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Napoleon: This battle eliminated the emperor’s aura of invincibility

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Napoleon: This battle eliminated the emperor’s aura of invincibility
Head of the day Archduke Charles

This battle took away Napoleon’s aura of invincibility

With a fast advance, Napoleon I pushed the Austrians on the defensive in 1809. But Archduke Charles, as Generalissimo, discovered a method to divide the “Grande Armée”. This gave him a shocking victory at Aspern.

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AUSTRIA - JANUARY 01: Archduke Karl (1771-1847), winner of the battle of Aspern (1809) against Emperor Napoleon I, brother of Emperor Franz I (II).  (Photo by Imagno/Getty Images) [Erzherzog Karl (1771-1847), Sieger der Schlacht von Aspern (1809) gegen Kaiser Napoleon I.] Getty ImagesGetty Images AUSTRIA - JANUARY 01: Archduke Karl (1771-1847), winner of the battle of Aspern (1809) against Emperor Napoleon I, brother of Emperor Franz I (II).  (Photo by Imagno/Getty Images) [Erzherzog Karl (1771-1847), Sieger der Schlacht von Aspern (1809) gegen Kaiser Napoleon I.] Getty ImagesGetty Images

Archduke Karl (1771-1847), generalissimo, defeated Napoleon I.

Quelle: Getty Images

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FFor the French Emperor, the case was clear: “The flooding of the Danube” had prevented success, Napoleon I declared in his struggle letter. However, his colleague Franz I in Vienna noticed it in a very totally different method: “It was yours to be the primary to disturb the proud enemy’s fifteen years of fortune within the arms,” he thanked his brother Archduke Karl with emotion. This introduced the Emperor of Austria nearer to the matter. Because within the battle of Aspern on May 21 and 22, 1809, Napoleon had misplaced his aura of invincibility.

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It was a coincidence that Archduke Karl (1771-1847) grew to become the “savior of the fatherland”. Because Emperor Joseph II died with out an inheritor in 1790, the crown handed to the Habsburg rulers of Tuscany. Leopold II was succeeded by Francis I, who assumed the title of Emperor of Austria in 1804 as a part of Napoleon’s abolition of the Holy Roman Empire. This opened up a tough profession for his youthful brother Karl, which led him to the place of Imperial Field Marshal in 1794.

Archduke Karl near Aspern / Gem.v.Krafft Karl, Archduke of Austria, military leader, 1771-1847.  / - 'Archduke Karl and his staff at the battle of Aspern'.  (Napoleonic Wars: Battle of Aspern and Essling, May 21-22, 1809: Victory of the Austrians over Napoleon).  Drawing, 1820, by Johann Peter Krafft (1780-1856).  Oil on canvas, 112 x 162 cm.  Vaduz (Liechtenstein), Princely Collection.  E: Archduke Charles near Aspern / Krafft Charles, Archduke of Austria, military commander, 1771-1847.  / - 'Archduke Charles and his staff at the battle of Aspern'.  (Napoleonic Wars: Battle near Aspern and Essling, May 21-22, 1809: Austrian victory over Napoleon).  Drawing, 1820, by Johann Peter Krafft (1780-1856).  Oil on canvas, 112 x 162cm.  Vaduz (Liecht.), Collection of Officers

Archduke Karl and his workers close to Aspern

Source: photo-alliance / akg-images

From 1801 onwards, Karl discovered his true calling as Imperial Field Marshal, President of the Court Martial Council and Minister of War and Military Affairs. In these works he was given the duty of organizing and reforming the forces of the Habsburg Empire, which had been repeatedly defeated by Napoleon. Although he most well-liked the desk to the sphere due to his convulsions and vulnerability to despair, in 1809 he took command of the Austrian military within the Fifth Allied War in opposition to France as generalissimo.

As common, Napoleon made fast progress along with his “Grande Armée d’Allemagne”. However, Charles prevented quick battle and retreated to Bohemia. Now the French Emperor confirmed uncommon reluctance. Instead of chasing the enemy, he took Vienna, which, nevertheless, would have been of little use to him. Instead, the Tyrolean rebel and the English invasion of Spain put him beneath long-term strain.

When his investigations reported that Karl was taking over positions on the Danube, he deliberate a shock assault by touchdown on the island of Lobau, southeast of Vienna. There, he constructed a false bridge over the Danube whereas his males crossed one other ford on the east financial institution of the river. But Charles noticed by way of this deception and ordered his pioneers to push logs, rafts, mills, boats and barges loaded with stones into the river to demolish the bridge.

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The Danube flood did one thing else. When the bridge first fell, Napoleon had solely 30,000 males, of which Charles may muster 80,000. Although the French quickly acquired reinforcements, they had been solely capable of maintain their positions with issue past May twenty first. The subsequent day, Napoleon put all his eggs in a single basket and tried to interrupt by way of the Austrian middle. Charles personally confronted his wavering troops and led them to assault. The French then stopped the assault and withdrew their males from Lobau. Karl had received.

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After the battle, Napoleon inspected his massed forces on the island of Lobau

Six weeks later, Napoleon was capable of restore the injury at Wagram and power Austria to make peace. But Aspern has proven that he can also lose his luck. Varnhagen von Ense summed up the overall impression left by the struggle: “He was defeated, his military was destroyed, and he may perish as he had destroyed others earlier than.”

This article was initially printed in May 2021.

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