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Napoleonic Wars
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 Napoleonic Wars Home
  Trafalgar (1805)
  Austerlitz (1805)
  Jena/Auerstadt (1806)
  Eylau and Friedland (1807)
  Vimeiro (1808)
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  Busaco (1810)
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  Salamanca (1812)
  Borodino (1812)
  Leipzig (1813)
  Waterloo (1815)

Napoleonic War Articles
The Grande Armee of 1812 in Russia
The Master's Misstep
Trafalgar Remembered
Napoleonic Wars Articles

Member Article: Napoleon's Campaign of 1809
by Birrion Sondahl

Napoleon's campaign of 1809 is a very interesting episode of the Napoleonic Wars. In this campaign Napoleon once again showed his brilliance as a military leader in gaining victory after setbacks and against a very competent enemy in the Archduke Charles and the Austrian army. The campaign itself consisted of two major battles fought along the north bank of the Danube. The first battle is now called Aspern-Essling while the second is known as Wagram. Each of these battles was preceded by crossings of the Danube which were impressive feats in their own right. These crossings and the battles combined make a study of the campaign of 1809 profitable to gaining a further understanding of the Napoleonic Age.
Read more... 5,735 words
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Member Article: Austerlitz: Napoleon Makes His Own Luck
by Lonny L. Grout

Austerlitz was the battle that many historians have considered Napoleon's masterpiece. Napoleon himself considered this his masterpiece. There is no doubt that Austerlitz was a great victory for Napoleon, both strategically and tactically. So, was it all the genius of Napoleon, or was it merely that luck was on the side of Napoleon's army that day? While researching this question, what came directly to my mind was a saying I once heard someone unknown say, "you make our own luck." This described Napoleon at Austerlitz very well. Napoleon clearly made his own luck.
Read more... 3,815 words
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The Grande Armee of 1812 in Russia
by Major James T. McGhee

Author and historian David G. Chandler identifies Napoleon Bonaparte as "one of the greatest military minds that has ever existed."[1] Indeed Napoleon's exploits as a military commander and his subsequent rise to the position of Emperor of France and much of Europe has produced an enormous amount of scholarly interest. Historians, political scientists, military theorists and others have published volumes on Napoleon and his times.
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The Master's Misstep
by Drew Betson

On 14 October, 1806, French forces achieved decisive victory in pitched battles against Prussian forces in the fields near the towns Jena and Auerstadt. As the battle commanded by Napoleon at Jena approached its finish and the Prussian lines began to break, Napoleon maintained many of the elite foot soldiers of the Imperial Guard in tactical reserve.[1] After overhearing a soldier yell "Forward!" Napoleon retorted, "This can only be a young man with no beard who wishes to prejudge what I am going to do; let him wait until he has commanded in thirty pitched battles before pretending to give me his opinion."[2] This vignette plays to the common perception of Napoleon as the singular man with decision-making ability in his Grand Armée. While it was true that on his level of command, Napoleon was his own operations and intelligence officer and dictated orders from the movements of corps to the state of supplies, Napoleon's actions on campaigns provides for the historian a truly amazing military mind.[3]
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Trafalgar Remembered
by Nitin K. Shankar

The sea battle of Trafalgar fought in 1805 is strongly linked to memories of my school history lessons in 1951, a visit to the HMS Victory in Portsmouth in 1957 and a day spent in Cadiz in 1987.  My school history book described the victor of the battle, Horatio Nelson, as a 'weak and sickly child' who distinguished himself through great personal courage and went on to become the Royal Navy's greatest admirals. It was the combination of Nelson's puny appearance and daring that inspired me to read more about him. Born in 1758, Nelson entered the Royal Navy at the age of 12. He passed his lieutenant's exam more than a year under the official age in 1777 and was made post-captain at the age of 21. His youthfulness stood out and even the Prince of Wales, who was then a young midshipman on board Admiral Samuel Hood's flagship, the Barfleur, noticed Nelson. The future King William IV described Nelson as 'the merest boy of a captain I ever beheld.'
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Recommended Reading

From Corunna to Waterloo: The Letters and Journals of Two Napoleonic Hussars, 1801-1816

Charge! Great Cavalry Charges of the Napoleonic Wars

The Campaigns of Napoleon

Napoleon's Road to Glory

The Age of Napoleon
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