• Grey Google+ Icon
  • Grey Twitter Icon
  • Grey LinkedIn Icon
  • Grey Facebook Icon

© 2019 by Zack White and the NapoleonicWars.net team.

The Austrian army’s main aim was to launch an offensive along the river Danube. It was a competent strategy considering that the Austrians would be better able to defend Vienna due to the protection of the river.

 

The war with Austria began with an invasion of Bavaria, a southern German state friendly to France. However, Austrian movements were slow and the army itself had spread itself too thin along the Danube. This would be exploited by Napoleon who managed to split the Austrian army into two after the Battle of Abensburg.

 

After this split, Napoleon would turn his focus onto defeating these separated armies in turn. The Austrian armies would retreat over the Danube and destroy the bridges along the Danube; allowing Napoleon to occupy Vienna while preventing him from crossing the river rapidly.

Battle of Aspern-Essling

After this split, Napoleon would turn his focus onto defeating these separated armies in turn. The Austrian armies would retreat over the Danube and destroy the bridges along the Danube; allowing Napoleon to occupy Vienna while preventing him from crossing the river rapidly.

To defeat the Austrian army, Napoleon needed to cross the Danube. His first attempt on the 21st May 1809 would result in the defeat of Aspern-Essling. Napoleon had managed to get a foothold across the Danube in Lobau Island but he needed to work quickly in order to make a successful crossing of the Danube.

 

Napoleon made Lobau Island into a fortified military base to support the eventual crossing of the river.

He also commanded the building of multiple bridges across the Danube in order to quicken reinforcement. Aspern-Essling had partially been lost due to the inability of the French to reinforce their numbers in the face of a larger Austrian army.

 

The Austrians in the meanwhile under Archduke Charles was under pressure to mount an offensive. Charles was unwilling to cross the Danube to face Napoleon due to the latter’s difficulty in doing so.

 

If the heralded French army was unable to cross the Danube, how would a relatively untested Austrian army fare? Charles’ plan was to wait for Napoleon to try and cross the river and defeat him for a second time.

 

Archduke Charles

Up Next: The Battle of Wagram

 

Got a question? Want to voice your opinion? Join the discussion in the forum now!

 

  • Google+ Social Icon
  • Twitter Social Icon
  • LinkedIn Social Icon
  • Facebook Social Icon