Portal:Napoleonic Wars

Wikipedia open wikipedia design.

Napoleonic Eagle.svg
Flag of France.svg

• • • Napoleonic Wars • • •

Austerlitz

The Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815) were a series of major conflicts pitting the French Empire and its allies, led by Napoleon I, against a fluctuating array of European powers formed into various coalitions, financed and usually led by the United Kingdom. The wars stemmed from the unresolved disputes associated with the French Revolution and its resultant conflict. The wars are often categorised into five conflicts, each termed after the coalition that fought Napoleon: the Third Coalition (1805), the Fourth (1806–07), Fifth (1809), Sixth (1813), and the Seventh and final (1815).

Napoleon, upon ascending to First Consul of France in 1799, had inherited a chaotic republic; he subsequently created a state with stable finances, a strong bureaucracy, and a well-trained army. In 1805, Austria and Russia waged war against France. In response, Napoleon defeated the allied Russo-Austrian army at Austerlitz in December 1805, which is considered his greatest victory. At sea, the British severely defeated the joint Franco-Spanish navy in the Battle of Trafalgar on October 1805. This victory secured British control of the seas and prevented the invasion of Britain itself. Prussian concerns about increasing French power led to a resumption of war in October 1806. Napoleon quickly defeated the Prussians, and defeated Russia in June 1807, bringing an uneasy peace to the continent. The peace failed, though, as war broke out in 1809, and a new coalition was soon defeated.

Hoping to isolate Britain economically, Napoleon invaded Iberia, declaring his brother Joseph king of Spain in 1808. The Spanish and Portuguese revolted with British support, and, after six years of fighting, expelled the French from Iberia in 1814. Concurrently, Russia, unwilling to bear economic consequences of reduced trade, routinely violated the Continental System, enticing Napoleon to launch a massive invasion of Russia in 1812. The resulting campaign ended with the dissolution and withdrawal of the French Grande Armée. Encouraged by the defeat, Prussia, Austria, and Russia began a new campaign against France, decisively defeating Napoleon at Leipzig in October 1813 after several inconclusive engagements. The Allies then invaded France, capturing Paris at the end of March 1814 and forcing Napoleon to abdicate in early April. He was exiled to the island of Elba, and the Bourbons were restored to power. However, Napoleon escaped in February 1815, and reassumed control of France. The Allies responded with the Seventh Coalition, defeating Napoleon permanently at Waterloo in June 1815 and exiling him to St Helena, a British territory midway between Africa and Brazil, where he died six years later.

The Congress of Vienna redrew the borders of Europe, and brought a lasting peace to the continent. The wars had profound consequences on global history, including the spread of nationalism and liberalism, the rise of the British Empire as the world's foremost power, the appearance of independence movements in Latin America and subsequent collapse of the Spanish Empire, the fundamental reorganisation of German and Italian territories into larger states, and the establishment of radically new methods of conducting warfare.

• • • Selected image • • •

The Battle of Quatre Bras
Painted by Elizabeth Thompson in 1875, this artwork depicts the Battle of Quatre Bras, showing British redcoats in an infantry square formation whilst defending against French cavalry attacks.

• • • Selected battle • • •

Battle of Ulm

The Battle of Ulm (October 16–19, 1805) was a series of minor skirmishes at the end of Napoleon Bonaparte's Ulm Campaign, culminating in the surrender of an entire Austrian army near Ulm in Württemberg.

In 1805, the United Kingdom, the Austrian Empire, Sweden, and the Russian Empire formed the Third Coalition to overthrow the French Empire. When Bavaria sided with Napoleon, the Austrians, 72,000 strong under General Mack von Leiberich, prematurely invaded while the Russians were still marching through Poland. The Austrians expected the main battles of the war to take place in northern Italy, not Germany, and intended only to protect the Alps from French forces.

A popular but apocryphal legend has it that the Austrians used the Gregorian calendar, the Russians were still using the Julian calendar. This meant that their dates did not correspond, and the Austrians were brought into conflict with the French before the Russians could come into line. This simple but implausible explanation for the Russian army being far behind the Austrian is dismissed by scholar Frederick W. Kagain as "a bizarre myth". In reality, the Austrians expected that northern Italy, rather than Germany, would be the site of major battles.

Napoleon had 177,000 troops of the Grande Armée at Boulogne, ready to invade England. They marched south on August 27 and by September 24 were in position facing General Mack, around Ulm, from Strasbourg to Weißenburg in Bayern. On October 7, Mack learned that Napoleon planned to march round his right flank so as to cut him off from the Russians who were marching via Vienna. He accordingly changed front, placing his left at Ulm and his right at Rain, but the French went on and crossed the Danube at Neuburg.

Trying to extricate himself, Mack attempted to cross the Danube at Günzburg, but clashed with the French VI Corps at Elchingen on October 14 in the Battle of Elchingen. The Austrians lost 2,000 men and returned to Ulm. By October 16, Napoleon had surrounded Mack's entire army at Ulm, and three days later Mack surrendered with 30,000 men, 18 generals, 65 guns, and 40 standards.

Some 20,000 escaped, 10,000 were killed or wounded, and the rest made prisoner. About 6,000 French were killed or wounded. At the surrender, Mack offered his sword and presented himself to Napoleon as "The unfortunate General Mack." Bonaparte smiled and replied, "I give back to the unfortunate General his sword and his freedom, along with my regards to give to his Emperor". Francis II was not as kind, however. Mack was court-martialed and sentenced to two years' imprisonment.

The Ulm Campaign is considered one of the finest examples of a strategic turning movement in military history.

• • • Selected biography • • •

Sir John Moore
Lieutenant-General Sir John Moore, KB (13 November 1761 – 16 January 1809) was a British soldier and General. He is best known for his military training reforms and for his death at the Battle of Corunna, in which his force was defeated but gained a tactical advantage over a French army under Marshal Soult during the Peninsular War.

Like Nelson he was mortally wounded in battle, and also like the admiral lived long enough to be assured that he had gained a victory. He said to his old friend Colonel Anderson "You know I always wished to die this way". His last words were "I hope the people of England will be satisfied! I hope my country will do me justice!"

• • • Selected good articles • • •

• • • Did you know? • • •

Did You Know? ... that after the Battle of Austerlitz in 1805, Napoleon predicted General Michel Ordener would die within five or six years – and although he retired, Ordener died in 1811?

Did You Know? ... that the French stormed the Bagration flèches eight times during the Battle of Borodino in 1812?

Did You Know? ... that Moustache, a French poodle, is said to have been awarded a medal by Marshal Jean Lannes for saving a regimental flag at the Battle of Austerlitz?

• • • Subcategories • • •

• • • WikiProjects • • •

• • • Related portals • • •

• • • Reading material • • •

• • • Featured articles • • •

Featured articles
Featured article Action of 1 August 1801 Featured article Action of 1 January 1800 Featured article Action of 13 January 1797
Featured article Battle of Albuera Featured article Battle of Austerlitz Featured article Battle of Barrosa
Featured article HMS Bellerophon (1786) Featured article Isaac Brock Featured article USS Chesapeake (1799)
Featured article USS Congress (1799) Featured article USS Constitution Featured article The Disasters of War
Featured article Battle of Dürenstein Featured article England expects that every man will do his duty Featured article War of the Fifth Coalition
Featured article Karl Aloys zu Fürstenberg Featured article Battle of the Gebora Featured article Glorious First of June
Featured article Battle of Grand Port Featured article Peter Heywood Featured article Johann von Klenau
Featured article Battle of Lissa (1811) Featured article Murray Maxwell Featured article Battle of the Nile
Featured article USS President (1800) Featured article Battle of Pulo Aura Featured article HMS Speedy (1782)
Featured article Tarrare Featured article HMS Temeraire (1798) Featured article The Third of May 1808
Featured article Battle of Tory Island Featured article Ulm Campaign Featured article USS Constellation vs L'Insurgente
Featured article Battle of Winterthur (1799)
Featured lists
Featured list Timeline of the Adriatic campaign, 1807–1814 Featured list Army of the Danube order of battle Featured list Order of battle in the Atlantic campaign of 1806
Featured list Order of battle at the Battle of Camperdown Featured list Order of battle at the Battle of the Nile Featured list Order of battle at the Battle of Tory Island
Featured list Order of battle at the Glorious First of June Featured list Order of battle at the Battle of San Domingo
A-Class articles
A-Class article Gilbert du Motier, marquis de Lafayette A-Class article Battle of Marengo A-Class article Napoleon
A-Class article Battle of Ostrach A-Class article Battle record of Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington

• • • Related topics • • •

• • • Associated Wikimedia • • •

The following Wikimedia Foundation sister projects provide more on this subject:

Wikibooks
Books

Commons
Media

Wikinews 
News

Wikiquote 
Quotations

Wikisource 
Texts

Wikiversity
Learning resources

Wiktionary 
Definitions

Wikidata 
Database



This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by contributors (read/edit).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.

Destek