France the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean, it is bordered by Belgium and Germany to the northeast and Italy to the east, Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic and Indian oceans; the country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Toulouse, Bordeaux and Nice. During the Iron Age, what is now metropolitan France was inhabited by a Celtic people. Rome annexed the area in 51 BC, holding it until the arrival of Germanic Franks in 476, who formed the Kingdom of Francia.
The Treaty of Verdun of 843 partitioned Francia into Middle Francia and West Francia. West Francia which became the Kingdom of France in 987 emerged as a major European power in the Late Middle Ages following its victory in the Hundred Years' War. During the Renaissance, French culture flourished and a global colonial empire was established, which by the 20th century would become the second largest in the world; the 16th century was dominated by religious civil wars between Protestants. France became Europe's dominant cultural and military power in the 17th century under Louis XIV. In the late 18th century, the French Revolution overthrew the absolute monarchy, established one of modern history's earliest republics, saw the drafting of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, which expresses the nation's ideals to this day. In the 19th century, Napoleon established the First French Empire, his subsequent Napoleonic Wars shaped the course of continental Europe. Following the collapse of the Empire, France endured a tumultuous succession of governments culminating with the establishment of the French Third Republic in 1870.
France was a major participant in World War I, from which it emerged victorious, was one of the Allies in World War II, but came under occupation by the Axis powers in 1940. Following liberation in 1944, a Fourth Republic was established and dissolved in the course of the Algerian War; the Fifth Republic, led by Charles de Gaulle, remains today. Algeria and nearly all the other colonies became independent in the 1960s and retained close economic and military connections with France. France has long been a global centre of art and philosophy, it hosts the world's fourth-largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and is the leading tourist destination, receiving around 83 million foreign visitors annually. France is a developed country with the world's sixth-largest economy by nominal GDP, tenth-largest by purchasing power parity. In terms of aggregate household wealth, it ranks fourth in the world. France performs well in international rankings of education, health care, life expectancy, human development.
France is considered a great power in global affairs, being one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council with the power to veto and an official nuclear-weapon state. It is a leading member state of the European Union and the Eurozone, a member of the Group of 7, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the World Trade Organization, La Francophonie. Applied to the whole Frankish Empire, the name "France" comes from the Latin "Francia", or "country of the Franks". Modern France is still named today "Francia" in Italian and Spanish, "Frankreich" in German and "Frankrijk" in Dutch, all of which have more or less the same historical meaning. There are various theories as to the origin of the name Frank. Following the precedents of Edward Gibbon and Jacob Grimm, the name of the Franks has been linked with the word frank in English, it has been suggested that the meaning of "free" was adopted because, after the conquest of Gaul, only Franks were free of taxation.
Another theory is that it is derived from the Proto-Germanic word frankon, which translates as javelin or lance as the throwing axe of the Franks was known as a francisca. However, it has been determined that these weapons were named because of their use by the Franks, not the other way around; the oldest traces of human life in what is now France date from 1.8 million years ago. Over the ensuing millennia, Humans were confronted by a harsh and variable climate, marked by several glacial eras. Early hominids led a nomadic hunter-gatherer life. France has a large number of decorated caves from the upper Palaeolithic era, including one of the most famous and best preserved, Lascaux. At the end of the last glacial period, the climate became milder. After strong demographic and agricultural development between the 4th and 3rd millennia, metallurgy appeared at the end of the 3rd millennium working gold and bronze, iron. France has numerous megalithic sites from the Neolithic period, including the exceptiona
Electorate of Brunswick-Lüneburg
The Electorate of Brunswick-Lüneburg was an Electorate of the Holy Roman Empire, located in northwestern Germany. It was colloquially known after its capital city of Hanover. For most of its existence, the electorate was ruled in personal union with Great Britain; the Duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg had been split in 1269 between different branches of the House of Welf. The Principality of Calenberg, ruled by a cadet branch of the family, emerged as the largest and most powerful of the Brunswick-Lüneburg states. In 1695, the Holy Roman Emperor elevated the Prince of Calenberg to the College of Electors, creating the new Electorate of Brunswick-Lüneburg; the fortunes of the Electorate were tied to those of Great Britain by the Act of Settlement 1701 and Act of Union 1707, which settled the succession to the British throne on Queen Anne's nearest Protestant relative, the Electress Sophia of Hanover, her descendants. The Prince-Elector of Hanover became King of Great Britain in 1714; as a consequence, a reluctant Britain was forced time and again to defend the King's German possessions.
However, Hanover remained a separately ruled territory with its own governmental bodies, the country had to sign a treaty with Great Britain whenever Hanoverian troops fought on the British side of a war. Merged into the Napoleonic Kingdom of Westphalia in 1807, it was re-established as the Kingdom of Hanover in 1814, the personal union with the British crown lasted until 1837. In 1692, Emperor Leopold I elevated Duke Ernest Augustus of the Brunswick-Lüneburg line of Calenberg, to the rank of prince-elector of the Empire as a reward for aid given in the Nine Years' War. There were protests against the addition of a new elector, the elevation did not become official until the approval of the Imperial Diet in 1708. Calenberg's capital Hanover became colloquially eponymous for the electorate; the electorate comprised large parts of the modern German state of Lower Saxony in Northern Germany. Beside the Principality of Calenberg it included the former princely lands of Göttingen and Grubenhagen as well as the territory of the former County of Hoya.
In 1705 Elector George I Louis inherited the Principality of Lüneburg with the Duchy of Saxe-Lauenburg upon the death of his uncle Duke George William of Brunswick-Lüneburg. In 1715 he purchased the Duchies of Bremen-Verden from King Frederick IV of Denmark, whereby his former landlocked electorate gained access to the North Sea. In 1700 the territories forming the electorate introduced – like all Protestant territories of imperial immediacy – the Improved Calendar, as it was called by Protestants, in order not to mention the name of Pope Gregory XIII. So Sunday 18 February Old Style was followed by Monday 1 March New Style. In 1714, George Louis became king of Great Britain, so that the electorate and Great Britain were ruled in personal union; the possessions of the electors in Germany grew, as they de facto purchased the Swedish-held duchies of Bremen and Verden in 1719. George Louis died in 1727, was succeeded by his son George II Augustus. In 1728 Emperor Charles VI enfeoffed George II, with the reverted fief of Saxe-Lauenburg, which had de facto been ruled in personal union with Hanover and its one preceding Principality of Lüneburg since 1689.
In 1731 Hanover gained Hadeln. In return, Hanover recognized the Pragmatic Sanction of 1713, it took George II Augustus until 1733 to persuade Charles VI to enfeoff him with the Duchy of Bremen and the Principality of Verden, colloquially called Duchies of Bremen-Verden. At both enfeoffments George II Augustus swore that he would respect the existing privileges and constitutions of the estates in Bremen-Verden and in Hadeln, thus confirming 400-year-old traditions of estate participation in government. In Hanover, the capital of the Electorate, the Privy Council of Hanover installed a new ministry in charge of the Imperial Estates ruled by the Electors in personal union, it was called the Department of Bremen-Verden, Hadeln and Bentheim. However the Electors spent most of their time in England. Direct contact with the Electorate was maintained through the office of the German Chancery, situated in St James's Palace in London. During the Anglo-French and Indian War in the North American colonies, Britain feared a French invasion in Hanover.
George II formed an alliance with his Brandenburg-Prussian cousin Frederick II, "the Great" combining the North American conflict with the Brandenburg-Prusso–Austrian Third Silesian or Seven Years' War. In summer 1757 the French invaded Hanover and defeated George II's son Prince William, Duke of Cumberland, leading the Anglo-Hanoverian army, at the Battle of Hastenbeck and drove him and his army into remote Bremen-Verden, where in the former Zeven Convent he capitulated on 18 September, but George II did not recognise the convention. In the following year the British army, supported by troops from Brandenburg-Prussia, Hesse-Kassel and the ducal Principality of Brunswick and Lunenburg again expelled the occupants. Hanover remained unaffected for the rest of the war. After the war ended, peace prevailed; the War of the First Coalition against France with Great Britain-Hanover and other war allies forming the coalition, did not affect Hanoverian territory, since the first French Republic was fighting on several fronts
First French Empire
The First French Empire the French Empire,Note 1 was the empire of Napoleon Bonaparte of France and the dominant power in much of continental Europe at the beginning of the 19th century. Although France had established an overseas colonial empire beginning in the 17th century, the French state had remained a kingdom under the Bourbons and a republic after the Revolution. Historians refer to Napoleon's regime as the First Empire to distinguish it from the restorationist Second Empire ruled by his nephew as Napoleon III. On 18 May 1804, Napoleon was granted the title Emperor of the French by the French Sénat and was crowned on 2 December 1804, signifying the end of the French Consulate and of the French First Republic; the French Empire achieved military supremacy in mainland Europe through notable victories in the War of the Third Coalition against Austria, Prussia and allied nations, notably at the Battle of Austerlitz in 1805. French dominance was reaffirmed during the War of the Fourth Coalition, at the Battle of Jena–Auerstedt in 1806 and the Battle of Friedland in 1807.
A series of wars, known collectively as the Napoleonic Wars, extended French influence to much of Western Europe and into Poland. At its height in 1812, the French Empire had 130 departments, ruled over 70 million subjects, maintained an extensive military presence in Germany, Italy and the Duchy of Warsaw, counted Prussia and Austria as nominal allies. Early French victories exported many ideological features of the French Revolution throughout Europe: the introduction of the Napoleonic Code throughout the continent increased legal equality, established jury systems and legalised divorce, seigneurial dues and seigneurial justice were abolished, as were aristocratic privileges in all places except Poland. France's defeat in 1814, marked the end of the Empire. In 1799, Napoleon Bonaparte was confronted by Emmanuel Joseph Sieyès—one of five Directors constituting the executive branch of the French government—who sought his support for a coup d'état to overthrow the Constitution of the Year III.
The plot included Bonaparte's brother Lucien serving as speaker of the Council of Five Hundred, Roger Ducos, another Director, Talleyrand. On 9 November 1799 and the following day, troops led by Bonaparte seized control, they dispersed the legislative councils, leaving a rump legislature to name Bonaparte, Sieyès and Ducos as provisional Consuls to administer the government. Although Sieyès expected to dominate the new regime, the Consulate, he was outmaneuvered by Bonaparte, who drafted the Constitution of the Year VIII and secured his own election as First Consul, he thus became the most powerful person in France, a power, increased by the Constitution of the Year X, which made him First Consul for life. The Battle of Marengo inaugurated the political idea, to continue its development until Napoleon's Moscow campaign. Napoleon planned only to keep the Duchy of Milan for France, setting aside Austria, was thought to prepare a new campaign in the East; the Peace of Amiens, which cost him control of Egypt, was a temporary truce.
He extended his authority in Italy by annexing the Piedmont and by acquiring Genoa, Parma and Naples, added this Italian territory to his Cisalpine Republic. He laid siege to the Roman state and initiated the Concordat of 1801 to control the material claims of the pope; when he recognised his error of raising the authority of the pope from that of a figurehead, Napoleon produced the Articles Organiques with the goal of becoming the legal protector of the papacy, like Charlemagne. To conceal his plans before their actual execution, he aroused French colonial aspirations against Britain and the memory of the 1763 Treaty of Paris, exacerbating British envy of France, whose borders now extended to the Rhine and beyond, to Hanover and Cuxhaven. Napoleon would have ruling elites from a fusion of the old aristocracy. On 12 May 1802, the French Tribunat voted unanimously, with the exception of Carnot, in favour of the Life Consulship for the leader of France; this action was confirmed by the Corps Législatif.
A general plebiscite followed thereafter resulting in 3,653,600 votes aye and 8,272 votes nay. On 2 August 1802, Napoleon Bonaparte was proclaimed Consul for life. Pro-revolutionary sentiment swept through Germany aided by the "Recess of 1803", which brought Bavaria, Württemberg and Baden to France's side. William Pitt the Younger, back in power over Britain, appealed once more for an Anglo-Austro-Russian coalition against Napoleon to stop the ideals of revolutionary France from spreading. On 18 May 1804, Napoleon was given the title of "Emperor of the French" by the Senate. Note 3In four campaigns, the Emperor transformed his "Carolingian" feudal republican and federal empire into one modelled on the Roman Empire; the memories of imperial Rome were for a third time, after Julius Caesar and Charlemagne, used to modify the historical evolution of France. Though the vague plan for an invasion of Great Britain was never executed, the Battle of Ulm and the Battle of Austerlitz overshadowed the defeat of Trafalgar, the camp at Boulogne put at Napoleon's disposal the best military resources he had commanded, in the form of La Grande Armée.
In the War of the Third Coalition, Napoleon swept away the remnants of the old Holy Roman Empire and created in southern Germany the vassal states of Bavaria
Battle of Heilsberg
The Battle of Heilsberg took place on 10 June 1807, during the Napoleonic Wars. On 24 May 1807, the Siege of Danzig ended when Prussian General Friedrich Adolf, Count von Kalckreuth capitulated to French Marshal François Joseph Lefebvre. With Danzig secured, Napoleon was now free to turn against Bennigsen's army, yet it was the Russian who struck first when he ordered his columns to converge on Marshal Michel Ney's exposed VI Corps on 2 June. Outnumbered 63,000 to 17,000, Ney fought a rear guard action at the Battle of Guttstadt-Deppen on 5 and 6 June. Though he lost his baggage train, two guns, 2,042 men, Ney managed to escape to the southwest over the Pasłęka River with the bulk of his soldiers, leaving Bennigsen and his officers upset over the missed opportunity. Within two days, Napoleon ordered his 190,000-man army to close in on the 100,000 Russians and 15,000 Prussians. Detecting the approaching avalanche, Bennigsen ordered his troops to retreat on Lidzbark Warmiński; the Russian army took up strong defensive positions around the town.
The French army, under Marshals Murat and Lannes, attacked on 10 June. Bennigsen repelled several attacks, resulting in huge French casualties, but had to withdraw towards Friedland the following day. Four days the decisive Battle of Friedland occurred, ending the War of the Fourth Coalition with the passing of the Treaty of Tilsit; the Battle of Heilsberg was fought on the Alle river, known today as the Lyna. The Teutonic Castle being the focal point of the battle was held by Russian control. Aside from geographical advantages, the Russians had spent three to four months compiling tactics on how to defend against a French invasion, regardless of where they would attack the castlegrounds. Defensively, the castle was supported by its bridges and walls, both of which were built along the perimeter of the castle; the land surrounding the Teutonic Castle acted as an obstacle for the French army due to the increase of elevation from the base of the river to the castles foundation. The Prussian 21st Fusiliers, commanded by Ludwig August von Stutterheim, was garrisoned there.
Although the terrain was punishment enough for the French, weather took a toll on their abilities and health. During the day, on top of the weight being carried in regards to supplies and armory, temperatures reached dangerously hot and humid levels; the dampness and bitter cold of the night played a significant role by providing little opportunity for rest. The French were outnumbered by the Russians, knowing this, positioned themselves to cut off any opportunity for the Russians to obtain reinforcements. At the beginning of the battle, French army men were separating amongst their own divisions; this tactic was thought to help block Russian sights in terms of all the French positioning and flanking. Although the woods surrounding the French had provided a perimeter of camouflage, the shrubbery did not extend to the barren field in front of the castle, it was because of the forest density, that dodging the Russian artillery and infantry fire was difficult to maneuver around. In the midst of war, French cavalry leaders Murat and Lannes had segregated their troops from the greater unit, which would soon result in utter failure.
After such separation, the smaller units within the reserves had refused orders to flank and attack stronger sides of the Russian armies. This was because orders being issued by reserves of the secondary infantry, rather than Marshalls and Major Generals, were not given enough of credit of leadership in their absence. Despite both sides losing a significant number of men, each refused to withdrawal their armies; the realization of the large number of French soldiers, a victim of death, the success of the Russian defense gave Bennigsen and Napoleon little choice but to call an undocumented truce to end hostilities. This truce was focused on recovery of wounded soldiers; the battle ended with soldiers alike helping the wounded and retrieving the dead. This battle is recognized as having been tactically indecisive due to neither side having gained any significant ground, it is most notably discussed as a battle that yielded little change in the balance of strength between the Russians and the French.
By most accounts, this was a successful Russo-Prussian rearguard action. Napoleon never realized. Ney attacked prematurely and at the strongest point in the Russo-Prussian line; the Russians had built extensive fortifications on the right bank of the Alle river, but only a few minor redoubts on the left bank, yet the French advanced over the river to give battle, squandering their advantages and incurring casualties The Battle of Heilsberg was fought four days before the decisive Battle of Friedland. 1,398 killed, 10,059 wounded, 864 captured Three units lost their eagles, Digby Smith places the losses higher than Clodfelter, at 1,398 killed, 10,059 wounded and 864 captured. Nicolas Jean-de-Dieu Soult's IV corps sustained the majority of losses: 8,286, General François Xavier Roussel, Chief of Staff of the Imperial Guard, was killed. Three generals were wounded, Jean Lannes' corps lost 2,284 killed and wounded. Disputes over the killed and wounded remain. Clodfelter estimates 6,000 wounded. In addition, generals Koschin and Pahlen were killed.
The Russian commander, Bennigsen was sick all day, but remained on his horse despite falling off unconscious several times. Digby Smith says that the Russian Prussian force lost 2-300 dead, about 5-6000 wounded, they lost
Capitulation of Erfurt
In the Capitulation of Erfurt on 16 October 1806 a large body of troops from the Kingdom of Prussia under Lieutenant General the Prince of Orange surrendered to Marshal Joachim Murat of France, at the city of Erfurt. The Prussian soldiers were demoralized by their shattering defeat at the Battle of Jena–Auerstedt on 14 October and unwilling to put up much resistance; the event occurred during the War of part of the Napoleonic Wars. Erfurt is located on the Gera River about 40 kilometers west of Jena. Only eight days before, Emperor Napoleon I of France invaded the Electorate of Saxony with a large army and inflicted two minor setbacks on his enemies; this was followed by the catastrophe of 14 October. In the aftermath of the battle, the organization of the Prussian army disintegrated. Large numbers of Prussian fugitives from the battle entered Erfurt and could not be induced to leave; when Murat's French cavalry arrived before the city, it was surrendered without any fighting. At the beginning of October, three Prussian armies assembled in the Electorate of Saxony under Feldmarschall Charles William Ferdinand, Duke of Brunswick, General of Infantry Frederick Louis, Prince of Hohenlohe-Ingelfingen, General of Infantry Ernst von Rüchel.
Hohenlohe's army included 20,000 Saxons. In the center, Brunswick concentrated at Erfurt, Hohenlohe defended Rudolstadt in the east, Rüchel held Gotha and Eisenach in the west. General Karl August, Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach's division of Rüchel's right wing felt south toward the French line of communications. General Eugene Frederick Henry, Duke of Württemberg's Reserve lay far to the north at Magdeburg. On 8 October, Napoleon's 180,000 troops began crossing the Saxon border through the Franconian Forest, his troops formed in a batallion carré made up of three columns of two army corps each, plus the Cavalry Reserve, Imperial Guard, some Bavarian allies. On 9 October, the French won the minor Battle of Schleiz; the next day, Marshal Jean Lannes' V Corps crushed the division of Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia at the Battle of Saalfeld, killing the young prince. On 12 October, Napoleon ordered his army to make a left wheel to the west; the Prussian generals decided using the Saale River to protect their flank.
Brunswick marched the main army north from Weimar, while Hohenlohe stood on the defensive near Jena as a flank guard. Rüchel's orders were to stay at Weimar; the double Battle of Jena-Auerstedt occurred on 14 October as Napoleon attacked Hohenlohe while Brunswick ran into Marshal Louis Davout's III Corps. The troops of Brunswick, Rüchel were driven in rout from the two battlefields. Brunswick's army lost its commander was mortally wounded. Hohenlohe and Rüchel suffered as many as 25,000 casualties. At 5:00 AM on 15 October, Napoleon began issuing orders to exploit his tremendous victory at Jena, he heard about Marshal Louis Davout's triumph at Auerstedt four hours later. Murat's Cavalry Reserve was split, with half directed to advance west to Erfurt and half northwest to Buttelstedt. Napoleon sent Marshal Michel Ney's VI Corps toward Erfurt to back up Murat's horsemen, ordered Marshal Nicolas Soult's IV Corps to Buttelstedt; the emperor instructed Marshal Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte's untouched I Corps to march to Bad Bibra north of Auerstedt so that he could prevent the fleeing Prussians from escaping east across the Elbe River.
In consideration for the troops that had done the hardest fighting on the 14th, he allowed Marshal Jean Lannes' V Corps and Marshal Pierre Augereau's VII Corps to remain near Weimar and Davout's III Corps to march a short distance to Naumburg. After the battles on the 14th, a large number of refugees appeared at Erfurt. At first they were refused entrance, but the gates were opened and soon the city thronged with at least 12,000 demoralized soldiers. Attempts were made by some officers to return the troops to their regiments, but the men refused to cooperate. By noon on the 15th, Murat was near Erfurt with the leading elements of his cavalry. General-Major von Jung-Larisch stood in battle line in front of the city, his position was poor, with the Gera River at his back, so he ordered his infantry to retreat into the city. Murat's horsemen charged and drove Jung-Larisch's cavalry back across the river, capturing an artillery battery. Losses for this action are not given; the Duke of Saxe-Weimar's division, which missed the 14 October battle, soon appeared west of Erfurt.
Feldmarschall Wichard Joachim Heinrich von Möllendorf attempted to organize an orderly retreat from Erfurt northwest to Bad Langensalza, ordering Saxe-Weimar to cover the move. The wagon train was to lead the retreat, followed by the cavalry the infantry. Möllendorf, wounded at Auerstedt collapsed and proved unable to carry out the operation. At 2:30 PM, Murat sent French Colonel Claude Antoine Hippolyte Préval into Erfurt under a flag of truce; the Frenchman demanded an immediate surrender, which the Prussian fortress commandant at first refused. Saxe-Weimar waited near Erfurt in the hope that large numbers of troops would join the retreat, but few did so. In the evening, Saxe-Weimar withdrew toward Langensalza. After joining with General Johann Friedrich Winning's detachment, he commanded 12,000 troops and 24 guns in 14 battalions, 30 squadrons, three batteries. With Möllendorf out of the picture, the resolve of the fortress commandant broke; that night, he signed the articles of capitulation.
Included in the terms were the surrender of the Petersberg fortress and large quantities of gunpowder and munitions. Altogether, about 12,000 Prussian and Saxon troops under command of the Prince of Orange became prisoners and 65 artillery pieces were ca
Battle of Jena–Auerstedt
The twin battles of Jena and Auerstedt were fought on 14 October 1806 on the plateau west of the river Saale in today's Germany, between the forces of Napoleon I of France and Frederick William III of Prussia. The decisive defeat suffered by the Prussian Army subjugated the Kingdom of Prussia to the French Empire until the Sixth Coalition was formed in 1812. Several figures integral to the reformation of the Prussian Army participated at Jena–Auerstedt, including Gebhard von Blücher, Carl von Clausewitz, August Neidhardt von Gneisenau, Gerhard von Scharnhorst, Hermann von Boyen. Both armies were split into separate parts; the Prussian Army was in a poor state. Brunswick was 71 years old; the Prussian army was still using tactics and training from the time of Frederick the Great. Its greatest weakness was its staff organization. Most of the divisions did not communicate well with each other; the Prussians had three forces: 60,500 under Karl Wilhelm Ferdinand, Duke of Brunswick 38,000 under Friedrich Ludwig, Fürst zu Hohenlohe-Ingelfingen 15,000 under Ernst von Rüchel.
The Grand Armée loved their generals. The army was experienced and was well led, with a good mix of older, more experienced Marshals, younger, upcoming Marshals. Napoleon's main force at Jena consisted of about 96,000 men in total: Nicolas Jean de Dieu Soult's IV Corps Jean Lannes' V Corps Michel Ney's VI Corps Pierre Augereau's VII Corps The cavalry of Joachim MuratFurther north, in the vicinity of Auerstedt, the French forces were Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte's I Corps and Louis Nicolas Davout's III Corps; the battles began. Only 48,000 strong, the Emperor took advantage of his planned and flexible dispositions to build up a superior force of 96,000 men; the Prussians were slow to grasp the situation, slower still to react. Before Ruchel's 15,000 men could arrive from Weimar, Hohenlohe's force of 38,000 was routed, with 10,000 killed or wounded and 15,000 captured, it was a fierce battle, with 5,000 French losses, Napoleon mistakenly believed that he had faced the main body of the Prussian army.
Further north at Auerstedt, both Davout and Bernadotte received orders to come to Napoleon's aid. Davout attempted to comply via Eckartsberga. Davout's route south, was blocked by the Prussian main force of 60,500 men, including the Prussian King, the Duke of Brunswick and Field Marshals von Möllendorf and von Kalckreuth. A savage battle ensued. Although outnumbered two to one, Davout's superbly trained and disciplined III Corps endured repeated attacks before taking the offensive and putting the Prussians to flight. Though in sight of the battle, Bernadotte took no steps to come to Davout's aid, for which he was censured by Napoleon; the Prussian army was divided into three armies drawn from across Prussia. Prussia's main weakness in 1806 was its senior command structure, which included command positions being held by multiple officers. One such example is the position of Chief of Staff, held by three different officers: General Phull, Colonel Gerhard von Scharnhorst and Colonel Rudolf Massenbach.
This confusing system led to delays and complexities that resulted in over a month's delay before the final order of battle was prepared. Another obstacle facing the Prussians was the creation of a unified plan of battle. Five main plans emerged for discussion. Thus, the Prussian plans became mere reactions to Napoleon's movements. Although Prussia had begun its mobilization a month before France, Napoleon had kept a high state of readiness after the Russian refusal to accept defeat following the War of the Third Coalition. Napoleon conceived a plan to force Prussia into a decisive battle, like Austerlitz, pre-empt the Prussian offensive. Napoleon had a major portion of his Grande Armée in position in present-day Baden-Württemberg in southwest Germany, thus decided on a northeast advance into Saxony and on to Berlin; the battle commenced on the morning of 14 October 1806, on the grassy fields near Jena. The first movements of the French Army were attacks on either flank of the Prussian lines; this gave the supporting armies time to get into position.
These skirmishes had little decisive success save for a breakthrough by the French General Saint-Hilaire who attacked and isolated the Prussian left flank. At this time, Marshal Michel Ney had completed his maneuvers and had taken up position as ordered by Napoleon. However, once in position Ney decided to attack the Prussian line despite having no orders to do so; this proved to be an disastrous move. Ney's initial assault was a success, but he found himself overextended and under heavy fire from Prussian artillery. Recognizing this distressed salient, the Prussian general ordered a counterattack and enveloped Ney's forces. Napoleon recognized the situation Ney was in and ordered Marshal Jean Lannes to shift from the center of attack to help Ney; this action would leave the French center weak. However, Napoleon deployed the Imperial Guard to hold the French center; this adaptability was one of Napoleon's greatest strengths. He kept the Imperial Guard under his direct command, could order them to take positions depending on the situation that the battle presented him.
This rescue worked and Ney's units were able to retreat from the battle. Although the French were in a troubling situation at this moment, the Prussian commanders did not ta
Battle of Lübeck
The Battle of Lübeck took place on 6 November 1806 in Lübeck, Germany between soldiers of the Kingdom of Prussia led by Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher, who were retreating from defeat at the Battle of Jena–Auerstedt, troops of the First French Empire under Marshals Murat and Soult, who were pursuing them. In this War of the Fourth Coalition action, the French inflicted a severe defeat on the Prussians, driving them from the neutral city. Lübeck is an old Baltic Sea port 50 kilometres northeast of Hamburg. After their shattering defeat in October by Napoleon at the Battle of Jena–Auerstedt, the Prussian armies withdrew to the east bank of the Elbe River and marched northeast in an attempt to reach the Oder River. Aiming to annihilate his opponents' forces, Napoleon launched his Grande Armée in a headlong pursuit. A large portion of the fleeing Prussians took refuge in the fortress of Magdeburg where they were surrounded. Another large segment was destroyed in the Battle of Prenzlau; this event triggered a series of capitulations of Prussian fortresses.
Blocked from reaching the Oder, Blücher turned and raced to the west, chased by Murat and Soult. After a number of well-fought rear guard actions, Blücher's troops forced their way into the neutral city of Lübeck where they took up defensive positions. Bernadotte's soldiers broke through the city's northern defenses and overwhelmed the troops facing Murat and Soult. Blücher escaped from the city, though most of his staff was captured and Prussian casualties were enormous; the French brutally sacked Lübeck after the fighting. The next day, the French trapped the surviving Prussians against the Danish frontier and compelled Blücher to surrender; the French captured a small Swedish force during the battle. Bernadotte's respectful treatment of its officers and soldiers led to that Scandinavian nation offering its crown to the French marshal four years after this battle. On 14 October 1806, Napoleon crushed the Prussian field armies in the Battle of Jena-Auerstedt. In the chaos after the debacle, the shattered remains of the armies coalesced into several major elements.
General of Infantry Frederick Louis, Prince of Hohenlohe-Ingelfingen took command of one column that retreated through the Harz Mountains. General-Leutnant Blücher and General of Infantry Friedrich Adolf, Count von Kalckreuth, followed in Hohenlohe's wake with a 12,000-man column; these forces were trailed by 12,000 troops under General Karl August, Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach and General-Leutnant Christian Ludwig von Winning. The last-named corps missed Jena-Auerstedt. Meanwhile, the Prince of Orange surrendered at least 10,000 Prussians to Marshal Murat's Cavalry Corps in the Capitulation of Erfurt on 16 October; the 16,000 fresh troops of the Reserve commanded by Eugene Frederick Henry, Duke of Württemberg had remained at Halle since the 13th. On 17 October, the 20,600 men of Marshal Bernadotte's I Corps mauled Württemberg's force in the Battle of Halle; the Reserve retreated to Magdeburg. Marshal Soult with the IV Corps and Murat reached the outskirts of the city that day and demanded Hohenlohe's surrender, which he refused.
On the 22nd, Soult and Marshal Michel Ney's VI Corps invested the fortress on the west bank of the Elbe. After leaving 9,000 additional troops to man the fortress, Hohenlohe marched to the northeast via Burg bei Magdeburg, he was soon joined by Kalckreuth. Blücher moved northeast from Nordhausen, through the Harz Mountains, past Braunschweig, boated across the Elbe at Sandau on 24 October. Saxe-Weimar marched from Bad Langensalza to Mühlhausen, on to Osterode. After feinting at Magdeburg to trick Soult, he reached the Elbe at Sandau. Oberst Ludwig Yorck von Wartenburg conducted a skillful action at Altenzaun on the afternoon and evening of the 26th; the Prussian rear guard held off Soult's advance guard until Saxe-Weimar's troops safely reached the east bank Yorck slipped away. At this time, Winning took over command of the column from Saxe-Weimar. Hohenlohe reached Neustadt an der Dosse on the evening of 24 October. After he crossed the Elbe, Blücher accepted command of Hohenlohe's rear guard. There was a network of canals, along with the Havel River, that ran east and west between the Elbe and Oder.
Hohenlohe's planned to send General-Major Christian Ludwig Schimmelpfennig von der Oye with a flying column to protect his right flank by destroying all the bridges along this stretch of water. By nightfall on 25 October, Hohenlohe's main body was between Neuruppin and Lindow, a little farther east. General-Major von Schwerin's cavalry and Oberst von Hagen's infantry brigade marched toward Wittstock. General-Major Rudolf Ernst Christoph von Bila reached Kyritz, north of Neustadt, with a cavalry-infantry brigade. Blücher's rear guard was near Neustadt after a clash with Bernadotte's leading troops. In an ominous development, French cavalry seized Oranienburg. On 26 October, Murat routed Schimmelpfennig's column at Zehdenick, sending the Prussians fleeing to Stettin after losing more than 250 cavalry from their 1,300-man force; the next day, in confused fighting at Boitzenburg, Hohenlohe overcame a French road block and pressed on to the east after losing a cavalry regiment. On 28 October, Murat attacked the Prussians in the Battle of Prenzlau.
One of General of Division Emmanuel Grouchy's dragoon brigades hewed a path through Hohenlohe's column. General of Division Marc Antoine de Beaumont and his 3rd Dragoon Division pounced on the now-isolated rear guard under Oberst Prince Augustus of Prussia and forced it to surrender. Murat succeeded in bluffing Hohenlohe into capitulating t