Battle of Austerlitz, 2 December 1805

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Background
Napoleon's Plan
Allied Plan
Opening Moves
The Battlefield
The Ambush
The Hard Fight
Allied Defeat
Aftermath

Background

The battle of Austerlitz (2 December 1805), or the Battle of the Three Emperors, was one of Napoleon's most impressive victories and saw him inflict a crushing defeat on an Austro-Russian army, in the process knocking Austrian out of the War of the Third Coalition.

At the start of the War of the Third Coalition the Austrians and Russians prepared for operations on a wide front. The largest Austrian army, under the Archduke Charles, was sent to Italy where Napoleon had won his earlier great victories and where he was expected to return in 1805. A smaller Austrian army, under General Mack, advanced west along the Danube to invade Bavaria, and ended up at Ulm. A number of Russian armies were making their way into Austria and were expected to arrive soon.

Napoleon didn't act as expected. Instead he decided to attack across the Rhine in the hope that he could defeat Mack's army before the Russians arrived, then eliminate the Russians before Charles could return from Italy. The first part of the plan was a great success. The French crossed the Rhine and swept through Germany, reaching the Danube well to the east of Ulm. Mack missed a number of chances to escape from the trap after all but one division of the French army moved to the south bank of the river, but Napoleon soon recovered from this mistake, and on 20 October Mack and most of his command surrendered at Ulm.

The triumph at Ulm was followed by Napoleon's first failure of the campaign. The first of the Russian armies, under Kutuzov, had finally crossed the Danube and was advancing west towards Ulm when Mack surrendered. Kutuzov was now Napoleon's next target, but the Russians were able to outrun the French, and crossed to the north bank of the Danube to the west of Vienna. The French were able to occupy the Austrian capital and also captured a key bridge across the Danube intact, but Kutuzov was able to escape north to Olmutz where he joined up with a second Russian force under Buxhowden and some scattered Austrian forces. He was also joined by Tsar Alexander and the Emperor Francis. Napoleon followed the Russians north from Vienna, before calling a halt to the pursuit and pausing for a rest at Brunn, south-west of the Allied position. At their most advanced the French positions extended past Austerlitz, which Soult's infantry captured on 21 November.

Napoleon was now in a very dangerous position. His army was tired and was hundreds of miles from home in the middle of enemy territory. He had to detach strong forces to guard his flanks, while his opponents were expected sizable reinforcements. The Archduke Ferdinand was approaching from the north-west. The Archdukes Charles and John were coming from Italy, although would probably arrive too late. Nearer to hand were 4,000 Austrians under Merveldt and 12,000 Russians under Essen. These two forces actually joined the defeated Allied army two and four days after the battle! Napoleon was already outnumbered and the situation could only get worse. He realised that his best chance of avoiding a potentially disastrous retreat was to win a crushing battlefield victory. Even a standard victory wouldn't be enough, with enemy reinforcements on their way from every direction.

Napoleon's Plan

The French army was now quite scattered. Murat's cavalry reserve and IV Corps (Soult) were east of Brunn facing the Allies. The Guard and Lannes (V Corps) were at Brunn. Bernadotte's I Corps was north-west of Brunn guarding against the Archduke Ferdinand. Davout's III Corps was near Vienna, but part of it would reach the battlefield in time to take part in the fighting. The number of troops on each sides isn't entirely certain, but the Allies had around 85,000 men while Napoleon fought with around 73,000. 

Other parts of Napoleon's army weren't close enough to take part in the battle – Mortier's VIII Corps remained around Vienna, Marmont's II Corps was watching the Alps and Ney's VI Corps was in Carinthia.

After occupying Brunn Napoleon examined the ground he expected to fight over. On 21 November he visited what would become the battlefield of Austerlitz. The Santon mound close to the road captured his attention and he ordered its eastern slopes to be steeply scarped and 14-20 captured Austrian light cannon to be placed on the summit. He also examined the famous Pratzen Heights and the valleys around them.

The basic outline of Napoleon's plan was simple. He hoped to trick the Allies into moving south to attack the French right wing. Most of his army would be concentrated on the French left. Once the Allies were committed on the right, the French left would sweep around their northern flank (the allied right). Davout's corps, advancing from Vienna, would attack the Allied southern flank (left). The entire Allied army would be trapped between three French forces, cut off from its supplies at Olmutz and forced to surrender.

This wasn't actually what happened during the battle. Two elements of Napoleon's original plan failed to fall into place. First, the Allies didn't move their entire army south, but instead left a strong force under Bagration to guard their right wing. This prevented Napoleon from launching his grand envelopment from the north. Second despite an impressive march Davout's corps didn't arrive in time or in enough strength to form the southern wing of the planned grand envelopment.

These two developments forced Napoleon to adopt a new plan after the fighting had started. Soult's corps, in the centre-right of the French line, managed to capture the Pratzen Heights, in the centre of the Allied line. After fighting off a spirited Allied counterattack the French on the heights turned right, and attacked the isolated left flank of the Allied army. This move allowed Napoleon to win his crushing victory, although it wasn't quite as devastating as he had originally hoped. After the battle Napoleon claimed that the attack in the Allied centre had been his plan all along,

Napoleon's detailed plans went through three versions. In the first he envisaged a total envelopment of the Allied armies. The main attack from the north was to get behind them while Davout coming from Vienna was to complete the trap.

The second version was adopted when it became clear that the Allies were moving further south than expected while Davout was slower and his men more tired. Davout's role became to help defend the line of the Goldbach, Soult was to lead the main assault, supported by the rest of the French left.

The third version was adopted on the night of 1-2 December after the Allies threatened Telnitz at the southern end of the French line. Napoleon went to inspect the situation. This was followed by an impromptu torch-lit procession, after which he came up with his third plan. Soult's corps now had the task of defending the Goldbach, while two of his brigades were to form the right-hand side of the French attack, supported on their left by the French left wing. This was the plan that was put into operation on 2 December, although as we will see it had to be modified during the battle.

None of these detailed plans would have been of any value if the Allies had behaved more sensibly. The French were isolated and unlikely to receive any reinforcements, while fresh troops were advancing to join the Allied army. Even a delay of four days would have significantly altered the balance of power, allowing 16,000 extra Allied troops to arrive. Napoleon knew that he had to trick the Allies into attacking him. He achieved this with a simple deception plan. Two of his corps were posted at some distance from the eventual battlefield – Bernadotte to the north-west to watch the Archduke Ferdinand, Davout to the south at Vienna. The Allies thus believed that the French army was rather smaller than it really was. In the days before the battle Napoleon abandoned his most advanced positions, which reached beyond Austerlitz town towards the Allied camp. He send General Savary to the Allies as an envoy, officially to attempt to negotiate a truce but actually to spy on the Allies and to try and convince them that Napoleon feared a battle. Finally, on 1 December Napoleon ordered his men to make a 'panicked' retreat from the apparently crucial Pratzen heights.

Allied Plan

All of these efforts worked perfectly. The Allied supreme command structure was a mess. Kutuzov was officially the commander-in-chief, but Tsar Alexander took real control of the army. He was dominated by a group of his young friends, whose general attitude was aggressive. Kutuzov realised that the best way to defeat Napoleon was to simply wait him out, but the Tsar listened to his friends and not to his experienced commander-in-chief. The Austrian Emperor Francis was present with the army, but after the defeat at Ulm the Russians had a very low opinion of the Austrian army, and Francis had little influence.

The Allied plan was almost exactly what Napoleon had hoped for. Their aim was to move most of Allied army onto the French right flank, outflank Napoleon and cut his lines of communication with Vienna. The French might be forced to retreat without a fight, but if not then the Allies would overwhelm their right flank. In order to protect their right flank and the road back to their camp the Allies decided to post General Bagration and the army advance guard on their right, guarding the main highway. This meant that Bagration was facing the main part of the French left wing, in an area where Napoleon didn't expect to find any enemy troops.

If both plans had worked out as expected then the two armies could have ended up rotating in a clock-wise direction around the centre of the battlefield, but neither side's main attack made as much progress as expected.

The main allied attack was to be made by four columns. On the far left was a small Austrian force under the Austrian General Kienmayer. He had around 7,000 men with an equal mix of infantry and cavalry.

Next to him was the First Column under Lieutenant-General Dmitri Doctorov (or Dokhturov). All three columns on the Allied left were overwhelmingly infantry formations – Doctorov had 13,240 infantry and only 250 cavalry. He was to cross the Goldbach at Telnitz and then curve around to the right.

The Second Column was commanded by Lieutenant-General A. Langeron, a French émigré, with 11,250 infantry and 300 cavalry. His task was to cross the stream between Telnitz and Sokolnitz.

The Third Column, under Lieutenant-General I. Przbyswski or Prebyshevsky, was smaller, with only 7,700 infantry, and contained a mix of Austrian and Russian troops. Its task was to capture the castle at Sokolnitz and advance beyond it. All three of these columns were under the overall command of General Buxhowden.

The Fourth Column was under the joint command of Lieutenant-Generals M.A. Miloradovich and J. K. Killowrath. It was much stronger, with 23,900 infantry, and was to cross the stream north of Sokolnitz.

On the right of the army Lieutenant-General Peter I. Bagration and the 9,200 infantry and 4,500 cavalry of the Advance Guard was posted on the main road. To his left-rear was the Russian Imperial Guard under Grand Duke Constantine, the only reserve force. To his left was the Fifth (Cavalry) Column, commanded by Lieutenant-General Prince Johann von Lichtenstein. His task was to guard against the French cavalry and to shield the first four columns as they moved south.

The Allied plan wasn't intrinsically flawed, but it did have two serious failings. First, it assumed that the French were already beaten and thus would neither offer any serious opposition at the Goldbach stream nor launch an offensive of their own. It also assumed that the Allied army was capable of carrying out such a complex manoeuvre. Even if the army's high command had been more capable, work on translating the orders from German into Russian didn't begin until 3am on the day of the battle, and some commanders didn't receive their orders until after the start of the fighting!

Opening Moves

The Allies decided to attack Napoleon on 24 November. At first they hoped to move on the following day, but they weren't organised to achieve this and instead began to move on the 27th. Wischau, north-east of Austerlitz, and the heights of Raussnitz were captured on 28 November. In order to encourage the Allied attack Napoleon ordered Murat and Soult to abandon their positions around Austerlitz, and take up a new position west of the Goldbach stream. On the same day Bernadotte and Davout were ordered to rejoin the main army.

Early on 29 November Murat and Soult moved into their new positions. The Guard and the Grenadier Division moved north to join them, forming a powerful left wing. On the same day the Allies moved four or five miles to the south. The day also saw Napoleon meet with Prince Dolgoruky, a Russian envoy and an arrogant member of the war party.

On 1 December the Allies occupied the Pratzen Heights. Their progress looked impressive, but at the end of the day the fourth column was too close to the third and the cavalry was too far to the rear. This would cause some confusion in the hours before the battle began. As the Allies advanced Murat was ordered to fake a panicked retreat from the heights, in the hope that this would entice the Allies to continue on south into Napoleon's trap.

By the end of 1 December most of Napoleon's men were in position. Lannes' V Corps was on the left, near the Santon. Lannes had around 12,700 men in his corps. Bernadotte's I Corps was behind V Corps, hidden from Allied sight. Bernadotte had around 13,000 men.

To their right were the 5,500 men of the Imperial Guard under Marshal Bessières, the 5,700 men of the Grenadier Division under General Oudinot and Murat's 7,400 strong Cavalry Reserve.

The centre and right of the French line was made up of Soult's IV Corps, the largest in the French army with 23,600 men. Soult had three infantry divisions and one light cavalry division. His men were spread along the Goldbach. Two of his three divisions were allocated to the main attack onto the Pratzen Heights.

Further south Davout's III Corps was approaching from Vienna. Not all of Davout's troops reached the battlefield in time to fight. Friant's 2nd infantry division and Bourcier's 4th Dragoon Division arrived, as did part of the 1st Division, giving Davout around 6,300 men on the day. His main role would be to support Soult's right wing on the Goldbach.

The Battlefield

The battlefield was dominated by two features – the valley of the Goldbach Stream and the Pratzen Heights. It was bordered to the north by the Moravian Switzerland, an area of low wooded hills. The northern end of the battlefield was marked by the road from Brunn to Olmutz. This ran east-west across most of the battlefield, then split in two close to the north-east corner of the field, with one branch heading north-east to Olmutz and the other south-east to Austerlitz.

Just to the north of the road, on the eastern side of the stream, was a small hillock known to the French as the Santon. Napoleon examined this feature well before the battle and ordered his men to steepen the eastern face, looking towards the Allied army.

The Goldbach formed the dividing line between the two armies at the start of the battle. It flowed south from the Moravian Switzerland, and ran through a low marshy valley before joining the Littawa amongst a series of ponds (the Satschan Mere and Menitz Mere). At the end of the battle these ponds became the site of one of the great legends of Austerlitz, after the 30th Bulletin of the Grande Armée claimed that some 20,000 Allied troops drowned when French cannons broke the ice as they were attempting to escape across the frozen ponds. This was entirely false. Although some men might have died in the meres only two bodies were recovered when they were drained after the battle, and only 5,000 or so Allied troops were even in the area!

The stream was lined with a series of villages. The southernmost villages became important in the battle. First was Tellnitz, closest to the meres. This was at the southern end of the fighting for most of the day. Next was Sokolnitz, with a castle and a walled peasantry to its north. The last of the key villages on the river was Kobelnitz.

To the east are the Pratzen Heights, a triangular plateau with the narrow end at the south, widening to the north. A side-stream flows east from close to Kobelnitz towards the village of Pratzen, on the western edge of the plateau. The plateau had two main summits that became important in the fighting – the Staré Vinohrady to the north and the Pratzeberg to the south. The town of Austerlitz lies just beyond the eastern edge of the battlefield.  

The Ambush

The night of 1-2 December was foggy. This played into French hands, hiding the deployment of their army, but it greatly added to the confusion on the Allied side. The Allied fourth column didn't start moving until the Tsar ordered it into action, about an hour after the first fighting. The cavalry column cut right across the army, cutting in front of the fourth column and possible cutting another column in two.

The first fighting came at Telnitz, where Kienmayer's Austrians arrived on time. Five battalions attacked the French in the village, but the Austrians were repulsed. Buxhowden made one of his few positive contributions to the battle, ordering the first column to attack Tellnitz. The French were forced to retreat, but instead of advancing around Napoleon's flank Doctorov decided to wait for the second column to arrive on his right. When these columns did arrive they came up against parts of Soult's corps, and were held up (see below).

While the Allies were raggedly moving south Napoleon and Soult were waiting for the right moment to attack. At around 8.45 Napoleon asked Soult how long it would take him to reach the top of the Pratzen Heights. Soult replayed that it would take less than 20 minutes, and so Napoleon decided to wait for another 15 minutes. Soult's two attacking divisions (Saint-Hilaire and Vandamme) were hidden in the fog in the valley bottom, and Napoleon wanted to wait until the entire Allied army had moved off the heights.

At about 9am Soult was finally ordered to advance. Saint-Hilaire was on the right and was to take the summit of the Pratzeberg while Vandamme was to take the Staré Vinohrady, one mile further north. Napoleon was hoping that Soult would be advancing into the space behind the advancing Allies, although the sounds of heavy fighting from the north suggested that not everything was going as planned. In fact Soult's men advanced into a gap between the Third and Fourth Allied columns. Their advance also brought them within a few hundred years of the Tsar and Kutuzov

The French swept through Pratzen village, sending a wave of defeated Russian troops past the Tsar and Kutuzov. Kutuzov attempted to repair the damage, ordering the fourth column, which had just dropped off the heights, to turn back and take up a position north of Pratzen while Lichtenstein's cavalry was ordered onto the heights. None of these troops arrived in time to prevent the French from capturing the Pratzeberg or the Staré Vinohrady, giving them control of the Pratzen Heights, but the Allies weren't entirely defeated yet – Kutuzov had his fourth column, the Russian Imperial Guard and part of Langeron's column with which to attack Soult, while further south the first three Allied columns still had a chance to restore the situation – if they could get across the Goldbach and swing north then Soult might be isolated on the plateau.

At the end of this first phase of the battle the Allied supreme command had been effectively destroyed. The Tsar had been separated from his staff and was an isolated figure. Kutuzov faired a little better but became drawn into a series of individual fights and had no impact on the overall direction of the battle.

The Hard Fight

The Heights

At this stage the French were in a good position, but not as good as Napoleon had hoped. He had expected the entire Allied army to move over the Pratzen, allowing his strong left and centre to get behind them. Instead the French left had been held up by Bagration. Soult had successfully occupied the Pratzen Heights, but he now faced a fierce and unexpected battle to hold onto his new position.

The first fighting came when part of the Second Column attacked the 10th Line, part of Saint-Hilaire's division. This attack was beaten off with the aid of Saint-Hilaire, who led reinforcements to the scene. An Austrian force then attempted to get close by taking advantage of the similarity between their white uniforms and those of Napoleon's Bavarian allies. This ruse failed when the 'Bavarians' were seen to communicate with nearby Russians and the Austrians were repulsed after a fierce half-hour battle.

General Langeron led the next attack on the Heights, but the Kursk Regiment was badly mauled and the Podolia Regiment retreated back into the Goldbach valley. By now the Tsar had fled east, while Kutuzov had been wounded and forced to retreat to the safety of an Austrian unit.

The South

While the French were winning the battle on the heights the Allies were struggling in the Goldbach valley. Friant's division of Davout's corps had finally reached the battlefield, and at about the same time as the Allied second and third columns arrived at the river a French counterattack temporarily pushed them out of Telnitz. The French were still outnumbered at this end of the line, and were soon pushed back out of the village.
 
The Allied second column (Longeron) now arrived and attacked Sokolnitz, followed soon afterwards by the third column (Prebyshevsky), which attacked north of the village, aiming at Sokolnitz Castle and the Peasantry. The first column paused to wait for the battle at Sokolnitz to end. By about 10am the Russians had forced the 26th Light out of the village, but this was a short-lived success. At about 10 the 2nd and 3rd brigades of Friant's division launched a counterattack and a prolonged battle developed around the village. The 48th Line was left in Sokolnitz, while Friant went on to attack the Allied third column. The battle in this part of the field now became something of a stalemate, with strong Allied forces unable to force their way across the Goldbach. The Russians and Austrians were never able to force the French back from the Goldbach, and the main Allied thrust came to a halt.

The North

An almost entirely separate battle took part on the northern part of the battlefield, where Bagration's advance guard faced Lannes, Bernadotte and a large French cavalry force. As the fighting began further south the French had a screen of light cavalry at the front. Two heavy cavalry divisions were next, on either side of the main road, with Lannes and Bernadotte just behind and Murat's cavalry reserve in the rear. On the Russian side Bagration had his Jaeger infantry on the right and left, two lines of cavalry on the centre-right and his line infantry on the centre-left. Prince Lichtenstein's cavalry was to his left-rear and the Russian Imperial Guard even further to the left-rear (south-east). Most of these reserves would eventually be drawn into the fighting on the heights.

The fighting in the north began when Bagration sent 4,000 cavalry to attack Lannes. This first cavalry attack was repulsed by French artillery fire, but the Grand Duke Constantine Uhlans insisted on making an unsupported attack in which they suffered 400 casualties, losing most of their strength.

Next was a series of attacks on Kellermann's division. The second of these attacks saw Murat and his staff dragged into the melee, and the situation was only saved when Nansouty's heavy cavalry joined the fight.

This was followed by a French infantry attack towards the village of Bläsowitz, to the south of the road. After an early success the Russians abandoned this position, which was now threated by French troops on the Pratzen Heights, just to its south.  

On the opposite flank Bagration's men were attacking towards Bosenitz, from where they threatened the Santon mound. The French counter-attacked from the mound and pushed the Russians back.

At about midday Lannes went onto the offensive. Bagration was forced to retreat back past the road junction and there was a real danger that he would be forced away to the north-east, isolating him from the rest of the army. Instead some Austrian artillery arrived just in time to halt the French advance. Bagration's wing had suffered a defeat, but it was a fairly minor one and he had avoiding being cut off from the rest of the army.  

Allied Defeat

The stage was now set for the most important action of the day. At about noon Napoleon decided to move to the Pratzen Heights. At the same time the Imperial Guard, Grenadier Division and Bernadotte's corps were all ordered to advance in the same direction.

On the Allied side the Russian Imperial Guard, under the command of the Tsar's brother Constantine, was about to enter action. Constantine had received a request for help from his brother as the fighting developed on the heights. He decided to try and find the fourth column, and so at around 11.30 the Russian Guard began to move across the north-eastern flank of the Staré Vinohrady.

The Russian Guard moved to Krzenowitz, east of the heights. There it came under fire from Vandamme's artillery on the Staré Vinohrady. Constantine responded by forming up on the eastern flank of the ill with the Semenovsky infantry on the left, the Preobrazhensky infantry on the right, jaeger infantry on their flanks and cavalry at the outside. They were ordered to clear the eastern flank of the hill, but not to make a full scale assault on the French.

This changed when the advancing Russians were attacked by Schinner's 3rd Brigade of Vandamme's Division, and at around 1pm Constantine was forced to order a full scale assault on the Staré Vinohrady.

This began well. A force of 3,000 Russian Grenadiers broke the first French line, but they were stopped by artillery fire before reaching the second line. The Russians withdrew to reform, and Napoleon ordered Vandamme to apply pressure to them. During this movement Vandamme's left flank became exposed, and Constantine ordered his cavalry to attack. The French 4th Line formed squares, but the Russians stopped short, unveiled six light artillery pieces and bombarded the square. The Russian cavalry was then able to break into the French square, despite an attempt by the 24th Light to rescue them. The Russians captured the 4th Line's Eagle, the only French trophy captured by the allies during the battle. The 24th Light formed a line but was also broken, and the refugees from the two regiments fled past Napoleon (greeting him with 'Vive l'Empereur' as they passed!).

The gap in the French line was plugged by the French Guard cavalry. A costly battle now developed between the two Imperial Guards. At first the Russians had the best of the encounter, but the arrival of a brigade of infantry from I Corps allowed the French to move reinforcements up and the cavalry battle eventually ended as a major French victory. The Russian Chevalier Gardes, recruited from noble families, suffered very heavy casualties during this battle.

Napoleon now had a commanding position, but he had to decide what to do next. His original plan, for a grand envelopment of the entire Allied army, was no longer possible. From his position on the Pratzen Heights he realised that Bagration was too far east to be easily destroyed and so he decided to turn his attention south.

The brunt of the new attack fell on Saint-Hilaire and Vandamme, supported by Legrand's division. Bernadotte's I Corps, which hadn't made much contribution to the fighting, was ordered to hold the Pratzen Heights. Saint-Hilaire, supported by one brigade from Vandamme and with General Legrand on his right advanced towards Sokolnitz, while Vandamme with his two remaining brigades moved to the southern edge of the Pratzen Heights, from where he could threaten Buxhowden's line of retreat.

The French attack hit the first three Allied columns. By now it was clear to the Allies that the battle was lost, and instead of attempting to coordinate a defence the various Allied commanders focused on attempting to escape from the trap. Some were luckier than others. Langeron with the 8th Jaeger and Viborg Regiments escaped to the south. The Perm Musketeers and 7th Jaeger were forced north-west, attempted to defend Sokolnitz Castle and made another stand further north before surrendering. The Galician and Butyrsk Regiments with fragments from other units moved further north and surrendered against the Sokolnitz mere. 4,000 prisoners were taken there.

To the south parts of Langeron's, Doctorov's and Kienmayer's forces were cut off to the south and came under attack from three sides. Many of these troops were able to escape to the south, with some crossing the frozen Satschan and Menitz ponds. One of the great myths of Austerlitz took place here. French gunners fired on the ice of the ponds, cracking it in places. The 30th Bulletin of the Grande Armée claimed that 20,000 Russians drowned here. After the battle the ponds were drained – 38 guns and 130 horses were found but only two men. Only 5,000 Allied troops were even in the area. It is possible that some men did indeed drown in the ponds, although they were very shallow, but the famous mass drowning on the ice never happened.

Aftermath

The battle was a dramatic and crushing French victory. French casualties were around 9,000, but the Allies had lost 27,000 men – 12,000 prisoners, the rest dead and wounded left on the battlefield. One third of the Allied army had been lost.

The surviving Allied troops retreated east, while the French rested on the battlefield. On the night of 2-3 December Prince Lichtenstein appeared at the French camp under a flag of truce, and arranged a meeting between Napoleon and the Emperor Francis, to be held on 4 December. This was a clear sign that the Austrians were about to leave the Third Coalition.

While Francis prepared to make peace, Tsar Alexander prepared to retreat to Hungary. Reinforcements were now arriving – 4,000 Austrians under Merveldt arrived on the 4th, 12,000 Russians under Essen on the 6th, but Alexander and Kutuzov refused to consider continuing the fight in Austria.

Napoleon and Francis met at 2pm on 4 December. The meeting lasted for two hours and Francis apparently left in a more cheerful mood than he had arrived. Even so the resulting Peace of Pressburg was a disaster for Austria. France took much of the eastern coast of the Adriatic, including Trieste, the Croatian coast and Dalmatia. Cleves and Berg on the eastern bank of the Rhine also went to France. Bavaria was given the Tyrol and Wurzburg. The Duke of Wurttemberg received Swabia. In an attempt to keep Prussia out of the war they were given Hanover. In this Napoleon failed – Prussia soon joined the war, before suffering her own defeat at Jena-Auerstadt (14 October 1806). Russian remained in the conflict into 1807, but came to terms after the battle of Friedland (14 June 1807). For a few short years Napoleon dominated Europe, although the British naval victory at Trafalgar, which came on 21 October, the day after Ulm, prevented his triumph from being complete.

Napoleonic Home Page | Books on the Napoleonic Wars | Subject Index: Napoleonic Wars

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (29 March 2012), Battle of Austerlitz, 2 December 1805 , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/battles_austerlitz.html

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