I have fought sixty battles,
and I have learned nothing which I did not know at the beginning.
Look at Caesar. He fought the first like the last.
Violent changes in the course
of human history always bring the most talented military leaders to the forefront
and the French Revolution of 1789 was no different.
Among the generals who stepped up was Napoleon Bonaparte
and his genius dominated two decades of all-out conflict in Europe.
This is our first video on the Napoleonic Wars,
and we are going to start with the Battle of Marengo.
The French Revolution of 1789 was a paradigm-shifting
event that put all the monarchies of Europe at risk.
As French King Louis XVI and Queen Marie
Antoinette became the prisoners of the revolutionaries,
monarchs around Europe got even more worried.
The brother of the queen,
Archduke of Austria and Holy Roman Emperor Leopold II
and the king of Prussia Frederick William II,
宣称 如果路易斯国王和玛丽女王遭遇任何不测 将对法国发动战争
threatened France with war if anything happened to Louis and Mary Antoinette.
The new French government did not take it
well and declared war on Austria in 1792.
The Prussians declared war in response and soon after the Allies invaded France.
Despite the fact that the revolution had weakened their army,
the French managed to stop the invaders
near Valmy and even took some lands in Germany and Italy.
The French king and queen were executed the very next year
之后西班牙 那不勒斯 尼德兰(今荷兰) 不列颠和葡萄牙
and Spain, Naples, the Netherlands, Britain and Portugal
joined Austria and Prussia to form what would later be known
as the First Coalition.
Still in 1793 and 1794 France,
which was a republic now,
was able to win multiple battles on all fronts
and even take control of modern-day Belgium.
In 1795, the French invaded the Low Countries,
established the puppet Batavian Republic and agreed a separate peace with Prussia.
The Coalition attempted to overthrow the Republic
by supporting dissent in Paris,
but the military garrison led
by young Napoleon Bonaparte stopped the insurgency
and helped install a new government, the Directory.
France was now on the offensive.
They invaded Germany and Italy and
although the German campaign ended in defeat,
但是 在意大利 新成立的波拿巴政权
in Italy the newly promoted Bonaparte won
against Austrian and Sardinian armies
forcing the latter to sign a treaty and taking control of northern Italy.
Austria had to sue for peace and ceded Belgium,
比利时 莱茵兰 意大利北
the Rhineland and Northern Italy to France.
That was the end
of the War of the First Coalition and Napoleon returns to Paris as a hero.
Only Britain stayed at war and Napoleon started a new campaign
against them in Egypt in 1798.
He managed to take control of Malta and Egypt itself,
but was stopped by the united Ottoman and British forces.
When his navy was defeated near Aboukir, Napoleon lost the initiative.
Back in Europe, Britain convinced Austria,
说服奥地利 俄国和那不勒斯 组成第二联盟
Russia and Naples to form the Second Coalition.
在1799年 当俄国将军苏沃罗夫挺军意大利时 英国趁机入侵尼德兰
In 1799, Britain invaded the Netherlands while Russian general Suvorov moved into Italy.
The British were defeated,
but the Austro-Russian army managed to drive the French
out of Italy only to be stopped in Switzerland.
Suvorov was pushed out of Italy.
The overall situation for France left much to be desired
as the army was in bad shape
and the Directory lacked will and authority. Napoleon,
when informed of the situation,
abandoned his army in Egypt and returned to France in October.
Soon he led a successful military coup that overthrew the Directory,
replacing it with a Consulate.
Bonaparte was appointed as the First Consul.
In a short time, he was able to raise an army of 200,000.
In 1800, a small portion of this force was deployed
in Belgium to defend against a possible incursion,
while Moreau was sent to Germany and Masséna to Northern Italy.
The Austrians had two armies in the theater.
120,000 soldiers were under Kray in Germany
and a 100,000-strong force was commanded by Melas in Italy.
Masséna and his 40,000 were ordered to defend the southern borders
of France against Melas.
Napoleon tried to fool enemy spies by conducting an assembly in Dijon.
He deliberately started training the oldest and youngest recruits there.
Enemy agents informed their governments
and that gave Napoleon an opportunity to surprise the Austrians
by moving to Geneva with smaller units organized in other French cities. Still,
Coalition leaders were sure that he would attack
in Germany with his 60,000 men.
Instead Napoleon ordered Moreau to cross the Rhine and engage Kray.
He was planning something unexpected. Meanwhile,
Masséna was attacked by the Austrians
in April and had to retreat slowly towards the coast.
He was besieged in Genoa by Melas and the British fleet
but his stalwart defense
of the city allowed Napoleon to move his forces to Italy.
Napoleon repeated the maneuver of Hannibal against the Romans
crossing the Alps via the San Bernardino pass.
This surprised the Austrians and made them scramble to defend themselves.
Melas was sure that Napoleon would move towards Genoa
in order to raise the siege,
so he sent a contingent to stop them at well-fortified Turin. However,
the French leader outplayed his opponent
once again and took Milan on the 2nd of June.
Austrian supply lines were effectively cut and their
capital Vienna itself was now in imminent danger.
Melas had no other choice but to move against Napoleon,
and he was forced to allow Masséna’s troops to leave Genoa.
Melas needed to break through the French forces
in order to restore his lines of communication.
He sent some of his troops to the
north to close off the Po River,
but French troops managed to cross it all the same.
Melas still had a chance to win the campaign
as Napoleon was dividing his forces into smaller groups
to blockade as many roads as possible.
Melas needed to win a decisive battle quickly.
Sources claim that while planning this campaign a few months ago,
Napoleon pointed to Marengo on the map and predicted
that the fight would take place there. Indeed,
the two armies met at Marengo on the 14th of June.
Melas had more than 23,000 infantrymen, 8,000 cavalry and 100 cannons
while Napoleon commanded only 23,000 infantrymen and 20 cannons
as more than half of his army was blocking passages elsewhere.
The Austrian army started crossing the Bormida River at 8 o’clock. Seemingly,
Napoleon did not expect Melas to be here with his full force.
The initial Austrian attack was concentrated
against the division of French general Perrin
but despite outnumbering the enemy,
the Austrians had a hard time breaking
through due to the terrain and enemy resistance.
Melas was able to move more troops to the beachhead
and now attacked Perrin both head-on and from the flanks.
By 10 o’clock,
the French division was outflanked from the right side
but soon, a second French division
under general Lannes was nearby and was able to push the enemy back. However,
Melas now had more troops
across the river and so tried to encircle Lannes.
Napoleon realized that he was fighting the main Austrian force
and sent messengers to generals Desaix and Boudet
who commanded the only units in reinforcement range.
Melas was joined by general Ott who was now threatening the French right flank.
Lannes and Perrin started a slow retreat supported
by the newly arrived cavalry of Kellerman and Champeaux.
French lines were on the brink when Napoleon arrived with his Consular Guard.
This guard had a limited number of troops,
but Napoleon used them to fill the gaps.
Despite that, the French army was still
under devastating artillery fire and was constantly harassed as it withdrew.
To this day, historians are in awe
of the fact that Napoleon and his officers
were able to retreat in good order.
The Austrian army was the only one left standing in the field.
General Melas transferred command to general Zach and
returned to his camp to send the news to Vienna.
Unfortunately for the Austrians, their reconnaissance failed them.
Zach allowed his troops some respite, planning to pursue Napoleon later.
But during the wait, Desaix and Boudet arrived with 6,000 soldiers.
The French reformed their lines and
when Zach finally resumed the pursuit,
he was met by cannon and canister shots.
Desaix led his division forward and died during the assault
but his troops still continued on.
Along with the division of Boudet,
they broke through the first line of the Austrian army.
They were now facing fresh troops
of Zach and the battle hung in the balance. However,
at this point Napoleon proved his genius yet again
and sent his remaining cavalry under Kellerman to attack the Austrian left.
This attack proved decisive
群龙无首 无心恋战 证明了这一决策的高明
as Zach was captured and the leaderless Austrian army had no more will to resist.
They returned to the positions held in the morning.
That was the end of the Battle of Marengo.
The French took Italy back and
as Moreau defeated the Austrians at Hohenlinden,
Vienna was under threat and the Austrians had to sue for peace.
Britain continued fighting,
but in 1802 finally signed a peace treaty favourable for the French.
Nothing was stopping Napoleon from becoming Emperor.
Thanks for watching our first video on the Napoleonic Wars.
This series will hopefully continue if we see enough interest.
We would like to express our gratitude to
our Patreon supporters who make the creation of these videos possible.
This video was narrated by me Officially Devin.
Don’t forget to stop by my channel for some narrative Let’s Plays.
下一期 我们会讲 这就是国王和将军
This is the Kings and Generals channel we will catch you
on the next one.