1809 Thunder on the Danube - Volume II (Hardback)
Napoleon's Defeat of the Habsburgs: The Fall of Vienna & the Battle of Aspern
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In the second volume of this epic work, John H. Gill traces Napoleon's progress as he sought to complete his victory over the Habsburgs. The war had erupted on April 10th with Austria's invasion of Germany and Italy. After just two weeks, Napoleon had battered the Habsburg Archduke Charles in a series of bruising defeats.
This volume begins with a Napoleon astride the Danube at Regensburg. He faced a critical strategic choice - whether to pursue the injured Austrian main army into Bohemia or march directly for Vienna, the seat of Habsburg power.
After electing to target Vienna, his troops defeated the Austrians in the brutal Battle of Ebelsberg, allowing him to enter the city on May 13th. But meanwhile, on the far side of the Danube, he suffered a dramatic loss at the gruelling, two-day Battle of Aspern. While his Danube forces recovered from this setback, the Emperor cleared trouble from his strategic flanks.
Gill describes in vivid detail the hopeful Habsburg invasion of Italy, led by the 27-year-old Archduke Johann, and the fierce French counter-offensive under Napoleon's stepson, Eugene de Beauharnais (also aged 27). In a series of encounters across Italy, de Beauharnais rebounded from initial defeat to advance triumphantly into Austrian territory, shattering and scattering Johann's army. In the wake of Aspern, while the Austrians vacillated, Napoleon gathered every man, horse and gun around Vienna, setting the stage for the gigantic spectacle of the Battle of Wagram, the final chapter in the story of the 1809 war.
Gill is very good at examining decisions from the point of view of the knowledge available to the participants at the time rather than with the benefit of hindsight. This is a truly excellent account of this pivotal moment in Napoleon's career ...History of War website
A masterly study that is likely to hold the field for many years to come.Gary Sheffield - Military Illustrated Magazine
I just read Jack Gill`s latest book; it ruined my life for days because I couldn`t put it down. Great stuff, well done; I look forward to Vol III.Digby G Smith on the Napoleon Series website
I have just picked up and devoured the second volume of John Gillâ€™s trilogy on the Franco-Austrian war of 1809. It is spectacular! ... Gill is the master of all he surveys. There is detail in this book that has been completely unavailable to the English speaker, and never found in one place in any language... Not only is this a dream for wargamers, but for anyone who wants to understand the campaign...First Empire - May 2009
â€˜This looks to be the definitive work on the 1809 campaign and I would be pleasantly surprised if someone found something more to add. I had wondered why Gill had taken so long from his writing career between this series and his last book. The answer is all too obvious when you see what he has produced. This is a work that generations will refer to as the Holy Grail
The Archduke Charles was the most formidable of Napoleon’s continental foes but only once came into direct conflict with him: this was in the 1809 Franco-Austrian campaign in the Danube Valley. Smarting from Austria’s humiliations in 1805, the Archduke launched a surprise attack upon the French whilst Napoleon was occupied in distant Spain. Outnumbered, the French faced disaster but, with typical energy and decisiveness Napoleon arrived just in time. In five days of marching and fighting he repulsed the Austrians at Abensburg and Eckmühl. The road to Vienna was now open and he pushed on but…By F Lorraine Petre
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