this alternate plan as it wouldn't be as decisive.Note-Kollowrath(austrian) shown here actually depicts the allied 4 column which was led by Kollowrath and Miloradovich and under kutuzov's direct command on the pratzen heights)​

    Napoleon then ordered the orders of the day of battle drafted to the troops -

    ''The positions which we occupy are formidable, and while the Russians march upon our batteries I shall attack their flanks.*
    Soldiers, I shall in person direct all your battalions; I shall keep out of range if, with your accustomed bravery, you carry disorder and confusion into the ranks of the enemy; but if the victory is for a moment uncertain, you shall see your Emperor expose himself in the front rank….
    Note that no man shall leave the ranks under the pretext of carrying off the wounded. Let every man be filled with the thought that it is vitally necessary to conquer these paid lackeys of England who so strongly hate our nation''-Napoleon's address to his troops.

    Napoleon proceeded on foot to visit the camps of the various regiments on that night-the next day would also be the anniversary of his coronation as emperor.At some point a soldier lit a torch to light his way and this was taken up all the french soldiers ending in a dramatic torchlight procession with the cries of 'Vive'l' Empereur'.A moved napoleon declared it was the finest evening of his life.Meanwhile the allied officers watching these fires and commotion thought that the french were breaking camp in readiness to retreat.

    [​IMG]

    BATTLE OF AUSTERLITZ - ORDER OF BATTLE

    ALLIED ARMY - 86,000 men and 278 guns.
    SUPREME COMMANDER - CZAR ALEXANDER I
    COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF - MIKHAIL KUTUZOV
    CHIEF OF STAFF -FRANZ WEYROTHER
    COMMANDER OF THE LEFT WING(3 COLUMNS PLUS ADVANCE GUARD) - BUXHOWDEN
    (Also present kaiser francis with schwarzenberg)

    [​IMG]
    (Kienmeyer)
    ADVANCE GUARD(KIENMAYER) - 3400 Infantry,3400 cavalry and 12 light guns.

    1ST INFANTRY BRIGADE: Major-General Carneville
    The Broder Infantry Regiment (one battalion)
    1st Szekler Infantry Regiment (two battalions)
    2nd Szekler Infantry Regiment (two battalions)
    Pioneers (three companies)

    1ST (MIXED) CAVALRY BRIGADE: Major-Generals
    Stutterheim and Nostitz
    The O'Reilly Regiment of Chevaulegers (eight squadrons)
    Merveldt Uhlan Regiment (one troop of lancers)
    Schwarzenberg Uhlan Regiment (two troops)
    Hessen-Homburg Hussar Regiment (six squadrons)
    2ND CAVALRY BRIGADE:
    Major-General Moritz Lichtenstein
    Szekler Hussar Regiment (eight squadrons)
    Sysoev Cossack Regiment (five squadrons)
    Melentev Cossack Regiment (five squadrons)


    2x6 Gun (6-Pounder) Horse artillery batteries.

    FIRST COLUMN (DOKHTUROV) -13,240 infantry, 250 cavalry, 40 light and 24 heavy guns.

    1ST (MIXED) INFANTRY BRIGADE: Major-General Lewis
    7th Jaeger Regiment (one battalion)
    New Ingermanland Infantry Regiment (three battalions)
    Yaroslav Infantry Regiment (two battalions)
    2ND INFANTRY BRIGADE: Major-General Urusov
    Vladimir Infantry Regiment (three battalions)
    Bryansk Infantry Regiment (three battalions)
    Vyatka Infantry Regiment (three battalions)
    Moscow Infantry Regiment (three battalions)
    Kiev Grenadier Regiment (three battalions)
    Pioneers (one company)
    ATTACHED CAVALRY:
    Denisov Cossack Regiment (part: two and a half squadrons present)

    4x10 gun(Medium and light) artillery batteries.
    2x12 gun (Heavy 12 pdr) artillery batteries.

    [​IMG]
    (Buxhowden)
    SECOND COLUMN (LANGERON) - 11,250 infantry ,300 cavalry,30 light guns.

    1ST INFANTRY BRIGADE: Major-General Olsuvev
    8th Jaeger Regiment (two battalions)
    Viborg Infantry Regiment (two battalions)
    Perm Infantry Regiment (three battalions)
    Kursk Infantry Regiment (three battalions)
    2ND INFANTRY BRIGADE: Major-General I. S. M. Kaminsky
    Ryazan Infantry Regiment (three battalions)
    Fanagoria Grenadier Regiment (three battalions)
    Pioneers (one company)
    ATTACHED CAVALRY:
    St Petersburg Dragoon Regiment (two squadrons)
    Isayev Cossack Regiment (one squadron)

    3x10 gun(medium and light) artillery batteries.


    THIRD COLUMN(PRZBYSWSKI) - 7700 Infantry,30 light guns.

    1ST (AUSTRIAN) INFANTRY LIGHT BRIGADE:
    Major-General Müller
    7th Jaeger Regiment (two battalions)
    8th Jaeger Regiment (one battalion)
    2ND (MIXED) INFANTRY BRIGADE: Major-General Selekhov
    Galicia Infantry Regiment (three battalions)
    Butyrsk Infantry Regiment (three battalions
    Podolia Infantry Regiment (three battalions)
    Narva Infantry Regiment (three battalions)
    Pioneers (one company)


    3x10 gun (medium and light) artillery batteries.
    FOURTH COLUMN(MILORADOVICH & KOLLOWRAT) - 16,000 men,52 light and 24 heavy guns.

    ADVANCE GUARD: Lieutenant-Colonel Monakhtin
    Novgorod Infantry Regiment (part: two battalions)
    Apsheron Infantry Regiment (part: one battalion)
    Archduke John Dragoon Regiment (two squadrons)
    1ST INFANTRY BRIGADE: Major-General Wodniansky
    Novgorod Infantry Regiment (part: one battalion)
    Apsheron Infantry Regiment (part: two battalions)
    Little Russia Grenadier Regiment (three battalions)
    Smolensk Infantry Regiment (three battalions)
    2ND (AUSTRIAN) INFANTRY BRIGADE: Major-General Rottermund
    Salzburg Infantry Regiment (six battalions)
    Kaunitz Infantry Regiment (one battalion)
    Auersperg Infantry Regiment (one battalion)


    3RD (AUSTRIAN) INFANTRY BRIGADE: Major-General Jurczik
    Kaiser Infantry Regiment (one battalion)
    Czartoryski Infantry Regiment (one battalion)
    Reuss-Gratz Infantry Regiment (one battalion)
    Württemberg Infantry Regiment (one battalion)
    Beaulieu Infantry Regiment (one battalion)
    Kerpen Infantry Regiment (one battalion)
    Lindenau Infantry Regiment (one battalion)
    Vienna Jaeger (two companies)
    Pioneers (two companies)


    2x6 (12pdr) artillery batteries.
    1x12(12pdr) artillery battery
    2x10(medium) artillery batteries.
    4x6 (light/medium) artillery batteries.

    CAVALRY COLUMN (LICHTENSTEIN):5300 Cavalry ,24 light guns

    1ST (AUSTRIAN) CAVALRY BRIGADE: Major-General Caramelli
    Nassau Cuirassier Regiment (six squadrons)
    Lothringen Cuirassier Regiment (six squadrons)
    2ND (AUSTRIAN) CAVALRY BRIGADE: Major-General Weber
    Kaiser Cuirassier Regiment (eight squadrons)
    3RD (MIXED) CAVALRY BRIGADE: Major-General Gladkov
    Grand Duke Constantine Uhlan Regiment (ten squadrons)
    Gordeev Cossack Regiment (five squadrons)
    Isayev Cossack Regiment (four squadrons)
    Denisov Cossack Regiment (part: two and a half squadrons)
    4TH CAVALRY BRIGADE: General-Adjutant F. P. Uvarov
    Chernigov Dragoon Regiment (five squadrons)
    Kharkov Dragoon Regiment (five squadrons)
    Elisabetgrad Hussar Regiment (ten squadrons)


    [​IMG]
    (Kutuzov)
    RIGHT WING(BAGRATION) : 9200 infantry,4500 cavalry,42 guns

    INFANTRY FORMATIONS:
    5th Jaeger Regiment (three battalions)
    6th Jaeger Regiment (three battalions)
    Arkhangelgorod Regiment (three battalions)
    Old Ingermanland Infantry Regiment (three battalions)
    Pskov Infantry Regiment (3 battalions)

    CAVALRY FORMATIONS:
    The Empress Cuirassier Regiment (five squadrons)
    Tver Dragoon Regiment (five squadrons) St Petersburg Dragoon Regiment (three squadrons)
    Pavlograd Hussar Regiment (ten squadrons)
    Mariupol Hussar Regiment (ten squadrons)
    Kiselev Cossack Regiment (five squadrons)
    Malakhov Cossack Regiment (five squadrons)
    Khaznenkov Cossack Regiment (five squadrons)

    2x10(medium) artillery batteries.
    1x10(6-pdr) horse artillery battery
    2x6(6-pdr) horse artillery battery.

    RUSSIAN IMPERIAL GUARD(GRAND DUKE CONSTANTINE) - 6700 Infantry,3700 Cavalry,40 Guns.

    INFANTRY OF THE GUARD:
    Ismailovsky Regiment of Life Guards (two battalions)
    Semenovsky Regiment of Life Guards (two battalions)
    Preobrazhensky Regiment of Life Guards (two battalions)
    Guard Jaeger Battalion (light infantry)
    Guard Grenadier Regiment (three battalions)
    CAVALRY OF THE GUARD:
    Chevalier Guard Cuirassier Regiment (five squadrons)
    The Garde du Corps Cuirassier Regiment (five squadrons)
    Lifeguard Hussar Regiment (five squadrons)
    Lifeguard Cossack Regiment (two squadrons)
    Pioneers of the Guard (one company)


    LA GRANDE ARMEE-73,000 men and 139 guns.
    COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF -NAPOLEON BONAPARTE
    CHIEF OF STAFF -ALEXANDER BERTHIER


    [​IMG]
    (Lannes)
    V CORPS(LANNES)-12,700 men,20 guns

    1ST DIVISION: General of Division Auguste Caffarelli
    13éme Regiment d'lnfanterie Légère
    17éme Regiment d'lnfanterie de Ligne
    30éme Regiment d'lnfanterie de Ligne
    51éme Regiment d'lnfanterie de Ligne
    61éme Regiment d'lnfanterie de Ligne
    3RD DIVISION: General of Division Gabriel Suchet
    17éme Regiment d'lnfanterie Légère
    34éme Regiment d'lnfanterie de Ligne
    40éme Regiment d'lnfanterie de Ligne
    64éme Regiment d'lnfanterie de Ligne
    88éme Regiment d'lnfanterie de Ligne
    LIGHT CAVALRY DIVISION: General of Brigade Francois Trelliard
    9éme Regiment de Hussards
    10éme Regiment de Hussards
    13éme Chasseurs a Cheval
    21éme Chasseurs a Cheval


    CORPS ARTILLERY -20 GUNS(mostly 12-pdrs)

    CAVALRY RESERVE(MURAT)- 7400 Cavalry,36 guns.


    FIRST HEAVY CAVALRY DIVISION: General of Division Etienne Nansouty
    1ér Regiment de Carabiniers a Cheval
    2éme Regiment de Carabiniers a Cheval
    2éme Regiment de Cuirassiers
    3éme Regiment de Cuirassiers
    9éme Regiment de Cuirassiers
    12éme Regiment de Cuirassiers
    SECOND HEAVY CAVALRY DIVISION: General of Division Jean d'Hautpoul
    1ér Regiment de Cuirassiers
    5éme Regiment de Cuirassiers
    10éme Regiment de Cuirassiers
    11éme Regiment de Cuirassiers
    SECOND DRAGOON DIVISION: General of Division Henri Walther
    3éme Regiment de Dragons
    5éme Regiment de Dragons
    10éme Regiment de Dragons
    11éme Regiment de Dragons
    13éme Regiment de Dragons
    22éme Regiment de Dragons
    THIRD DRAGOON DIVISION: General of Division Antoine Beaumont
    5éme Regiment de Dragons
    8éme Regiment de Dragons
    12éme Regiment de Dragons
    16éme Regiment de Dragons
    21éme Regiment de Dragons
    LIGHT CAVALRY DIVISION: General of Division Francois Kellermann
    2éme Regiment de Hussards
    4éme Regiment de Hussards
    5éme Regiment de Hussards
    5éme Regiment de Chasseurs a Cheval
    LIGHT CAVALRY BRIGADE: General of Brigade Edouard Milhaud
    16éme Regiment de Chasseurs a Cheval
    22éme Regiment de Chasseursa Cheval
    Attached Artillery: 36 guns in companies of artillerie a cheval(horse artillery)


    [​IMG]
    (Soult)
    IV CORPS(SOULT)- 23,600 men,35 guns

    1ST DIVISION: General of Division Louis de Saint-Hilaire
    10éme Regiment d'lnfanterie Légère
    14éme Regiment d'lnfanterie de Ligne
    36éme Regiment d'lnfanterie de Ligne
    2ND DIVISION: General of Division Dominique Vandamme
    24éme Regiment d'lnfanterie Légère
    4éme Regiment d'lnfanterie de Ligne
    28éme Regiment d'lnfanterie de Ligne
    43éme Regiment d'lnfanterie de Ligne
    46éme Regiment d'lnfanterie de Ligne
    55éme Regiment d'lnfanterie de Ligne
    57éme Regiment d'lnfanterie de Ligne
    3RD DIVISION: General of Division Claude Legrand
    26éme Regiment d'lnfanterie Légère
    3éme Regiment d'lnfanterie de Ligne
    18éme Regiment d'lnfanterie de Ligne
    75éme Regiment d'lnfanterie de Ligne
    Tirailleurs du Po (Italian light infantry)
    Tirailleurs Corses (Corsican light infantry)
    LIGHT CAVALRY DIVISION: General of Brigade Pierre Margaron
    5éme Regiment de Hussards(Hussars)
    11éme Regiment de Chasseurs a Cheval
    26éme Regiment de Chasseurs a Cheval
    CORPS ARTILLERY: 35 guns (mostly 12pdrs)

    I CORPS(BERNADOTTE)-13,000 men,24 guns


    ADVANCE GUARD: 27éme Regiment d'lnfanterie Légère (light infantry)
    1ST DIVISION: General of Division Olivier Rivaud
    8éme Regiment d'lnfanterie de Ligne (line infantry)
    45éme Regiment d'lnfanterie de Ligne
    54éme Regiment d'lnfanterie de Ligne
    2ND DIVISION: General of Division Jean Baptiste Drouet
    94éme Regiment d'lnfanterie de Ligne
    95éme Regiment d'lnfanterie de Ligne
    (I corps cavalry division under kellerman attatched to murat's cavalry)
    CORPS ARTILLERY: 24 guns


    [​IMG]
    (Davout)
    III CORPS(DAVOUT) - 4500 men,12 guns(part that arrived)

    2ND DIVISION: General of Division Louis Friant
    15éme Regiment d'lnfanterie Légère
    33éme Regiment d'lnfanterie de Ligne
    48éme Regiment d'lnfanterie de Ligne
    108éme Regiment d'lnfanterie de Ligne
    111éme Regiment d'lnfanterie de Ligne
    4TH DRAGOON DIVISION: General Bourcier
    15éme Regiment des Dragons (dragoons)
    17éme Regiment des Dragons
    18éme Regiment des Dragons
    19éme Regiment des Dragons
    27éme Regiment des Dragons
    CORPS ARTILLERY: 12 guns(nine 12pdrs)

    RESERVE GRENADIER DIVISION(OUDINOT)- 5700 men.

    (A provisional formation formed from detatched grenadier companies of several regiments on garrison duty)

    FRENCH IMPERIAL GUARD(BESSIERES) - 5500 men,24 guns.


    INFANTRY OF THE GUARD:
    1st and 2nd Battalions Grenadiers a Pied (foot grenadiers)
    1st and 2nd Battalions Chasseurs a Pied (light infantry)
    The Grenadiers of the Royal Italian Guard
    CAVALRY OF THE GUARD:
    Grenadiers a Cheval (horse grenadiers)
    Chasseurs a Cheval (light cavalry)
    Les Mamelukes (brigaded with the Chasseurs a Cheval
    Gendarmerie d'Elite
    ARTILLERY OF THE GUARD:
    Light Artillery of the Guard
    Artillery Train of the Guard
    NEXT:BATTLE BEGINS.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2014
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  5. AUSTERLITZ

    AUSTERLITZ SENIOR MEMBER

    Messages:
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    Country:
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    Location:
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    BATTLE OF AUSTERLITZ-II

    [​IMG]

    Bonaparte arose from his brief rest and greeted his staff with-'Now gentlemen,let us go and begin a grand day'.A thick fog covered the whole battlefield.He gave his final instructions to his assembled marhslas who then departed to their individual commands.The allied army had begun to move into its position from 4:00 AM,there was occasional confusion due to the mixture of russians and austrians unabel to understand each other or instructions but overall by 6:30 am Kienmayer with his advance guard was ready to begin the attack on the french right wing.

    FRENCH RIGHT FLANK-ATTACK ON TELLNITZ.

    [​IMG]

    The french had anchored their right on broken terrain resting on the Goldbach stream and fortified three of the villages along the defense line.Tellnitz,Sokolnitz and Kobelnitz from south to north.Tellnitz was a well suited natural defensive position with a reverse slope,vineyards,ditch and stone buildings and walls-all of which could be of great help in delaying a larger force,for which it had been selected by napoleon beforehand.It was garrisoned by a single french regiment -the 3rd Line.
    After an initial reconssaince Kienmeyer began his attack around 7:00 am with the 2nd battalion of 2Szekler(see map ) regiment flanked by 2 hussar regiments .However the lead battalion soon ran into heavy musketry from the chain of french skirmishers deployed among the vineyards.Kienmayer noted this,and send in the 1st battalion of the regiment to support.3 infantry battalions and the O reilly chevauxlegers cavalry regiment remained in reserve.In face of overwhelming numbers of determined austrians the french skirmishers fell back to the ditch after a third austrian assault and eventually into the village itself.However french musket fire amongst the vineyards where the horsemen were unable to deploy caused numerous losses among the austrian hungarian hussars.

    [​IMG]
    Having secured the approaches to the village,kienmeyer withdrew the depleted 2Szekler into reserve and sent in his 3 remaining infantry battalions(2 battalions of 1szekler regiment,1 border grenz battalion) to storm the town by brute force.However this force came under murderous fire from the main body of the 3L garrisoning Tellnitz.Confused by the fog and under heavy fire they retreated,the french infantry chased them back upto the vineyards before kienmeyer threw in his reserve 2 battalions that were resting and drove the french back into the village.Both forces were now spent as they stood facing each other.It was around this time that Dokhturov's 1st column began to snake its way towards tellnitz.
    Buxhowden immediately dispatched the russian 7th jaeger and this joined by the reformed szekler regiments now launched a renewed attack on tellnitz.Finally after another half an hour of fighting the allies cleared Tellnitz of the french as the 3L retreated to the other bank of the golbach stream abandoning tellnitz.In all the allies had cleared tellnitz in about one and half hours fighting.


    [​IMG]
    (Focus only on Tellnitz in above ,others later)
    ENTER DAVOUT - The fight for tellnitz was far from over.Davout fast approaching Sokolnitz with the leading elements of his corps got word of the action at around 8:00 AM,immediately dispatched his advance guard under Heudelet and his light cavalry division under Bourcier.Heudelet's force consisted of 2 voltigeur skirmisher companies of the 15th Light,plus the 2 battalions of the 108Line regiment.Heudelet's infantry approached under mask of fog and surprised the allied forces at tellnitz by storming the town at bayonet point without any musket firefight.The 7 jaeger was lying scattered around the village,searching for food when the french were upon them-they fled in disarray crashing into the austrian grenzers who too joined the flight in total confusion.The french had regained Tellnitz.

    As the allied officers were restoring order Heudelet garrisoned the town -the 2 skirmisher companies of the 15th light in the vineyards in front of the village,one battalion of 108 line in line formation behind them,the second battalion in column ready for a bayonet counterattack inside the village.The hungarian hussars now had their chance taking advantage of the same fog,they surprised the Battalion in line and skirmishers from the flank,while another hussar squadron stuck the 108 battalion in column coming to their aid.Taken by surprise the mauled french fled back into the village.By this time however the allied artillery had arrived and began a heavy bombardment of tellnitz,with this fire support the russian infantry recaptured tellnitz as heudelet abandoned the village.

    [​IMG]
    (Focus only tellnitz above)
    As Heudelet abandoned tellnitz and retreated his force came across the 26L coming towards them from sokolnitz.In the fog there was freindly fire casulaities before the 108 identified themselves by waiving their eagle.Meanwhile the allied cavalry made a tentative probe in pursuit of the french,but around this time Bourcier's dragoons finally came up and charged them back across the goldbach.Thus Heudelet's stand had bought a precious half hours for the french allowing bourcier to halt the allied cavalry which could otherwise have gotten to the rear of sokolnitz and caused havoc.It was around 9:00 and the fog was only slowly clearing.Buxhowden according to the plan halted and rested his first column and waited for the other 2 to come up and form up parallel to the first before resuming his advance.However in adhering to the plan,it gave the hard pressed french infantry time to regroup.(Buxhowden was also unsure as to what lay behind the goldbach due to fog).

    BATTLE FOR SOKOLNITZ:

    [​IMG]
    (Repeat picture,now focus sokolnitz)
    The french forces around sokolnitz and guarding the 2 bridges over the stream composed of the Tirailleurs de Po(Piedmontese legion) -a battalion around 400-500 men.The rest of Legrand's Division(which was the 3rd division of soult's IV corps and tasked with defence of the right wing at tellnitz,sokolnitz and kobelnitz) minus the 3L which was at Tellnitz composed of 3 regiments(26 Light,18L,75L-2 battalions each) plus 1 battalion of Tirailleurs de Corses(Corsican Legion).was at Kobelnitz about 1 hrs march to the north.Legrand on hearing fire from Tellnitz dispatched the 26L with its 2 battalions under merle while the rest remained under Levausseur at kobelnitz.

    Langeron meanwhile had advanced with his second column slowly down the heights but had been delayed first by shoddy staffwork and then disrupted by lichtenstein's cavalry which had mistaken its position,the fog and communication issues further aggravated matters.At about 8:30 Langeron finally had the head of his column before sokolnitz.Around this time his advance guard came under fire from french skirmishers at sokolnitz.

    [​IMG]
    Langeron deployed his artillery and sent forward a battalion of 3rd jaeger to clear the skirmishers.At this point Allied 3rd column made its way to sokolnitz from the pratzen.It had been delayed by a series of ditches on its route.However the allied Langeron and Przbyshevsky had no idea about the strength of the enemy in front of them due to fog and lack of reconssaince cavalry in their columns.Meanwhile attracted by the musketry,Merle and the 26L enroute to tellnitz now reinforced Sokolnitz.1 battalion deployed in the village itself,the second battalion with 2 guns on high ground between the village and castle(see map).The Tirailleur de Po(TdP) garrisoned the castle and pheasantry further north.Langeron began his attack on sokolnitz village with 3 battalions of the 8th jaeger with artillery support and rest of his column close by.Further north Przbyshevsky at around the same time(9:00 am) sent forward 2 battalions of 7 jaeger to seize sokolnitz castle.

    [​IMG]
    (Merle)​

    7 jaeger quickly seized this strongpoint from the outnumbered TdP,but on further advance came under withering fire from the 2nd battalion of 26L on high ground and 2 french guns.Surprised and forced to retreat they lost their commanding officer wounded and captured.The 26L(2) retook sokolnitz castle.Further south the first attack of the 8Jaeger was beaten off by the garrisoned french with heavy losses.

    [​IMG]

    Now the allied commanders had a clearer view of french strength and planned an overwhelming attack.Przbyshevsky intended a 5-battalion attack.2 battalions of 7J to clear sokolnitz castle,then wheel left and strike at sokolnitz village.Meanwhile 3 battalions of galitz musketeers to clear the area between the village and castle and take sokolnitz from the left.This left 6 battalions of narva and butyrsk musketeers in reserve.His other 6 battalions under wimpfen watched the french forces at kobelnitz to guard against a flank attack from that sector.Meanwhile Langeron simultaneously would attack sokolnitz village from the front with 5 battalions,keeping 6 more in reserve.

    [​IMG]

    Sokolnitz castle was easily taken,but the french 26L between the castle and the village 'produced carnage' mowing down waves of allied attackers crossing the goldbach.However hopelessly outnumbered,soon the situation was desperate for 26L and with the 2 gun battery overrun by russian jaeger,.Rest of the 26L fled in disarray(a part of this force met the 108 retreating from tellnitz and had friendly fire incident described earlier) but over a hundred french were trapped and taken prisoner as the jubiliant russian forces seized sokolnitz.It was about 9:45 am and allied officers were busy reforming their tangled units in the village before renewing the attack.However events further north in the pratzen heights would soon disrupt all allied plans.
    NEXT: CENTRE -FRENCH STORM PRATZEN HEIGHTS.
     
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  6. AUSTERLITZ

    AUSTERLITZ SENIOR MEMBER

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    BATTLE OF AUSTERLITZ-III
    [​IMG]

    As the action was heating up at Tellnitz and sokolnitz Napoleon watched motionless from his vantage point surrounded by his marshals(There was tension between soult and Lannes.Few days earlier Soult and murat,convinced they were about to be defeated managed to get Lannes to act as the spokesperson to napoleon to voice these concerns.Napoleon however dismissed such notions and asked where did he get these ideas from.Lannes answered that it was a collective decision,however the ever diplomatic soult backed away from taking any responsibility leaving lannes embarrassed.A furious lannes challenged soult to a duel,a situation which had later been defused,but was the catalyst of a long enmity between the 2 marshals.)

    'ONE SHARP BLOW AND THIS WAR IS OVER
    ' -

    After dismissing his marshals except soult who stayed with him,napoleon continued to watch as the allied columns slowly descended from the pratzen heights and moved towards the french right.After 8:00 PM the fog had dispersed over the heights affording a clear view.However it still lingered over the french centre around Puntowitz due to a combination of smoke from french campfires and terrain ,here behind the slopes beyond the village of Puntowitz stood Napoleon's trump card - 2 divisions of Soult's corps 16,000 men with which he intended to retake the pratzen in a surprise attack.To ensure the proper 'elan' these troops had been provided a triple spirit dose in their rations.

    [​IMG]

    As he watched the allies denude their centre bonaparte mocked the allied commanders for acting as if they were following his orders.Napoleon had on purpose massed 8 infantry divisions on the french left and centre leaving the right defended by only 1(legrand).Meanwhile soult was getting impatient.

    “How long will it take you to move your divisions to the top of the Pratzen Heights?” the Emperor enquired of Soult.
    “Less than twenty minutes, Sire, for my troops are hidden at the foot of the valley, hidden by fog and campfire smoke,” was the reply. “In that case, we will wait a further quarter of an hour.”

    At around 9:00 am,napoleon judged the allied centre sufficiently weakened and gave the signal to attack to soult ,pointing to the allied centre- ''One sharp blow and this war is over'' -Napoleon.

    Bonaparte prescribed a 2 -prong attack on the pratzen.Vandamme from the left,St.Hilaire from the right.Each division formed up in 3 lines,first line of 2 light infantry battalions,the succesive 2 in columns.St.hilaire's open right flank would be covered by Levaussier at Kobelnitz who would intercept any reinforcement from the allied columns around sokolnitz to the pratzen.Bernadotte's I corps would follow up Soult,oudinot's grenadiers and the imperial guard being the final reserve.

    PANIC IN ALLIED HEADQUARTERS:

    [​IMG]

    The allied officers and emperors were busy watching their columns below slowly push back the french right.The czar meanwhile prodded kutuzov to send forward the 4th Column(Miloradovich-Kollowrat) which he did with some reluctance.Meanwhile a french prisoner was brought before the czar who identified himself as belonging to III corps.

    Czar alexander:Marshal davout's corps?That corps is in vienna!
    Prisoner :It was yesterday,today it's here.


    Meanwhile the sun had come up(the later famous 'sun of austerlitz') and the shocked allied officers now discovered a large body of french ,bayonets glistening coming straight at their centre,already halfway up the pratzen .There was a wave of astonishment and panic,at this sudden threat to the center.Kutusov and his headquarters, accompanying Miloradovitch’s southbound column(4th column-part), suddenly realized the danger as they reached the crest of the Pratzen en route for Sokolnitz. Halting the troops in his vicinity, Kutusov hurriedly reversed the direction of their march, but only two battalions reached the village of Pratzen before the storm broke.
    [​IMG]
    (Overview of French attack on pratzen 9-11 AM)​

    BATTLE FOR PRATZEN HEIGHTS:

    ST.HILARE'S ATTACK -

    I
    - Check arrows in above diagram.Correspond with below map.Vandamme's target is Stare Vinorady.St hilaire moves towards Pratze,onto Pratzeberg(pratze visible in middle)

    [​IMG]

    II - The 1st battalion of 14L of St.Hilaire's command entered pratze thinking it abandoned but was ambushed by a devastating volley by a battalion of russian infantry hiding in a ravine( novgorod musketeer).Totally surprised the french infantry simply turned and fled.(on above pic u can see 14L I.battalion rallying behind st.hilaire)However the french soon renewed the attack on pratze with 3 infantry battalions[36L(both),14L(2nd)] and despite being reinforced by a battalion of aspehron musketeers the russian infantry faced massed volleys followed by waves of french infantry attacks with bayonet and were threatened with encirclement by 36L(1).Initially keeping the french at bay by bayonet counterattacks,resistance finally collapsed when the french brought up artillery began to pour canister into the russian ranks.Having had enough, the russian battalions already understrength,routed entirely refusing to rally.This action exposed miloradovich's(fighting vandamme) right flank.

    III - Meanwhile St .Hilaire's extreme right battalions(two) of the elite 10 th Light regiment marching on Pratzeberg encountered 2 battalions of novgorod musketeers heading the same way.The french won the race and soon pushed back these battalions in disarray as they were also attacked in the flank by 36L(1).In response two austrian brigades(Jurzcik,Sterndahl) of IV column(kolowrat) were directed towards pratzberg to retake it.But as they were on their way ,miloradovich sent desperate plea for help to kutuzov -vandamme's division had hit the pratzen from the west.Sterndahl veered of with ten battalions to reinforce miloradovich while Jurzcik moved ahead with the remaining 5 battalions towards pratzberg.(see above map)

    IV - Meanwhile Kamensky commanding the rear end of Langeron's column saw what was happening on the pratzen and on his own initiative turned his column around to reclimb the heights.(Ending description by number due to coming interconnected events)
    [​IMG]
    (Vandamme - Napoleon said of vandamme,if i ever invade hell,vandamme would lead the vanguard)

    VANDAMME VS MILORADOVICH
    :

    On seeing the french coming 2 battalions of the aspheron musketeers as well as 3 battalions of the smolensk musketeers (originally marching towards pratzberg)hastily turned and assumed position in line to meet vandamme's assault.To their left 3 battalions of the Little russia Grenadiers formed Miloradovich's second line.Vandamme launched an all out attack,Miloradovich's 5 centre battalions were immediately engaged by 6 french battalions(2 X 57L,46L,24L),with the 46 line in centre and the 57 the line 'the terrible 57th'( possibly the best line regiment in grande armee along with 9L 'incomparable') on its right flank and the 24 light-another crack unit on its left flank. (see last map)
    Further south 4 more of vandamme's battalions(55L & 43L)moved to engage the 3 battalions of the Little russia regiment which formed miloradovich's left flank.Vandamme kept 4 battalions(28L,4L) in reserve behind his front line.
    In total within 15 minutes between St.Hilaire and Vandamme the french had massed 12,000 men facing 6,000 russians with another 7,000 austrians desperately rushing to their aid.

    The little russia grenadiers(3 bns) was engaged in a heavy musket firefight with the 55L(2bns) and 43L(2 bns).Here superior french fire discipline began to tell as the russian took mounting casualities.At this point compounding the problem,2 french battalions broke the russian defenders at Pratze(see phase 2 ) totally exposing the left flank of the Little russia.Now under attack from front and flank by 6 french battalions,the grenadiers made desperate bayonet charges to drive back the french but were shot down in droves by disciplined french volleys taking devastating casualities.With both its commanding officers wounded and captured the Little russia collapsed and broke.Vandamme had broken through miloradovich's left flank.
    This spelled doom for miloradovich's 5 main centre battalions,assailed from front by 6 french battalions their flank was now under attack by the 55L and 43L,fresh victorious over the little russia.In a chain the russian line collapsed and broke,fleeing to the safety of the rear.Kutuzov attempting to rally them was wounded by a bullet.The czar implored him to go to the rear to treat his wound to which kutuzov pointed to the masses of advancing bluecoats remarking-''The wound is there''.
    In under one hour the french had broken through the allied first line of defense on the pratzen and the allied situation was now critical.

    BATTLE FOR PRATZEN HEIGHTS -PHASE II

    [​IMG]
    (Ignore north-focus pratzen,explained later)
    With the french occupying the western end of the pratzen heights after the rout of miloradovich,the 15 austrian battalions of Kollowrath were the final forces available to kutuzov to hold back the advancing twenty french battalions(St.hilaire and vandamme) until he could reform Miloradovich's shattered forces behind the austrian line.Of these austrian battalions 8 were regulars and 7 battalions of hastily raised reservists.
    5 battalions(58,38,55,49,29) of Jurzcik's command were in position to attack St.hilaire at Pratze.
    Other ten battalions to their right defended the strongpoint of Stare vinhrady against vandamme.

    Meanwhile kutuzov sent urgent appeals to the first 3 columns below to send reinforcements and also to grand duke constantine to send in the russian imperial guard.

    Help came unexpectedly swiftly.Kamenski leading the rear of II column(Langeron) was on his way to sokolnitz when seeing the disaster unfolding on the pratzen heights he turned and rescaled the heights on his own initiative with his six battalions of Ryazask and Fanagoria regiments.(see map)He also sent a messenger to notify langeron of the events on the pratzen.
    [​IMG]
    (St.Hilaire -One of the best infantry generals in the grande armee)​

    ST.HILAIRE
    - Morand,brigade commander of the 10 L noticed this movement and immediately alerted St.hilaire who now refused his right flank and turned 3 battalions[10L(2bns) and 36L(1)] to face this new threat and reinforced them with 3 guns from his divisional reserve.
    At around this time the remaining 2 battalions of St.Hilaire's force(Thiebult's brigade) noted the approach of the 5 battalions of Jurzcik's austrians appraoching Pratze.Outnumbered(against kamensky and Jurzcik combined) and with no reserves save the rallying 14L (1) things suddenly looked dangerous for the french.However Thiebult fortified his 2 battalions at pratze with the remaining 3 8-pounder divisional guns(Other 3 supporting morand).At this point Soult's Corps Artillery with 6 heavy 12-pounder guns arrived to reinforce St.Hilaire.Thieubult divided the 6 guns into 2 3-gun 12 pdr batteries and allocated each to support one battalion of 36L.St.hilaire's 5 battalions were thus deployed in a L-shaped arc - 4,000 french facing 6,000 fresh russians and austrians(Kamensky and Jurzcik),however the french had the advantage of high ground and very powerful artillery support.

    Kamensky attacked with six battalions in line,but ran into withering fire from the 10L on high ground.Using their superior marksmanship and heavy artillery support the french inflicted heavy losses.Unable to force his way through in a frontal attack kamensky attempted to turn Morand's right flank,but St.hilaire sent in the rallied 1st battalion of 14L who stabilized the threat from this potentially dangerous move.
    Meanwhile Jurzcik accompanied by Kutuzov attacked thieubult at Pratze.The french hid their guns behind the infantry until the austrians were point blank range,then moved away to reveal the batteries which poured hail of canister into the whitecoats.These were supported by massed volleys from the french infantry and the austrians took serious casulaities.In this case too the austrian infantry was finding it difficult to keep up with the superior musketry of the veteran french.The austrian attack was stalled and bleeding.

    [​IMG]

    VANDAMME - To the north,vandamme had wasted no time and immediately attacked the austrians before stare vaneradhy with his first line of 8 battalions with 6 more in reserve(55L and 43L originally part of St.hilaire's division,now operating with vandamme's force).​
    Austrians held firm,french 24L was stopped in its tracks and countercharged by the elite austrian GR23 grenadiers.However the grenadiers came under flank attack from Boye's dragoons from the north and were themselves driven back with heavy losses(boye's dragoons had been redirected from french left wing cavalry reserve-detail later).
    Seeing his right flank in trouble Kollowrath reinforced it with IR24(6) battalion from the second line( see map).Vandamme too sent one battalion of the 4L from his second line to extend his left flank and the 2nd to reinforce 24L(2bns) for a renewed assault.Simulatneously his other 6 frontline battalions would press the austrians all over the line.Vandamme assembled 7000 frenchmen against 5000 austrians.
    Pinning the austrian line from the front with his 6 battalions,the other 3 battalions flanked them from the north west slowly bending back kollowrath's right flank.The IR 23 austrians suffered greiviously - in a combined assault by the bayonets of the 24L and boye's dragoons losing 50% of their strength.Meanwhile french artillery wreaked havoc on the austrian ranks.Finally around 11:00 am kollowrath's right flank collapsed,this initiated a chain rout of his centre as the french broke through the crumbling austrian line taking large numbers of prisoners.Vandamme proceeded to occupy Stare Vineradhy.
    Meanwhile Miloradovich desperately rallied his battered surviving 9 russian battalions(other 3 destroyed) and Napoleon ordered Bernadotte's I corps to join soult on the pratzen.His first division Drouet was fast approaching.

    [​IMG]
    (Ignore north,later)

    BATTLE FOR PRATZEN -PHASE III :

    ST.HILAIRE -
    South of the Pratzen heights,Langeron had arrived from sokolnitz to investigate the disturbing reports he had recieved from kamenski.He found kamenski's battalions being slowly ground down in musket duels by the french.Recognizing the futility of this,Langeron ordered fix bayonets and the russian infantry launched a fierce charge uphill initially pushing Morand's french before them.At this juncture St.Hilaire having recalled 43L from vandamme led the countercharge as the french pushed kamensky's exhausted men back down the slope with heavy losses.Now Boye's dragoons redirected by napoleon to St.hilaire also arrived to support this counterattack.After fierce resistance under this new french attack,finally Kamensky's force with half their number casualities broke and fled.

    Meanwhile Langeron had ridden off to get reinforcements for kamensky. 3 battalions of the kursk regiment called up by langeron to join kamensky from his reserve at sokolnitz had been intercepted from the flank and crushed by Levausseur at Kobelnitz.(this is shown in first colour map-phase 8)
    Jurzcik made a final desperate bayonet assault on pratze,but despite causing heavy losses amongst the weakening french this attack too was halted by a hail of musket and cannonfire.Jurzcik being killed,at this points the survivors retreated.
    VANDAMME - To the north of the pratzen,Vandamme continued his relentless assault.Advancing from Stare Vineradhy,the french attacked the makeshift defensive line that miloradovich and kollowrath were trying to form out of the remnants of tehir beaten battalions.In about 20 minutes these shaken and depleted battalions suffered yet another rout as vandamme broke through.Kutuzov could now see Drouet's division approaching(Guard and oudinot following) and gave the order for whatever troops left to withdraw from the pratzen.It was around 11:30 AM ,in about two and half hours of intense fighting the french were masters of the pratzen heights.
    The allied IV column and part of the II-column had been destroyed and the allied centre had all but ceased to exist,splitting the whole allied army in two.
    The last hope of the allied army now was the russian imperial guard.

    NEXT: LEFT FLANK - LANNES-MURAT VS LICHTENSTEIN-BAGRATION

     
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  7. LeveragedBuyout

    LeveragedBuyout SENIOR MEMBER

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    @AUSTERLITZ Amazing detail, as always. How were the French troops recruited into the army, via draft or were they volunteers? And what about the coalition forces? You mentioned previously that the French Revolution allowed a kind of meritocracy to develop, which is why Napoleon was able to exploit so much talent in his forces, but what accounts for the superior training of the foot soldiers?

    Thanks again for this great series.
     
  8. AUSTERLITZ

    AUSTERLITZ SENIOR MEMBER

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    About half volunteers.Half conscripts with training.(rotated by yearly drafts)
    Austrians had slightly less volunteers.
    Russians best battalions full volunteer,line infantry serf 25 yr conscription.

    Superior fire discipline is accounted for by 2 things -The french infantry were more combat experienced which is the best training.And also both soult and davout's corps were situated for over 2 years on the camp of boulogne where they underwent rigorous fire training,as the napoleonic wars progressed french infantry quality declined sharply.But during 1805-1807 it was at its peak.
     
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  9. AUSTERLITZ

    AUSTERLITZ SENIOR MEMBER

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    BATTLE OF AUSTERLITZ-IV

    [​IMG]
    LEFT FLANK : LANNES-MURAT VS BAGRATION-LICHTENSTEIN

    The french left flank was anchored at santon hill,with its strength concentrated between giriskowitz and bosenitz.Lannes main body composed of his 2 infantry divisions (12,000)- Suchet on the left and Cafarelli on the right.This was supported by murat's whole cavalry reserve.Lannes light cavalry division of Trelliard along with Milhaud's light cavalry brigade(from Cav Res)supported suchet's left flank along with Kellerman's light cavalry division(detatched from Bernadotte I corps).Boye's Dragoon division supported cafarelli's right flank to the south.Behind lannes two lines of infantry stood the reserve-the dragoon division of walther and 2 elite heavy cavalry divisions of cuirassiers and carabiniers - Nansouty and D'hautpol.

    Behind lannes to the south stood the 2 infantry divisions of Bernadotte's corps(Druoet and Rivaud).

    Facing this was bagration with his main body of infantry(9200 men) his right flank covered by chaplitsi's cossacks ,his left mariopul hussars under wittengstein and a battery.Tver dragoons in reserve.To bagration's left stood Lichtenstein's cavalry column.The cavalry brigades of Uvarov and Shepelev along with the elisabetgrad hussars and Hohenlohe's austrian cuirassiers.Lichtenstein was supported by Yermolov's horse battery(the one described in russian generals section).

    [​IMG]
    (Uvarov- noted russian cavalry general)​

    Further south to the rear of the allied position stood Grand duke constantine with the russian imperial guard.The elite Preobrazhensky and Semenovsky Lifeguard foot,the guard jaeger battalion supported by the light cavalry of the guard on both flanks.(the heavy cavalry still to the rear-not shown)

    Lannes orders were to begin his pinning attack once Soult had ascended the heights to prevent any russian reinforcements from reaching the pratzen.Bagration's orders were to hold until all allied columns had left the pratzen and then begin his secondary attack.Lannes's infantry began advancing about 9:30 AM- after the french had stormed the pratzen.Lannes intended to attack straight along the olmutz road seperating Bagration from Lichtenstein.

    [​IMG]
    (Kellerman - one of the best french cavalry generals along with murat,lasalle and montbrun)​

    INITIAL CAVALRY BATTLES:

    Lichtenstein reacted immediately,ordering shepelov to send forward part of his light cavalry-10 squadrons of the superb constantine uhlans to charge kellerman's cavalry who was leading lannes's attack.Kellerman had 12 squadrons of light cavalry(in 4 regiments),but these were largely untested.He barely had time to react to the fury of the russian cavalry attack but kept his cool.Unwilling to gamble with his untested hussars and chasseurs, kellerman wheeled his cavalry left and rode off.(this is where we see kellerman in picture,to the left of the infantry)The uhlans caught and routed one rear squadron of the french,but suddenly came face to face with masses of bluecoat infantry which were coming up behind kellerman.Despite valiant charges the constantine uhlans took devastating volleys from the french infantry (uhlans caught facing wrong side chasing french cavalry)and were thrown into disorder.The oppurtunistic kellerman now turned round and struck, throwing back the uhlans with heavy losses.Despite great gallantry the uhlans lost 20% of their regiment killed and half their officers casualities.
    Meanwhile bagration had sent forward wittgenstien with the maripol hussars along with a supporting battery to the road in reaction to lannes movement.As kellerman's cavalry chased the uhlans,yashvil's battery unlimbered and opened fire.Simultaneously Shepelov launched the elisabetgrad hussars(~800) to drive back the french.Kellerman's lead regiment was surprised by this 2 -prong assault and swamped by russian hussars lost its commanding officer captured.Kellerman acted quickly realigning his other 3 regiments and flanking the elisabetgrad hussars in turn who were driven back and the lead regiment and its commander rescued.(in picture we see elisabetgrad launching a later charge).With this kellerman withdrew out the russian battery range and reformed his squadrons.

    [​IMG]
    (Crude map with bad spacing,check first map for descriptions.Above one is only extra)​

    BATTLE FOR BLASOWITZ:

    The village of blasowitz represented a strategic objective as it linked the allied centre with its right wing.Lannes had ordered the elite 13th Light(2 bns) of caffarelli's division to occupy this strongpoint and shifted boye's dragoons to cover his right flank.Meanwhile Constantine too saw vandamme advance on the heights and sent forward the russian lifeguard jaeger battalion with 2 guns to seize blasowitz(which would allow for flanking vandamme from the north).The jaeger got there first,the french attempted to force their way through but met heavy resistance from the elite russian guards,in heavy street fighting 13L lost its commanding officer but french numbers(2 bns to 1) were slowly edging the jaegers out.
    In response to dual pleas for help Constantine sent 3rd battalion of the semenovsky lifeguards to reinforce the jaegers and 1st battalion of the izmailovsky lifeguards to aid kutuzov on the pratzen.(see black/white map)

    [​IMG]
    (Boye's Dragoons)​

    Boye's dragoons here pounced on the isolated GR 23 battalion on the northern edge of the pratzen and cut it up(described earlier-last post).However constantine intercepted part of the dragoons with his life guard hussars and forced them back into the safety of their infantry.(map 1).
    Lannes finally broke the deadlock at Blasowitz by sending in 2 fresh battalions of 51L from the north who encircled the russians.The semenovsky and guard jaeger pulled back leaving 300 prisoners.(see map 1).Meanwhile lichtenstein moved his 3 austrian cuirassier regiments of hohenlohe towards blasowitz in response to kutuzov's appeal.(see map 1)

    [​IMG]

    LARGE CAVALRY BATTLES:

    Uvarov shifted the elisabetgrad hussars to cover his left flank exposed by hohelohe's departure.Meanwhile Yermolov and yashvil's batteries took a heavy toll on lannes infantry line(which had halted) causing 400 casualities in a few minutes.
    In response Kellerman now having reformed his 4 cavalry regiments charged uvarov(weakened by shifting of ER hussars) around Krug.The french drove uvarov's dragoons and captured half of yermolov's battery when bagration came to their rescue.Massing all his reserve cavalry(18 squadrons) led by the Tver dragoon and 3 battalions of the 6 Jaeger from the post-house(see map 1) he hit kellerman from the flank leaving the french horsemen fleeing back in disorder,and recaptured yermolov's guns.

    Meanwhile Uvarov sent forward the ER hussars to take the 51L moving into blasowitz from the flank.However the hussars were caught in the interlocking fire from the squares of 17L and 51L and took serious losses .(see map 1 )
    Murat saw his oppurtunity and unleashed Nansouty's Heavy Cavalry division (18 squadrons) of elite cuirassiers.These armoured horsemen crashed into the already struggling 10 squadrons of elisabetgrad hussars and caused a total rout.As the cuirassiers chased the hussars back to the russian lines,the russian artillery prevented further pursuit.
    As the cuirassiers turned back having become dispersed during the pursuit,uvarov saw an oppurtunity and resting his depleted hussars launched his dragoons after the french heavies.Hunter had become prey.Nansouty didn't turn to face the dragoons but instead flitered his horsemen through gaps in the Caffarelli's infantry line and began to reform them in the safety of the rear.
    The russian dragoons chasing them thus came head on against the waiting muskets of the bluecoats(17L and 30L-see their position in map 1),the point blank volleys quickly shattered the lead squadrons.

    [​IMG]

    Having reformed his squadrons to the rear of the infantry,nansouty now launched a powerful counterattack on the dragoons-the cuirassiers and carabiniers quickly breaking the spent dragoons and sending them back in disorder.Nansouty's handling of his cavalry was an excellent example of the power of combined arms tactics.The allied cavalry on the other hand,despite being excellent basic material had launched a series of unsupported charges to little effect.

    BAGRATION'S DIVERSION:

    Bagration saw the french gaining ground around blasowitz and resolved on a diversionary attack north,2 battalions of the 5 jaeger and several squadrons of cossacks and pavlovgrad hussars under surprised the small french detatchment at bosenitz and advanced as far as the santon hill where the entrenched 17L with cannon support halted them .The french then launched a 2 prong counterattack with milhaud and trelliard's light cavalry from the north and the 17L from the south and retook bosenitz, once again securing lannes left flank.This diversion,though costly bought the allies half and hour.(see map 1)

    [​IMG]
    (Focus north)​

    BLASOWITZ: RIVAUD VS CONSTANTINE

    Meanwhile as the allied line on the pratzen was collapsing,Bernadotte's 1st division under Rivaud (total 9 bns of regiments 54L,45L,8L)was steadily approaching Blasowitz.Brushing aside harassing cavalry attacks from hohenlohe's cuirassiers they arrived at blasowitz around 11:30 AM.Blasowitz was already garrisoned by the 51L and 13L(light) of caffarelli's division which had seen heavy action.Constantine understood that if rivaud advanced from Blasowitz he would succeed in seperating the allied centre from the right wing and prepared for an urgent attack on Rivaud.

    [​IMG]
    (Grand duke Constantine)​

    Constantine massed 4 battalions of the elite Preobrazhensky and Semenovsky Lifeguards and ordered a massed bayonet assault on rivaud suvorov-style.The elite russian troops charged at 300 paces and were thus short of breath when they reached the french line.Rivaud's infantry stood their ground and delivered several strong volleys causing heavy losses.Undaunted,the imperial guards came on to the cries of 'Urrah,Urrah'.
    Rivaud's skirmisher chain was first swept away, before the russian charge hit his front line.The 3 first line battalions of the 8L too were unable to stop the attack and were driven back.The attack finally came to a halt before the disciplined fire of Rivaud's second line battalions(45L).Constantine considered throwing in the last of his reserves,but around this time the allied centre collapsed and kutuzov's order for a withdrawal reached him.Constantine recalled his tired guardsmen who withdrew in good order with their retreat covered by the guard light cavalry.

    NEXT: RIGHT FLANK -DAVOUT VS BUXHOWDEN
     
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  10. AUSTERLITZ

    AUSTERLITZ SENIOR MEMBER

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    BATTLE OF AUSTERLITZ-V

    [​IMG]
    RIGHT FLANK : DAVOUT STANDS FIRM

    FRIANT VS OLSUFIEV -

    On the french right flank as we have seen(scroll up post #65) by 9:30 AM the 3 allied columns had taken tellnitz and Sokolnitz and were in line to resume their advance.Przbyshevsky and Langeron were busy reorganizing their tangled units at sokolnitz before resuming the advance.The beaten french regiments had retreated in 2 directions - 3L (3 bns) and 108L(2 bns) from tellnitz had retreated west covered by bourcier's dragoons of davout's corps.They had been joined by one battalion of 26L from sokolnitz.The other half of 1 battalion of 26L and Tirailleurs de Po had retreated north towards kobelnitz pond.

    Meanwhile while reforming at around 10:00 am Langeron had recieved first reports of the french assault on the pratzen.Initially dismissing this as an overblown rumor,he was shaken when immediately afterward kamensky's messenger arrived to confirm the news.Leaving Olsufiev in command of his column Langeron rode off to investigate.( we have seen him join kamensky at the pratzen in earlier post).

    [​IMG]
    (Friant)

    Olsufiev reformed his battalions at a leisurely pace,making no effort to recon further believing the french defeated.Przbyshevsky showed more caution,having detected the arrival of elements of Friant's division(Davout's III corps) he drew up his column in force on the defensible terrain between sokolnitz castle and village.Friant however knew the exact strength of the allied force at sokolnitz from the soldiers of 26L and despite being heavily outnumbered decided on a spoiling attack to buy time with 4 battalions of the 48L(2 bns) and 111L(2 bns).(Lochet's Brigade)

    The 48 L attacked sokolnitz village from the right and the 111L from the front.Olsufiev had 9 battalions west of the goldbach,but was caught totally unprepared by the flank attack of the 48L .The 48L made initial rapid progress capturing 2 russian standards and 2 guns but eventually ran out of steam as russian numbers began to tell,the 48L holding on to the west end of Sokolnitz in a desperate struggle.Now olsufiev turned his battalions from east of sokolnitz village to face the 48L.
    [​IMG]

    At this juncture,111L launched their own frontal attack taking these forces in the flank.The 111L penetrated into the village and made contact with 48L but soon found it difficult to advance further.The russian infantry having recovered from the surprise resisted with tenacity causing mounting losses.Olsufiev now counterattacked in strength and soon the 111L was pushed back out of sokolnitz,the 48L was still holding despite being surrounded.However friant's spoiling attack had bought time for the rest of his division(Kister's brigade) to arrive,Davout at their head.It was around 11:00 am.

    DAVOUT TAKES CHARGE:

    Davout saw the 111L being driven back,and immediately launched a counterattack with 4 battalions of kister's brigade(15 Light,33 L).This bayonet attack drove olsufiev's russians back into sokolnitz.The 15L followed them into the village.
    Meanwhile the 33L attacked przbyshevsky's first line formed up between the village and the castle.Despite facing double their number the 33L proved why Davout's III corps was considered the finest in the grande armee.Strik's four battalions were taking serious losses from accurate french musketry delivered from high ground.Only with difficulty by using his second line did strik manage to push the stubborn french back.Meanwhile Olsufiev finally drove back the 15L,as both these french regiments retreated to the high ground.Amidst this pressure however the 48L trapped in sokolnitz broke out and joined davout.

    [​IMG]
    (Davout -'The bald eagle')​

    Hereafter Davout consolidated his defensive line in an arc on high ground anchored by sokolnitz pond to the south and kobelnitz pond to the north and rested his troops.
    In the 2 hour fight for sokolnitz ,Friant and Davout had not only pinned down 2 allied columns with far inferior forces preventing them from sending any reinforcements at the height of the battle for the pratzen,but also held firm preventing the allies from breaking through on the french right.(Napoleon was readying Oudinot's grenadiers to reinforce this sector,but III corps stabilized the line by themselves)
    Much of the blame for the allied failure on this front to break through must go to overall commander Buxhowden who sat idly with the I column around tellnitz prefering to wait until Olsufiev and Przbyshevsky had cleaned up their own mess around sokolnitz.


    NEXT: CENTRE -ATTACK OF THE RUSSIAN IMPERIAL GUARD
     
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  11. AUSTERLITZ

    AUSTERLITZ SENIOR MEMBER

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    BATTLE OF AUSTERLITZ-VI

    [​IMG]
    CENTRE -SITUATION:
    By 12:30 am Vandamme and St'Hilaire had cleared the pratzen of all enemy troops(kamensky's force being the last to break-u can see it routing above).Napoleon now planned to deliver the Coup'd Grace on the allied army and ordered 16 of the 20 battalions of Vandamme and St.hilaire's command to wheel south,descend from the pratzen plateau and fall on the exposed rear of the allied columns at tellnitz and sokolnitz .The remaining 4 battalions of Vandamme's command(24 Light,4L) would stay on pratzen and be reinforced by Bernadotte's 1st Division of Rivaud (9 bns) redeployed from blasowitz.Drouet's 2nd division of I.corps would follow St.hilaire down the heights in dealing the deathblow to the allied columns below.St.Hilaire and Vandamme had begun their movement ( u can see in map 16 battalions moving south)while Drouet had not yet arrived when Napoleon's plan was imperilled by a sudden disruption.

    Constantine was retreating southeast towards Zbischow(where he intended to link up with survivors of 4th column) with the russian imperial guard after their aborted attack at Blasowitz.Most of his troops were still in high spirits.On reaching the eastern crest of the pratzen heights,they found their path blocked by 4 of vandamme's battalions,the 4L and 24Lt,which had been left behind to hold the heights till rivaud reinforced them.Initially the french didn't positively identify this column,Vandamme wounded ordered 1st battalion of 4L to advance and identify this column.

    [​IMG]

    1.As soon as the scouts of 4L(1) had identified this threat Bigarre ,its commander immediately sent requests for reinforcements from the nearby 4L(2) and 24L.However before any aid could arrive the russian guard cavalry descended upon the lone battalion.Five squadrons of the elite Life guard horse thundered into the attack,but the french formed square just in time and the czar's guards were unable to make a dent as the french wall of bayonets kept them at bay,and the muskets picked off the horsemen.

    2.At this point however,the russian guard horse artillery battery supported by 2 more squadrons of Lifeguard horse arrived and unlimbered at a mere 200 metres.The horse artillery poured a hail of canister into the tightly packed square tearing apart holes in the formation.Immediately following this,the 2 squadrons charged in.The french square collapsed to this combined arms assault.Suffering heavy casualities,the battalion scattered and fled ,losing the regiment's Eagle -the only one lost for the french that day.
    Meanwhile the 24L and 4L(2) were marching to 4L(1) when they were struck from the flank by the Lifeguard Hussars,and shortly afterwards by the 5 squadrons of Horseguards from the front(riding from the rout of the 1st battalion).Caught in line and struck from 2 directions,the battalions broke into a mad flight abandoning their eagle which remained unseen on the ground and was later recovered.

    [​IMG]
    (Rapp)

    3.Napoleon and his staff were on the other side of the slope and unaware of this sudden crisis when suddenly the routing men of these 2 regiments came flooding through in headlong retreat engulfing the imperial headquarters.Refusing to rally they mechanically shouted 'Vive'l'empereur' while fleeing faster than ever.An alarmed napoleon now ordered his aid-de-camp General Rapp to go to Besseires and bring up the French guard cavalry.

    CLASH OF THE IMPERIAL GUARDS:

    [​IMG]
    Besseires had seen the fleeing infantry and was expecting the call.He deployed the guard cavalry(1 regiment of grenadiers a cheval,1 regiment of chasseurs a cheval,1 company of mamelukes) in 3 waves.In the front line he placed first 2 squadrons of the elite chasseurs a cheval(guard chasseurs-napoleon's escorts) on the left under Morland with a company of mamelukes(~100)under Rapp.To their right were the 3rd and 4rth squadrons of the guard chasseurs and the 5th squadron of horse grenadiers under Dahlmann(5th squadron was velites- conscripts from wealthy french families inducted for prestige).
    Behind these Besseires stood at the head of 4 crack veteran squadrons of the Imperial heavy horse guard grenadiers(Grenadiers a cheval)-the most prestigious and senior regiment of french cavalry in the grande armee.

    Meanwhile Drouet's division originally marching behind St.hilaire had been redirected to intercept Constantine.Drouet sent forward an advance force of skirmishers supported by 8 guns.

    [​IMG]
    (Rapp leading the charge at austerlitz)​

    Morland ,Rapp and Dahlmann hit the russian lifeguard hussars directly on their path who were reforming after their succesful charge against the french infantry.Supported by the horse artillery and catching the guard hussars scattered they quickly routed this regiment.Then they swept on hit the Prebrazensky and Semenovsky Lifeguard regiments.The preobrzhensky fled to the safety of a nearby vineyard,while the semenovsky managed to form square and gradually with russian guard artillery support beat off the cavalry attack.Morland was killed by a bullet and Rapp took command.

    With the french cavalry beaten off constantine now faced drouet's skirmishers and artillery coming from the flank.The russian guard engaged in a fighting withdrawal east towards the Krenowitz.Here a russian gun was overrun and demidov the battery officer captured( he had stayed behind to defend his gun to the last).He was weeping when brought before napoleon for losing his gun.Napoleon consoled him by saying -''It is no shame to be defeated by my army!'' and commended him for his courage.

    [​IMG]

    Meanwhile Rapp came on for a second round of attacks ,now falling on the recently rallied 5 squadrons of guard hussars which were covering the infantry's withdrawal and routed them for a second time.His mamelukes charged the accompanying russian horse guard battery.Led by kostenensky, a gigantic gunner 'The russian hercules' the russian gunners defended their guns to the last.Finally leaving 2 guns Kostenensky led the remaining 4 guns to safety,cutting his through the enemy with his sword and stature.

    FINAL ATTACK OF THE RUSSIAN GUARD CAVALRY:


    [​IMG]
    As the french converged on Krenowitz with Rivaud from the north and Drouet from the south,the 4 battalions of Preobrazhensky and Semenovsky were fighting a desperate fighting withdrawal while the rest of the guard in a mass of stragglers crossed the bridge over into krenowitz.The Life guard horse lost its horse battery but managed across as did the bruised lifeguard hussars.The Guard jaegers garrisoned Krenowitz to prevent the french from storming it.Meanwhile the Preobrazhensky was taking serious casualities from flanking fire of drouet's infantry and french guard horse artillery and also threatened from front my Rapp and Dahlmann.

    At this point the remaining cavalry of the russian guard appeared followed by 3 battalions of fresh life grenadiers.The fresh guard cavalry (5 squadrons of Heavy Chevalier Guards,2 squadrons of Lifeguard Cossacks)rushed forward to aid the beseiged russian guard infantry.
    1) Half of the Chevalier guards(2.5 sq)charge drouet's skirmishers,scattering them before being forced back by the packed masses of Drouet's advancing infantry.
    2) Two squadrons of Lifeguard cossacks charge Rivaud's skirmishers before being stopped cold by his main body of infantry and driven back by a countercharge by Rapp.
    While these 2 attacks didn't achieve much they brought much needed relief for the exhausted guard infantry of the Preobrazhensky and Semenovsky regiments who now broke into a mass began a mad flight for the bridge.

    [​IMG]
    (Dahlmann)​

    3)Other half of the Chevalier Guards(2.5 sq) joined by 2 squadrons of Life guard horse rode through this swirling mass of infantry and directly at Rapp.Rapp's tired light cavalry was recklessly charged by the 2 lead squadrons of the fresh cavalier guard under Repnin and driven back.Seeing this Dahlmann ambushed the cavalier guard from both flanks -the 2 sqs of guard chasseurs from one and the 5th squadron of grenadiers a cheval trapping repnin.
    Olenin leading the remaining 2 squadrons of Russian Life guard horse and half squadron of cavalier guards charged Dahlmann,intending to rescue repnin.
    Seeing this attack make progress Besseires attacked at the head of his 4 fresh horse guard grenadier squadrons of the final line and swiftly broke Olenin's cavalry which fled back along the bridge.The pursuit of the french cavalry was halted at the bridge by Kostenensky the giant ,pouring canister from a single gun at the mouth of the bridge.Repnin's force was surrounded and destroyed with Repnin taken prisoner.

    [​IMG]
    (Grenadiers a cheval charge)​

    The rest of the russian guard limped away on the other bank while Druoet made preparations to storm Krenowitz.It was 2:00 Pm,as it stood this would be the last large scale action on this sector.The russian imperial guard shouldered the burden of much fighting and suffered 1500 casualities ,half cavalry and half infantry-nearly 20% of the whole force.The french guard cavalry lost 140 killed and wounded .Despite such high losses the sacrifice of the russian guard cavalry did manage to save at least 4 battalions of guard infantry.With the Russian guard disposed off Napoleon moved his HQ south to observe the destruction of the allied columns below the pratzen.

    Though this last charge of the russian guard cavalry was later portrayed by napoleonic propaganda as a final assault to retake the pratzen,it was infact a desperate attack to allow the withdrawal of the infantry- a task in which despite their defeat the russian guard cavalry largely succeded-albeit at a high price.

    NEXT: LEFT WING - DEFEAT OF BAGRATION
     
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  12. AUSTERLITZ

    AUSTERLITZ SENIOR MEMBER

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    BATTLE OF AUSTERLITZ-VII

    [​IMG]

    With the withdrawal of Constantine from Blasowitz following his aborted attack on Rivaud(post #69)Lichtenstein had also withdrawn with Hohenlohe's 3 depleted cuirassier regiments towards Krenowitz.(U can see them in last post final map)
    Uvarov now with his flank exposed had withdrawn his battered dragoons and elisabethgrad hussars to the other bank of the rausnitz stream.Nansouty's Heavy cavalry division followed and kept watch.By 12:30 with the pratzen heights clear of the enemy Lannes was free to move against Bagration.

    LANNES/MURAT VS BAGRATION:

    Lannes planned to cave in Bagration's left flank while pinning down his centre and right.Caffarelli with his whole division of 10 battalions(line regiments 61,30,17,51 and 13 Light -51 and 13L formerly garrisoning blasowitz now freed up)moved on Holubitz and Krug.
    Six of Suchet's 10 battalions(88,40,34) launched a frontal pinning attack on bagration's centre with 2 more in reserve on the second line.On Lannes left stood suchet's last 2 battalions of 17L supported by the light cavalry of Milhaud who had previously repulsed Bagration's diversionary attack in this area.Between Lannes centre and left wing stood D'hautpol's fresh heavy Cuirassiers. Kellerman's light cavalry regiments and Walther's fresh dragoon regiments were in reserve to the rear.

    [​IMG]
    (Suchet - future marshal)​

    Bagration was outnumbered ,but his troops were still fresh.His left wing was anchored at Holubitz village manned by 3 battalions of 6Jaeger with shepelov's cavalry brigade covering its left wing.On its right the olmutz road was covered by the Mariopol hussars and Yashvil's horse battery under general Wiitgenstein.
    His main infantry line consisted of 6 battalions of Old Ingermarland and Pskov Musketeers with 3 battalions of Arkhnagel Musketeers in the second line.Left flank was 2 battalions of 5 Jaeger and the Pavlovgrad hussars& Cossacks which had taken part in the diversionary attack earlier.Bagration had withdrawn the 5 squadrons of Tver dragoons as a final cavalry reserve.​

    [​IMG]

    In all Bagration had 14 infantry battalions and 53 guns,with 43 regular cavalry squadrons(several depleted) plus 25 odd Cossack squadrons.Lannes and Murat massed 20 infantry battalions with 32 guns and 72 squadrons(kellerman depleted)
    While bagration had slight advantage in artillery,french had a solid advantage in infantry and retained several fresh squadrons of heavy cavalry.The odds were against bagration.

    The whole french left moved into attack around 1:00 pm.Caffarelli attempted to storm Holubitz but was met by devastating russian artilllery fire and forced back.
    Suchet advanced his infantry to just out of russian artillery range then brought up Lannes's 12 pounder corps guns.Despite being lesser in number the french heavies had greater range and proceeded to bombard bagration's infantry line.At around 1:30 pm after heavy bombardment suchet launched his attack on bagration's line.The russian infantry doggedly held their ground and drove the french back after a fierce fight.Suchet was wounded and his division had suffered significant casulaities.​

    [​IMG]

    Further north D'hautpol charged the 2 battalions of the 5J attempting to withdraw with half(6 sqns) his cuirassier regiment .One battalion was broken and ridden down but the second managed to form square and fend off the atatck until the Cossacks and pavlovgrad hussars launched a countercharge.Faced with this new threat D'hautpol withdrew his squadrons south to reform,murat shifted Kellerman and Walther to cover this move and halt the russian horsmen.(this is why we see d'hautpol in third line behind kellerman and walther in map).The 5J managed to retreat .

    SECOND WAVE OF FRENCH ATTACKS:

    Caffarelli renewed his attack on Holubitz,this time co-ordinated from 2 directions with 6 battalions and drove back the outnumbered 3 battalions of 6J.Bagration was forced to reinforce this sector with his 3 reserve battalions of AR musketeers.
    With a attack down the olmutz road difficult due to presence of massed artillery and the russian left had just been reinforced,Lannes and murat opted to break bagration's stretched line with a simultaneous attack on centre and right.At around 2:00 pm,Suchet's infantry fixed bayonets and charged Bagration's frontline once more.Despite taking heavy losses to the russian musketry,the french scenting victory came on.
    [​IMG]
    (D'Hautpol)​
    Meanwhile murat unleashed his whole cavalry on Chaplits's Pavlovgrad hussars and cossacks while milhaud and trelliard attacked from the flank.This 2 prong attack was too much and they broke and fled when murat's 3rd line-D'hautpol's armoured cuirassiers joined the fray.
    D'hautpol now wheeled right and struck Bagration's infantry line on its exposed left flank.Combined with suchet's bayonet attack bagration's dogged infantry finally collapsed.the cuirassiers conducted an effective pursuit sabring many fleeing enemy infantry.Suchet's infantry also captured 16 guns.Bagration slowed the french pursuit with the Tver dragoons,and with his centre broken withdrew his remaining forces as well.By 3:00 pm french had cleared the area of allied forces.

    NEXT: RIGHT WING-ENDGAME

     
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  13. AUSTERLITZ

    AUSTERLITZ SENIOR MEMBER

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    BATTLE OF AUSTERLITZ-VIII

    [​IMG]
    RIGHT WING : DESTRUCTION OF THE ALLIED COLUMNS

    At around 12:30 pm Przbhyshevsky and Olsufiev finally understood the catastrophe on the pratzen heights and stopped any further advance against davout and prepared to withdraw.Davout however would not allow the allied columns before Sokolnitz to disengage,he too had seen the french victory on heights and was determined to keep playing his part-he ordered his reformed battalions forward for a renewed assault at sokolnitz.
    At around this time a breathless and panicked Langeron arrived at the scene.Langeron claimed that he had first gone to buxhowden to notify him of the events on the pratzen,but Buxhowden had dismissed him saying - 'You general are seeing the enemy everywhere' to which Langeron shot back - 'And you general,are not in a state to see anything' accusing him of being drunk.Nevertheless Buxhowden refused to divert from the original plan without orders from kutuzov.A desperate langeron now returned to his own column to find reinforcements for the centre(by this time it was too late).Langeron ordered the 2 battalions of Kursk musketeers from his reserve to hurry to kamensky's aid,while he withdrew five more battalions from sokolnitz to the east bank of goldabch(see map),intending these to follow the kursk up the heights to assist kaminsky.

    [​IMG]

    DAVOUT'S ATTACK ON SOKOLNITZ :


    Davout refused his right flank protected by sokolnitz pond and on high ground and left Heudelet with 5 battalions(3L,108L) and Bourcier's dragoons as a blocking detatchment against any move from Dokhturov or Kienmeyer.He left 2 battalions and some cavalry on his left flank.With his remaining centre 9 battalions Davout set his sights on Sokolnitz.Shifting the depleted 15Light to his flank he set it to launch a light pinning attack on przbyshevsky's left,while the 33L targeted the hinge of II and III columns.The other 5 battalions would attack sokolnitz from front and left.(3 battalions swing around-see map).
    The 33L was unable to make much progress against russian grenadiers while the outnumbered 15Light was halted by russian jaegers(7J) .Further west however russian situation became critical,Langeron had just withdrawn the five battalions of his second line when davout's 5 battalions attacked his remaining 4 battalions at sokolnitz from front and flank,the 4 russian battalions were on verge of encirclement and pushed to the N-E of sokolnitz.
    Faced with this sudden threat to the rear ,Langeron reversed 2 of his 5 battalions and send them to reinforce sokolnitz.Unfortunately these now had to recross the goldbach under withering fire from the french garrisoned in buildings on the southern end of sokolnitz and were stalled.At this,Langeron finally gave up the idea of reinforcing the heights and ordered olsufiev to retake sokolnitz with all five.Then he rode off on a desperate mission to Buxhowden to get reinforcements.Meanwhile the 2 battalions of the kursk musketeers that had gone ahead towards the pratzen were now marching forward unsupported.
    Meanwhile Davout's success at sokolnitz village exposed Przbyshevsky,and more importantly cut off the bridge through sokolnitz village which was main route of withdrawal.(this bridge was under attack by olsufiev)
    The only other bridge over the goldbach was further north,right in the path of the french forces who would soon be sweeping down the pratzen heights.(see map-the 2 bridges around sokolnitz)

    [​IMG]

    SOULT DESCENDS ON THE ALLIED REAR:

    As Napoleon gave the signal from his new HQ at St.Anton Chapel ,Soult ordered Levausseur ,till now inactive at Kobelnitz to advance on Sokolnitz -he would have to go through Wimpfen to get to III column's rear(wimpfen had been left behind to by Przbyshevsky to watch Levausseur earlier).Meanwhile 10 battalions of St.Hilaire's division would descend upon II and III column's rear at Sokolnitz.Napoleon ordered 4 of Vandamme's battalions(46L,57L)to support ST.Hilaire.
    At some point(exact unknown) the descending french came face to face with the 2 hapless battalions of Kursk Musketeers sent to assist Kaminsky by Langeron.The mass of french infantry simply enveloped this force from all sides which was completely destroyed or taken prisoner.(see map 1)

    Vandamme's other 6 battalions(4 battalions of 4L,24light had rallied after their defeat to russian guard cavalry) were to march for Augezd,to Buxhowden's rear and which guarded the single bridge on Buxhowden's Line of retreat east.over the Littawa stream.

    Meanwhile Langeron arrived again at Buxhowden's HQ to find him behaving erratically(possibly drunk)and highly stressed.By now Buxhowden had recieved Kutuzov's order to retreat and refused any reinforcements to Langeron to sokolnitz.Langeron now rode back to Sokolnitz to save whatever he could of his column.

    [​IMG]
    (Colour map less accurate,but conveys general idea)​
    MASSACRE AT SOKOLNITZ:

    Wimpfen's battalions faced Levausseur advancing from Kobelnitz and were holding their ground when( black-white map)when St.hilaire's second line 14L,36Light joined the assault overwhelming his right flank.Bulk of Wimpfen's force retreated south towards sokolnitz which was now becoming a deathtrap.On the retreat Wimpfen and part of his force was attacked by Boye's dragoons and captured.
    St.Hialire's ten battalions supported by 5 of Levausseur's now arrived on the goldbach and attacked Sokolnitz from the rear.Przbyshevshky found himself in an impossible situation trapped from the front and left by Davout,attacked in the right flank ,by Leavausseur and his rear by ST.Hilaire.The desperate infantry of the III column took refuge in the buildings and castle of sokolnitz.

    [​IMG]

    Russian resistance increasingly disorganized ,broke down into isolated pockets of resistance which the french cleared in savage house to house fighting.Davout's infantry having fought all day and suffered heavily,were exasperated by the obstinate resistance of the rusian infantry who in many cases refused to surrender and gave no quarter.
    Przbyshevshky made a desperate breakout to the north
    towards Kobelnitz with a band of survivors but was soon mopped up and surrendered to Oudinot's grenadiers approaching from that direction.The allied III column had been annihilated.

    Langeron saw the fate of III column and knowing he was next,abandoned his 4 trapped battalions at sokolnitz and withdrew with Olsufiev's 5 remaining battalions east of the goldbach that had been trying to retake the village.It was all that remained of II column.

    VANDAMME TAKES AUGEZD:

    With the resistance at Sokolnitz nearing its end Vandamme began his attack on Augezd with his 6 battalions ,he was to be supported by 7 more coming from sokolnitz.
    However he was kept at bay for a whole hour by the 12-pdr battery of Sivers who bought the allies invaluable time.Buxhowden who had begun the withdrawal of 12 reserve battalions between tellnitz and Augezd(check map 1) had been at the head of the first 2 which had passed Augezd and managed to retreat east over the Littawa stream.

    Stalled before Augezd by Siver's heavy guns, soult ordered Boye's dragoons towards Tellnitz to pursue Kienmeyer and Dokhturov's retreating forces there and harry Langeron's survivors from Sokolnitz.

    [​IMG]

    Finally Vandamme had his own artillery in position and began his assault on Augezd.The 4L leading the fray ,shamed by the loss its eagle -it launched a savage assault followed by the other 2 regiments taking augezd within half an hour-with Sivers's batteries captured..This was a major setback for the allies,.However Vandamme's capture of Augezd now seperated the following 10 battalions from the front 2,these battalions were now trapped between Tellnitz and Augezd and leaderless.Buxhowden who had escaped with 2 battalions,convinced he had been betrayed ,was found raging in a dazed state -''I have been abandoned,I have been sacrificed!''
    Kienmeyer and Dokhturov had been belatedly ordered to retreat by Buxhowden as his final act from the west bank of the goldbach and were about to crowd into the same area between Augezd and Tellnitz.Langeron's 5 battalions were also heading the same way.The allies now had no escape route except over and around the frozen Satchan pond and nearby marshes.

    BACKS TO THE WALL:FINAL ROUT -

    [​IMG]

    The french hemmed in the allies from all sides,to the north Dokhturov's eleven battalions and Kienmeyer were streaming back towards tellnitz intending to escape through a narrow causeway west of the stachan pond,they were being harassed by Davout's right(5-6 battalions) which he had left on the defensive and Bourcier's dragoons.Boye's dragoons dispatched by Soult to harass these forces were effectively stalled by the superb O'reilly chevauxlegers which greatly displeased napoleon.

    [​IMG]

    By the time the O'reilly had been forced back with the aid of the french guard artillery,the remaining allied troops had degenerated into a desperate mass of fugitives fleeing across the ponds (luckily not deep enough to drown completely) as the french closed in from all sides scooping up thousands of prisoners.All the artillery had to be abandoned,and Napoleon ordered the french artillery to fire on the icy pond breaking the ice drowning several men.While Napoleonic propaganda numbered them in several thousands actual number was probably around 200.Sivers and O'reilly had saved a large remnant of first column from total annihilation.Davout and Soult's men having fought all day were too exhausted to carry out a vigorous pursuit acroos the icy ponds and swamps.

    [​IMG]
    (The Ice breaks on the Satchan)​
    OTHER SECTORS:
    In the north Bagration had collected his forces for a last stand against the french unable to retreat due to the large body of french cavalry,when to his good fortune 2 austrian batteries from the rear arrived.Bagration positioned these on elevated positions while he conducted a phased withdrawal ,the guns stalling a french pursuit.Lannes and murat persisted for a while..but with daylight dwindling and having recieved no news from Napoleon Murat decided to hold their current position.

    In the centre ,Bernadotte found the russian guard at Krenowitz retreating but the town garrisoned by jaegers and reinforced by 3 fresh life greandier battalions.The bridge was protected by a artillery battery.Deducing that storming the bridge and town would be very costly Bernadotte called off Drouet's infantry.

    The Battle of the Three Emperors was over.

    NEXT:AFTERMATH AND ANALYSIS
     
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  14. AUSTERLITZ

    AUSTERLITZ SENIOR MEMBER

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    AFTERMATH AND ANALYSIS

    [​IMG]
    LOSSES:
    The allies suffered enormous losses -~16,000 Killed and wounded and 12,000 prisoners.1/3rd of the allied army had been wiped out.Allies also lost 197 guns -70% of their whole artillery and 50 regimental standards.
    The french lost a mere 1300 killed and 7000 wounded and lost 1 eagle.
    As the sun went down the french soldiers stood masters of the field,they and their emperor had won France's greatest victory on the battlefield.A satisfied napoleon issued a jubiliant proclamation to his soldiers. -​

    "Soldiers: I am pleased with you. In the Battle of Austerlitz you have justified all that I expected from your intrepidity. You have decorated your eagles with immortal glory. An army of one hundred thousand men, commanded by the Emperors of Russia and Austria, has been, in less than four hours, either cut in pieces or dispersed. Thus in two months the third coalition has been vanquished and dissolved. Peace can not now be far distant. But I will make only such a peace as gives us guarantee for our future, and secures rewards to our allies. When everything necessary to secure the happiness and prosperity of our country is obtained, I will lead you back to France. My people will behold you again with joy. It will be enough for one of you to say, 'I was at the battle of Austerlitz;' for all your fellow citizens to exclaim, 'There is a brave man.'"

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    AFTERMATH:
    Austerlitz ended the third coalition.Austria sued for peace the next day with an audience between Napoleon and Francis resulting in the Treaty of Pressberg.The harsh terms which led to a huge war indemnity and considerable loss of territory for austria ensured that she would rise to once again challenge france in the future.Several austrian officers were purged,Weyrother died heartbroken within a few months.Archduke Charles began the new reform process.

    The prussian envoy who had arrived at the french camp to deliver the prussian ultimatum watched the rout of teh allied army and promptly changed the letter.Napoleon was not fooled and brusqely told the ambassador when presented with a letter of congratulations -''It seems the letter has been all too recently readdressed''.With the entire grande army camped in southern germany and russia and austria out of the war,prussia was cowed into a formal alliance with france.

    [​IMG]

    The battle was a learning experience for young czar alexander.Initially shocked by the defeat he was found to the rear weeping under a tree,but soon regained his composure.The battered remnants of the army retreated back to russia,but it didn't make formal peace with france until 1807.

    In Britain at first austerlitz was dismissed as a rumor,for one month british newspapers projected it as a allied victory.The truth hit home when napoleon presented his peace terms to austria.A heartbroken William Pitt,architect of the 3rd coalition died soonafter from ill-health.Before his death he famously prophesized -''Roll up that map of Europe,it will not be needed these 10 years''.With the British home islands secured by Nelson's destruction of the french navy at Trafalgar britain remained defiant against napoleonic france.

    The news of the victory was met with delirium in paris.The captured guns were melted down to build the victory column that still stands.

    In all,Napoleon had dealt a massive and fatal blow to the third coalition that left Austria crushed,Russia humiliated,Prussia scared out of her wits and Britain shorn of her continental allies.France stood on the continent and Napoleon Bonaparte was on his way to becoming master of Europe.
    Some historians also consider austerlitz as sowing the seedsof his downfall.Before austerlitz Napoleon's wars had been reactionary .After austerlitz ,his foreign policy became increasingly imperialistic and arrogant.The incredible success may have fueled his megalomania.​

    [​IMG]

    BATTLE ANALYSIS:
    Austerlitz is considered one of the greatest tactical masterpieces of military history alongside the likes of Cannae,Leuthen,Gaugamela etc.The luring of the allied army,the perfect timing of strategic reinforcements,superb use of terrain all showed Bonaparte at the zenith of his military glory.There were several causes of the french success.

    CHOOSING THE BATTLEFIELD-USE OF TERRAIN:
    Napoleon fought the battle on ground he had selected over a week ago.The use of terrain was superb.The goldbach with the easily defended villages of tellnitz and sokolnitz were perfect to anchor the weak french right wing,while the french centre remained hidden behind the village of Puntowitz.Napoleon purposedly gave up the high ground and then seized it back mid battle.In several parts of the battlefield the french used broken/constricted terrain to delay or stall numerically superior allied forces.

    DECEPTION:
    Napoleon wholly decieved allied command as to both his actual strength and intentions.The weakening of the right wing,and the feigned withdrawal from the pratzen fooled the allies completely.

    ALLIED OVERCONFIDENCE:
    The allies's overconfidence contributed to their downfall as they assumed napoleon helpless before them.This failure to acknowledge the independent will of the enemy meant they took no measures to protect against a french counterblow.

    SECURITY AND SURPRISE:
    Despite the seemingly weak right wing Napoleon had actually taken measures to secure this sector ,with davout's corps and was prepared to reinforce him with oudinot's division.Even if the allies had broken through,Napoleon had a secondary line of communications.
    Napoleon surprised the allies completely twice,strategically with Davout and Bernadotte's addition and tactically with his counterattack on the pratzen.

    CONCENTRATION OF FORCE AND ECONOMY OF EFFORT:
    Napoleon maintained a perfect balance between concentration and economy of effort,massing a powerful force in his center(concentration) while retaining just enough to keep the allies at bay on his right flank with inferior forces(economy).
    The allies meanwhile overloaded their left wing attack columns and thus didn't have enough troops to defend their centre.​

    [​IMG]
    TIMING:
    Napoleon's timing was impeccable,both in arrival of strategic reinforcements on the day of battle and also in soult's centre attack.The reverse could be said of the leisurely allied attack on the french right.

    LEADERSHIP:
    French officers generally outperformed their counterparts in this battle.Their co-ordination was better and smoother(Vandamme-St hilaire or LanNes-Murat vs Langeron-Przbyshevshky-Buxhowden for example).Most of the corps commanders performed their tasks well,with davout and soult being exceptional.On the allied side Buxhowden was a liability,miloradovich underperformed.Above all Napoleon outthought allied high command.

    CONTROL:
    Austerlitz is a classic example of a rare control battle-where a commander manages to impose his will on the enemy to an extent that the enemy is manipulated into doing exactly what he desires.(Usually in a battle,opposing commanders act and react to other other as battle flows)
    Napoleon toyed with allied high command making them act as if in his own words 'they were acting on my orders'.In a way the allies had lost half the battle the minute they committed to it.
    ''Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win'' -Sun Tzu.
    This level of battlefield control is exhibited in very few battles in history,cannae being the other prime example.(U.S army manuals describe austerlitz as a control battle example)
    Napoleon later boasted of all his sixty battles austerlitz was the easiest and most decisive.

    Credits-references.
    Austerlitz 1805-R.Goetz
    Campaigns of Napoleon -D.Chandler
    Austerlitz:Empire at its zenith
    Obscure battles blog
    Napoleonistyka website
    Austerlitz animated project - Uoregon.edu website.

    Thats it.Thanks for reading this LOOONG series.​

    Some useful documentaries on Ulm-austerlitz campaign -



    By Brian Blessed -BBC.



    Line of Fire series.



    Conquerors series.
     
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  15. AUSTERLITZ

    AUSTERLITZ SENIOR MEMBER

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