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Research Papers on the Battle of Austerlitz

Research papers on the Battle of Austerlitz may discuss the battle in terms of Napoleon's military prowess or from any historical angle that you need the topic discussed.

On December 2, 1805, Napoleon Bonaparte defeated the superior forces of the Russian and Austrian armies at the Battle of Austerlitz. He employed deception to lure his enemies to his chosen field of battle, and then broke their formations with rapid maneuvers by his corps.  Bolstering the effectiveness of his tactics were the advanced muskets and artillery as well a high level of training and élan among his troops.  He was a strong advocate of drill to bind his soldiers into an effective fighting force. The immediate result of the Battle of Austerlitz was the collapse of the Third Coalition arrayed against Napoleon and the ceding of Austrian territory to his client state, the Kingdom of Italy.  In the longer term, it became a tactical model, which Napoleon tried to duplicate in his later battles.

Battle of Austerlitz

Stage Set for the Battle of Austerlitz

The stage was set for the Battle of Austerlitz by Napoleon’s invasion of Austria after its Emperor, Francis II, joined Russia and England in the Third Coalition. For example:

  1. The allies planned for Russian and Austrian Forces to strike toward France through Bavaria. 
  2. They also hoped to induce Prussia to join the Coalition and attack France across central Germany.

Napoleon responded to this threat by marching the Grand Armée into Austria.  The French troops had been encamped in Boulogne where Napoleon insured they were well instructed in drill and able to quickly follow the orders of their commanders.  Their morale was high.  According to corporal Jean-Pierre Blaise, “The Emperor reviewed us on 25 August.  We learned that day with joy that we were going to leave the coast . . . to make war in Germany . . .[W]e were certain that led by the Emperor we would march to victory”. Blaise reflected the enthusiasm of all the grognards, as Napoleon often called his often grumbling, but fiercely loyal foot soldiers.

Battle of Austerlitz and Napoleon

One advantage that Napoleon enjoyed over his enemies was the ability of his troops to move swiftly.  His soldiers were accustomed to foraging for their food, leaving his army unencumbered by slow moving supply trains.  Blaise records, “we were ordered to leave all unnecessary possessions at the depot at Frankenthal, so that we would be burdened with as little as possible . . . The rapidity of our march not permitting food supplies to follow us, we often lacked bread. . . Yet we were all the more able to do without bread because we were in the midst of the best season for potatoes in a country where they are very good”.  Napoleon could allow his troops to rely on foraging, which necessarily required departures from the main column, because he was certain that they would not desert.

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