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Osprey Essential Histories 9 : The Napoleonic Wars (2) : The Empires Fight Back 1808-1812

In 1807, after negotiating the Treaty of Tilsit, Napoleon seemed a colossus astride Europe. Three great Empires had fallen to him: now Prussia was his vassal, Austria was humbled, Russia seemed his willing accomplice. Britain was shut out of Europe and seemed almost irrelevant. Never had a man so dominated Europe since the fall of the Roman Empire. These European Empires, however, were not as suppliant as they acted and were only waiting for the right moment to counterattack. The first to move was Austria. Her army was reformed and strengthened, and Archduke Charles was a general who inspired confidence. Sensing a moment of weakness, with Napoleon embroiled in Spain, Austria attacked in 1809. The campaign ebbed and flowed with each side gaining and losing the advantage. Napoleon suffered his first major defeat at Aspern-Essling, but rallied his forces and emerged triumphant in the end, victorious at Wagram, the greatest battle Europe had yet seen. Once more Napoleon was overlord of Europe. But was he still invincible? The scale of warfare was growing, the armies bigger, better organised, their leaders ready to accept greater casualties. 1809 had been a near run thing, and many wondered if Napoleon's time had run out. Certainly Russia was emboldened enough to start defying Napoleon's edicts. With Russia growing more hostile, Napoleon decided it was time to defeat his last possible continental rival. In 1812 he crossed the Nieman into the great vastness of Russia. The quality of his army had been diluted with subject troops, and his foe proved elusive. The Russian generals stumbled into the strategy of scorched earth and trading space for time. The very size of Russia became her greatest weapon. Victories culminating in the epic of Borodino, even the capture of Moscow, availed Napoleon nothing. His subsequent retreat through the Russian winter became legendary, and the Grande Armée was not only defeated, but perished in the snow. Text by Todd Fisher.

    Contents
  • Introduction
  • Chronology
  • Background to War : Mutiny and Defiance
  • Warring Sides : France, Austria and Russia
  • The Fighting : The Austrian Campaign and the March on Moscow
  • Portrait of a Soldier : Barclay de Tolly and Jacob Walter
  • The World around War : Vienna
  • Portrait of a Civilian : Louise Fusil
  • How the Period Ended : Napoleon under Pressure
  • Conclusion and Consequences


The books in this series are;
Essential Histories Compellation 4 : The Napoleonic Wars : The Rise and Fall of an Empire
Essential Histories 3 : The Napoleonic Wars (1) : The Rise of the Emperor 1805-1807
Essential Histories 9 : The Napoleonic Wars (2) : The Empires Fight Back 1808-1812
Essential Histories 17 : The Napoleonic Wars (3) : The Peninsular War 1807-1814
Essential Histories 39 : The Napoleonic Wars (4) : The Fall of the French Empire 1813-1815

 

Osprey Essential Histories


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