The battle was fought on the Marchfeld, a plain northeast of Vienna on the opposite bank of the river Danube between 188,000 French and allied troops under Napoleon and 155,000 Austrians under Archduke Charles. After a defeat at Aspern-Essling in May, Napoleon needed a victory to restore his military reputation and prevent a new anti-French coalition from forming. Archduke Charles deployed his army along a 14-mile (23-km) front, with the village of Wagram in the centre. Napoleon ordered the construction of sturdy bridges over the Danube River to Lobau Island and from there from the eastern side of the island onto the opposite bank near Gross-Ezersdorf and Wittau. The main body of Napoleon’s army deployed across the Marchfeld and opened hostilities on 5 July by attacking Austrian positions along the Wagram plateau, meeting determined resistance. As dusk fell, both armies ceased fire and considered their respective plans for the following day. Archduke Charles, seeing he faced a larger force, considered his best chance lay in an immediate all-out attack. Napoleon ordered Massena’s IV Corps to re-deploy in the face of the enemy and to drive the Austrians back from Essling. To cover this daring move Bessieres led a cavalry attack on the approaching Austrians. Napoleon organised a Grand Battery of 80 guns in the centre, opening fire on the massed ranks of the Austrians, followed by a general attack by all corps. The Austrians initially held their ground but under relentless French pressure were eventually forced to retreat. It is estimated that 23,750 Austrians were killed or wounded; estimates for the French stand at 27,500 killed or wounded.
— OR —
Website Design AT Technical