Prince Józef Antoni Poniatowski was a Polish leader, minister of war and army chief, who became a Marshal of the French Empire. A nephew of King Stanisław II Augustus, his military career began in 1780 in the Austrian army, where he attained the rank of a colonel. In 1789, after leaving the Austrian service, he joined the Polish army. Poniatowski, now in the rank of major general and commander of the Royal Guards, took part in the Polish–Russian War of 1792, leading the crown forces in Ukraine, where he fought a victorious battle of Zieleńce. After the king's support for the Targowica Confederation Poniatowski was forced to resign. In 1794 he participated in the Kościuszko Uprising and was in charge of defending Warsaw for which he was subsequently exiled. In 1798 Poniatowski was permitted to return, however, he refused the offer to serve in the Imperial Russian army submitted to him by Tsar Alexander I. In 1806, after the creation of the Duchy of Warsaw, Józef Poniatowski was appointed the minister of war.
In 1809 he commanded a 16,000-strong army during the Austro-Polish War and achieved tactical success over a larger and more experienced Austrian force in the battle of Raszyn. This was followed by the advance into the territory of Galicia; the conflict ended with a Polish victory which allowed the Duchy to recover lands once lost in the Partitions of Poland. A staunch ally and supporter of Napoleon I, Poniatowski voluntarily took part in the French invasion of Russia, he was injured during the fighting for Moscow which forced his return to Warsaw, where he worked on the reconstruction of the Polish Armed Forces intended to fight in Germany. Covering the retreat of the French army after losing the "Battle of the Nations" at Leipzig, Poniatowski was wounded and drowned in the Elster river. Prince Józef Antoni Poniatowski was born in Vienna, Austria in the Palais Kinsky He was baptized in Vienna's Schottenkirche, he was the son of Andrzej Poniatowski, the brother of the last king of Poland Stanisław II Augustus, a field marshal in the service of Austria.
His mother was Countess Maria Theresia Kinsky von Wchinitz und Tettau, a lady in the court of Maria Theresa belonging to the influential Czech-Austrian aristocratic family. His father died when Józef was 10, Stanisław II Augustus became his guardian and the two enjoyed a close personal relationship that lasted for the rest of their lives. Maria Theresa was a godmother of Józef's older sister, named Maria Teresa, after the Empress. Józef was born and raised in Vienna, but was spent time with his mother in Prague and with his uncle the king in Warsaw. Brought up in the "ancient regime" society, he was tutored in French, spoke to his mother in that language, he learned Polish and German. As a child he acquired the nickname "Prince Pepi", the Czech diminutive form of Joseph, he was trained for a military career, but learned how to play keyboard instruments and had a portable one which he carried with him even during military campaigns. It was because of King Stanisław II August's influence that Poniatowski chose to consider himself a Polish citizen and he transferred to the Polish army at the age of 26.
In Vienna, he represented the Polish king at the funeral of Maria Theresa. In 1787 he travelled with Stanisław II Augustus to Kaniov and Kiev, to meet with Catherine the Great. Having chosen a military career, Poniatowski joined the Austrian imperial army, where he was commissioned lieutenant in 1780, in 1786/1788 promoted to colonel, when Austria declared war against Ottoman Empire in 1788, he became an aide-de-camp to Emperor Joseph II. Poniatowski fought in that war and distinguished himself at the storming of Šabac on 25 April 1788, where he was wounded. At Šabac he reportedly saved the life of a younger colleague, Prince Karl Philipp Schwarzenberg, their military paths crossed as friends and foes, at the end of Poniatowski's career Schwarzenberg delivered the crushing blow at the Battle of Leipzig in which Poniatowski was killed. Summoned by his uncle, King Stanisław II Augustus, the Sejm when the Polish Army was reorganized, Poniatowski returned to Poland; the King had made previous arrangements with the Austrian authorities for this transfer, which in the end depended on his nephew's willingness to make the move.
In October 1789, together with Tadeusz Kościuszko and three others, Poniatowski received the rank of major-general, was appointed commander of a division in Ukraine and devoted himself to rebuilding the small, long-time neglected, Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth's army. This took place during the period of deliberations by the Four-Year Sejm, which ended with the proclamation of the 3 May Constitution in 1791. Poniatowski was an enthusiastic supporter of the reforms and a member of the Friends of the Constitution Association; the passage of the document was assured by the military forces under the Prince's command, which surrounded the Royal Castle during the final proceedings. He himself stood in the room with a group of soldiers. On 6 May 1792 Poniatowski was appointed Lieutenant-General and commander of the Polish army in the Ukraine, with the task of defending the country against the imminent Russian attack. There Prince Józef was aided by Kościuszko and Michał Wielhorski, a friend from the Austrian service.
In the fighting, badly outnumbered and outgunned by the enemy, obliged to retreat, but disputing every point of vantage, he turned on the pursuer whenever the Russian pressed too and won several notable victories. The Battle of Zieleńce on 18 June was the first major victorious engagement of the Polish forces since John III Sobie
Dalmatian Campaign (1809)
The Dalmatian Campaign saw several battles fought between 30 April and 21 May 1809 by Auguste Marmont's First French Empire soldiers and Andreas von Stoichevich's Austrian Empire troops. The Austrians drove the French from their positions on the Zrmanja River at the end of April, but in mid-May, the French counterattack forced back the Austrians. The defenders offered stout resistance, but Marmont broke out of Dalmatia and joined Emperor Napoleon's army near Vienna with over 10,000 men; the campaign was fought during the War of the Fifth Coalition, part of the Napoleonic Wars. Dalmatia is part of the modern-day nation of Croatia. At the beginning of the conflict, the Austrians thrust across the Zrmanja and forced the French back to the fortified cities. After the Austrian defeat and subsequent retreat from Italy of the army of Archduke John of Austria, Marmont launched his own offensive; the French beat the Austrians at Pribudić, capturing Stoichevich, moved north. Two more actions were fought at Gračac on 17 May and Gospić on 21 May before Marmont reached Ljubljana in Carniola.
Continuing north, the French general fought in the Battle of Graz on 25 and 26 June and in the decisive Battle of Wagram on 5 and 6 July. On the outbreak of war in April 1809, the major forces in the Italian theater were the Franco-Italian army of the Viceroy of Italy, Eugène de Beauharnais and the Austrian army of General der Kavallerie Archduke John of Austria. In addition, General of Division Marmont commanded a French corps in occupation of Dalmatia. At the end of the War of the Third Coalition on 26 December 1805, the Treaty of Pressburg awarded the former Austrian provinces of Istria and Dalmatia to the French puppet Kingdom of Italy. Since that time, Marmont had administered the region; because Marmont's troops had trained with the Grande Armée at the Camp de Boulogne and missed the bloody battles of the War of the Fourth Coalition, Napoleon considered the unit his "finest corps". Marmont's so-called Army of Dalmatia consisted of two infantry divisions commanded by Generals of Division Joseph Hélie Désiré Perruquet de Montrichard and Bertrand Clausel.
Montrichand's 1st Division consisted of the brigades of Colonel Jean Louis Soye and General of Brigade Jean Marie Auguste Aulnay de Launay, plus the 9th company of the 2nd Foot Artillery Regiment, with six 6-pound cannons. Soye's brigade included 5th Line Infantry Regiments. De Launay's brigade was made up of the 79th and 81st Line Infantry Regiments. Clausel's 2nd Division comprised the brigades of Generals of Brigade Alexis Joseph Delzons and Gilbert Bachelu; the divisional artillery included the 3rd and 9th companies of the 8th Foot Artillery Regiment, with six 6-pound cannons and two 5-inch howitzers in each company for a total of 16 guns. Delzons led the 8th Light and 23rd Line Infantry Regiments and Bachelu directed the 11th Line Infantry Regiment; the 11th Line had three battalions. Average battalion strength was 700; the Army of Dalmatia was provided with an powerful artillery contingent of 78 guns led by General of Brigade Louis Tirlet. The large corps artillery reserve included the 7th, 8th, 9th, 14th, 15th companies of the 1st Italian Artillery Regiment, six 6-pound cannons each.
The 10th company of the 7th Foot Artillery Regiment had six 12-pound cannons and the 2nd company of the 2nd Foot Artillery Regiment had six 12-pound cannons and two 5-inch howitzers. The 14th and 15th companies of the 2nd Foot Artillery Regiment each consisted of six 6-pound cannons; the 3rd squadron of the 24th Chasseurs à Cheval Regiment completed the corps. Marmont's chief of staff was General of Brigade Jacques-Antoine-Adrien Delort. To oppose Marmont, Archduke John detached General-Major Stoichevich's brigade from its original place in Feldmarschallleutnant Vinzenz Knežević von Szent-Helena's 3rd Division of Feldmarschallleutnant Ignaz Gyulai's IX Armeekorps. On 15 May, Stoichevich commanded about 8,100 troops, including 7,740 infantry, 120 infantry, 240 artillerists; the Austrian regular infantry consisted of two battalions each of the Liccaner Grenz Infantry Regiment Nr. 1, two battalions of the Warasdiner Szent-George Grenz Infantry Regiment Nr. 6, one battalion of the 1st Deutsch Banat Grenz Infantry Regiment Nr.
12, the 4th Garrison Battalion. Other troops included one squadron of the Hohenzollern Chevau-léger Regiment, four battalions of the Karlstadt Landwehr, a 3-pound Grenz brigade battery of eight cannons, a 6-pound position battery of six guns. An alternate order of battle for the Austrians lists three battalions of the Liccaner Grenz Infantry Regiment Nr. 1, one battalion of the Ottocaner Grenz Infantry Regiment Nr. 2, one battalion of the Oguliner Grenz Infantry Regiment Nr. 3, one battalion of the Szluiner Grenz Infantry Regiment Nr. 4, two battalions of the 1st Banal Grenz Infantry Regiment Nr. 10, one squadron of the Hohenzollern Chevau-léger Regiment, one squadron of the Serezaner cavalry, one position battery of six guns, one brigade battery of 12 3-pound cannons. Though outnumbered by their adversaries, the Austrians won the opening round of the campaign. Between 26 and 30 April, Stoichevich mounted a series of attacks on the Zrmanja River crossings of Ervenik, Kaštel Žegarski, Obrovac and Kravli Most.
Fighting in a rainstorm, the Austrian grenzers drove the French from a mountaintop position on 30 April. During the retreat, the civilian population joined in harassing the French; the dispersed French forces were driven back to Knin and Zadar. For a loss of 250 casualties, Stoichevich inflicted losses of 1,000 dead and wounded on the French, while capturing 200 enemy soldiers. For two weeks the front line stabilized, with the Austrians unable to capture
Napoléon Bonaparte was a French statesman and military leader who rose to prominence during the French Revolution and led several successful campaigns during the French Revolutionary Wars. He was Emperor of the French as Napoleon I from 1804 until 1814 and again in 1815 during the Hundred Days. Napoleon dominated European and global affairs for more than a decade while leading France against a series of coalitions in the Napoleonic Wars, he won most of these wars and the vast majority of his battles, building a large empire that ruled over much of continental Europe before its final collapse in 1815. He is considered one of the greatest commanders in history, his wars and campaigns are studied at military schools worldwide. Napoleon's political and cultural legacy has endured as one of the most celebrated and controversial leaders in human history, he was born in Corsica to a modest family of Italian origin from minor nobility. He was serving as an artillery officer in the French army when the French Revolution erupted in 1789.
He rose through the ranks of the military, seizing the new opportunities presented by the Revolution and becoming a general at age 24. The French Directory gave him command of the Army of Italy after he suppressed a revolt against the government from royalist insurgents. At age 26, he began his first military campaign against the Austrians and the Italian monarchs aligned with the Habsburgs—winning every battle, conquering the Italian Peninsula in a year while establishing "sister republics" with local support, becoming a war hero in France. In 1798, he led a military expedition to Egypt, he became First Consul of the Republic. Napoleon's ambition and public approval inspired him to go further, he became the first Emperor of the French in 1804. Intractable differences with the British meant that the French were facing a Third Coalition by 1805. Napoleon shattered this coalition with decisive victories in the Ulm Campaign and a historic triumph over the Russian Empire and Austrian Empire at the Battle of Austerlitz which led to the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire.
In 1806, the Fourth Coalition took up arms against him because Prussia became worried about growing French influence on the continent. Napoleon defeated Prussia at the battles of Jena and Auerstedt marched his Grande Armée deep into Eastern Europe and annihilated the Russians in June 1807 at the Battle of Friedland. France forced the defeated nations of the Fourth Coalition to sign the Treaties of Tilsit in July 1807, bringing an uneasy peace to the continent. Tilsit signified the high-water mark of the French Empire. In 1809, the Austrians and the British challenged the French again during the War of the Fifth Coalition, but Napoleon solidified his grip over Europe after triumphing at the Battle of Wagram in July. Napoleon invaded the Iberian Peninsula, hoping to extend the Continental System and choke off British trade with the European mainland, declared his brother Joseph Bonaparte the King of Spain in 1808; the Spanish and the Portuguese revolted with British support. The Peninsular War lasted six years, featured extensive guerrilla warfare, ended in victory for the Allies against Napoleon.
The Continental System caused recurring diplomatic conflicts between France and its client states Russia. The Russians were unwilling to bear the economic consequences of reduced trade and violated the Continental System, enticing Napoleon into another war; the French launched a major invasion of Russia in the summer of 1812. The campaign did not yield the decisive victory Napoleon wanted, it resulted in the collapse of the Grande Armée and inspired a renewed push against Napoleon by his enemies. In 1813, Prussia and Austria joined Russian forces in the War of the Sixth Coalition against France. A lengthy military campaign culminated in a large Allied army defeating Napoleon at the Battle of Leipzig in October 1813, but his tactical victory at the minor Battle of Hanau allowed retreat onto French soil; the Allies invaded France and captured Paris in the spring of 1814, forcing Napoleon to abdicate in April. He was exiled to the island of Elba off the coast of Tuscany, the Bourbon dynasty was restored to power.
Napoleon took control of France once again. The Allies responded by forming a Seventh Coalition which defeated him at the Battle of Waterloo in June; the British exiled him to the remote island of Saint Helena in the South Atlantic, where he died six years at the age of 51. Napoleon's influence on the modern world brought liberal reforms to the numerous territories that he conquered and controlled, such as the Low Countries and large parts of modern Italy and Germany, he implemented fundamental liberal policies throughout Western Europe. His Napoleonic Code has influenced the legal systems of more than 70 nations around the world. British historian Andrew Roberts states: "The ideas that underpin our modern world—meritocracy, equality before the law, property rights, religious toleration, modern secular education, sound finances, so on—were championed, consolidated and geographically extended by Napoleon. To them he added a rational and efficient local administration, an end to rural banditry, the encouragement of science and the arts, the abolition of feudalism and the greatest codification of laws since the fall of the Roman Empire".
The ancestors of Napoleon descended from minor Italian nobility of Tuscan origin who had come to Corsica fr
Battle of Wagram
The Battle of Wagram was a military engagement of the Napoleonic Wars that ended in a costly but decisive victory for Emperor Napoleon I's French and allied army against the Austrian army under the command of Archduke Charles of Austria-Teschen. The battle led to the breakup of the Fifth Coalition, the Austrian and British-led alliance against France. In 1809, the French military presence in Germany was diminished as Napoleon transferred a number of soldiers to fight in the Peninsular War; as a result, the Austrian Empire saw its chance to recover some of its former sphere of influence and invaded the Kingdom of Bavaria, a French ally. Recovering from his initial surprise, Napoleon beat the Austrian forces and occupied Vienna at the beginning of May 1809. Despite the string of sharp defeats and the loss of the empire's capital, Archduke Charles salvaged an army, with which he retreated north of the Danube; this allowed the Austrians to continue the war. Towards the end of May, Napoleon resumed the offensive, suffering a surprise defeat at the Battle of Aspern-Essling.
It took Napoleon six weeks to prepare his next offensive, for which he amassed a 165,000-man French and Italian army in the vicinity of Vienna. The Battle of Wagram began after Napoleon crossed the Danube with the bulk of these forces during the night of 4 July and attacked the 145,000-man strong Austrian army. Having crossed the river, Napoleon attempted an early breakthrough and launched a series of evening attacks against the Austrian army; the Austrians were thinly spread in a wide semicircle, but held a strong position. After the attackers enjoyed some initial success, the defenders regained the upper hand and the attacks failed. Bolstered by his success, the next day at dawn Archduke Charles launched a series of attacks along the entire battle line, seeking to take the opposing army in a double envelopment; the offensive nearly broke Napoleon's left. However, the Emperor countered by launching a cavalry charge, which temporarily halted the Austrian advance, he redeployed IV Corps to stabilise his left, while setting up a grand battery, which pounded the Austrian right and centre.
The tide of battle turned and the Emperor launched an offensive along the entire line, while Maréchal Louis-Nicolas Davout drove an offensive, which turned the Austrian left, rendered Charles's position untenable. Towards mid-afternoon on 6 July, Charles admitted defeat and led a retreat, frustrating enemy attempts to pursue. After the battle, Charles decided to retreat to Bohemia. However, the Grande Armée caught up with him and scored a victory at the Battle of Znaim. With the battle still raging, Charles decided to ask for an armistice ending the war. With 80,000 casualties, the two-day battle of Wagram was bloody due to the use of 1,000 artillery pieces and the expenditure of over 180,000 rounds of artillery ammunition on a flat battlefield packed with some 300,000 men. Although Napoleon was the uncontested winner, he failed to secure an overwhelming victory and the Austrian casualties were only greater than those of the French and allies. Nonetheless, the defeat was serious enough to shatter the morale of the Austrians, who could no longer find the will to continue the struggle.
The resulting Treaty of Schönbrunn meant the loss of one sixth of the Austrian Empire's subjects, along with some territories, rendering it landlocked until the German Campaign of 1813. After the battle, Emperor Napoleon bestowed to Louis-Alexandre Berthier, his Marshal, Chief of Staff and Vice-Constable of the Empire, the victory title of 1st Prince of Wagram, making him an official member of the French nobility. Berthier had been granted the title of Sovereign Prince of Neuchâtel and the Prince of Valangin in 1806; this allowed his descendants to carry the titles of Princess of Wagram. In 1809, the First French Empire held a dominant position on the European continent. Resounding victories during the 1805 to 1807 wars against the Third and Fourth coalitions had ensured undisputed continental hegemony, to such an extent that no other European power could challenge the might of Napoleon's empire. However, despite having defeated Austria, forced Russia into an uneasy alliance and reduced Prussia to the rank of a second-rate power, Napoleon did not manage to force the United Kingdom to make peace.
With the British in complete control of the seas, Napoleon thus opted for an economic war, imposing the Continental System against the British Isles, in a bid to dry up vital British commercial relations with the continent. To ensure the effectiveness of the Continental System, he sought to force Portugal, a traditional British trading partner, to observe it. In a move that would prove to be both uninspired and ill-handled, Napoleon opted to change the ruling dynasty of Spain, replacing King Charles IV with his own brother, who became King José I of Spain; the new king was, not well received by the population and much of the country's ruling elite, which triggered a bloody guerrilla war throughout the country. The French position in the peninsula was rendered untenable after the Battle of Bailen, a rare and resounding defeat for the French forces and an event that encouraged the Austrian war party. With Napoleon forced to intervene and commit significant forces to the Spanish, the French military position in central Europe was weakened.
In addition, Franco-Russian relations had deteriorated and, althou
Battle of Teugen-Hausen
The Battle of Teugen-Hausen or the Battle of Thann was an engagement that occurred during the War of the Fifth Coalition, part of the Napoleonic Wars. The battle was fought on 19 April 1809 between the French III Corps led by Marshal Louis-Nicolas Davout and the Austrian III Armeekorps commanded by Prince Friedrich Franz Xaver of Hohenzollern-Hechingen; the French won a hard-fought victory over their opponents. The site of the battle is a wooded height halfway between the villages of Teugn and Hausen in Lower Bavaria, part of modern-day Germany. On 19 April, clashes occurred at Arnhofen near Abensberg, Dünzling and Pfaffenhofen an der Ilm. Together with the Battle of Teugen-Hausen, the fighting marked the first day of a four-day campaign which culminated in the French victory at the Battle of Eckmühl. Austria's invasion of the Kingdom of Bavaria caught Emperor Napoleon I of France's Franco-German army by surprise. Though the advance of Archduke Charles' Austrian army was slow, mistakes by Napoleon's subordinate Marshal Louis-Alexandre Berthier placed Davout's corps in great peril.
As Davout withdrew southwest from Regensburg on the south bank of the Danube, Charles tried to intercept the French with three powerful attacking columns. The first Austrian column missed the French altogether, while Davout's cavalry held off the second column; the third column crashed head-on into one of Davout's infantry divisions in a meeting engagement. Generals of both armies led their troops with courage and skill as the troops fought over two ridges. French reinforcements pushed the Austrians off the southern ridge late in the afternoon and Charles ordered a retreat that night; this opened a clear path for Davout to join the main body of the French army on 20 April. On 8 February 1809, the Austrian Empire determined to make war on Napoleon. Led by Foreign Minister Johann Philipp Stadion, Count von Warthausen, the brilliant diplomat Klemens Wenzel, Prince von Metternich, Empress Maria Ludovika, the war party pointed to the 1808 French disaster at the Battle of Bailén in Spain. However, Archduke Charles wished to put off the war in order to mobilize and find allies.
Archduke Charles, appointed Generalissimo after the debacle of the War of the Third Coalition in 1805, had tried for three years to improve the Austrian army. Historian David G. Chandler wrote, "Charles was the best man available to Austria" to lead her army, he expanded the number of regular soldiers to 340,000 and created a large body of 240,000 landwehr troops. He upgraded the artillery corps, adopted the corps organization, revised the infantry drillbook, incorporating more French-style tactical evolutions. Serious deficiencies remained, however, in Austrian staffwork, in the landwehr organization, among the non-German nationalities. At the start, only 15,000 of the best landwehr formations were added to the field army while the rest were relegated to garrison duty or the reserves; the Habsburgs did not wish to arm the population for fear of an insurrection and therefore the landwehr was never utilized. In Hungary, the nobles and people contributed as little as possible. Archduke Charles and the Hofkriegsrat sent 50,000 in two corps to Italy under General der Kavallerie Archduke John and 40,000 more in one corps to Galicia under Feldmarschall-Leutnant Archduke Ferdinand Karl Joseph of Austria-Este.
Charles massed the remaining regular army in Bohemia and along the Danube for the main effort. Charles' 206,906-strong Hauptarmee was organized into two reserve corps; the I Armeekorps was led by General der Kavallerie Count Heinrich von Bellegarde and numbered 27,653 men. The II Armeekorps commanded by Feldzeugmeister Johann Kollowrat counted 28,168 soldiers; the III Armeekorps consisted of 29,360 troops under Feldmarschall-Leutnant Prince Friedrich Franz Xaver of Hohenzollern-Hechingen. The IV Armeekorps of Feldmarschall-Leutnant Prince Franz Seraph of Orsini-Rosenberg controlled 27,800 soldiers; the V Armeekorps numbered 32,266 men. The VI Armeekorps was made up of 35,693 troops under Feldmarschall-Leutnant Johann von Hiller; the I Reserve Armeekorps was directed by General of Cavalry Johann I Joseph, Prince of Liechtenstein and counted 18,063 men. The II Reserve Armeekorps was directed by Feldmarschall-Leutnant Michael von Kienmayer and controlled 7,975 soldiers. Archduke Charles deployed six corps in Bohemia with only two corps south of the Danube.
This proved to be too ambitious for the Austrian high command, so four corps were transferred south of the Danube. Accordingly, the I and II Armeekorps remained in Bohemia. On 9 April 1809, Archduke Charles gave notice to the French ambassador at Munich and Marshal François Joseph Lefebvre that Austria and France were at war; the next morning, Charles' army began crossing the Inn River in an invasion of the Kingdom of Bavaria. Only Lefebvre's VII Corps of three Bavarian divisions were available to oppose the Austrian onslaught. For the Franco-Bavarians, it took six days for their enemies to reach the Isar River near Landshut. Napoleon did not expect the Austrians to declare war, but when it became obvious that war was imminent, he believed that hostilities would start after 15 April. From Paris, Napoleon ordered Marshal Louis-Alexandre Berthier to form the Grande Armée d'Allemagne from French and Allied units located on the Danube front. To Berthier he sent orders to concentrate at Regensburg if the Austrians invaded Bavaria after 15 April.
If, his enemies attacked before the deadline
War of the Polish Succession (1587–88)
The War of the Polish Succession or the Habsburg-Polish War took place from 1587 to 1588 over the election of the successor to the King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania Stephen Báthory. The war was fought between factions of Sigismund III Vasa and Maximilian III, with Sigismund being crowned King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania. Two major battles of this conflict included the Siege of Kraków, in which Maximilian III failed to capture the capital of the Commonwealth, the Battle of Byczyna, in which Maximilian was forced to surrender. Sigismund's victory was the doing of Chancellor and Hetman Jan Zamoyski, who stood behind both the political intrigue and the military victories of this conflict. In 1586, following the death of previous Polish king, Stefan Batory, the Swedish king Sigismund III Vasa and Habsburg Maximilian III, Archduke of Austria took part in the election to the joint Polish–Lithuanian throne; each of the two candidates had supporters in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth with the two opposing sides gathered around pro-Sigismund Chancellor and Hetman Jan Zamoyski and the Primate of Poland, Stanisław Karnkowski on one side and the pro-Maximilain Zborowski family on the other.
Bad blood between Zamoyski and the Zborowski family dated years past. Sigismund, supported by Zamoyski and the former king's wife, Anna Jagiellon, was elected King of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth on 19 August 1587 and recognized as such by the interrex, the Primate Karnkowski. However, the election was disputed by the other candidate, Maximilian III of Austria, opponents of Sigismund chose not to respect the election outcome, decreeing that Maximilian was the rightful monarch three days on 22 August. Zborowscy called for the rokosz and the election ended in chaos, with several killed and many wounded. For both Zamoyski and Zborowski, losing was not an option, as they knew the losing side would pay a severe price, from confiscations and prestige loss to a possible death sentence for treason. Neither Sigismund nor Maximilian were present in the Commonwealth at that time. After receiving news of his election, both Sigismund and Maximilan made haste for Poland. Sigismund arrived at Danzig on the 28 September, after two weeks he had departed to Kraków, where he arrived on 9 December and was crowned on 27 December.
Maximilian attempted to resolve the dispute by bringing a military force to Poland – thereby starting the War of the Polish Succession. He took Lubowla, but after a failed attempt to storm Kraków in late 1587 defended by Zamoyski, he retreated to gather more reinforcements, pursued by the forces loyal to Sigismund. While waiting for reinforcements, he was defeated at the Battle of Byczyna in January 1588, forced to surrender; this marked the end of this conflict. After the intervention of a papal envoy, Maximilian was released, but only after spending thirteen months as a "guest" of Zamoyski. In the Treaty of Bytom and Będzin Maximilian had to renounce the Polish crown and Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor had to pledge not to make any alliances against Poland with Muscovy or Sweden; the town of Lubowla, taken early in the conflict by Maximilian, was returned to Poland. Upon his return to Vienna he failed to renounce his claim to the Polish crown. Nonetheless, there would be no serious military tensions between the Commonwealth and the Habsburgs, as each would become concerned with other issues.
History of Poland #Founding of the elective monarchy History of Poland #War of the Polish Succession
Battle of Landshut (1809)
The Battle of Landshut took place on 21 April 1809 between the French, Württembergers and Bavarians under Napoleon which numbered about 77,000 strong, 36,000 Austrians under the General Johann von Hiller. The Austrians, though outnumbered, fought hard until Napoleon arrived, when the battle subsequently became a clear French victory. There were in fact two engagements at Landshut; the first occurred on 16 April. Five days after the French victory at Abensberg, the left wing of the Austrian army withdrew on Landshut. Napoleon ordered Lannes to pursue the enemy. Lannes’s troops caught up with Hiller on the twenty-first. Hiller had decided to defend Landshut to allow his baggage train to withdraw. At Landshut the Isar river was spanned by two bridges with a small island in the center. Hiller had positioned cavalry outposts to the north of the town, his main force was deployed to the south on higher ground. Early in the morning Hiller was informed that a French force had crossed the Isar upstream at Moosburg.
Masséna led this force. Hiller realized that he would be unable to hold his position for long, as Masséna was trying to block him from escaping. At this point his cavalry were forced back by Lannes’s troops and the Austrians were pushed back into Landshut; the French now seized the northern bridge over the river, the Austrians withdrew into the main part of the town to defend the southern bridge. The Austrians tried to set fire to this second bridge, but owing to the rainfall over the previous days, this was only successful; however the Austrians did manage to close the gates at the end of the bridge. The French were now faced with attacking across the smoldering bridge. Napoleon ordered his aide General Georges Mouton to assume command of the attacking grenadiers of the 17th Line. In the face of heavy Austrian fire from all sides, Mouton ordered his men to attack without firing their muskets; the grenadiers reached the gateway and broke it down, allowing Bavarian troops to reinforce the breach.
The fighting now continued in the streets of Landshut itself. However the French had crossed a bridge to the west of the town and were now entering Landshut from the south. Many of the defenders were captured, but Hiller was able to retreat with the bulk of his force toward Neumarkt am Wallersee. Landshut fell to the French just after noon; the Austrian force had suffered around 10,000 casualties as well as losing 30 cannon, but more they had lost a large number of caissons, a pontoon train, thousands of supply wagons. The victorious French forces spent much of the afternoon ransacking these supplies