The military battle held on December 2, 1805 wiped out the Holy Roman-German Empire that lasted for a thousand years.
After the Battle of Austerlitz on December 2, 1805, Europe had nothing else to ask for. This victory eliminated Napoleon’s main opponent and marked the end of the Holy Roman Empire. Tactically speaking, this is one of the most complex conflicts in history. Everything started a few weeks ago.
In November 1805, during the French emperor’s march into Central Europe, he occupied the city of Vienna. He then continued to chase after the power of Russia and Austria, which are also members of the anti-Napoleonic alliance, including the United Kingdom. On December 2, Napoleon set a trap near the city of Austerlitz in the southeastern part of the Czech Republic near what is now Slavkov. He organized the army and gave the impression that the right wing was unprotected. The competitor caught the bait and immediately attacked there.
Napoleon, however, had a letter up his sleeve. Secretly, Marshal Davout had sent 7,000 men from Vienna – who marched an incredible 110 kilometers in 48 hours. When the Allies were about to destroy the right wing of the French Army, they came face to face with Davout, who stopped the attack. Meanwhile, Napoleon caught Russians and Austrians on the counter: he ordered an offensive in the center of the enemy line, dividing it in two and razing it. After the defeat, Austria was forced to sign a peace treaty with France. Russian Tsar Alexander I, humiliated, said: “We are children in the hand of a giant.”
Falling into Napoleon’s snare, the Russians attack the French’s right flank, but are held back by the arrival of Marshal Davout’s troops. In a secondary attack, Russian General Bagration charges against French forces in the north, but is stopped by the men of Marshal Lannes. Taking advantage of the fog, Marshal Soult invades the hills of Pratzen, splitting allied forces in half. Russians and Austrians retreat, abandoning 180 cannons.
The color of victory
The flags of each battalion were a trophy on the battlefields of the early 19th century. When a unit lost its standard, it fell to shame: it was a sign that it had taken a huge beating. Those who took an enemy banner covered themselves with glory. In Austerlitz, the French army captured 50 Russian and Austrian standards – it lost just one.
Fire in the ice
One of Napoleon’s greatest assets was his artillery. The cannons of the French Empire, handled by elite soldiers, were accurate and moved much more quickly than those of rivals. At Austerlitz, artillery was essential to contain the attack on the French right flank, but it also carried out one of the greatest cruelties ever carried out by Napoleon. When he saw Russian soldiers fleeing, running over a frozen lake, he ordered his cannons to shoot at the ice. The ground broke and hundreds of men drowned – the reports of the time speak of up to 2,000 victims.
War in Peace
In December 2005, exactly 200 years after the fighting, French, Russian and Austrian troops returned to the area and occupied the currently peaceful cities of Slavkov, Tvarozna and Brno in the Czech Republic. But there is no violence at all: this is just a repeat of history, which is a common hobby of war fans in Europe. About 4000 people (including 100 riders) from different countries wore their ancient costumes and participated in the event. This is the largest Austerlitz reconstruction ever.