Aspern-Essling, Battle of
(1809)
   The first defeat of a Napoleonic army, inflicted by the Austrian army under Archduke Charles near Vienna on May 21 and 22, 1809. Having defeated the Austrians in Bavaria, Napoleon marched down the Danube to capture Vienna on May 12. A failed attempt to seize the northern end of the destroyed Danube bridge at Schwarze Lackenau on the next day prompted Napoleon to order the construction of an improvised bridge into the Lobau, a large island downstream of Vienna, and then across a narrow river arm to the north riverbank, where French forces were steadily reinforced on May 20.
   The Austrians had marched through Bohemia to the Marchfeld plain on the north side of the river and prepared to advance that afternoon, thinking that the French would again try to reach the old bridgehead. Consequently, their attack was off-balance: three Korps marched from the west and just one Korps in two columns from the east, with cavalry screening the center. About 1 P.M. Napoleon began the battle with 24,000 men against 99,000 Austrians. The breaking of the fragile bridge by boats and trees thrown into the river by Austrian engineers upstream hampered French reinforcements from crossing throughout the battle. That afternoon saw a series of unsuccessful Austrian assaults on Aspern village, which was held by Marshal Masséna anchoring the French left flank; in the center, French cavalry made several attempts to split the Austrian army by charging the weak screen. It was 9 P.M . before the first Austrian assaults were made on Essling, defended by Marshal Lannes and anchoring the French right, but Feldmarschalleutnant Rosenberg’s IV Korps made little progress.
   During the night, French forces were increased to 71,000. In the early morning, Napoleon prepared to attempt to break the Austrian center, now reinforced by II Korps. Both Aspern and Essling were fiercely contested until the French secured both by 7 A.M . At that point Lannes’ 2 Corps began its advance against the Austrian center but was soon bogged down under intense Austrian artillery fire. Attempts by French cavalry to break through were beaten off by steady Austrian infantry masses (closed-up columns). French artillery briefly smashed a hole in the Austrian line, as Infantry Regiment 15’s masses broke up, but Archduke Charles rode forward to restore order, while the Reserve Grenadiers plugged the gap. After two hours, Lannes lost momentum, while another breach in the bridge prevented Marshal Davout’s 3 Corps from crossing. By noon, the French were back behind the Aspern- Essling Road.
   A series of Austrian assaults on Aspern set the whole village alight. Despite the intervention of French Guard infantry, the village was finally taken by 1 P.M . Archduke Charles then turned his attention to Essling and threw in four Grenadier battalions to help Rosenberg’s Korps. Two hours later, Essling, too, except for its stone granary, had been secured, while in the center, a massive Austrian artillery barrage with 200 guns blasted Napoleon’s army. Nevertheless, General Boudet led some Young Guard battalions into Essling to retake the village and thereby threaten the Austrian right wing. By 4 P.M ., both sides fell back some distance, having sustained heavy casualties, and the battle was reduced to artillery exchanges. The French retreated to their base in the Löbau. The Austrians had suffered about 20,000 casualties compared with 23,000 French. Napoleon would try again at the Battle of Wagram six weeks later.
   See also <>.
   FURTHER READING:
    Arnold, J. Napoleon Conquers Austria. Westport, CT: Praeger, 1995;
    Castle, I. Aspern & Wagram 1809. Oxford: Osprey, 1996;
    Wöber, F. Schlacht bei Aspern 1809. Vienna: Wöber, 1992.
   DAVID HOLLINS

Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Battle of Aspern-Essling — Infobox Military Conflict conflict=Battle of Aspern Essling partof=War of the Fifth Coalition caption=The Battle of Essling, May 1809 by Fernand Cormon date=21 May – 22 May, 1809 place=Lobau, Vienna casus= territory= result=Austrian victory… …   Wikipedia

  • Battle of Wagram — Infobox Military Conflict conflict=Battle of Wagram caption=Napoleon at Wagram, painted by Horace Vernet partof=the War of the Fifth Coalition date=5 July 1809 – 6 July 1809 place=North east of Vienna, Austria result= Decisive French victory,… …   Wikipedia

  • Battle of Hollabrunn (1809) — This article is about the battle of 1809. For the 1805 battle, see Battle of Schöngrabern Battle of Hollabrunn Part of the War of the Fifth Coalition Date 9 July 1809 Location …   Wikipedia

  • Battle of Gefrees — Infobox Military Conflict conflict=Battle of Gefrees partof=War of the Fifth Coalition caption= date=8 July, 1809 place=Gefrees, Germany result=Austrian victory combatant1=flagicon|Austrian Empire Austria flagicon|Prussia|1803 Black Brunswickers… …   Wikipedia

  • Bataille d'Aspern-Essling — Bataille d Essling Bataille d Essling La bataille d Essling par Fernand Cormon Informations générales Date 21 22 mai 1809 Lieu …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Wagram, Battle of — (1809)    The decisive battle of Napoleon Bonaparte ’s campaign of 1809 against Austria. Wagram was a costly, slogging match fought only days after the French emperor’s first defeat at Aspern Essling. The French had already captured Vienna on May …   Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914

  • Wagram, Battle of — (July 5–6, 1809) Victory by French forces under Napoleon against Austria. In an attempt to break French control of Germany, Austria s 158,000 troops under Archduke Charles (1771–1847) were deployed along a 14 mi (23 km) front on either side of… …   Universalium

  • Aspern — is part of Donaustadt, the 22nd district of Vienna.In 1904, the formerly independent village was incorporated into Vienna as part of the 21st district, Floridsdorf. Only in 1946 did it become part of the newly created 22nd district, Donaustadt.… …   Wikipedia

  • Essling — Eßling is part of Donaustadt, the 22nd district of Vienna.The area is known because of the Battle of Aspern Eßling, which was fought nearby on May 21 and May 22, 1809 …   Wikipedia

  • Battle at the Raab — Bataille de Raab Bataille de Raab La bataille de Raab, graphique en couleur d Édouard Kaiser (1855 1931[1]) Informations générales …   Wikipédia en Français

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”