Napoleon Ends Holy Roman Empire p1
At the beginning of the nineteenth century, Europe was divided into several great powers. Britain, France, the German states of Prussia, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire and Russia were the major powers of Europe. Since the French Revolution, the European powers had imposed war on France. European alliances against France were forming and deteriorating day by day. When Napoleon became Emperor of France in Etienne au Four, the European territories he had his eyes on included Italy, Germany, Croatia, and parts of Poland.
They conquered some areas in Italy and Germany, but for the remaining areas they had to fight with “Austria” and Prussia. Because these areas were mostly under the control of these two empires. In particular, “Austria” controlled large areas of Germany that had previously been part of the Holy Roman Empire. For this reason, the ruler of “East Rhea” was called Francis II Holy Roman Emperor. He also had military support from Russia and Great Britain. Together, these three countries formed a new alliance namely Austria,
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Great Britain and Russia, which included many European and smaller states. This alliance began to simultaneously attack the French-occupied territories in Germany and Italy from several fronts. In these circumstances, the French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte could not sit idly by. They immediately marched on the “Austria” to strike the coalition before all the enemy forces were assembled. On the other hand, Russian Emperor Alexander I arrived with a large army to help “Austria”.
Then a historic battle took place near the city of Vienna, the capital of the “Austria”, the outcome of which shocked the world powers. How did Napoleon cope with the combined power of “Austria” and Russia? What happened to France’s military adventure in Spain? Ulm is a German city five hundred kilometers away from Vienna. This city was the main line of defense of Vienna, the capital of the “Austria”. Here General Mack, a commander of the “Austria” had taken up a defensive position with about 60,000 troops.
While to help them, a Russian army under the command of General Kutuzov was advancing towards Ulm from the east. All that General Mack had to do was to somehow hold off the French until the arrival of General Kutuzov. Had they succeeded and the Russian army had come to their aid, Napoleon would have been in dire straits. Napoleon attacked Ulm in October 1855. Fierce skirmishes took place between the “Ost-Rhine” and French forces around the city. At least 2,000 French soldiers and 4,000 “Ost-Rhine” soldiers were killed or wounded in these battles.
After continuous skirmishes, the French army took more than 30,000 “Ost-Rhine” military prisoners. While General Mack was besieged in Ulm with twenty-seven thousand soldiers, the prisoners were in a way Napoleon Bonaparte sent a message to General Mack that there was no use of resistance to surrender. General Mack replied that if help did not reach me by the 25th of October, I would surrender, otherwise not. In response, Napoleon’s representatives told the general that the Russian army you were waiting for, sir, was still weeks away. Your army will be destroyed before his arrival.
General Mack was very disappointed by this news. They surrendered on October 20 instead of October 25. Twenty-seven thousand “Oust-Rhine” troops marched out of the city and surrendered to the French. When General Mack was brought before Napoleon, the commander introduced himself as, “I am the unfortunate Commander Mack.” Napoleon treated his soldiers well but also saluted his wounded soldiers for fighting bravely. So friends, now Napoleon Bonaparte had occupied the city of Ulm.
They had made 60,000 enemy soldiers prisoners of war and captured 200 cannons. Because of this, Vienna’s most important defensive line was broken. Now the capital of the “East Rhine” Empire was at the mercy of Napoleon. He quickly advanced towards Vienna and captured it on November 14th. Now they had to deal with General Kutuzov, who was far to the north of Vienna. They had an army of fifty-eight thousand, including thirty-six thousand Russians and twenty-two thousand “Ostrhein” troops.
In comparison, Napoleon had seventy-five thousand soldiers. Now Napoleon started moving towards General Kutuzov to confront him and as soon as General Kutuzov and his army found out that Vienna had been defeated, they also started moving away from Vienna. The situation was such that the Russian commanders were in front and Napoleon Bonaparte was behind them. General Kutuzov had left some troops behind to attack the enemy and slow his advance and take a better position.
Their strategy was successful and they crossed the town of “Austlitz”, one hundred and fifty five kilometers north of Vienna, into the difficult mountainous terrain and took up a defensive position there. During this time they also received a new help of thirty thousand Russian soldiers. That is, their total number had now exceeded the French, meanwhile Napoleon had also reached near the town of Ostlitz. When they realized that the enemy had more troops, they made a great trick to trap the enemy.
He sent thousands of his soldiers to different areas under his control in “Austria”. Thus their army was reduced to fifty-three thousand, fifty-three thousand. In this way, Napoleon gave the complete impression to the enemy that my army has become very weakattack me When the Russians realized that Napoleon had a much smaller army than them, they prepared for an immediate attack. That is, they were deceived by Napoleon, although General Kutuzov was advising them to be careful, but he was not listened to.
Russian Emperor Alexander I did not want to miss this easy opportunity and ordered an attack on the French army despite Kotuzov’s persuasion. On the 2nd of December, the battlefield was set up in front of the town of Ostlitz. The Russian army divided into three parts and took position on the battlefield. Behind their center was the town and in front of them were some hills. Behind the left-center field were some ponds with frozen ice. In front of the Russian forces, Napoleon also lined up his army in three divisions.
But he purposely kept the number of troops on the right side very small and showed less. He thus gave the impression to the Russians that their right wing was too weak to be easily defeated. Napoleon believed that the Russians would fall for this deception and send more of their forces to destroy this right flank. Thus their center part will be weakened. Then the French army would attack the center and defeat it easily.
When the center is defeated, the Russian and Austrian troops standing on its right and left, i.e. the allied soldiers, will run away on their own. Another arrangement Napoleon made was to secretly call a French army behind him from Vienna. Its timing was set so that as soon as the battle began, the force would join the right flank, the side that Napoleon had deliberately kept weak.
- Napoleon Ends Holy Roman Empire p2
In this way, the right flank of the French army would have been strengthened again after the Russian attack had begun. So with that planning it was a face-to-face alignment. Also note that apart from Napoleon, the Russian Emperor Alexander I and the “East Rhine” Emperor Francis II were also present at the battle. That is why this war is also called the Battle of the Three Emperors.