The Battle of Austerlitz 2 December 1805

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Map Code: Ax02013

Also known as the Battle of the Three Emperors, the Battle of Austerlitz was one of Napoleon’s greatest victories, when his 68,000-strong Grand Armée defeated the 90,000-strong combined forces of Russia and Austria, led by Emperor Alexander I and the Hoy Roman Emperor Francis II respectively. French forces had seized Vienna in November 1805, leaving the Austrians waiting for the support of their Russian allies. Napoleon, who was intent on luring the Allies into battle, duped them into thinking that the French army was depleted and vulnerable and that he desired a negotiated peace. The battle took place on 2 December, about 6 miles (10 km) from the town of Brno in what is now the Czech Republic. Having lured the Allies into battle, Napoleon abandoned the strategic position of the Pratzen Heights and deliberately weakened his right flank, hoping to tempt the Allies into a major assault, which would be averted by Marshal Davout and his III Corps, who arrived after a forced march from Vienna. While most of the Allied army was fighting the right flank, Napoleon used his main army to lay siege to their weakened left and centre, which was demolished by IV Corps under Marshal Soult. The stage was set for the French to sweep through both enemy flanks, sending the Allies into a chaotic retreat. The French outfought the Allies, leaving 15,000 dead and wounded and 11,000 captured, compared to 9,000 French dead or wounded. The Treaty of Pressburg (27 December 1805) presaged the end of the Holy Roman Empire, which collapsed in the following year.

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