The third volume of a major work on warfare in the Napoleonic age
The author of this substantial multi-volume history, Theodore A Dodge, was not only an historian of stature and note but also a soldier. He wrote several well regarded histories of the campaigns and battles of the Civil War and other works of military history. Perhaps his most outstanding achievement was a series of books, published under the umbrella title 'the Art of War,' focusing on different historical periods as typified by their most notable military commanders—including the campaigns of Alexander, Hannibal and Caesar in the ancient world and the wars of the 17th and 18th century as fought by great captains including Gustavus Adolphus, Frederick and Marlborough. This volume is part of his in depth study of the Napoleonic period, which in its entirety was comprised of four huge volumes that benefited from the inclusion of almost 800 small scale uniform drawings, portraits of notable personalities and numerous theatre, campaign and battlefield maps. This retitled Leonaur edition has been revised to form volumes of approximately equal size reformatted to enable us to enlarge all the illustrations and maps for the benefit of the reader. This series is an excellent history of the campaigns and battles of the Napoleonic Age but it goes far beyond the historical record. Dodge critically examines the strategies and tactics of all the military commanders in such a clear and authoritative manner that the student of military history can clearly understand the errors of those about to suffer defeat and the expertise—or in the case of Napoleon Bonaparte, the military genius—of the victors. This is an invaluable guide to warfare in the age of Napoleon and is highly recommended.
This third volume explains the 'Napoleonic Method' of waging war which swept the French to victory against adversaries whose methodology of war was outmoded. This volume covers the pivotal battles where Napoleon displayed his military genius to best effect at Austerlitz, Jena, Auerstadt, Pultusk, Eylau, Heilsburg and Friedland, then turns to events in the Iberian peninsula where the British army campaigned under the command of a general of a higher calibre—Arthur Wellesley, the future Duke of Wellington.
Leonaur editions are newly typeset and are not facsimiles; each title is available in softcover and hardback with dustjacket.
This sharp French resistance had taken the Prussian leaders by surprise. Brunswick advised to form line and wait for the fog to clear. The king, on the suggestion of Mollendorf that the French could not possibly be in great force, reverted to the original line of retreat, via Naumburg, and ordered forward the divisions of Wartensleben and Orange to clear the way and drive the enemy back through the Kösen ravine. Had they but done this during the preceding night, they would have caught the French on the march, and Auerstädt would probably have been a Prussian victory, to compensate for a defeat at Jena. Now it was too late. As Wartensleben’s foot came up, it went in on Schmettau’s right, so that Davout’s left was seriously threatened, as they advanced towards Hassenhausen heights; and when successive Prussian brigades began to arrive, the French under Gudin were unable to maintain their position in the open in front of Hassenhausen, and gradually fell back into the village. But here they made so stout a defence that they continued to maintain it against all frontal attacks, as, a dozen miles to the south, their companions under Ney were fiercely holding Vierzehnheiligen. The Prussians were unfortunate in losing officers. These exposed themselves without reserve. Schmettau and Wartensleben were both wounded, and Brunswick was mortally hit in a smart bayonet attack he personally led on the village of Hassenhausen. Despite this, however, the Prussian battalions fought with distinguished bravery. But meanwhile Friant had moved up on the French right near Zeckwar, and had placed his batteries in such a manner as to enfilade the enemy’s line. His sharpshooters also pushed on into Bendorf and Zeckwar, and the Prussian army was obliged to fall back on its reserves near Auerstädt. About the same time Blucher rode around the French right and, debouching from Puncherau, attacked it in reverse. But the French had formed checkerwise squares, and their fire was so steady and cool that the Prussian horse could accomplish nothing against it, and again retired in marked disorder to the north of Spielburg. In no previous battle had the Revolutionary tactics, put into use by Davout and the really able division commanders he had trained, better shown its superiority over the old lineal system which had come down in a spiritless form from Frederick the Only.<br>
The Prussians paid too much heed to their alignment and steadiness in salvo-firing; the French fought in skirmish lines, and fired at will from behind hedges and walls, trees and rocks, and out of ditches and sunken roads. This fire was murderous; the gallant Prussian officers were picked off one by one; courage availed not against this surprising audacity, against this trick of doing the unexpected; and finally the Prussian foot, oblivious of Frederick’s constant rule of going forward, came to a standstill in line of battle, resorted solely to salvo-firing, and suffered grievous losses from the fire of the half-concealed French. Yet they kept up their efforts, and an attempt by fresh troops to turn Gudin’s left was met only just in time by the arrival of Morand’s division, which had finally crossed the Saale, and came up into action on the double-quick somewhat before noon. Having suffered heavier losses than the French, the arrival and ambitious onset of this fresh division markedly unsettled the order of the Prussian lines. <br>
It being evident that the Prussian foot could make no further headway, Frederick William sent in Prince Wilhelm with his heavy horse to break down Morand’s resistance. But in battalion squares in checkerwise formation, the French withstood every charge, and their fire by file at close quarters emptied half Prince Wilhelm’s saddles, he himself being wounded at the head of his men. The Prussian squadrons could do no more, and fell back towards Sulza and Auerstädt.