2 December, 1805

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Documentary on the battle
Austerlitz: The Rise of the Eagle - the premier play-by-email Napoleonic wargame

By Richard Moore

Regarded as Napoleon Bonaparte's greatest victory, Austerlitz was a sublime trap that destroyed the armies of his enemies Russia and Austria.

Tricking his opponents into thinking he was weaker than he actually was, and then calling in nearby reinforcements, Bonaparte initially met the combined Allied army of 85,000 men and 278 guns with just 66,000 men.

The French emperor deliberately abandoned a strong central position on the Pratzen Heights and left his right flank weak.

The Allies eagerly moved forward to occupy the heights and then weakened the centre to crush the French right.

As the bulk of Austrian and Russian troops attacked, Marshal Davout's III Corp arrived to bolster the French line.

With more and more Allied troops sucked into the attack, Bonaparte launched an assault that took back the Pratzen Heights and split the enemy.

After much hard fighting the French crushed the Allies. Thousands of fleeing troops drowned when a frozen lake split under the weight of men and guns.

French losses amounted to 8000 while the Russian and Austrian emperors, present at the battle, saw more than 27,000 men killed, wounded and captured. Bonaparte also captured 180 cannon.


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