Military Subjects: Battles & Campaigns


 


Russian-Austrian Order-of-Battle at Austerlitz: 2 December 1805

Introduction

By Stephen Millar

 

"Soldiers, I, myself, will direct all your battalions. I shall keep out the zone of fire if, with your customary bravery, you carry disorder and confusion into the enemy's ranks. But if, even for a moment, victory is uncertain, you will see your Emperor exposing himself to the first blows, because victory must come this day.

Let no one break ranks under the pretext of removing the wounded; let everyone be filled with this thought, that is absolutely necessary to crush these English hirelings, who are filled with such intense hatred against our nation.

This victory will finish our campaign, and we shall be able to go into winter quarters, where we shall be joined by new armies being formed in France. Then I will make a peace worthy of my people, of you and of me."

- Napoleonís proclamation to his army on the eve of the Battle of Austerlitz (Correspondance de Napoleon Ier, XI 535: No. 9532)

The Battle of Austerlitz (2 December 1805) is often cited by military historians as Napoleonís greatest victory. Coming less a month after the capitulation of Quartermaster-General FML Karl, Freiherr Mack von Lieberichís 27,000 Austrian troops at Ulm, Austerlitz was a carefully-planned defensive-offensive battle against an over-confident enemy. Napoleonís decisive defeat of GI Mikhail Illarionovich Golenischev-Kutusovís combined Russian-Austrian army led to the Treaty of Pressburg on 26 December (ending the War of the Third Coalition) and forced Austria out of the Napoleonic Wars until the 1809 Campaign.

Compiling an accurate Russian-Austrian order-of-battle for Austerlitz can be a difficult task for researchers. The cumbersome Allied ďcolumnĒ organization split and intermingled a number of regiments; it is sometimes unclear which colonel or major-general was responsible for which units.

The identification of a number of Allied commanders is hampered by the numerous different spellings of officersí surnames. For example, in most Austerlitz orders-of-battle, two of the major-generals in the Allied III Column are listed as GM Muller III and GM Strik. These two officers were GM Ivan Ivanovich Miller III, colonel-in-chief of Jager Regiment Nr. 7 1807-1810, and GM Fedor Shtrik, colonel-in-chief of the Butyrsk Musketeer Regiment 1802-1806; however, as biographical information has been found with both versions, it is uncertain which spelling is definitive.

No reliable biographical information was found for the commander of the Allied III Column, GL I. Y. Przybyszewski -- also spelled Prschibitschewski/Prebeshevsky -- or Imperial Guard infantry commander GL Maliutin.

Estimates of Golenischev-Kutusovís strength at Austerlitz range from 73,200 to 85,400 men with 278-334 battery and regimental guns. There are some areas of disagreement: a more detailed break-down of the Allied army lists 112 battalions (94 Russian and 18 Austrian) 126 squadrons (80 Russian and 46 Austrian); another order-of-battle lists 114 battalions (94 Russian and 20 Austrian) 124 squadrons (82 Russian and 42 Austrian).

The exact composition of the Russian artillery at Austerlitz is uncertain, but there are three useful sources (translated by Alexander Mikaberidze): an Artillery Department Archive report dated 4 December 1842; Golenischev-Kutusovís post-battle report dated 6 January 1806; GM Nikolai Ivanovich Bogdanov IIís post-battle report dated 5 December 1805 (Bogdanov II was the Russian artillery commander at Austerlitz). The incomplete 1842 report gives a minimum of 300 Russian guns before the battle and minimum of 160 guns after the battle, a decrease of 140 guns [see Appendix A below]. Golenischev-Kutusovís document says 131 battery and battalion guns were lost in the battle. Bogdanov II reported 39 [battery] guns lost out of a total of 133.

As a comparison, one modern source gives the Russians a total of 254 guns (92 battery guns and 162 battalion guns) and the Austrians a total of 90 guns (32 battery guns and 48 battalion guns).

 

Russian-Austrian Army

113 battalions, 124 squadrons and 298 guns in 35 batteries

Russian Commander-in-Chief: Aleksandr I, Czar of Russia

Russian Chief-of-Staff: Gerhard, GM

Austrian Commander-in-Chief: Franz II, Holy Roman Emperor

Austrian Field Commander: Liechtensten, GL Johann, Prinz zu

Austrian Chief-of-Staff: Weyrother, GM Franz von

Allied Field Commander: Golenischev-Kutusov, GI Mikhail Illarionovich

Russian Artillery: Bogdanov II, GM Nikolai Ivanovich*

 

Note:

*Some sources list GL Petr Ivanovich, Baron Meller-Zakomelski (colonel-in-chief of Artillery Regiment Nr. 5 1803-1806) as the commander of the Russian artillery.

 

 

Placed on the Napoleon Series: September 2004

Military Index | Battles Index ]


Search the Series

© Copyright 1995-2004, The Napoleon Series, All Rights Reserved.

Top | Home ]