Austrian Order-of-Battle at Wagram: 5 - 6 July 1809
The last of Napoleon’s decisive pre-1812 victories, the Battle of Wagram (5-6 July, 1809) was a bloody victory against Austria fought on the Marchfeld – a vast plain north-east of Vienna. It came six weeks after Napoleon’s initial attempt to cross the Danube River had been stopped by Archduke Karl-Ludwig at the Battle of Aspern-Essling (21-22 April). Napoleon subsequently withdrew his Grande Armee to Lobau Island and the south bank of the Danube to prepare plans for a second, more successful, river crossing.
Karl-Ludwig made two critical mistakes during this period: not only
did he fail to exploit his success at Aspern-Essling, he was also convinced
if Napoleon attempted a second Danube crossing to secure a deployment
area on the Marchfeld, it would again be in the Aspern sector. However,
Napoleon planned to achieve tactical surprise on the night of 4-5 July
by forcing a crossing further upstream at Gross-Enzerdorf.
The first day of the Battle of Wagram saw the French attack FML Armand
von Nordmann’s Advanced Guard, the Austrian Reserve Cavalry and FZM
Johann, Graf von Klenau’s VI Corps and force them back from the bridgehead.
The French continued to advance over the river and by the early afternoon
had completed the crossing. Napoleon then decided to attack the main
Austrian position, but the assault failed.
The main phase of the battle began the next day, when the French again
attacked the main Austrian position – a vast arc on the Marchfeld from
Leopoldau to Markgrafneusiedl. The right wing of Karl-Ludwig’s army
– Advanced Guard; part of I Corps; II and IV Corps – had been strengthened
with field fortifications.
Composed of nine corps-sized formations, Karl-Ludwig’s Hauptarmee was a mixture of line infantry and cavalry, Grenz units (border infantry) and Landwehr (militia infantry). David Chandler gives the Hauptarmee’s total strength as 130,000 men on 5 July, rising to 146,600 men the following day. A further 12,500 men of the Army of Inner Austria under Archduke Johann was advancing from Pressburg, but failed to arrive in time for the battle.
Commander: Karl-Ludwig, FM Erzherzog
Placed on the Napoleon Series: December 2004
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