Battle of Schöngrabern

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Battle of Schöngrabern (or Hollabrunn)
Part of the War of the Third Coalition
Shengraben1.jpg
Battle of Schöngrabern
Date16 November 1805
Location
Schöngrabern, Hollabrunn
Result French tactical victory
Belligerents
Flag of France.svg First French Empire Flag of Russia.svg Russian Empire
Flag of the Habsburg Monarchy.svg  Austrian Empire
Commanders and leaders
Joachim Murat
Jean Lannes
Nicolas Oudinot
Louis Suchet
Pyotr Bagration
Strength
45,806 present.
20,661 engaged [1]
about 7,300 in total [1]
Casualties and losses
1,200 total casualties [1] 1,200 killed
1,448 captured [1]

The Battle of Schöngrabern, also known as the Battle of Hollabrunn, was an engagement in the Napoleonic Wars during the War of the Third Coalition, fought on 16 November 1805 near Hollabrunn in Lower Austria, four weeks after the Battle of Ulm and two weeks before the Battle of Austerlitz (Slavkov, Moravia - now Czech Republic).

Napoleonic Wars Series of early 19th century European wars

The Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815) were a series of major conflicts pitting the French Empire and its allies, led by Napoleon I, against a fluctuating array of European powers formed into various coalitions, financed and usually led by the United Kingdom. The wars stemmed from the unresolved disputes associated with the French Revolution and its resultant conflict. The wars are often categorised into five conflicts, each termed after the coalition that fought Napoleon: the Third Coalition (1805), the Fourth (1806–07), the Fifth (1809), the Sixth (1813), and the Seventh (1815).

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.

Hollabrunn Place in Lower Austria, Austria

Hollabrunn is a district capital town in the Austrian state of Lower Austria, on the Göllersbach river.

Contents

The Russian army of Kutuzov was retiring north of the Danube before the French army of Napoleon. On 13 November 1805 Marshals Murat and Lannes, commanding the French advance guard, had captured a bridge over the Danube at Vienna by falsely claiming that an armistice had been signed, and then rushing the bridge while the guards were distracted. Kutuzov needed to gain time in order to make contact near Brno (Brünn) with reinforcements led by Buxhowden. He ordered his rearguard under Major-General Prince Pyotr Bagration to delay the French.

Mikhail Kutuzov Field Marshal of the Russian Empire

Prince Mikhail Illarionovich Golenishchev-Kutuzov was a Field Marshal of the Russian Empire. He served as one of the finest military officers and diplomats of Russia under the reign of three Romanov Tsars: Catherine II, Paul I and Alexander I. His military career was closely associated with the rising period of Russia from the end of the 18th century to the beginning of the 19th century. Kutuzov is considered to have been one of the best Russian generals.

Danube river in Central Europe

The Danube, known by various names in other languages, is Europe's second longest river, after the Volga. It is located in Central and Eastern Europe.

Joachim Murat Grand Duke of Berg and 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".

Murat and Lannes commanded the 4th and 5th Corps and the Reserve Cavalry. Bagration took up a position about 6 km north of Hollabrunn, on the hill above the small town of Schöngrabern (today part of Grabern). Murat believed that the whole of the Russian army was before him, and hesitated to attack. Bagration then suggested to Murat that negotiations for an armistice should be opened. Murat agreed, and did not attack. When Napoleon was informed of this he was furious and wrote to Murat:

Grabern Place in Lower Austria, Austria

Grabern is a town in the district of Hollabrunn in Lower Austria, Austria.

On 16 November 1805 Murat informed Bagration that the armistice would end at 5:00 pm. The confused action took place during the night. After sustaining several French assaults and holding the position for some six hours, Bagration was driven out and executed a skilled and organised withdrawal to retire northeast to join the main Russian army. His skillful defence in the face of superior forces successfully delayed the French enough for the Russian forces of Kutuzov and Buxhowden to unite at Brno (Brünn) on 18 November 1805.

The battle in fiction

The battle is depicted in Leo Tolstoy’s novel War and Peace . Prince Andrei Bolkonsky is present and attaches himself to the artillery battery of Captain Tushin. As the battle progresses the battery ends up alone and unsupported, becoming the deciding factor in the successful withdrawal of the Russian troops. Later that evening, some Russian staff officers accuse Captain Tushin of having abandoned his artillery pieces, rather than retreating with the guns as ordered. Prince Andrei tells Bagration that there were no supporting Russian troops, and that Captain Tushin and his men might well have been the vital point in delaying the French advance.

Leo Tolstoy Russian writer, author of War and Peace and Anna Karenina

Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy, usually referred to in English as Leo Tolstoy, was a Russian writer who is regarded as one of the greatest authors of all time. He received multiple nominations for Nobel Prize in Literature every year from 1902 to 1906, and nominations for Nobel Peace Prize in 1901, 1902 and 1910, and his miss of the prize is a major Nobel prize controversy.

<i>War and Peace</i> 1869 novel by Leo Tolstoy

War and Peace is a novel by the Russian author Leo Tolstoy. It is regarded as a central work of world literature and one of Tolstoy's finest literary achievements.

Artillery battery artillery unit equivalent to an infantry company

In military organizations, an artillery battery is a unit of artillery, mortars, rocket artillery, multiple rocket launchers, surface to surface missiles, ballistic missiles, cruise missiles etc., so grouped to facilitate better battlefield communication and command and control, as well as to provide dispersion for its constituent gunnery crews and their systems. The term is also used in a naval context to describe groups of guns on warships.

Given the lack of detail in historical sources for this battle, it is unclear how closely Tolstoy's version of the battle relates to the historical action.

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References

Inline
  1. 1 2 3 4 "Napoleon Series Battle Lists: War of the 3rd Coalition". www.napoleon-series.org.
  2. Correspondance de Napoleon Ier, XI 505 (No. 9497)
General
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Coordinates: 48°36′51″N16°01′11″E / 48.6142°N 16.0197°E / 48.6142; 16.0197