Battle of Amstetten

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Battle of Amstetten
Part of the War of the Third Coalition
Date5 November 1805
Location
Result French tactical victory
Belligerents
Flag of France (1794-1815).svg  France Banner of the Holy Roman Emperor (after 1400).svg Habsburg Empire
Standard of the Emperor of Russia (1858).svg Russia
Commanders and leaders
Flag of France.svg Joachim Murat
Flag of France.svg Jean Lannes
Banner of the Holy Roman Emperor (after 1400).svg Michael Kienmayer
Standard of the Emperor of Russia (1858).svg Pyotr Bagration
Strength
Around 10,000 soldiers 6,700 soldiers
Casualties and losses
Under 1,000 total Russian Empire:
300 killed or wounded
<700 prisoners
Austrian Empire:
1,000 killed, wounded, or prisoners

The Battle of Amstetten was a minor engagement during the War of the Third Coalition between the First French Empire and the alliance of Austria and Russia. It occurred on 5 November 1805, when the retreating Russo-Austrian troops, led by Mikhail Kutuzov, were intercepted by Marshal Joachim Murat's cavalry and a portion of Marshal Jean Lannes' corps. Pyotr Bagration defended against the advancing French troops and allowed the Russian troops to retreat. This was the first fight in which a major part of the Russian Army opposed a significant number of French troops in the open. [1] The total number of Russo-Austrian troops was around 6,700, while the French troops numbered roughly 10,000 troops. The Russo-Austrian forces suffered more casualties but were still able to successfully retreat.

War of the Third Coalition war

The War of the Third Coalition was a European conflict spanning the years 1803 to 1806. During the war, France and its client states under Napoleon I defeated an alliance, the Third Coalition, made up of the Holy Roman Empire, Russia, Britain and others.

First French Empire Empire of Napoleon I of France between 1804–1815

The First French Empire, officially the French Empire, was the empire of Napoleon Bonaparte of France and the dominant power in much of continental Europe at the beginning of the 19th century. Although France had already established an overseas colonial empire beginning in the 17th century, the French state had remained a kingdom under the Bourbons and a republic after the Revolution. Historians refer to Napoleon's regime as the First Empire to distinguish it from the restorationist Second Empire (1852–1870) ruled by his nephew as Napoleon III.

Austrian Empire monarchy in Central Europe between 1804 and 1867


The Austrian Empire was a Central European multinational great power from 1804 to 1867, created by proclamation out of the realms of the Habsburgs. During its existence, it was the third most populous empire after the Russian Empire and the United Kingdom in Europe. Along with Prussia, it was one of the two major powers of the German Confederation. Geographically, it was the third largest empire in Europe after the Russian Empire and the First French Empire. Proclaimed in response to the First French Empire, it partially overlapped with the Holy Roman Empire until the latter's dissolution in 1806.

Contents

Background

The Battle of Amstetten took place during the War of the Third Coalition, which lasted from 1803 to 1806. This battle took place immediately after the Austrian surrender in the Ulm Campaign. Following the surrender of Karl Mack von Leiberich in the Battle of Ulm, the Russian forces led by Kutuzov decided to retreat along the Danube to regroup with other Russian troops. Napoleon was determined to pin down the Russian army and sent Joachim Murat and Jean Lannes to intercept the retreating Russian army.

Ulm Campaign

The Ulm Campaign was a series of French and Bavarian military maneuvers and battles to outflank and capture an Austrian army in 1805 during the War of the Third Coalition. It took place in the vicinity of and inside the Swabian city of Ulm. The French Grande Armée, led by Napoleon Bonaparte, comprised 210,000 troops organized into seven corps, and hoped to knock out the Austrian army in the Danube before Russian reinforcements could arrive. Through rapid marching, Napoleon conducted a large wheeling maneuver that captured an Austrian army of 23,000 under General Mack on 20 October at Ulm, bringing the total number of Austrian prisoners in the campaign to 60,000. The campaign is generally regarded as a strategic masterpiece and was influential in the development of the Schlieffen Plan in the late 19th century.

Karl Mack von Leiberich Austrian general

Karl Freiherr Mack von Leiberich was an Austrian soldier. He is best remembered as the commander of the Austrian forces that capitulated to Napoleon's Grande Armée in the Battle of Ulm in 1805. Mack makes a brief appearance as a character in book two of Volume I of Tolstoy's War and Peace.

Battle of Ulm battle

The Battle of Ulm on 16–19 October 1805 was a series of skirmishes, at the end of the Ulm Campaign, which allowed Napoleon I to trap an entire Austrian army under the command of Karl Freiherr Mack von Leiberich with minimal losses and to force its surrender near Ulm in the Electorate of Bavaria.

Battle

The French army initially caught up the Russians around Enns, Austria roughly 50 km west of Amstetten and then again at Oed, which was 3 km west of Amstetten. Bagration decided to fend off the French Army at Amstetten and posted his infantry and cavalry atop the hills on both sides of the main road. The artillery was positioned on the main road for the best line of fire. Murat led an initial charge with his cavalry escort of two squadrons against three Austrian cavalry regiments. His troops were overwhelmed and forced to fall back. Murat's troops were then reinforced by Nicolas Oudinot’s grenadiers who were able to prevent Bagration’s advance and forced his line to retreat back into Amstetten. Murat waited for the balance of his column to arrive with Lannes. Lannes was ordered to move against positions held by Bagration and proceeded to attack. Bagration requested reinformancements and was then joined by Miloradovich along with four infantry regiments, ten cavalry regiments and extra artillery. As the battle persisted, The Russian Jägers were forced to fall back and a further attack upon Amsetten routed a Grenz infantry battalion. The battle dwindled down by nightfall.

Nicolas Oudinot Marshal of France

Nicolas Charles Oudinot, 1st Comte Oudinot, 1st Duc de Reggio, was a Marshal of France. He is known to have been wounded 34 times in battle. Oudinot is one of the Names inscribed under the Arc de Triomphe, Eastern pillar Columns 13, 14.

Pyotr Bagration General of the Imperial Russian Army

Pyotr Bagration was a Russian general and prince of Georgian origin, prominent during the Napoleonic Wars.

Joachim Murat Grand Duke of Berg and Cleves, The King of Naples

Joachim-Napoléon Murat was a Marshal of France and Admiral of France under the reign of Napoleon. He was also the 1st Prince Murat, Grand Duke of Berg from 1806 to 1808, and King of Naples from 1808 to 1815. Murat received his titles in part by being Napoleon's brother-in-law through marriage to his younger sister, Caroline Bonaparte, as well as personal merit. He was noted as a daring, brave, and charismatic cavalry officer as well as a flamboyant dresser, for which he was known as "the Dandy King".

Aftermath

One thousand Austrian soldiers were killed, wounded, or captured. Three hundred Russian soldiers were killed or wounded, and fewer than seven hundred were captured. Bagration successfully performed his duty as the rear guard and allowed the remaining Russo-Austrian troops to retreat overnight. The Russo-Austrian troops suffered more casualties than the French army, but there is still confusion regarding who won the battle with both sides stating they were outnumbered.

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References

  1. Kagan, 458
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Coordinates: 48°07′00″N14°52′00″E / 48.1167°N 14.8667°E / 48.1167; 14.8667