I won the battle with marches.
210 years ago, 16 — October 19 1805, the French army under the command of Napoleon defeated and captured the Austrian army of General Mac. This defeat had strategic implications. The Austrian Empire could not recover from this defeat, and Napoleon occupied Vienna. The army of Kutuzov, unable to stand alone against the French alone, was forced to withdraw hastily, with difficulty avoiding the fate of the Austrian army.
The battle is interesting because Napoleon’s victory was achieved not in a general battle, but in a series of successful battles with individual Austrian corps. As usual, Napoleon managed to achieve surprise. “Napoleon was marching unusually fast,” wrote the well-known Russian historian E. V. Tarle, “making a detour from the north of the location of the Austrian troops on the Danube, whose left flank was Ulm Fortress”. The Austrians learned about the appearance of the enemy only when the French had already cut it off from reinforcements and sources of supply. By October 16, Napoleon managed to surround the entire Austrian army near Ulm. The shocked Austrian general asked for a 8-day truce, hoping for the arrival of the Russian army. In fact, Mack capitulated a few days later. The Austrian army was partly destroyed, partly captured, part of it fled.
Napoleon planned a war within England, dreamed of "taking London and the Bank of England", but he had to wage a war with England's "hirelings" - Austria and Russia, and end the war not in London, but near Vienna.
The head of the British government, William Pitt, not sparing and not counting millions of gold pounds, was preparing a new coalition. Vienna sympathetic to the idea of a new war. The losses of Austria in the last war were enormous, and most importantly, Napoleon began to arbitrarily control the western and southern small states of Germany. Previously, Austria considered itself the head of Germany, and now has lost this role, and turned into a secondary power, which had to cede to France. The new war for the Austrian Empire was the only hope to return the former positions in Germany and Italy, “put in place” France. And here it was possible to wage war on British gold, and even in alliance with Russia. True, the negotiations were tight, Vienna was afraid of a new war with France. Gradually, however, the thirst for revenge overcame fear. Especially when the Austrian empire was supported by Russian bayonets. 29 July 1805, Austria, with a special declaration, announced its accession to the Russian-English agreement.
Those who did not want war were dismissed from their posts. Thus, the Archduke Charles, the famous commander and supporter of sober foreign policy, was replaced by the militant General La Tours as chairman of the Gofkrygsrat. The Austrian army began to prepare for war. Quartermaster General Duca, a supporter of moderate politics and a man from the "clan" of the Archduke Charles, lost his post. General Mac was appointed to his post.
Almost simultaneously with the development of these secret negotiations with the Austrian Empire, William Pitt led the same negotiations with Russia. At the same time, Russia supported England even before Austria, although Russia and Britain had disagreements on almost all issues, from Malta to the Baltic, where the British constantly urged on Sweden, wishing to discard Russia from the Baltic Sea. In fact, from the point of view of Russia's national interests, war with France was not needed, just as France did not need war with Russia. Both great powers had no common border and their interests lay in different strategic zones. France was a colonial empire and rivaled with Britain for supremacy in various regions of America, Africa and Asia (including India). France was unable to “digest” Austria and Prussia, as well as all German states that were located between Russia and France. France would never subjugate England. The rule of France in Italy and Spain did not hurt Russia. Russia's national interests did not clash with the interests of France. Russia needed accelerated internal development, it was necessary to develop the North, Siberia and the Far East, to reliably connect Russian America with Eurasian Russia. It was necessary to make a lot of effort and spend time for the accession and civilization leap of the peoples of the Caucasus and Central Asia, to solve the problems associated with Persia and the Ottoman Empire. Interesting strategic prospects were opened in Korea and China, there was an opportunity in alliance with the French to oust Britain from India. It was necessary to establish friendly and mutually beneficial ties with the Japanese civilization.
In general, the European showdowns were beneficial to Russia. Allowing her to focus on her affairs. However, St. Petersburg with his head got into European affairs. Alexander's personal motives, the dynastic interests of the Romanovs, which were connected by many threads with the houses of Germany, the secret calculations of the emperor’s confidants, many of whom were associated with the West, were common to high society and nobility, including heated by economic interests, made the British decision difficult. tasks. Russia turned into an enemy of France, contrary to its national interests.
The Russian emperor Alexander Pavlovich interrupted all accessions to Napoleon, initiated by his father Pavel, upon accession to the throne. He stopped all measures against England. Alexander knew that the nobility selling agricultural raw materials and bread to England was interested in friendship with London. In addition, the "enlightened" Russian nobility, high society, out of habit, considered France to be a peddler of a revolutionary contagion, and Napoleon - a "Corsican monster."
When the shooting of the Duke of Enghien, in the whole of monarchical Europe, which was already hated by Napoleon, began a violent storm. Began an active campaign against the "Corsican monster", who dared to shed the blood of the Prince of Bourbon house. At the protest of Russia, Napoleon responded with a famous note, where he touched the secret of the death of Paul. Alexander was insulted. Personal hatred for Napoleon, which broke out in Alexander, was supported by the mood of the Russian court and nobility. In addition, St. Petersburg hoped that a broad coalition would take part in the coalition and Paris would not be able to confront the whole of Europe. Britain, without hesitation, agreed to finance Russia. In April, 1805 was an alliance with the United Kingdom.
It is clear that Napoleon knew that England was counting on a war in which Austria and Russia would fight for it. He also knew that it was Vienna, irritated and frightened by defeat, that very attentively listened to the advice of Britain. Already in 1803, he said that he did not consider victory over England secured until her possible continental allies, or “hirelings,” as he called them, were crushed. “If Austria intervenes, it will mean that it is England that will force us to conquer Europe,” said Napoleon to Talleyrand.
Napoleon knew about the diplomatic game of his opponents, but hoped to replay them. As the historian A. Z. Manfred noted: “... he again led a risky game, a game on the knife edge, when victory and defeat are separated from each other by the thinnest edge.” First of all, Napoleon had set himself on solving all the problems with one swift blow — to strike the British lion at the very heart. The landing operation should have led to the collapse of all plans for England. With the inherent ability of Napoleon to briefly express the most complex thoughts, he defined his plan in a few words in a letter to Admiral Latush-Treville. Reporting the awarding of Admiral Order of the Legion of Honor, Bonaparte wrote: "Let us become the masters of the world for six hours!" In these words was the main strategic idea of Napoleon - domination of the Channel for several hours and the problems of European and world politics will be solved. British lion capitulates.
Secondly, Napoleon saw that the anti-French coalition was knocking down, despite the best efforts of Britain, slowly. It seemed to Napoleon until the very autumn of 1805 that Austria was not yet ready for war. In Germany, Napoleon has achieved some success. Prussia did not want to fight and hoped with the help of France to expand their possessions. Berlin claimed Hanover, which was the personal possession of the English king and captured by the French. The Prussian king Frederick William III dreamed of the title of emperor. The monarchs of Bavaria, Württemberg and Baden became allies of Napoleon. The French emperor made the monarchs of Bavaria and Württemberg kings, and the Baden Elector, the Grand Duke.
Therefore, Napoleon, on the one hand, continued to actively prepare for the landing in England, and on the other, acted as if there was no one else in Europe apart from him. He wanted to give a whole number of small German lands to his German vassals — he gave them away; wanted to become an Italian king - became; annexed the Ligurian Republic and Piedmont to France, etc.
Napoleon is crowned King of Italy 26 May 1805 in Milan. Italian artist Andrea Appiani
Coalition plans and forces
England promised Austria five million pounds and as a final payment for participation in the war territorial acquisitions - Belgium, Franche-Comté (part of the former Burgundy) and Alsace. London promised all members of the coalition to be co-sponsored full financial funding for military spending. England undertook to pay for each 100 thousand soldiers 1 million 250 thousand pounds annually. Thus, the division of labor was strictly regulated: England supplied gold and blocked France with the help of fleet, Austria and Russia exhibited "cannon fodder". True, England promised to land small landings in Holland, Italy and even in France.
At a meeting in Vienna, where the high command of the Austrian army and envoy of the Russian tsar, Adjutant-General Wintzingerode, took part, a plan of war with France was adopted. The Allies were going to put up huge forces to fight Napoleon. Russia and Austria were supposed to expose the main forces. The convention between Austria and Russia defined the forces of these powers intended for the campaign: 250 thousand Austrians and 180 thousand Russians. The Allies are also committed to attracting Prussia, Sweden, Denmark, the Kingdom of Neapolitan and various German states. Total going to put more than 600 thousand. People. True, it was in theory. In practice, neither Prussia nor the small German states that were afraid of Napoleon did not fight.
Therefore, the plan outlined in Vienna on July 16 1805 of the year suggested an offensive in four directions:
1) The 50-thousandth Russian army, the command of which will later be transferred to General Kutuzov, was to gather on the south-western border of the Russian Empire near the town of Radzivils and move into Austria to join the forces of this power. Later, the second Russian army was to come (according to the original plan - through the territory of Prussia). Austria exhibited 120-th. Danube army of General Mack, to which the troops of Kutuzov were to join. The Austro-Russian army was to operate in southern Germany. The total strength of the Allied forces, after the unification of all contingents, was supposed to reach 220 thousand soldiers.
2) Approximately 90-ths. the Russian army was to gather on the western borders of Russia. Petersburg was going to demand that these troops pass through Prussian territory and thereby force Prussia to side with the anti-French coalition. Then, after entering the Prussian territory, a part of this army was to be sent to connect with the Austrians, and the other part - to go to the north-west of Germany. As a result, the Volyn army under the command of General Buksgevden was concentrated on the western borders of Russia in 30 thousand people, which was supposed to strengthen the army of Kutuzov, and in the Grodno region 40-thousand were deployed. Northern army of General Bennigsen.
In the north-west of Germany, in Pomerania, 16, thousands of Russian soldiers (Tolstoy corps) and a Swedish corps were to arrive by sea and land. The Russian and Austrian command hoped that the Prussian army would join them. This army was to operate in the north of Germany, capture Hanover and defeat the French troops in Holland.
3) In Northern Italy, 100-thousand should have come. Austrian army of the Archduke Charles. The Austrian army was to knock out French troops from Lombardy and begin the conquest of southern France. To ensure communication between the actions of the two main attack groups in southern Germany and northern Italy, the 30-thousandth army under the command of Archduke John was concentrated on the land of Tyrol.
4) In the south of Italy, they planned to land a Russian (20-thousand expeditionary corps from Corfu) and the English corps, which were to unite with the 40-thousand. Neapolitan army and act against the southern flank of the French group in Italy.
Thus, the Allies planned to attack in four main areas: in northern and southern Germany, in northern and southern Italy. Planned to expose more than 400 thousand people. With the Prussian army, the strength of the allied army grew to 500 thousand people. In addition, Austria and its German allies already in the course of the war had to put in addition about 100 thousand soldiers. The core of the anti-French coalition was entered by Austria and Russia, which put forward the most numerous troops. In the autumn of 1805, huge coalition forces began to move towards the French border.
The Allies hoped to use the fact that the main and best forces of Napoleon were distracted by the preparation of the landing operation. They thought that Napoleon would not have time to quickly regroup and the allies would launch a decisive offensive at that time, be able to solve the tasks of the first stage and prepare for the invasion of France itself. France will have to conduct heavy defensive battles in several directions. Austrian Army Quartermaster-General Mack and the Vice-President of the Gofkrygsrat Schwarzenberg drew up a campaign plan against France, according to which they intended to rapidly invade Bavaria and force it to go over to the Allies, and at the same time launch an offensive by large forces in Italy. These operations were supposed to begin even before the approach of the Russian army, and with its arrival to move the fighting on the territory of France. Proceeding from the interests of Vienna, the North Italian theater of military operations was considered the main one. As a result, the Russian troops were to fight again, as during the Second Coalition, for the interests of London and Vienna.
In general, the plan of the anti-French coalition was designed so that their opponent would not be Napoleon, but the head of a different warehouse and contained major miscalculations. There was no single command of all the Allied armies. The forces of the allies were dispersed, it was proposed above all to solve the tasks of Austria. Even during the previous campaign, Suvorov offered to focus on France. The Austrians overestimated their strength and confidently intended to begin active hostilities before unification with the Russian troops. Although Kutuzov recommended to refrain from military actions until the unification of all Russian and Austrian forces, not to split them into small parts. However, Alexander I did not heed this advice and decided to adhere to the Austrian plan.
The third coalition was different from the first two: both politically and militarily it was stronger than the previous ones. The new coalition did not officially act under the banner of the restoration of the Bourbon dynasty, did not present itself as an open counter-revolutionary force. In their program documents, coalition members emphasized that they were fighting not against France, not against the French people, but personally against Napoleon and his aggressive policy. Here, the flexibility of the policy of the Russian emperor Alexander Pavlovich, who as a diplomat and political figure, turned out to be the most intelligent and anti-French union leader who understands the spirit of the times, affected. True, the secret clauses of the treaties became the former goals: the change of the French government, the liquidation of the consequences of the French revolution, the restoration of the Bourbon monarchy and the rejection of a number of territories. The vassals of the French Empire were going to be liquidated and divided "fraternally."
Napoleon turns the army east
In the summer of 1805, Napoleon still put on a swift dash to cross the English Channel and bring England to its knees. The army was ready, only suitable weather and cover for the French fleet were required. 26 July 1805, Napoleon wrote to Admiral Villeneuve: "If you make me three days master of the Pas-de-Calais ... then with God's help I will put an end to the fate and existence of England."
The squadron of Villeneuve exited Toulon 29 March 1805 of the year. The French were able to avoid a collision with the squadron of Admiral Nelson and passed through the Strait of Gibraltar 8 April. In Cadiz, the French joined the Spanish squadron of Gravina. The combined fleet sailed to the West Indies to divert the British fleet from the straits, reaching Martinique on May 12. The combined French-Spanish fleet managed to avoid meeting with the squadron of Nelson, which pursued the French and, as was intended, went back to Europe. Villeneuve had to go to Brest to connect with the local French squadron.
The British, having learned that the Franco-Spanish fleet headed for Ferrol, sent Robert Caldera's squadron to meet him. Opponents saw each other on July 22. Although the French had a quantitative superiority - the 20 of the battleships against the 15 - they could not win. Two Spanish ships were badly damaged and surrendered to the British. The British two ships were badly damaged. 23 July neither Calder nor Villeneuve did not dare to continue the battle. Calder did not want to again attack the superior forces of the enemy, fearing to lose the damaged ships and seized prizes. He also feared that the fleet of Villeneuve would strengthen the French squadrons from Rochefort and Ferrol, in which case his fleet was doomed. Villeneuve also decided not to risk it and eventually returned to Cadiz. The battle ended with an uncertain result, both admirals, and Villeneuve and Calder, declared their victory.
Fight off Cape Finisterre 22 July 1805 of the year. William Anderson
The departure of Villeneuve to Cadiz destroyed all hopes of Napoleon for organizing the invasion and the landing in England. True, he put on until the last moment. On August 22, he informed Admiral Gantom, commander of the Brest squadron: “Go and move here. We must repay six centuries of shame. ” Then he wrote to Villeneuve again: “Go, do not lose a moment, and with my connected squadrons enter the English Channel. England is ours. We are ready, everything is in place. Show up only twenty four hours and everything will be over ... ". But the indecisive Villeneuve never came. In late August, the emperor learned that the fleet of Villeneuve was thoroughly blocked in the bay of Cadiz by the British.
In the meantime, the emperor received alarming news that a grave danger was approaching from the east to France. By the summer of 1805, the Austrian forces concentrated on the border with Bavaria and Italy. Napoleon saw it and, waiting for the approach of his fleets in Boulogne, followed the Rhine border with alarm. The French emperor tried to reason with the Austrians, but nothing came of it. Then Napoleon told her ambassador in Paris, Cobenzell: "The emperor is not so mad to give the Russians time to come to your aid ... if your master wants war, then say that he will not celebrate Christmas in Vienna." The Austrians were not afraid. 8 September 1805, the Austrian forces crossed the River Inn and invaded Bavaria. The war has begun.
Napoleon addressed the army: “Brave soldiers! You will not go to England! The British gold seduced the emperor of Austria, and he declared war on France. His army violated the limits to be respected. Bavaria captured! Soldiers! New laurels are waiting for you on the Rhine. Let's go and smash the enemies we have already beaten. ”
The French emperor responded quickly and decisively. Napoleon intercepted a strategic initiative and launched an offensive himself. The Army of England (Army of the Shores of the Ocean) was renamed the Great Army and in September 1805 crossed the Rhine and invaded Germany. Napoleon as an excellent strategist easily revealed the plans of the enemy and acted in Suvorov style - “an eye, speed, onslaught”. He destroyed the numerical superiority of the enemy with the rapid movement of the French army and the crushing of the enemy’s armies one by one. He dismembered the forces of the enemy and struck them blow by blow.
To be continued ...