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Engagement at Landshut, 16 April 1809

Engagement at Landshut, 16 April 1809

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Engagement at Landshut, 16 April 1809

The engagement at Landshut of 16 April 1809 was one of the few Austrian successes during their invasion of Bavaria at the start of the Franco-Austrian War of 1809 (War of the Fifth Coalition). At the start of the war the Austrians had intended to advance from Bohemia into central Germany, but in mid-March that plan was abandoned and the main army was forced to march from Bohemia to a new starting point on the River Inn, south of the Danube, ready for an invasion of Bavaria. The main Austrian army was in place by 9 April, and on the following day Archduke Charles began the war by crossing the Inn and marching into Bavaria.

By the end of 15 April the Austrians had been presented with a chance to inflict a damaging defeat on Napoleon's scattered forces. Berthier, who had been appointed to command the Army of Germany before the start of the war, had misinterpreted Napoleon's instructions, and divided his army into three. The largest part of the army was on the River Lech, on the southern side of the Danube. The second and third parts of the army were both some fifty miles to the east. To the north of the Danube Davout's corps was approaching Regensburg (Ratisbon), although it was rather badly spread out.

The Bavarians of 7th Corps (commanded by Marshal Lefebvre) were the only troops directly in the path of the advancing Austrians, and even they were split up. One division was at Landshut, on the Isar, where the Austrians intended to cross the river. A second was at Abensburg, while a third was away to the west, at Au, with detachments at Allershausen and Attenkirchen. This presented Archduke Charles, who was approaching the Isar with the main Austrian army, with a chance to brush aside the divided Bavarians then turn north to crush Davout before the rest of Napoleon's army could arrive on the scene. The Austrians would miss this chance for two reasons. The most commonly quoted problem was their lack of speed, something that recurred on several occasions during the war of 1809, but the most important reason was that they didn't realise how badly scattered the French and their Allies actually were. Even the exact location of the three Bavarian divisions was unknown. As Charles approached Landshut he knew that one division (GL von Deroy's 3rd Division) was facing him at the river, but the Austrians had no idea that the Bavarians were so badly scattered, and believed that they might be facing the entire Bavarian army.

The first Austrian troops, a cavalry patrol, reached Landshut on 13 April, but left on the same day. It was followed by a cavalry platoon that arrived during 15 April, under the command of a member of the Austrian General Staff, Joseph von Simbschen. He attempted to persuade the Bavarians to let the Austrians cross the river unopposed, but without success. All of these troops came from GM Josef von Radetzky's advance guard of the Austrian V Corps (commanded by Archduke Ludwig). During the evening of 15 April Radetzky sent two companies of Grenzer (infantry from the border with the Ottoman Empire) into the city, and that night another two companies of Grenzer and one squadron of cavalry were sent to guard the line of the Isar on both sides of the city.

The Bavarian commander, GL Bernhard Erasmus Deroy, was in a difficult position. His single division would clearly soon be badly outnumbered, and the rest of the Bavarian army was at some distance. His position on the flatter northern banks of the river was overlooked by the high ground on the south bank, and by the buildings of Landshut. Of the two bridges across the river one linked the city to its suburbs via an island in the river (the Spitalbrücke), and could be comparatively easily defended, but the second (the Lendbrücke) led onto open fields which could be dominated by Austrian guns on the high ground to the south. Just to add to his problems the entire position at Landshut could easily be turned from either flank. His solution was to split his division in half. Most of the artillery and about half of the men were placed on some high ground to the north, while the other half defended the line of the river. Once it was clear that the Austrians were across in some force this half of the division could retreat under cover of the guns on the hills to the north.

On the morning of 16 April the Austrians made two more attempts to negotiate their way across the river. By the time these had failed Archduke Charles had arrived in person, and ordered Radetzky to force his way across the river, occupy the far bank and repair the two damaged bridges. Radetzky began with an artillery bombardment, starting at around 11 am; the Bavarians responded and an artillery duel across the river followed. At the Spitalbrücke the Bavarians held their ground, but at the Lendbrücke the Austrian guns forced the Bavarians to pull back, and by 1.30 the Austrian pioneers had repaired the bridge. At about the same time Deroy learnt that the Austrians had crossed the river further upstream at Moosburg, so his right flank was well and truly turned. Realising that it was time to retreat Deroy ordered his men to pull back from the line of the river and to concentrate around Altdorf, at the entrance to a valley that ran north-west through the hills and that was to be his escape route. Also at about this time Deroy sent off messages asking for reinforcements, unaware that some of the nearest Bavarian troops were already moving in his direction.

By about 4pm part of the Austrian V Corps had finally begun to cross the river, freeing Radetzky to pursue the retreating Bavarians. Ten Grenzer companies were sent north-east in an attempt to get around the Bavarian left, while four squadrons of cavalry attacked the main Bavarian rearguard. This attack failed, as did a series of Austrian attacks on Deroy's rearguard at Altdorf, Pfettrach, Arth and Weihmichl. During all of the clashes Radetzky's troops were outnumbered by Deroy's command, and eventually Radetzky decided to call off the pursuit and retired to Pfettrach.

Both sides could be satisfied with the way their troops had fought around Landshut. Casualties had been low, at 96 killed, wounded and missing for the Austrians and 168 (including 40 deserters) for the Bavarians. The Austrians had crossed the last major obstacle before the Danube, and were in a great position to inflict a significant defeat on Napoleon and his Allies, if only they had moved with any speed. Instead the Austrians hesitated, while at the same time Napoleon took direct command of his armies. Over the next few days the Austrian invasion of Bavaria ground to a halt, before turning into a retreat back towards Vienna.

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20% increase in tax made on the Tyrol by Maximilian I, ruler of Bavaria, bankruptcies caused by the Continental System, new constitution for the kingdom of Bavaria resulting in the dissolution and reformation of the Tyrol’s institutional framework and the suppression of the name “Tyrol”, replacing it with three departments named after the three principal rivers. Increasing conscription (to which the people responded with mass desertion) and religious reforms seen as an attempt to destroy Catholicism, the religion of the Tyrol. Already in 1808, propaganda in the Tyrol was causing a state in active opposition (sourde fermentation).

January: Secret talks between the muscular peasant innkeeper, horse and wine dealer, Andreas Hofer, Archduke Johann and Stadion were held, mooting an insurrection in the Tyrol to act as a diversion for the main theatre in the Germanic states and to prevent Italian troops coming north.

15 February: Napoleon dispatched a round robin (lettre circulaire) to all the princes of the Confederation of the Rhine, reminding them of their commitment to France. Napoleon, intent on protecting his army from any rogue attacks during the forthcoming campaign against Austria, made clear to the princes that their engagement in the confederation pitched them against Austria. Any French army in Austria would have the confederation lands between them and France, and it was therefore crucial that these German territories remained allied to France and that any subversive behaviour was nipped in the bud. The letter effectively ordered the princes of the Confederation to exile any landowners in Austrian service and confiscate their estates.

9 April: Austrian troops led by Archduke Charles entered Bavaria signalling the beginning of the Wagram campaign.

10 April: Official beginning of the insurgency led by Hofer after the blessing of the Tyrolese flags.

9-13 April: Slaughter of Bavarian troops in the Tyrol and the expulsion of those not killed – total of 3,000 troops killed, injured or taken prisoner.

12 April: Innsbruck captured by Tyrolean tirailleurs.

14 April: Austrian troops led by Chasteler met up with Tirolese insurgents at Vipiteno. First victory over the Bavarian troops on the following day.

16 April: Austrian troops reached Innsbruck. Region officially liberated.

26 April: Eugène de Beauharnais‘ troops forced into retreat by Archduke Johann’s Austrian troops after the Battle of Sacile.

19-23 April: Napoleon defeated Austrian troops in battles at Teugen-Hausen, Abensberg, Landshut, Eckmühl and Ratisbon.

19 May: Lefebvre’s troops re-took Innsbruck. Peace returned to the region.

21-22 May: Ambiguous result for French troops at Aspern-Essling. Seen as a French defeat by the Austrians and Tyrolese.

25 and 29 May: Learning of Lefebvre’s intention to pull back to Salzburg, and in the light of Aspern-Essling, hostilities flare up, with Tyrolese tirailleurs taking the Berg Isel (a strategically important hill south of Innsbruck) and retaking Innsbruck (30 May). Hofer receives from the House of Habsburg a chain of honour (Ehrenkette) worth 3,000 ducats for his defence of the empire.

5-6 July: French victory over Austria at the battle of Wagram.

12 July: Archduke Charles signed an armistice after the battle of Znaim, agreeing to evacuate Austrian troops from the Tyrol. Napoleon’s reasons for accepting the armistice were “principally for the submission of the Tyrol” (Letter to Lefebvre, 30 July).

1 August: Lefebvre with 20,000 troops took possession of Innsbruck, abandoned by the Tyrolese.

13 August: Hofer once again took the Bergisel and he and his troops retook Innsbruck. Hofer remained regent of the Tyrol until 21 October. But his task was difficult. The city coffers had no money and his disgruntled troops were beginning to return home.

14 October: In the negotiations with the Austrians after Wagram, Napoleon demanded control over the Tyrol (it was important because of its position separating Germany and Italy and touching Switzerland). As per the Treaty of Schönbrunn, the Tyrol once again became Bavarian.

1 November: Hofer lost control of the Berg Isel and Innsbruck.

11 November: the uprising in the Tyrol begins again.

27-28 January: On 27th Franz Raffl was bribed into betraying Andreas Hofer, and Hofer was captured on 28th in a mountain hut not far from St Martin im Passeier. He was then transferred to the prison in Mantua and condemned to death.

20 February: execution of Andreas Hofer in Mantua.

Hofer’s mortal remains exhumed and reburied in the Hofkirche in Innsbruck.

Battle of Eckmühl 1809

1809 Cuirassier

Austrian Cavalry – Cuirassiers in 1809

Antoine de Marbot recounted an incident that demonstrated the properties of the two styles of cuirass, when at Eckmühl in April 1809 French and Austrian cuirassiers crashed together, while the accompanying light cavalry drew off to the flanks to avoid being caught up in the fight.

The cuirassiers advanced rapidly upon each other, and became one immense melée. Courage, tenacity and strength were well matched, but the defensive arms were unequal, for the Austrian cuirasses only covered them in front, and gave no protection to the back in a crowd. In this way, the French troopers who, having double cuirasses and no fear of being wounded from behind had only to think of thrusting, were able to give point to the enemy’s backs, and slew a great many of them with small loss to themselves. [When the Austrians wheeled about to withdraw] the fight became a butchery, as our cuirassiers pursued the enemy. This fight settled a question which had long been debated, as to the necessity of double cuirasses, for the proportion of Austrians wounded and killed amounted respectively to eight and thirteen for one Frenchman.

A further item of protective equipment used by heavy cavalry was a consequence of the knee-to-knee charge formation: the long boots worn to prevent the legs being crushed. Some thought them more an encumbrance than a protection, as Marbot observed of a dismounted cuirassier officer at Eckmühl who was unable to run fast enough to escape the enemy – he was killed in the act of pulling off his boots.

The plan was simple. While Davout pinned what little remained of the Austrian right, Lànnes, Lefebvre and Vandamme were to force their way forward along a ten-mile front between Hausen and Siegenburg. Their line of operations would run through Rottenburg and, once the penetration of the Austrian center was accomplished, part of the attacking force would head for Landshut to join Massena and thus isolate Charles’ left wing, while the remainder swept north toward Abbach to destroy his right. Napoleon assumed that the garrison of Ratisbon—the 2,000 men of Colonel Coutard’s 65th Regiment—would already have destroyed the bridge over the Danube there, thus denying the Austrians any easy line of retreat to the north bank of the Danube. Consequently he would only have to worry about blocking the more easterly crossing at Straubing.

At first on the 20th it appeared that all was going as planned. The attack by the French center went extremely well beginning at 9:00 A.M., it took little over two hours for the corps to crash their way through the brittle barrier formed by Archduke Louis’ Vth Corps near Abensburg. At the same time, somewhat further south, Oudinot inflicted a sharp defeat on Hiller’s command. By midday, therefore, Napoleon’s strategic penetration was an accomplished fact, and it appeared that nothing could save the Austrian army from piecemeal destruction. By 5:00 A.M. on the 21st, Napoleon was feeling confident enough to write to Davout that he had achieved “another Jena.” He went on to enlarge on his plan for the double envelopment of the Austrian wings, clearly believing that nothing remained but the clearing up of the debris and the organization of a general pursuit. Davout was to move back to Ratisbon by way of Langquaid with two of his divisions. Taken together, these forces should suffice to attack and beat off the Ist and IInd Corps of the Austrian forces operating from Bohemia, besides encompassing the annihilation of the remnants of the Austrian IIIrd Corps on the south bank of the Danube. Meanwhile, Lannes and Lefebvre would be heading for Landshut two German divisions and Nansouty’s cuirassiers were to lead the way, followed by Morand and Gudin, the remaining divisions of the VIIth Corps bringing up the rear. Massena, Napoleon assumed, would already be acting as the stop-force at Landshut. Very soon the road to Vienna would lie invitingly open with the shattered remnants of the Austrian army lying by the wayside. Barely three regiments could still be facing Davout.

On the map, at least, these dispositions appeared convincing. In practice, however, they were riddled with unjustified assumptions and miscalculations which have led many commentators to claim that Napoleon’s powers of judgment were clearly in decline. In the first place, Napoleon believed on insufficient evidence that Davout and Lefebvre had between them really defeated Charles’ right wing on the 19th, whereas in fact they had only brushed with its leading formations secondly, the Emperor calculated that the battle at Abensberg on the 20th had disposed of a further two Austrian corps thirdly, he assumed that there was no way over the Danube for the Austrians at Ratisbon and fourthly, that Massena was already in possession of Landshut and the Isar crossings. All these assumptions were wholly or in part unjustified. Instead of being defeated, at least two thirds of the Austrian army was still intact and under more or less effective command. Only two Austrian corps—those of Louis and Hiller—had so far received anything approaching a drubbing. As it happened therefore, Davout was still faced by almost three Austrian corps. So much for the Emperor’s “three regiments!” In addition, both the city and bridge at Ratisbon were safely in Austrian possession. Attacked by Kollowrath from the north and Lichtenstein from the south, and faced with the hopeless task of defending an extensive and badly repaired perimeter, Colonel Couthard had surrendered at 5:00 P.M. the previous afternoon. Even worse, he had failed to destroy the vital bridge. This stone structure was massively built on numerous piers and provided with extensive ice shields on each side that made effective demolition practically impossible. Davout had mentioned this fact to the Emperor several times during the preceding week, but for once the mighty brain had failed to assimilate the information. Finally, the “stop-force,” so vital if the Austrian left wing was to be caught on the Isar, was not in fact in position. Massena had experienced considerable difficulty crossing the River Amper, and this wrecked his time schedule in consequence the main part of his force was not yet beyond Freising, although a force of light cavalry and Claparède’s division of infantry had pushed ahead as far as Mooseburg. These troops were under orders to press on for Landshut down the right bank of the Isar if they were not opposed in force. Unfortunately, Massena was not in person with his advance guard, and this move was not executed with the greatest vigor. As a result, Hiller was able to recross the Isar safely with the remnants of three corps, leaving a strong garrison to hold the Landshut bridges. Thus the enemy left wing was already making good its escape.

During the day Napoleon and his staff rode rapidly southward to join the IVth Corps and supervise Hiller’s elimination, unaware that the opportunity was already passing. The Emperor was considerably put out to discover both the town and bridge of Landshut still in Austrian hands. This situation he determined to change. While Massena’s weary men pressed up the right bank toward the town, after passing the Isar at Mooseburg, Napoleon sent forward a special column of grenadiers under one of his personal aides, the bluntly spoken General Mouton, to capture the bridge by a coup de main. Although the piles were already on fire, Mouton gallantly led his men over the bridge, captured the island in the middle of the river, and then stormed over the second span of the crossing into Landshut itself, entirely disregarding the fact that the enemy were still massed in the town. This was a feat of arms as bold as that performed at Lodi in 1796, but, as on the earlier occasion, it proved unavailing. It was too late to trap Hiller, and a disgruntled Napoleon could think of nothing better than to detach Bessières at the head of a composite infantry and cavalry force to pursue the Austrian rear guard as best he might.

Although the events of the day had resulted in the Austrians losing 10,000 casualties, 30 guns, 600 caissons and 7,000 other vehicles, the Austrian army was still far from destroyed. During the morning it had appeared that the game was won, and this put the Emperor in a rare good humor. Passing the 13th Regiment of Light Infantry (part of Oudinot’s command), Napoleon asked the colonel to name the bravest man in his unit. After some hesitation the reply came: “Sire, it is the Drum Major.” At Napoleon’s request the apprehensive bandsman was produced for Imperial inspection. “They say that you are the bravest man in this regiment,” Napoleon told him. “I appoint you a Knight of the Legion of Honor, Baron of the Empire, and award you a pension of 4,000 francs….” A gasp went up from the paraded ranks this was munificence on a grand scale! It was the first time that an ordinary soldier had been raised to the nobility. As le Tondu shrewdly calculated, this award made a profound impression on the bewildered and homesick conscripts throughout the army it was a good example of man-management as well as a justified recognition of personal valor.

Napoleon’s mood was somewhat less benign that evening as he came to realize the extent of his miscalculations. Interrogation of prisoners revealed that only Hiller’s and Louis’ Austrian corps had been fully involved in the previous day’s fighting. Consequently the pursuit was decidedly premature. Furthermore, Napoleon realized that the Archduke Charles was still in a position to escape the French by way of Straubing, his alternative line of communication. As on October 12, 1806, Napoleon was faced with the need to change his line of march radically toward a flank. Instead of pressing on up the Isar in the general direction of Vienna, the French right must be swung north toward Straubing to sever this line of retreat before the Austrians could take full advantage of it. Davout and Lefebvre must now serve as the direct pressure force, while Lannes moved rapidly toward Rocking in the role of enveloping force. Everything, however, depended on the continued denial of Ratisbon and its bridge to the Austrians, otherwise yet another avenue of escape would be available to Charles. The Emperor pored over his maps at Landshut, issuing a stream of orders.

A little later the next blow fell a letter from Davout at last reported the loss of both Ratisbon and its intact bridge on the afternoon of the 20th. Not only did this mean that Charles could escape into Bohemia should he so choose, but it also implied that he was now in a position to receive active and immediate support from Bellegarde’s and Kollowrath’s corps, previously isolated on the northern bank of the Danube. Despite this new disappointment Napoleon decided to continue with his present plan he doubted that Charles would retire into Bohemia by way of Ratisbon as this would leave the road to Vienna entirely unguarded. He calculated that Charles would either move eastward toward Straubing or make an attempt to reopen his communications over the Isar by way of Landau. Early news of any such moves would be vital accordingly, General Saint-Sulpice, commanding the Second Division of Cuirassiers presently at Essenbach, was ordered “to keep a close watch on the road to Straubing and on that to Landau” and to send in without fail “tomorrow evening the reports from all the outposts, patrols and spies.”

Although Napoleon often had good reason to remonstrate at the failure of certain of his subordinates to keep him fully and accurately informed, he had no grounds for any such complaint with regard to Marshal Davout on the 21st. Late in the evening, a new dispatch arrived (written at 11:00 A.M.), reporting that the enemy was present in force near Tengen and Hausen: “Sire—the whole enemy army is before me. The fighting is very hot.”19 A message from Lefebvre confirmed this assessment independently. A little later another report arrived from the IIIrd Corps, sent off at 5:00 P.M., in which Davout stated that the Austrians were about to attack his left flank in strength, ending with the ominous phrase, “I will hold my positions—I hope.” Napoleon now appreciated that Davout and Lefebvre were facing a dangerous situation clearly considerably more than three regiments were to their front! However, he decided to reinforce the sector with only Oudinot’s two divisions and the Prince Regent’s Bavarian division from Rothenburg. Thus some 36,000 French troops were being called to face at least 75, Austrians. He felt confident, however, that once Lannes’ turning movement made its presence felt the Archduke Charles would lose no time in falling back toward Straubing or the Isar. The Emperor, meanwhile, decided to wait in the vicinity of Landshut for news of Charles’ retreat and its direction.

Early in the morning of April 22, a personal emissary from Davout reached the Imperial Field Headquarters. General Piré was the bearer of a new dispatch from the Danube sector, sent off at 7:00 P.M. the previous evening. Davout reported that he was more or less holding his ground, but was running dangerously short of ammunition and that there were still no signs of an Austrian retreat to his front. The Emperor dictated an important reply revealing what was in his mind. When he began the letter at 2:30 A.M. he was still determined to adhere to the plan of the 21st he felt that Charles was delaying his main retreat only in order to give his wagon trains time to get clear, but as a precautionary move to induce the Austrians to quit the vicinity of Eckmühl, and at the same time provide assistance for Davout in case of emergency, he was ordering Vandamme to move 25,000 men to the intermediate position of Ergeltsbach with orders to contact Davout’s right flank and make a pass towards Straubing. Napoleon was reluctant to commit the remainder of the army at this stage, for he realized that if he moved in sufficient force toward either Eckmühl (en route for Ratisbon) or Straubing, he would inevitably leave the enemy with unchallenged use of the other avenue of escape, as there were not sufficient French troops available to block both. In other words, he was anxious that Charles should reveal his hand first.

Nevertheless, Napoleon decided to move his remaining formations in the general direction of Passau so as to threaten the highway to Vienna. In the meantime, Davout was given discretion to decide whether to give ground or summon aid from Vandamme toward Eckmühl if the enemy continued to hold their present positions. This order was on the point of dispatch when the Emperor received further tidings from both Davout and General Saint-Sulpice which changed the aspect of affairs. The former reiterated that there was no sign of an impending Austrian withdrawal, the latter that all roads to Straubing and Landau were quiet. As both Lannes’ and Vandamme’s outflanking moves had thus so far clearly failed to budge the archduke, the Emperor now decided to march in full force to Eckmühl after all. In a postscript to Davout’s orders added at 4:00

A.M., Napoleon wrote: “I am resolved to get on the move, and I will be near Eckmühl by midday and in a position to attack the enemy vigorously by three o’clock. I shall have 40,000 men with me. Send me aides-de-camp with Bavarian escorts to let me know what you have done during the morning….” He went on to devise a signaling system. “Before midday I shall be in person at Ergeltsbach. If I hear a cannonade, I shall know that I must attack. If I do not hear one, and you are in an attacking position, have a salvo of ten guns fired once at midday, the same at one o’clock, and again at two. My aide-de-camp, Lebrun, will be on his way to you by a quarter past four I have decided to exterminate Prince Charles’ army today, or tomorrow at the very latest.” Thus the whole French army, save only Bessières’ 20,000 still pursuing Hiller, was about to fall on the Austrian forces at Eckmühl.

The morning of the 22nd opened in deceptive calm. For several hours of daylight neither Davout nor Lefebvre could report any notable enemy activity on their front. Then, a spurring messenger from General Pajol, stationed on the extreme left of the IIIrd Corps’ position, reported that large-scale enemy movements were in progress between the main road running beside the Danube and the village of Abbach, lying about one mile from the river bank. It appeared that the Austrians were deliberately moving to attack the left flank of the IIIrd Corps’ outlying division, and Davout lost no time in ordering up Montbrun’s cavalry in support of Friant and his neighbor Pajol. In fact, what was happening was this: the Archduke Charles planned to leave the 40,000 troops of Rosenburg and Hohenzollern to attack Davout and Lefebvre and thus protect his lines of communication with Ratisbon while the remaining two corps presently under command, namely those of Kollowrath and Lichtenstein, marched for Abbach to secure undisputed control of the river bank and thus cut Napoleon off from the Danube and his presumed lines of communication.

The Austrian plans were obviously on the point of going awry at 1:30 P.M. when the sound of gunfire from the south revealed the approach of Napoleon and the main body. Davout lost not an instant in ordering his men to attack along the whole line, despite their numerical inferiority, and this action had the desired effect of pinning the Austrians. Several deeds of great gallantry were performed the 10th Regiment of Light Infantry for instance succeeded in storming the village of Leuchling and soon after took possession of the wood of Unter-Leuchling at the cost of crippling casualties and in face of the most determined opposition. In the meantime, the Bavarian divisions of Deroy and the Prince Royal (VIIth Corps) attacked the right of the Eckmühl position while General Demont moved up the valley of the River Gross Laber to cover the crossing of Lannes’ troops, constituting Napoleon’s advance guard. Very soon thereafter, General Vandamme’s Württembergers were in the act of capturing Buckhausen and the two divisions of Lannes’ corps were in position to fall with a will on the Austrian IVth Corps, holding the eastern approaches to Eckmühl, Gudin’s troops seizing the important heights of Rocking. For once Napoleon’s favorite battle maneuver of a frontal attack linked with an outflanking column was working with great efficiency.

With his southern flank on the point of collapse, the Austrian commander in chief lost no time in ordering an immediate retreat to Ratisbon. This movement proceeded throughout the hours of darkness, covered by the cavalry. Napoleon, meanwhile had reached Egglofsheim with Lannes and Massena, and there held a council of war with his senior generals to settle their future actions. There was a marked disinclination to order an immediate all-out pursuit of the discomfited Charles. The generals were as weary as their men, and for once Napoleon decided to follow their advice. The troops of Morand and Gudin were dropping to the ground fast asleep from where they stood in the ranks, and the Württembergers were hardly in better fettle. Weighing up the pros and cons of an immediate exploitation of his army’s success, Napoleon decided that the dangers of a full-scale night action, with all the inevitable confusions and crises this would entail, might prove too much for his men’s present condition. Consequently, only the cavalry were permitted to follow the foe. Generals Nansouty and Saint-Sulpice moved their 40 squadrons of cuirassiers and a further 34 squadrons of German cavalry to the fore of Gudin’s division and proceeded to harass the enemy horsemen throughout the night many fierce moonlit encounters occurred. The exhausted infantry divisions meanwhile bivouacked on the field of battle. As a result, the Austrians avoided total disaster.

During the early hours of the 23rd, the leading Austrian formations began to file over the bridges of Ratisbon toward Bohemia. As soon as it was light, Napoleon launched his rested men in pursuit. Except for Massena, sent off to capture Straubing, all the army was ordered toward Ratisbon, for Napoleon was now full of eagerness to get onto the heels of Archduke Charles and attempt to finish the work commenced at Eckmühl. However, the events of the day proved frustrating in the extreme. Old though the fortifications of Ratisbon were, they were staunchly defended by Charles’ rear guard, 6,000 strong. Attack after attack on the deep ditch and fortifications beyond failed to penetrate the defenses, and at one time it appeared that there would be no alternative but to mount a full-scale, regular siege. “But to sit down in front of the walls and open siegeworks and dig trenches and emplacements and mines and batteries, would fatally delay the campaign. Under cover of the siege of Ratisbon, the Archduke Charles would quickly reorganize his defeated army.” It was impossible to ignore the place and push on directly for Vienna such an action would only invite a future Austrian counterattack against the extended French communications by way of the city and its bridge. It seemed, therefore, that the whole campaign would have to come to a standstill until Ratisbon could be reduced. Such a check might persuade Prussia and various other dissident German states to join in the conflict on the side of Austria. This was a dire prospect which Napoleon determined to avoid at all costs there was consequently no alternative but to order fresh assaults heedless of casualties. The task was entrusted to that reliable fire-eater, Marshal Lannes. Then, while supervising the preparations for the storm, the Emperor was slightly wounded in the right foot by a spent cannonball. The news spread like wildfire throughout the aghast army, but Napoleon lost no time in mounting his horse in spite of considerable pain and rode up and down the lines showing himself to the men and bestowing a considerable number of decorations on deserving soldiers as he passed. Confidence and morale were immediately restored.

At last all was ready for the escalade. Our informant, Baron Marbot, played a leading part in the drama that now unfolded. After two assaults by volunteers drawn from Morand’s division had failed in a costly fashion, no further troops would step forward and take the scaling ladders in hand. “Then the intrepid Lannes exclaimed, ‘Oh, well! I am going to prove to you that before I was a marshal I was a grenadier—and so I am still!’ He seized a ladder, picked it up, and started to carry it toward the breach. His aides-de-camp tried to stop him, but he shouldered us off…. I then addressed him as follows: ‘Monsieur le Maréchal, you wouldn’t want to see us dishonored—but so we shall be if you receive the slightest scratch carrying a ladder toward the ramparts, at least before all your aides have been killed!’ Then, despite his efforts, I snatched away one end of the ladder and put it on my shoulder, while Viry took the other and our fellow aides took hold of more ladders, two by two. At the sight of a Marshal of the Empire disputing with his aides-de-camp as to who should mount first to the assault, a cry of enthusiasm rose from the whole division.” A rush of officers and men followed—” the wine was drawn, it had to be drunk.” After a period of confusion and heavy loss, it was Marbot and his comrade La Bédoyère who were first up the ladders and over the walltop. By late evening, all Ratisbon was in French hands except for the outskirts surrounding the bridgehead on the northern bank.

Although Ratisbon had thus been captured by a coup de main, the bridge was still commanded by the enemy. Massena had meanwhile enjoyed no better fortune at Straubing, where he found all the crossings already destroyed. After receiving these tidings, Napoleon was compelled to concede that the Archduke Charles had escaped him, at least for the time being. The chance of a quick knockout blow, as achieved in 1800, 1805 and 1806, had this time passed him by, and the first phase of the Campaign of 1809 was over without a decisive result. Most commentators blame the way in which Napoleon insisted on sending off Massena on a wide sweep toward the River Saale on the 20th. He thus broke up the concentration of the army which he had been so determined to achieve over the preceding three days and deprived himself of a decisive superiority of force during the ensuing actions in the vicinity of the Danube. There is considerable justice in this accusation, but of course Napoleon was not gifted with second sight, which might have revealed the course events were to follow. As we have seen, he completely miscalculated the position, strength and intentions of his adversaries, and even of his own forces, on more than one occasion.

These criticisms notwithstanding, Napoleon undoubtedly changed the overall military situation beyond all recognition in the week following his arrival at the front. Berthier’s errors were retrieved, the initiative undoubtedly regained, and Charles given such a drubbing at Eckmühl that he wrote to the Austrian Emperor soon after: “If we have another engagement such as this I shall have no army left. I am awaiting negotiations.” Napoleon was clearly dominating his adversary and the road to Vienna lay open before him. Moreover, the tactical handling of the succession of battles was particularly brilliant, and over the period the Austrians lost some 30,000 casualties. This was no mean achievement when we remember that a considerable proportion of Napoleon’s army consisted of raw conscripts, and that almost all the crack formations, including the Guard, were absent from these actions. What was more, the fact that Charles was in headlong retreat proved sufficient to dissuade the wavering members of the Confederation—Bavaria, Württemberg and Saxony in particular—from deserting the French alliance. Thus Napoleon had some justification for reasonable satisfaction, and was particularly pleased with the conduct of some of his senior officers. On the 22nd, he found time to parade St. Hilaire’s division and tell its commander in front of his men: “Well, you have earned your marshal’s baton and you shall have it.” Fate, however, was to ordain otherwise. Before the coveted insignia could arrive from Paris, St. Hilaire would be dead alongside the irreplaceable Lannes and the able cavalry commander General d’Espagne—all of them destined to be casualties in the grim fighting at Aspern-Essling that lay less than a month away.

The Emperor still had not heard of the fall of Ratisbon and its intact bridge into Austrian hands.


Many of the defenders were captured, but Hiller was able to retreat with the bulk of his force toward Neumarkt am Wallersee. Landshut finally fell to the French just after noon. The Austrian force had suffered around 10,000 casualties as well as losing 30 cannon, but more importantly they had lost a large number of caissons, a pontoon train, and thousands of supply wagons. The victorious French forces spent much of the afternoon ransacking these supplies. Ώ]

Bavaria 1809

The 1809 war between Austria and France opened in April with Austrian troops invading neighboring Bavaria, hoping to raise the Bavarians against their French overlords. Napoleon’s promotion of Max Joseph from elector to king, and substantial enlargement of his realm, kept the head of the Bavarian ruling family loyal to the French alliance and the army followed its king's lead. The Bavarians not only did not turn against the French, they fought with distinction against the Austrians on the battlefield. As occupiers their record was much less honorable.

Bavarian troops play a key role in two of the largest battles included in our Napoleon on the Danube Classic Wargame proposal. Bavaria had not carried much of a military reputation since the days of the Thirty Years War a century and a half earlier, but the blue-and-white banners did well in 1809.

Under the Holy Roman Empire, the electorate’s armed forces had been a typical German army: small, manned by the desperate and the criminal, its soldiers poorly fed, trained and armed, and its dilettante officers recruited by purchase. In addition to their more typical complaints, Bavarian soldiers also hated their white Austrian-style uniforms.

Max Joseph, who’d served in the French army, started a series of reforms soon after taking the electorial throne in 1799, while still allied to Austria. The white uniform gave way to coats of Bavarian cornflower-blue, with a distinctive helmet. In 1804 the old recruiting system was replaced by general conscription, with judges ordered to cease using military service as a punishment. Officers no longer could purchase commissions and promotions, pay and living standards improved, and the army obtained a professional medical corps.

Max Joseph joined the Austrian side during the 1800 war with the French, but withdrew from the Allied coalition and made a separate peace. In 1805, Napoleon pushed for open alliance between France and Bavaria, and the elector finally agreed in August 1805.

Participation on the winning side in 1805, and dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire at the start of 1806, brought even greater changes to Bavaria’s army. Napoleon elevated Max Joseph to King of Bavaria and added the Austrian province of Tirol and other territories to the old electorate, but these rewards came with a price. Bavaria became the centerpiece of the new Confederation of the Rhine, a grouping of Napoleon’s German satellites. The French emperor required Bavaria to maintain an army of 30,000 men, far larger than the old electorate’s establishment. The Bavarian military professionals responded with some enthusiasm, adopting French-style drill and tactics, and artillery equipment.

Bavaria mobilized in the autumn of 1808 during a war scare between France and Russia, and when it became obvious that Austria was arming for war in early 1809 much of the Bavarian cadre was still with the colors. When mobilization began again in February, the recall of soldiers and requisition of animals went quickly and reasonable smoothly.

The army called up 35,000 soldiers initially, and reached a strength of 47,000 by the end of the year. The Bavarians organized three infantry divisions, each with two infantry and one cavalry brigades, plus a composite brigade attempting to suppress Tirolese freedom fighters, as well as assorted fortress garrisons.

Lt. Gen. Karl Philipp von Wrede

Max Joseph wanted the overall command to go to his son, 22-year-old Ludwig, but the young prince’s anti-French politics and lack of military experience ruled him out. Napoleon insisted on a French commander for every allied contingent, bypassing Bavaria’s top candidate, Karl Philipp Freiherr von Wrede. The Bavarians, styled the VII Corps of the Grande Armée, would be commanded by the French Marshal François Joseph Lefebvre, with a French chief of staff. All orders from corps headquarters were issued in French, and even sentries were ordered to use French passwords. Bavarian generals did command all three divisions: Ludwig led the 1st Division, Wrede the 2nd and Bernhard Graf von Deroy the 3rd.

On 16 April Deroy’s division fought the war’s first action, at Landshut on the river Iser against the advance guard of the Austrian V Corps led by Josef Graf Radetzky. The Austrians fought their way across the river in a sharply-contested action despite hopes that Bavaria could be turned from her French allegiance, it seemed the kingdom’s army planned to fight.

Four days later, the Bavarian corps spearheaded the French attack that opened the battle of Abensburg. “Bavarians!” shouted Napoleon to the assembled officers of 1st and 3rd Divisions, while Ludwig translated. “Today you fight alone against the Austrians. . . . I will make you so great that you will not need my protection in any future war with Austria. We will march to Vienna, where we will punish it for all the evil it has caused your fatherland.”

Even Ludwig, who had called Napoleon, “Satan in human form,” was carried away by “the presence and personality of the Emperor.” The Bavarian attack carried the Austrian positions, and drove them back almost 14 kilometers. Abensburg was the first major French victory of the 1809 war, and was won primarily by Bavarian arms. The corps also was in the forefront at Eckmühl the next day.

The Bavarian corps marched into upper Austria, and remained there throughout May and most of June, marching into Tirol several times to fight the insurgents. Here both sides traded atrocities, the Bavarians committing rape and murder to the extent that Wrede (known to the Tirolese as the “Angel of Death”) issued an order of the day on 12 May lamenting, “Who gave you the right to murder the unarmed?” Tirolese women retaliated by burning captured Bavarian wounded alive. Snipers took a regular toll of stragglers, and any column smaller than a battalion could find itself trapped in the mountain passes and wiped out.

The Bavarians did not fight at Aspern on 21-22 May, but immediately afterwards Napoleon called for Wrede’s division to join him for the push across the Danube that resulted in the Battle of Wagram. The Tirolese took quick advantage, attacking and defeating Deroy at Bergisel just outside Innsbruck on the 29th.

Sacred Ground. Tirolese men and women hold Bergisel
against the Bavarian hordes, 13 August 1809.

After an exhausting forced march, Wrede’s men arrived at Wagram on 6 July for the battle’s last day, too late to see much action but in time to join the pursuit of the withdrawing Austrians. But Bavaria’s 32 casualties at Wagram did include Wrede, wounded by an artillery shell.

Without their leader, the Bavarian division joined Marmont’s IX Corps for the march to Znaim, and undertook the brunt of the fighting there before a cease-fire ended the battle on the evening of 11 July. The Bavarians suffered 900 casualties at Znaim, making it the bloodiest action of the 1809 war for the kingdom’s army.

The other two divisions marched into Tirol where the bloody struggle continued, not subduing the mountaineers until the Austrian emperor made peace with Napoleon in July and directed that resistance cease.

Engagement at Landshut, 16 April 1809 - History


Uhlans (in Polish: "Ułan" "Ulan" in German) were Polish light cavalry armed with lances, sabres and pistols. Uhlans typically wore a double-breasted jacket (kurta - kurtka) with a coloured panel (plastron) at the front, a coloured sash, and a square-topped Polish lancer cap (czapka) (later Tatarka) [2] also spelt 'chapka,' chapska and schapska. This cap or cavalry helmet was derived from a traditional design of Polish cap, made more formal and stylised for military use.

Their lances usually had small, swallow-tailed flags (known as the lance pennon) just below the spearhead.

In 1809 Austria had 3 uhlan regiments - each of 1.479 men and 1.414 horses in 8 Sqns. Uhlans were characteristic plain raiders, originary from Poland and Ruthenia (Galicia), lands in which they were recruited. French army had its uhlans (Polish lancers) too. They wore the characteristic hat called Czapka differentiated by the colour of the square cover on the hat. Many uniform names came from the Polish tradition: Rock = Kurtka, Boots = Topanken, ammunition bag = Ladownica)

The uhlans carried 2 pistols, curved saber and a lance. Each squadron of uhlans had 8 men armed with rifles and 8 with carbines. In uhlan regiment of 4 divisions, the central 2 divisions were armed with lances, the 2 flank divisions with carbines.

The jacket was dark-green with red lapels for all regiments. The pennons on lances were black over yellow. All wore green trousers with red stripes and strengthened with black leather on the bottom. On campaign they wore grey overalls.

K.K. Galizische Ulanen regiment n° 1 &ndash GM-GdK Maxmilian Count Merveldt

Recruitment: Galicia. 1 Depot (Res.) Sqn. in Pisek, Div. Richter under Riesch and Loudon It began the campaign with 1361 men and 1185 horses.

Klattau (Klatowice) - Pardubitz

baron Joseph Bogdan von Sturmbruck

baron Ludwig von Wilgenheim

Count Emmanuel Mensdorff Pouilly

Johann Haim von Haimhofen

Alfred prince zu Windischgrätz

baron Ludwig Malowetz (dead at Ratisbon April 21)

In the 2nd Corps Kollowrat fought at Ursensollen - Amberg. 3 Sqns. were in the Klenau vanguard, other 3 and ¾ in the same formation under the Brig. Crenneville. One Zug was at the blockade of the Oberhaus fortress with the Brigade GM Johann von Richter. At Eggmühl 2 Sqns. remained with Crenneville, detached at Hemau. The rest with Klenau while another detached Zug was with the Detachment Oberstleutnant Wilhelm von Feuchtersleben, for the defence of a position battery. Parts of the regiment were involved in the Regensburg battles, on April 21 and later at Stadt am Hof . 6 squadrons later went to the Division Sommariva, III Corps, where they were split &ldquoAbteilungsweise&rdquo in various units. The 1st major division (major Haim) was sent to watch the Saxon frontier. One sqn. was with Brig. Radivojevich and the other 2nd, with the commander, with brigade Am Ende (In July they were in Bohemia and then against Saxons in the battles of Gefrees, Nürnberg).

- before Aspern: some sources give one squadron with the Radetzky vanguard at Ebelsberg (VI Corps). At Urfahr with the Div.Sommariva they deployed half Sqn.with Detachment oberstleutnant baron Georg von Suden on the Pöstlingberg, half with Detachment oberst Ignaz von Leuthner, 4 Sqns with the brigade GM comte Carl Crenneville (Vukassovich Column) half Sqn. with the Detachment major Emerich Zaborsky de Zabora and the last half Sqn. probably with the VI Corps (Radetzky).

- at Aspern: it did not take part at the battle, staying with Sommariva in the left Danube defence. The regiment then conducted its own &bdquolittle war&ldquo harassing the rear line of communication of the French army.

- after Wagram: on July 12 Sommariva got the order to retreat in Bohemia and the campaign ended.

K.K. Galizische Ulanen regiment n° 2 &ndash FM prince Carl Philipp Schwarzenberg

Recruitment: western Galicia. 1 Depot (Res.) Sqn. brig. Ullrich in Elbogen, Div K. Kinsky under Riesch and Loudon . It began with 1143 men and 1400 horses.

Count Friedrich Schlottheim

Matthias Steyerer von Edelsberg baron Johann Metzger

Matthias Steyerer von Edelsberg

Count Bartholomäus Alberti

- before Aspern: it began the campaign in the I Corps Bellegarde, 4 Sqns in their commander Brig. Ignaz Hardegg, Div. Fresnel, 2 Sqns. in the Brig. Nostitz. 1 Sqn. was sent at the Saxon border with the Brig. Am Ende, and the last Sqn. with the GM Oberndorf Detachment at Topl and Carlsbad. On April 14 the 2 Sqns. of Nostitz fought at Ursensollen. On April 19 the 4 Sqns. of Hardegg took part at the seize of the town of Berching. After the retreat in Bohemia the regiment gathered under the Avant-garde division FML comte Johann Klenau (I Corps).

- at Aspern: Klenau took the vanguard of the IV Corps Brig. Johann Ignaz Franz von Hardegg auf Glatz und im Marchlande. It had an hard engagement also the night before the battle (May 20) and fought the two days of Aspern. It lost 9 men and 30 horses dead, 39 wounded, 3 men and 24 horses missing.

- at Wagram: the were 6 Sqns. with the commander colonel Schmuttermayer (some sources refer this as the Brig. Schneller, who instead was with Nordmann) in the III Corps Kollowrath. It did fight at Stammersdorf in order to cover the infantry retreat during the second day of the battle.

- after Wagram: they retreated towards Znaim with the Brig. Rothkirch (some sources assigned them to the Div. Schneller), Div. Nostitz fighting against the French vanguard of general Grouchy. On July 11 they camped at Budwitz.

K.K. Galizische Ulanen regiment n° 3 &ndash Generalissimus Erzherzog Karl (archduke Charles Uhlans)

Recruitment: Galicia. 1 Depot (Res.) Sqn. Brig. Dunoyer in Ung. Hradisch, Div. St Julien under Argenteau . The regiment went in war with 1331 men and 1199 horses.

St.Georgen (Hungary) &ndash Gaja (Moravia)

baron Ludwig von Wilgenheim Carl von Gorczkowski

baron Ludwig von Wilgenheim

- before Aspern.: it begans in the austrian Innviertel with the Brig. Radetzky, Div. Schustekh, V Corps (archduke Louis). With the avant-garde of the V Corps, Brig. Radetzky, it entered Bavaria (2 Sqns) and was at the 1st clash of Landshut (April 16) the other 6 Sqns. were with the Brigade GM baron Josef Mesko de Felsö-Kubinyi, Div. Schustekh. The same brigades were also at Abensberg, where they were able to withdraw. The regiment gathered itself under GM Radetzky forming the rear guard of the retreating corps and fighting also the 2nd Landshut battle.

The brigade Radetzky was at the battle of Neumarkt, forming the avant-garde of the right wing. The regiment and its brigadier then were attached to the Div. FML Schustekh and Vincent to form the rear-guard at Ebelsberg. During the following retreat the 1st Major-division (von Wilgenheim) was send to support the retreating brigade Mesko and had some rearguard clashes with the French Light cavalry. The largest clash was at Ybbs, where fought 4 Sqns.under command of Count Johann Klebelsberg. The regiment there lost: 63 deda, 31 wounded, 96 prisoners, 53 horses dead and 44 wounded. Then Radetzky marched to Mautern, crossed the bridge and deployed to control the Danube banks from Stockerau till Tulln.

- at Aspern: the Brig. Radetzky stood at Gaspolthohen, the regiment remained at Stockerau, not participating at the battle.

- at Wagram: the V Corps (Reuss-Plauen) controlled the Danube bank, the Bisamberg hill, the river till Krems and the Schwarze Laken island. At Wagram only the 1st Oberst-Division had an indirect part in the battle (combat of Stammersdorf). Then it fought the rear battles of Schöngraben and Hollabrunn distinguishing itself at Znaim. There the Regiment commander Count Heinrich Hardegg had the MTO (Maria-Theresia Order award).

- after Wagram: the former commander, now brigadier, led the Brigade GM count Klebelsberg, Div. Weissenwolff, with the 7 Sqns. of the regiment marching beyond the town of Znaim in Reserve.

RATJA ! [3]
AUSTRIAN (Hungarian) HUSSARS 1809

Dave Hollins, in his excellent book [4] states the term Hussar would come from the latin &ldquoCursarius&rdquo or raider. Many other sources think it could come from the hungarian &ldquohúsz&rdquo or 20 (being 20 the men each village had to offer to answer to the feudal noblemen call-to-arms as cavalry assistants). The hungarian motto &ldquoan hussar worth twenty&rdquo seems to consolidate the relationship with the number twenty. So &ldquohúszar&rdquo was one of the twenty recruits of the village.

Hussars recruits were not to be less than 18 nor more than 30 years old, since &ldquothe former are too weak for the military drills and the latter are too stiff and awkward&rdquo (grey hair was considered an automatic bar) and preferably over 5 Fuss 4 Zoll (1.68 m) tall. The necessity to leave men for the agricultural jobs, in Hungary, made the recruitment very difficult in some times.

Those who enrolled as volunteers would sign a Capitulation to serve for two to three years or, during wartime, for the duration of hostilities). Otherwise, the reform of 1802 standardised all cavalry regular service to 12 years, although this was emended to 14 in 1811. Recruits received also an initial &ldquoHandgeld&rdquo of 5 Ducats (46 Gulden or Florins) or 2 Ducats when transferred from another unit.

In 1809, while the Heavy cavalry (Cuirassiers) regiments had 3 divisions (6 Sqn.) each, all light cavalry of austrian Empire had 4 divisions or 8 Sqn. Each squadron had 149 horses (so a division had 298 horses and the whole regiment 1192). Some Hussars regiments raised two more squadrons (a division) organized (and paid) by single hungarian nobles with well-balanced incomes. These 5th divisions, otherwise, did not begin the war. Thei men were merged with the regular squadrons and some were sent to the Insurrectio &ldquolevée&rdquo system. In 1809 the Hussars regiments were 12.

The table lists the evolution and the main colours of the Hussars regiments .


The Austrians deploy all the units shown on the map in the positions shown, in any formation (artillery starts the game limbered).

The French and Bavarians are deployed in the positions shown on the map, in any formation. Artillery may be unlimbered. Additionally, the Bavarian 3rd and 13th Infantry Regiments may be re-deployed up to 12 inches from their shown starting positions, but no closer than 6 inches to an Austrian unit’s starting position. The 3rd and 13th Infantry Regiments may also split off detachments to occupy Oberscherm, Strass and/or St Vitus’ Abbey before the game starts (modify the order of battle and unit labels accordingly).

The C-in-Cs and all divisional commanders named on the map may start the game in a location of the controlling player’s choice (the dots on the map are purely illustrative).

Austrian reinforcement generals arrive at the head of their reinforcement column.

All reinforcement units are automatically classed as activated and may make a full move during the turn in which they arrive on table (taking into account the distance they have to travel to reach the table due to the length of the column in front). The normal command, activation and movement rules apply thereafter.

"Mon Mouton est un lion"

He would remain in Napoleon's service until the end of the Empire, during which time he showed himself to be forthright, direct (“he's no fawner”, Napoleon is noted to have said to Caulaincourt) but also disciplined, loyal, meticulous and highly organised. He was at Austerlitz with Napoleon and was charged with the preparation of the campaigns in Spain (1808), Russia (1812), Germany (1813) and Belgium (1815).

At Austerlitz, whilst the other generals assured the Emperor that his soldiers would go to the end of the earth for him, Mouton intervened: “You are deceiving yourselves, and you are deceiving His Majesty. The acclaim that the soldiers address to the Emperor is because they want peace and he is the only one who can give it. My conscience obliges me to say that the army can take no more. They will continue to obey, but only reluctantly…” He later participated in the Prussian and Polish campaigns (Jena, Pultusk, Eylau [8 February, 1807], Friedland [14 June, 1807, where he was injured] and was promoted to Général de division on 5 October, 1807. On 6 December, 1807, Napoleon charged him with the organisation of a “observation division for the Western Pyrenees” in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, as preparation for the French campaign in Spain. Between January and March 1808, he was stationed in Vitória, and then Valladolid, inspecting the troops that would become the Armée d'Espagne. Then in Bayonne, he organised an elite division, with which he was distinguished in service a Rio del Saco, Burgos and Santander. On 1 December, 1808, he was replaced by General Pierre Merle, and he returned to Paris with the Emperor. He would go on to participate in the Austrian campaign.

His involvement at Landshut, where on 21 April, 1809, he crossed a burning bridge at the head of a troop of grenadiers of the 17e de la ligne, thus setting in motion the victory at Eckmühl, as well as his participation at Essling, before the Lobau floodplain, led to his being named Comte de l'Empire (28 May, 1809) and Comte de Lobau (19 September, 1810). He became close to the Emperor and until 1812 was given an important role in overseeing army personnel (including officers and conscription).

On 12 August, 1812, Mouton was named aide-major général de l'infanterie and was involved in the capture of Smolensk (17 August, 1812). At this time, he disapproved openly, as he would do later on in Moscow, of Napoleon's campaign plans. However, this independence did not prevent him from being selected as one of the privaleged few to accompany Napoleon back to France. Afterwards, he was actively involved in training the army that would later participate in the German campaign in 1813.

In France, he was made Chevalier de Saint-Louis (8 July), but resisted any overtures from the Bourbons. After Napoleon's return from Elba, Mouton resumed his duties as the Emperor's aide-de-camp (20 March, 1815) and was given the command of the 1e Division militaire in Paris (in which he oversaw the appointment of officers to army corps passing through the capital), followed by the 6e corps d'Armée du Nord. He was also made a Peer of France (2 June), and served at Ligny (16 June, 1815). At Waterloo, he fought against the Prussians on the right-wing, earning their admiration. During the retreat, he lost his Etat-major and, coming across Napoleon again, attempted to organise a rear-guard action with General Neigre at Quatre-Bras. It was during this action, on 19 June, 1815, at Gassiliers, that he was taken prisoner by Prussian cavalry.

He was handed over to the English and sent to England, to the camp at Ashburton. He was afterwards sent into exile following an announcement on 24 July 1815 and took refuge in Belgium. In December 1818, he was allowed to return to France. After his return, the July Monarchy covered him in honours: grand-croix of the Légion d'honneur (19 August, 1830), ambassador extraordinary to Berlin (September 1830), commander in chief of the Gardes nationales de la Seine following Lafayette's resignation (26 December 1830), Maréchal de France (30 July, 1831), and Peer of France for the second time (27 June, 1833). His wife, Félicité, became dame du palais to the Queen, Marie-Amélie.

Battle Notes

Austrian Army
• Commander: Archduke Charles
• 4 Command Cards
• Optional 3 Tactician Cards

11 1 1 1 3

French Army
• Commander: Davout
• 5 Command Cards
• Optional 5 Tactician Cards
• Move First

10 3 2 4

6 Banners

Special Rules
• Obersanding is a Temporary Victory Banner worth 1 banner for the side that occupies it at the start of its turn (Temporary Victory Banner Turn Start)

• Oberlaichling is a Permanent Victory Banner for the French player worth 1 banner when occupied at the start of the turn (Permanent Victory Banner Turn Start)


Wagram was the first battle in which Napoleon failed to score an uncontested victory with relatively few casualties. The French forces suffered 34,000 casualties, a number compounded by the 20,000 suffered only weeks earlier at Aspern-Essling. This would be indicative of the gradual decline in quality of Napoleon's troops and the increasing experience and competence of his opponents, who were learning from previous errors. The heavy losses suffered, which included many seasoned troops as well as over thirty generals of varying rank, was something that the French would not be able to recover from with ease. Bernadotte's dismissal from the Grande Armée for his failure would have severe consequences for Napoleon in later years. Unexpectedly elected heir to the throne of Sweden the following year, the former Marshal would eventually prove an asset to the Allies. According to I. Castle, Austrian casualties were as follows: 41,250 total, of which 23,750 killed or wounded, 10,000 missing, 7,500 captured, while French and Allied casualties amounted to 37,500, with 27,500 killed or wounded and 10,000 missing or captured. Ώ] Four Austrian generals were killed or mortally wounded during the fighting, Armand von Nordmann, Josef Philipp Vukassovich, Peter Vecsey, and Konstantin Ghilian Karl d'Aspré. ⎖]

Watch the video: 0630 21st April -- The Battle of Landshut S (June 2022).


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