The War of the Fifth Coalition was a European conflict in 1809 that was part of the Napoleonic Wars and the Coalition Wars. The main conflict took place in central Europe between the Austrian Empire of Francis I and Napoleon's French Empire. The French were supported by their client states, including the Kingdom of Italy, the Confederation of the Rhine and the Duchy of Warsaw. Austria was supported by the Fifth Coalition which included the United Kingdom, Portugal, Spain and the Kingdoms of Sardinia and Sicily, though the latter two took no part in the fighting. By the start of 1809 much of the French army was committed to the Peninsular War against Britain, Spain and Portugal. After France withdrew 108,000 soldiers from Germany, Austria attacked France to seek the recovery of territories lost in the 1803–1806 War of the Third Coalition. The Austrians hoped Prussia would support them as their former ally, but Prussia chose to remain neutral.
In 1807 France tried to force Portugal to join the Continental System, a commercial embargo against Britain. When the Portuguese Prince Regent, John refused to join, Napoleon sent General Junot to invade Portugal in 1807, resulting in the six Year Peninsular War.
After Austria was defeated in 1805, the nation spent three years reforming its army. Encouraged by the events in Spain, Austria sought another confrontation with France to avenge their defeats and regain lost territory and power. Austria lacked allies in central Europe.
Austria and Prussia requested that Britain fund their military campaigns and requested a British military expedition to Germany. Austria received £250,000 in silver, with a further £1 million promised for future expenses. Britain promised an expedition to the low countries and to renew their campaign in Spain. After Prussia decided against war, the Fifth Coalition formally consisted of Austria, Britain, Portugal, Spain, Sicily and Sardinia, though Austria was the majority of the fighting effort. Russia remained neutral even though they were allied to France.
Homecoming of Tyrolean Militia in the War of 1809 by Franz Defregger
1809 Apr 1 -
The trigger for the outbreak of the uprising was the flight to Innsbruck of young men that were due to be called into the Bavarian army by the authorities at Axams on March 12 and 13, 1809. The partisans stayed in contact with the Austrian court in Vienna by their conduit Baron Joseph Hormayr, an Innsbruck-born Hofrat and close friend of Archduke John of Austria. Archduke John explicitly stated that Bavaria had forfeit all rights to Tyrol, which rightfully belonged with the Austrian lands, and therefore any resistance against Bavarian occupation would be legitimate.
The Battles of Bergisel were four battles fought between the forces of Emperor Napoleon I of France and the Kingdom of Bavaria against Tyrolese militiamen and a contingent of Austrian regular soldiers at the Bergisel hill near Innsbruck. The battles, which occurred on 25 May, 29 May, 13 August, and 1 November 1809, were part of the Tyrolean Rebellion and the War of the Fifth Coalition.
The Tyrolean forces, loyal to Austria, were led by Andreas Hofer, Josef Speckbacher, Peter Mayr, Capuchin Father Joachim Haspinger, and Major Martin Teimer. The Bavarians were led by French Marshal François Joseph Lefebvre, and Bavarian Generals Bernhard Erasmus von Deroy and Karl Philipp von Wrede. After being driven from Innsbruck at the start of the revolt, the Bavarians twice reoccupied the city and were chased out again. After the final battle in November, the rebellion was suppressed.
Though Italy was considered a minor theater, Charles and the Hofkriegsrat (Austrian high command) assigned two corps to the Army of Inner Austria and placed General der Kavallerie Archduke John in command.
Aware that Austria probably intended to make war, Napoleon reinforced the Army of Italy under Eugène de Beauharnais, building the French component up to a strength of six infantry and three cavalry divisions. Many of these "French" troops were Italians, since portions of northwest Italy had been annexed to France. The Franco-Italian army counted 70,000 troops, though they were somewhat scattered across northern Italy.
Archduke John's army invaded Italy on 10 April 1809, with the VIII Armeekorps advancing through Tarvisio and IX Armeekorps crossing the middle Isonzo. After unusually rapid marching for an Austrian army, Albert Gyulay's column captured Udine on 12 April, with Ignaz Gyulai's forces not far behind.
By 14 April, Eugène massed six divisions near Sacile with Lamarque's infantry and General of Division Charles Randon de Pully's dragoons still distant. Because of this, Eugène army fought the coming battle as a collection of divisions, which had a detrimental effect on command control.
The Franco-Italian army suffered 3,000 killed and wounded at Sacile. An additional 3,500 soldiers, 19 guns, 23 ammunition wagons, and two colors fell into the hands of the Austrians. Pagès was wounded and captured while Teste was wounded. According to Smith, the Austrians lost 2,617 killed and wounded, 532 captured, and 697 missing. Archduke John decided not to follow up his victory. Napoleon was enraged at his stepson's fumbling
Death of Cyprian Godebski in the Battle of Raszyn 1855 painting by January Suchodolski
Austro-Polish War: Battle of Raszyn
1809 Apr 19 -
Austria invaded the Duchy of Warsaw with initial success. At the Battle of Raszyn on 19 April, Poniatowski's Polish troops brought an Austrian force twice their number to a standstill (but neither side defeated the other decisively), the Polish forces nonetheless retreated, allowing the Austrians to occupy the Duchy's capital, Warsaw, as Poniatowski decided that the city would be hard to defend, and instead decided to keep his army mobile in the field and engage the Austrians elsewhere, crossing to the eastern (right) bank of the Vistula.
In a series of battles (at Radzymin, Grochów and Ostrówek), the Polish forces defeated elements of the Austrian army, forcing the Austrians to retreat to the western side of the river.
The Battle of Teugen-Hausen was fought 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 when the Austrians withdrew that evening.
Also on 19 April, clashes occurred at Arnhofen near Abensberg, Dünzling, Regensburg, 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.
Napoleon addressing Bavarian and Württemberg troops at Abensberg, by Jean-Baptiste Debret (1810)
Battle of Abensberg
1809 Apr 20 -
After Marshal Louis-Nicolas Davout's hard-fought victory at Battle of Teugen-Hausen the previous day, Napoleon determined to break through the Austrian defenses behind the Abens River.
The Battle of Abensberg took place between a Franco-German force under the command of Emperor Napoleon I of France and a reinforced Austrian corps led by Feldmarschall-Leutnant Archduke Louis of Austria. As the day wore on, Feldmarschall-Leutnant Johann von Hiller arrived with reinforcements to take command of the three corps that formed the Austrian left wing. The action ended in a complete Franco-German victory. On the same day, the French garrison of Regensburg capitulated.
General Mouton leads the grenadier companies of the 17th line regiment across the bridge at Landshut
Battle of Landshut
1809 Apr 21 -
There were in fact two engagements at Landshut. The first occurred on 16 April when Hiller pushed a defending Bavarian division out of the town. Five days later, after the French victory at Abensberg, the left wing of the Austrian army (36,000 men) withdrew on Landshut (this force was once more led by Hiller). Napoleon believed that this was the main Austrian army and 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.
The Battle of Landshut took place on 21 April 1809 between the French, Württembergers (VIII Corps) and Bavarians (VII Corps) under Napoleon which numbered about 77,000 strong, and 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.
The Battle of Eckmühl was the turning point of the War of the Fifth Coalition. Thanks to the dogged defense waged by the III Corps, commanded by Marshal Davout, and the Bavarian VII Corps, commanded by Marshal Lefebvre, Napoleon was able to defeat the principal Austrian army and wrest the strategic initiative for the remainder of the war.
The French had won the battle, but it was not a decisive engagement. Napoleon had hoped that he would be able to catch the Austrian army between Davout and the Danube, but he didn't know that Ratisbon had fallen and thus gave the Austrians a means of escape over the river.
Nevertheless, the French inflicted 12,000 casualties at the cost of just 6,000, and Napoleon's speedy arrival witnessed an entire axial realignment of his army (from a north–south axis to an east–west one) that permitted the defeat of the Austrians. Subsequent campaigning led to the French recapture of Ratisbon, Austrian eviction from Southern Germany, and the fall of Vienna.
Marshal Lannes leads the storming of the citadel at the Battle of Ratisbon, as painted by Charles Thévenin.
Battle of Ratisbon
1809 Apr 23 -
Following his victory at Eckmühl on 22 April Napoleon summoned his first ever council of war, which decided to halt the army about 18 kilometers south of the city of Ratisbon (which the Austrians had captured two days earlier).
That night, the main Austrian army (I–IV Korps and I Reserve Korps) began moving its heavy equipment over the city’s vital stone bridge over the Danube, while a pontoon bridge was thrown 2 kilometers downstream to the east for the troops. Five battalions from II Korps defended the city, while 6,000 cavalry and some infantry battalions held the hilly ground outside.
Scene of the last engagement of the Bavaria phase of the campaign of 1809, the brief defense of the city and installation of a pontoon bridge to the east enabled the retreating Austrian army to escape into Bohemia.
On 10 April 1809, Archduke Charles, Duke of Teschen's surprise invasion of the Kingdom of Bavaria put the Grande Armée of Emperor Napoleon I of France at a disadvantage. On 19 April, Charles failed to take advantage of his opportunities and Napoleon struck back with savage force against the Austrian left wing under Hiller. After battles on 20 and 21 April, Hiller's troops were driven into a headlong retreat to the southeast.
Having temporarily disposed of Hiller, Napoleon turned north with his main army against Archduke Charles. On 22 and 23 April, the Franco-Germans defeated Charles' army and forced it to withdraw to the north bank of the Danube. Meanwhile, Napoleon sent Bessières to pursue the Austrian left wing with minor forces. Not knowing that Charles had been defeated, Hiller turned back upon his pursuer, defeating Bessières near Neumarkt-Sankt Veit. Once he found that he was alone on the south bank facing Napoleon's main army, Hiller retreated rapidly to the east in the direction of Vienna.
The Battle of Neumarkt-Sankt Veit on 24 April 1809 saw a Franco-Bavarian force led by Marshal Jean-Baptiste Bessières face an Austrian Empire army commanded by Johann von Hiller. Hiller's numerically superior force won a victory over the Allied troops, forcing Bessières to retreat to the west. Neumarkt-Sankt Veit is located ten kilometers north of Mühldorf and 33 kilometers southeast of Landshut in Bavaria.
In the opening engagements of the war, Archduke John defeated the Franco-Italian army and drove it back to the Adige River at Verona. Forced to detach substantial forces to watch Venice and other enemy-held fortresses, John found himself facing a strongly reinforced Franco-Italian army near Verona.
The outnumbered Austrians led by Archduke John of Austria successfully fended off the attacks against a Franco-Italian army headed by Eugène de Beauharnais, the Viceroy of the Kingdom of Italy. in actions at San Bonifacio, Soave, and Castelcerino before retreating to the east.
ion. John knew that with Napoleon advancing on Vienna, his position in Italy could be flanked by enemy forces coming from the north. He decided to retreat from Italy and defend the borders of Austria in Carinthia and Carniola. After breaking all bridges over the Alpone, John began his withdrawal in the early hours of May 1, covered by Feldmarschallleutnant Johann Maria Philipp Frimont's rear guard.
Separated from the main Austrian army by the battles of Abensberg and Landshut, Feldmarschall-Leutnant Hiller retreated east to Linz by 2 May with the three left wing corps. The Austrians hoped to slow the French advance towards Vienna.
The Austrian left wing under the command of Johann von Hiller took up positions at Ebersberg on the Traun river. The French under André Masséna attacked, crossing a heavily defended 550-meter-long bridge and subsequently conquering the local castle, thus forcing Hiller to withdraw.
Hiller slipped away from the French and burned the bridges at every major stream during his retreat.
The initial Austrian invasion of Venetia succeeded in driving the Franco-Italian defenders back to Verona. At the beginning of May, news of Austrian defeats in Bavaria and inferiority in numbers caused Archduke John to begin retreating to the northeast. When he heard that his enemies were crossing the Piave, the Austrian commander turned back to give battle, intending to slow Eugène's pursuit of his army.
Eugène ordered his vanguard across the river early in the morning. It soon ran into vigorous Austrian resistance, but the arrival of French cavalry stabilized the situation by mid-morning. Rapidly rising waters hampered the buildup of French infantry reinforcements and prevented a significant portion of Eugène's army from crossing at all. In the late afternoon, Eugène launched his main attack which turned John's left flank and finally overran his main line of defense. Damaged but not destroyed, the Austrians continued their withdrawal into Carinthia (in modern-day Austria) and Carniola (in modern-day Slovenia).
A Bavarian force under French Marshal François Joseph Lefebvre attacked an Austrian Empire detachment commanded by Johann Gabriel Chasteler de Courcelles. The Bavarians severely defeated Chasteler's soldiers in series of actions in the Austrian towns of Wörgl, Söll, and Rattenberg.
The Battle of Tarvis saw the Franco-Italian army of Eugène de Beauharnais attacking Austrian Empire forces under Albert Gyulai. Eugène crushed Gyulai's division in a pitched battle near Tarvisio, then an Austrian town known as Tarvis. At nearby Malborghetto Valbruna and Predil Pass, small garrisons of Grenz infantry heroically defended two forts before being overwhelmed by sheer numbers. The Franco-Italian capture of the key mountain passes allowed their forces to invade Austrian Kärnten during the War of the Fifth Coalition.
Napoleon attempted a forced crossing of the Danube near Vienna, but the French and their allies were driven back by the Austrians under Archduke Charles. The battle was the first time Napoleon had been personally defeated in over a decade. However, Archduke Charles failed to secure a decisive victory as Napoleon was able to successfully withdraw most of his forces.
The French lost over 20,000 men including one of Napoleon's ablest field commanders and close friend, Marshal Jean Lannes, who died after being mortally wounded by an Austrian cannonball in an attack on Johann von Klenau's force at Aspern, which was backed up by 60 well-placed guns. The victory demonstrated the progress the Austrian army had made since the string of catastrophic defeats in 1800 and 1805.
Paul Grenier's French corps crushed Franz Jellacic's Austrian division at Sankt Michael in Obersteiermark, Austria.
Originally part of the Danube army of Archduke Charles, Jellacic's division was detached to the south before the Battle of Eckmühl and later ordered to join the army of Archduke John at Graz. As it retreated southeast toward Graz, Jellacic's division passed across the front of Eugène de Beauharnais' Army of Italy, which was advancing northeast in pursuit of Archduke John. When he learned of Jellacic's presence, Eugène sent Grenier with two divisions to intercept the Austrian column.
Grenier's lead division duly intercepted Jellacic's force and attacked. Though the Austrians were able to hold off the French at first, they were unable to get away. The second French division's arrival secured a clear numerical superiority over Jellacic, who was critically short of cavalry and artillery. Grenier's subsequent French assault broke the Austrian lines and captured thousands of prisoners. When Jellacic joined John it was with only a fraction of his original force.
Stralsund, a port at the Baltic Sea in Swedish Pomerania, was surrendered to France after the siege of 1807 during the War of the Fourth Coalition. During this war, Prussian captain Ferdinand von Schill distinguished himself by cutting off French supply lines using guerrilla tactics in 1806. In 1807, he raised a freikorps and successfully fought the French forces in what he intended to become a patriotic insurrection. In January and February 1809, the German resistance in French-held Westphalia invited Schill to lead an uprising.
The Battle of Stralsund was fought between Ferdinand von Schill's freikorps and Napoleonic forces in Stralsund. In a "vicious street battle", the freikorps was defeated and Schill was killed in action.
The Battle of Raab or Battle of Győr was fought on 14 June 1809 during the Napoleonic Wars, between Franco-Italian forces and Habsburg forces. The battle was fought near Győr (Raab), Kingdom of Hungary, and ended in a Franco-Italian victory. The victory prevented Archduke John of Austria from bringing any significant force to the Battle of Wagram, while Prince Eugène de Beauharnais's force was able to link up with Emperor Napoleon at Vienna in time to fight at Wagram.
The Battle of Graz took place on 24–26 June 1809 between an Austrian corps commanded by Ignaz Gyulai and a French division led by Jean-Baptiste Broussier. The French were soon reinforced by a corps under Auguste Marmont. The battle is considered a French victory though Gyulai was successful in getting supplies to the Austrian garrison of Graz before the two French forces drove him away from the city.
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.
It took Napoleon six weeks to prepare his next offensive, for which he amassed a 172,000-man French, German and Italian army in the vicinity of Vienna. Archduke Charles launched a series of attacks along the entire battle line, seeking to take the opposing army in a double envelopment. The offensive failed against the French right but nearly broke Napoleon's left. However, the Emperor countered by launching a cavalry charge, which temporarily halted the Austrian advance. He then 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, and rendered Charles's position untenable. Towards mid-afternoon on 6 July, Charles admitted defeat and led a retreat, frustrating enemy attempts to pursue.
The Battle of Gefrees was fought between a joint force of Austrians and Brunswickers under the command of General Kienmayer and a French force under the command of General Junot, Duke of Abrantès. The battle ended in victory for the Austrians who avoided being trapped by Junot and a force of Saxons and Westphalians led by Jérôme Bonaparte, King of Westphalia. After Jérôme's troops were defeated at the Battle of Hof, the Austrians effectively had control over all of Saxony. However the victory was in vain, due to the major Austrian defeat at Wagram and the Armistice of Znaim.
The Battle of Hollabrunn was a rearguard action fought on 9 July 1809 by Austrian VI Korps of the Kaiserlich-königliche Hauptarmee Hauptarmee under Johann von Klenau against elements of the French IV Corps of the Grande Armée d'Allemagne, under the command of André Masséna.
The battle ended in favour of the Austrians, with Masséna forced to break off the combat and wait for his remaining divisions to reinforce him, but the French Marshal was able to gather crucial intelligence about the intentions of his enemy.
Following defeat at the Battle of Wagram, Archduke Charles retreated north into Bohemia hoping to regroup his battered forces. The French army had also suffered in the battle and did not give immediate pursuit. But two days after the battle, Napoleon ordered his troops north intending to defeat the Austrians once and for all. The French eventually caught up the Austrians at Znaim. Realising they were in no position to give battle, the Austrians proposed a ceasefire as Archduke Charles went to begin peace negotiations with Napoleon. The Battle of Znaim was the last action between Austria and France in the war.
Illness-stricken British troops evacuating the island of Walcheren on 30 August.
1809 Jul 30 -
The Walcheren Campaign was an unsuccessful British expedition to the Netherlands in 1809 intended to open another front in the Austrian Empire's struggle with France during the War of the Fifth Coalition. Sir John Pitt, 2nd Earl of Chatham, was the commander of the expedition, with the missions of capturing Flushing and Antwerp in the Netherlands and enabling navigation of the Scheldt River. Some 40,000 soldiers, 15,000 horses together with field artillery and two siege trains crossed the North Sea and landed at Walcheren on 30 July. This was the largest British expedition of that Year, larger than the army serving in the Peninsular War in Portugal. Nevertheless it failed to achieve any of its goals. The Walcheren Campaign involved little fighting, but heavy losses from the sickness popularly dubbed "Walcheren Fever".
Schönbrunn Palace and gardens, painting by Bernardo Bellotto
1809 Dec 30 -
Austria losses territory
Austria also paid to France a large indemnity
Austrian army limited to 150,000 troops
Bavaria gains Salzburg, Berchtesgaden, and Innviertel
Duchy of Warsaw gains Western Galicia
Russia gains part of Eastern Galicia
France gains Dalmatia & Trieste(Austria loses access to Adriatic Sea)
Napoleon married the daughter of Emperor Francis,;Marie Louise. Napoleon hoped the marriage would cement a Franco-Austrian alliance and provide legitimacy to his regime.. The alliance gave Austria respite from war with France
The revolts in Tyrol and the Kingdom of Westphalia during the conflict were an indication that there was discontent over French rule among the German population.;
The war undermined French military superiority and the Napoleonic image
The Battle of Aspern-Essling was the first major defeat in Napoleon's career and was warmly greeted by much of Europe.