Whenever military experts - particularly Napoleonic historians
- think about classic battles then Austerlitz is usually at the
top of the list.
on the field of Austerlitz in 1805, Napoleon Bonaparte showed the
world that he was a true genius of warfare by tricking his enemies
into attacking him and then utterly destroying them.
of Fire: Austerlitz examines the crucial clash between the outnumbered
army of France and the troops of the overconfident Austrian and
Russian commanders and looks in detail at just how Bonaparte managed
to inflict such a massive defeat to end the Third Coalition against
first 20 minutes of the programme are devoted to setting the political
scene and the opening moves of the campaign. This is really helpful
for newcomers to the era and will give people a solid, but easy-to-understand
path into why Austerlitz was so important.
Cromwell Productions has made full use of contemporary paintings
and engravings and in the later battle scenes has clips from Sergei
Bondarchuk's War and Peace.
was encamped with his Grande Armee in Boulogne, awaiting the chance
to invade Britain, when he learnt of the Russian and Austrian moves
to a slight miscalculation of dates - the Russians not being on
the Gregorian calendar - the allies were working on a timetable
some 12 days apart. This left Austria's General Mack sitting by
himself at Ulm. Imagine his shock when instead of Russian reinforcements
he looked out one day to see a rather large French army surrounding
him. No wonder he later surrendered his 60,000 men.
then took off to catch the Russians and another Austrian army and
at Austerlitz he found the perfect spot to fight them.
weakness, he sucked the Allies into battle and while they thought
things were going brilliantly he snapped his trap on them and won
addition to the film sequences, the battle contains animated maps
of troop dispositions and movement and leading experts add excited
comments on what happened and why.
this programme the producers have used military historians Bob Carruthers,
Matthew Bennett, Duncan Anderson and Aryck Nusbacher.
very hard to fault this series.