III Corps (Grande Armée)

Last updated
III Corps (Grande Armée)
Active 18051815
CountryFlag of France.svg First French Empire
Branch Army
Type Army Corps
Size Corps
Engagements Napoleonic Wars
Commanders
Notable
commanders
Louis-Nicolas Davout
Bon-Adrien Jeannot de Moncey
Jean-Andoche Junot
Louis-Gabriel Suchet
Michel Ney
Joseph Souham
Dominique Vandamme

The III Corps of the Grande Armée was the designation of a few military units during the Napoleonic Wars. The III Corps came to prominence between 1805 and 1809 under the command of Marshal Louis-Nicolas Davout, when it repeatedly scored impressive victories single-handedly or in conjunction with other French forces. Napoleon called it "My tenth legion", in reference to Julius Caesar's finest unit, the X Equestris. Then troops from that Corps took part in many battles in Poland (1807) e.g. Czarnowo, Pultusk, Golymin, Eylau, in Bavaria at Teugen-Hausen, Eckmuhl and in Austria 1809 at Wagram. These troops later were reorganized as I Corps and included French, German/Polish units. It also included the 127th to 129th "régiment d'infanterie de ligne" from the north German countries of Oldenburg, Bremen and Hamburg that were annexed shortly before and thus counted as French.

The Grande Armée was the army commanded by Napoleon I during the Napoleonic Wars. From 1805 to 1809, the Grande Armée scored a series of historic victories that gave the French Empire an unprecedented grip on power over the European continent. Widely acknowledged to be one of the greatest fighting forces ever assembled, it suffered terrible losses during the French invasion of Russia in 1812 and never recovered its tactical superiority after that campaign.

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).

Louis-Nicolas Davout Marshal of France

Louis-Nicolas d'Avout, better known as Davout, 1st Duke of Auerstaedt, 1st Prince of Eckmühl, was a French general who was Marshal of the Empire during the Napoleonic era. His talent for war along with his reputation as a stern disciplinarian earned him the title "The Iron Marshal". He is ranked along with Masséna and Lannes as one of Napoleon's finest commanders. His loyalty and obedience to Napoleon were absolute. During his lifetime, Davout's name was commonly spelled Davoust, which is how it appears on the Arc de Triomphe and in much of the correspondence between Napoleon and his generals.

Contents

A parallel III Corps existed in Spain from 1808 until 1811 when it became the Army of Aragon. Its commanders were Bon-Adrien Jeannot de Moncey, Jean-Andoche Junot, and Louis-Gabriel Suchet. Cobbled together from hastily raised French conscripts and Polish auxiliaries, the corps later became one of the most effective French forces in Spain under Suchet.

Bon-Adrien Jeannot de Moncey French soldier, politician and officer

Bon-Adrien Jeannot de Moncey, 1st Duke of Conegliano, 1st Baron of Conegliano, Peer of France, Marshal of France, was a prominent soldier in the French Revolutionary Wars and Napoleonic Wars. Later he became Governor of the Hôtel des Invalides. MONCEY is one of the names inscribed under the Arc de Triomphe, on Column 33.

Jean-Andoche Junot French general

Jean-Andoche Junot, 1st Duke of Abrantès was a French general during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.

Louis-Gabriel Suchet French military commander

Louis-Gabriel Suchet, Duke of Albufera, was a French Marshal of the Empire and one of the most successful commanders of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.

Size

By the time of Napoleon's invasion of Russia in 1812, III Corps was reorganized and went under the command of Marshal Ney. It consisted of French, Württemberg, Portuguese and Croatian units and like the rest of Napoleon's forces, suffered heavy casualties as the campaign progressed: at the crossing of the Niemen River in 1812, the III Corps' size was estimated at around 44,000 men; by the Battle of Smolensk, only 22,000 men remained. [1]

Michel Ney French soldier and military commander

Marshal of the Empire Michel Ney, 1st Duke of Elchingen, 1st Prince of the Moskva, popularly known as Marshal Ney, was a French soldier and military commander of German origin who fought in the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars. He was one of the original 18 Marshals of the Empire created by Napoleon. He was known as Le Rougeaud by his men and nicknamed le Brave des Braves by Napoleon.

Battle of Smolensk (1812)

The Battle of Smolensk was the first major battle of the French invasion of Russia. It took place on 16–18 August 1812 and involved 45,000–50,000 men and 84 guns of the Grande Armée under Emperor Napoleon I against 30,000–35,000 Russian troops and 108 guns under General Barclay de Tolly. Napoleon attacked Smolensk, occupied by Prince Pyotr Bagration's Second Army and captured two of the suburbs. During the night the Russians evacuated the burning city.

Battles

The III Corps participated in a number of battles, including Battle of Wagram Austerlitz, Auerstadt, Eylau, Teugen-Hausen and Eckmühl. The III Corps also fought at Borodino. [2]

Battle of Wagram battle

The Battle of Wagram was a military engagement of the Napoleonic Wars that ended in a costly but decisive victory for Emperor Napoleon I's French and allied army against the Austrian army under the command of Archduke Charles of Austria-Teschen. The battle led to the breakup of the Fifth Coalition, the Austrian and British-led alliance against France.

Battle of Austerlitz A battle of the Napoleonic Wars

The Battle of Austerlitz, also known as the Battle of the Three Emperors, was one of the most important and decisive engagements of the Napoleonic Wars. In what is widely regarded as the greatest victory achieved by Napoleon, the Grande Armée of France defeated a larger Russian and Austrian army led by Emperor Alexander I and Holy Roman Emperor Francis II. The battle occurred near the town of Austerlitz in the Austrian Empire. Austerlitz brought the War of the Third Coalition to a rapid end, with the Treaty of Pressburg signed by the Austrians later in the month. The battle is often cited as a tactical masterpiece, in the same league as other historic engagements like Cannae or Gaugamela.

Battle of Jena–Auerstedt decisive battle of the Napoleonic Wars, allowing the French Grande Armée to occupy Prussia

The twin battles of Jena and Auerstedt were fought on 14 October 1806 on the plateau west of the river Saale in today's Germany, between the forces of Napoleon I of France and Frederick William III of Prussia. The decisive defeat suffered by the Prussian Army subjugated the Kingdom of Prussia to the French Empire until the Sixth Coalition was formed in 1812.

Commanders

Louis Friant French military commander

Louis Friant was born in the village of Morlancourt, 8 km south of Albert near the river Somme.

Charles-Étienne Gudin de La Sablonnière French general during the French Revolutionary Wars and Napoleonic Wars

Charles-Étienne César Gudin de La Sablonnière was a French general during the French Revolutionary Wars and Napoleonic Wars.

Louis-Pierre Montbrun French general

Louis Pierre, Count Montbrun, French cavalry general, served with great distinction in the cavalry arm throughout the wars of the Revolution and the Consulate, and in 1800 was appointed to command his regiment, having served therein from trooper upwards.

Marshal Michel Ney (1812)

References and notes

  1. Badone, Jean Cerino; et al. "1812 - Invasion of Russia" . Retrieved 2007-08-16.
  2. Badone, Jean Cerino; et al. "Battle of Borodino, 1812 - Armies. "French and Russian Orders of Battle"" . Retrieved 2007-08-16.

Related Research Articles

Battle of Eckmühl battle

The Battle of Eckmühl fought on 21 April – 22 April 1809, was the turning point of the 1809 Campaign, also known as the War of the Fifth Coalition. Napoleon I had been unprepared for the start of hostilities on 10 April 1809, by the Austrians under the Archduke Charles of Austria and for the first time since assuming the French Imperial Crown had been forced to cede the strategic initiative to an opponent. Thanks to the dogged defense waged by the III Corps, commanded by Marshal Davout, and the Bavarian VII Corps, commanded by Marshal Lefebvre, Napoleon was able to defeat the principal Austrian army and wrest the strategic initiative for the remainder of the war.

Napoleonic era Wikimedia disambiguation page

The Napoleonic era is a period in the history of France and Europe. It is generally classified as including the fourth and final stage of the French Revolution, the first being the National Assembly, the second being the Legislative Assembly, and the third being the Directory. The Napoleonic era begins roughly with Napoleon Bonaparte's coup d'état, overthrowing the Directory, establishing the French Consulate, and ends during the Hundred Days and his defeat at the Battle of Waterloo. The Congress of Vienna soon set out to restore Europe to pre-French Revolution days. Napoleon brought political stability to a land torn by revolution and war. He made peace with the Roman Catholic Church and reversed the most radical religious policies of the Convention. In 1804 Napoleon promulgated the Civil Code, a revised body of civil law, which also helped stabilize French society. The Civil Code affirmed the political and legal equality of all adult men and established a merit-based society in which individuals advanced in education and employment because of talent rather than birth or social standing. The Civil Code confirmed many of the moderate revolutionary policies of the National Assembly but retracted measures passed by the more radical Convention. The code restored patriarchal authority in the family, for example, by making women and children subservient to male heads of households.

François Joseph Lefebvre Marshal of France

François Joseph Lefebvre, Duc de Dantzig, was a French military commander during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars and one of the original eighteen Marshals of the Empire created by Napoleon.

War of the Fifth Coalition conflict

The War of the Fifth Coalition was fought in 1809 by a coalition of the Austrian Empire and the United Kingdom against Napoleon's French Empire and Bavaria. Major engagements between France and Austria, the main participants, unfolded over much of Central Europe from April to July, with very high casualty rates for both sides. Britain, already involved on the European continent in the ongoing Peninsular War, sent another expedition, the Walcheren Campaign, to the Netherlands in order to relieve the Austrians, although this effort had little impact on the outcome of the conflict. After much campaigning in Bavaria and across the Danube valley, the war ended favourably for the French after the bloody struggle at Wagram in early July.

Battle of Abensberg battle

The Battle of Abensberg took place on 20 April 1809, between a Franco-German force under the command of Emperor Napoleon I of France and a reinforced Austrian corps led by Feldmarschall-Leutnant Archduke Louis of Austria. As the day wore on, Feldmarschall-Leutnant Johann von Hiller arrived with reinforcements to take command of the three corps that formed the Austrian left wing. The action ended in a complete Franco-German victory. The battlefield was southeast of Abensberg and included clashes at Offenstetten, Biburg-Siegenburg, Rohr in Niederbayern, and Rottenburg an der Laaber. On the same day, the French garrison of Regensburg capitulated.

Battle of Teugen-Hausen battle

The Battle of Teugen-Hausen or the Battle of Thann was an engagement that occurred during the War of the Fifth Coalition, part of the Napoleonic Wars. The battle was fought on 19 April 1809 between the French III Corps led by Marshal Louis-Nicolas Davout and the Austrian III Armeekorps commanded by Prince Friedrich Franz Xaver of Hohenzollern-Hechingen. The French won a hard-fought victory over their opponents when the Austrians withdrew that evening. The site of the battle is a wooded height approximately halfway between the villages of Teugn and Hausen in Lower Bavaria, part of modern-day Germany.

Charles Antoine Morand general of the French army during the French Revolutionary Wars and Napoleonic Wars

Charles Antoine Louis Alexis Morand Comte de l'Empire, was a general of the French army during the French Revolutionary Wars and Napoleonic Wars. He fought at many of the most important battles of the time, including Austerlitz, Borodino and Waterloo.

The I Corps of the Grande Armée was a military unit that existed during the Napoleonic Wars. The corps was composed of troops in Imperial French service.

The IV Corps of the Grande Armée was a military unit during the Napoleonic Wars. It consisted several different units and commanders.

The V Corps of the Grande Armée was a military unit during the Napoleonic Wars. The corps was originally formed in 1805 and was reorganized several times until it was discontinued in 1815.

Nobility of the First French Empire

As Emperor of the French, Napoleon I created titles of nobility to institute a stable elite in the First French Empire, after the instability resulting from the French Revolution.

Jean-Jacques Germain Pelet-Clozeau French general

Jean-Jacques Germain Pelet-Clozeau became a French general in the Napoleonic Wars and later was a politician and historian. He joined the French army in 1800 and became a topographic engineer. He joined the staff of Marshal André Masséna and was wounded at Caldiero in 1805. He served in southern Italy in 1806 and Poland in 1807. He was wounded at Ebelsberg and fought at Aspern-Essling and Wagram in 1809.

Joseph Barbanègre French General and a Baron of the First French Empire

Joseph Barbanègre was a French General and a Baron of the First French Empire. He was governor of the Fortress of Huningue during the siege of the 1815 and held out until the end of hostilities, surrendering the place with full military honours on 26 August 1815.

Samuel-François Lhéritier French General during the French Revolutionary Wars and Napoleonic Wars

Baron Samuel-François Lhéritier de Chézelles was a French soldier who rose through the ranks during the French Revolutionary Wars and Napoleonic Wars, eventually gaining promotion to the military rank of Général de Division.

The III Cavalry Corps was a French military formation that fought during the Napoleonic Wars. The corps was created in 1812 and reconstituted in 1813 and 1815. Emperor Napoleon first mobilized the corps for the French invasion of Russia. Commanded by General of Division Emmanuel Grouchy, two divisions of the corps fought at Borodino, Tarutino, and Vyazma. A third division fought at First and Second Polotsk and the Berezina. During the War of the Sixth Coalition in 1813, General of Division Jean-Toussaint Arrighi de Casanova led the corps at Grossbeeren, Dennewitz, Leipzig, and Hanau. During the Hundred Days in 1815, Napoleon reorganized the corps and appointed General of Division François Étienne de Kellermann to lead it. One brigade of the corps was engaged at Quatre Bras and both divisions fought at Waterloo.

Henri Rottembourg French soldier and officer

Henri Rottembourg became a French division commander late in the Napoleonic Wars. He enlisted in an infantry regiment of the French Royal Army in 1784 and was promoted to first lieutenant by 1792. During the War of the First Coalition from 1793 to 1797 he fought mostly in the Army of Sambre-et-Meuse. He was wounded at Verona in 1799 and fought on the Var and at the Mincio in 1800. He transferred to the Imperial Guard in 1806 before fighting at Jena and being named to command an infantry regiment. In 1809 he was wounded at Wagram.