The French emperor napoleon Bonaparte
managed to win a number of decisive battles
and showed complete tactical and strategic dominance over his opponents
during the War of the Third Coalition,
but brilliance often begets new challenges,
more enemies would join the alliance against the French
in the war of the Fourth Coalition.
Among the central actions of this conflict were
the twin battles of a Jena and Auerstedt fought in 1806.
Napoleon utterly defeated the Allied Austro-Russian army
at the battle of Austerlitz in early December of 1805.
A separate peace at Pressburg was signed by the end of the month,
as Austria had no capacity to continuefighting.
Austria had to recognize Bavaria and Württemberg as kingdoms,
ceding a number of provinces to them in Germany,
while Napoleon received the provinces
of Venetia and Dalmatia as the king of Italy.
France was also promised 40 million francs in war indemnities.
The Russians were given a free pass to retreat through Austrian territory,
as the French troops were too tired to chase them anyway.
Prussia was planning to join the coalition in 1805,
but was delaying declaring war on France.
The Allied defeat at Austerlitz was alarming
for the Prussian King Frederick William III,
and in early 1806 he signed a treaty with Napoleon.
The Prussians had to cede a few provinces to the German allies of France,
while they would receive in return French occupied Hanover,
which belonged to Britain.
Prussia also formally entered the alliance with France against Britain.
Meanwhile the Austrian forces,
which were keeping French commander in Italy Massena occupied returned home,
and that allowed the French to concentrate their forces against the kingdom of Naples.
In February 1806 Massena invaded Naples.
Although the British expedition of Stewart supported the Neapolitans,
they lost the decisive battle at Campo Tenese
and by the end of July,
king Ferdinand IV and General Stewart had to retreat to Sicily.
All of mainland Italy was now under French control
and this situation would remain unchanged until the end of the Napoleonic Wars.
Since Britain and Russia did not share borders with France
and were not eager to start an amphibious invasion
The War of the Third Coalition was effectively over
and Napoleon started forming a new order in Germany.
In July 1806 he established the Confederation of the Rhine,
consisting of 16 German states with himself as the protector.
This gave Napoleon a buffer between France
and the most influential German states, Austria and Prussia.
On the 6th of August
he declared the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire,
which had existed since 800.
All this was insulting for Prussia.
And as Napoleon offered to return Hannover to Britain to procure peace,
war became inevitable.
The Prussian court was divided
with the king leading the peace party
while his spouse Queen Louise was nudging the country into conflict.
Finally the war party won,
and on the 10th of August Prussia started mobilizing its army.
in the next two months Prussia was able to enter the alliance with Britain and Russia.
Napoleon learned about the Prussianmobilization in early September
and ordered 50,000 conscripts to join the army.
The French troops were stationed all over Germany,
and Napoleon was not ready to go on an offensive just yet.
Prussia used that to enter Saxony and conscript 20,000 locals into its army.
Napoleon demanded that the Prussian army leave Saxony,
but on the first of October,
received an ultimatum to leave the lands to the east of the Rhine.
On the 6th of October the War of the Fourth Coalition began.
Both France and Prussia had about 200,000 troops
however, there was no unity in the Prussian army
and it had three formal leaders.
A number of generals advised the defensive approach
with a slow strategic retreat in the hopes that Bennigsen would soon join them
with more than 100,000 Russians under his command.
However this plan was ignored and a more ambitious plan created
by the Prince of Brunswick Charles William Ferdinand was adopted.
The Prussians were going to go on the offensive,
take Stuttgart in Württemberg and cut
Napoleon from a portion of his forcesand France.
Meanwhile the French Emperor had already decided on his moves.
He was going to move towards the Prussian capital of Berlin
from the southwest,
which meant that his troops would be able to avoid the majority of the rivers.
Just a few days after the declaration of war
Napoleon was already on the move.
It seems that neither army was sure about the location of the enemy,
but Napoleon’s plan was better
as it was cutting the Prussians from the Russians and Berlin,
and therefore forcing them to fight.
Due to scouting reports Napoleon was now sure
that the Prussians were concentrating near Jenna,
however, the latter finally understood that
the French army was no longer in Württemberg
and was moving fast to cut the roads to Berlin.
And some of the Prussian forces started moving to the north.
Indeed just three days after the war began
Napoleon’s troops ended up to the south and east of the Prussian army
and due to their faster movement
concentrated and defeated the Prussians
in the first battles of the campaign at Schleiz and Saalfeld.
Once again the French were too quick for their opponents
and two corps alongside the cavalry reserve
ended up to the northeast of the Prussian positions.
The Prussians were not encircled,
but as the road to Berlin was open to attack,
they had to stand and fight.
10月14日 双子战 耶拿-奥尔施塔特战役爆发了
The twin battles of Jenna and Auersted took place on the 14th of October.
In a way it was two distinct battles as
the two locations were more than 30 kilometers from each other
and the two battles never combined into one.
The French had about 40,000 infantry,
8,000cavalry and 110 guns at Jenna
under the overall command of Napoleon,
against 34,000 infantry, 12,000 cavalry and 15 artillery batteries
of the Prussian Prince Hohenlohe.
the French Center was commanded by Lannes,
the left flank by Augereau and the right by Soult.
Napoleon ordered his troops to take Land graefenberg,
the plateau that prevailed over the battlefield.
Part of the plateau was taken by the French during the night,
but they needed more space.
So at 6 a.m.an attack commenced.
The French Center took Closwith while the left captured Cospeda.
The Prussians lost the hill.
Hohenlohe now understood that he was fighting the main French army
and asked for help from the reserves at Weimar.
The Prussians managed to set the second line of defense
between the villages of Vierzehnheiligen and Isserstadt.
French advance was halted.
However, by 11:00 a.m.
Ney’s 6th Corps was on the scene
and Napoleon launched another attack.
Augereau captured Isserstadt,
Ney occupied Vierzehnheiligen and Soult turned the Prussian left.
By 1 p.m.
Hohenlohe had committed all his reserves in order to keep his line intact.
Reserved from Weimar were desperately needed.
Napoleon ordered his whole line to advance
and the Prussians finally collapsed.
By 3:00 p.m.the Prussians were in full retreat
with the French cavalry chasing them.
The reserves from Weimar finally arrived
and stopped the French at Kapellendorf Rüchel.
Merkel who was leading the newly arrived 15,000 Prussians
didn’t set a proper line and decided to counter-attack.
Although the French forces wereinitially halted,
their cavalry soon outflanked and routed the enemy.
By 4:00 p.m. the Battle of Jena was over.
The French had lost about 6500 men
while the Prussian losses have been estimated at 25,000.
Napoleon was sure that he had defeated the main Prussian army,
He was wrong.
At this point his marshal Davout was fighting the Prussian prince Brunswick.
On the previous day Davout was ordered to move to the south
and attack what Napoleon considered to be the main Prussian army from the north.
He also was told to join forces with Bernadotte.
However,the latter declined and kept his position at Dornburg,
as he was ordered to before.
In the early morning, Davout’s 28,000 left their positions
near the river Salle and moved towards Auerstadt.
Yere they were attacked by 52,000 Prussians with no hope of support.
Early in the battle the French took the village of Hassenhausen.
the French leader deployed his three divisions nearby.
Despite repeated charges by thePrussian cavalry.
By 8:30 a.m.
Davout’s infantry managed to rout the enemy cavalry.
But the Prussian infantry was arriving to the battle.
The French stopped a number of Prussian attacks,
mainly because the Prussians attacked in small groups
with each division advancing in isolation.
As their leader was mortally wounded early on,
the Prussians lacked any coordinated command.
At 11:00 a.m.
when the Prussians had exhausted their efforts,
Davout ordered a French advance and the Prussians collapsed.
By the end of the battle,
Davout had inflicted 10,000 casualties and taken 3,000 prisoners,
while he lost 7,000.
Over the next few weeks a relentless French
pursuit caused more casualties to the Prussians
and Berlin was occupied on the 27th.
In less than a month since the start of the campaign,
Napoleon’s forces killed 20,000 Prussians
and took more than 140,000 prisoners.
Still, the Prussian leadership retreated towards the Russian army,
so the war of the fourth coalition was just starting.
Thank you for watching our documentary on the twin battles of Jena and Auerstedt.
In two weeks we will be back to cover the Battle of Eylau.
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