Welcome to the Animated Map of Napoleon's 1805 Ulm to Austerlitz Campaign

The 1805 German Campaign Map is an interactive map designed to illustrate the operational realities of warfare in the Napoleonic era. The map charts the movement of the larger French, Austrian, and Russian units on a daily basis and contains a wealth of images, documents and other information relating to the campaign.

A central aim of the project is to provide a visual representation of the problems entailed in moving large forces across substantial distances in this period. These problems raise a number of questions:

  • How were such forces organized?
  • How did they travel?
  • How were they supplied?
  • How did they coordinate their movements?
  • And how did they maintain their organizational cohesion while on the move?

In addition, the project seeks to help users understand the connection between military operations and larger strategic objectives. The 1805 campaign was typical in that little that happened was actually planned in advance. When hostilities began in September, nobody could have predicted that the campaign would end with a final battle in December, let alone that this battle would be contested at a place called Austerlitz. How did commanders and their subordinates understand the situation they faced and how did they respond to it? The hope is that by allowing the viewer to watch the campaign unfold on a day-to-day basis, the maps will be able to give a sense of what things looked like to those with the power to make and implement decisions regarding the course of events but who naturally remained ignorant of where their decisions would lead.

Boulogne to Rhine Synopsis (1 of 2)

When France and Great Britain signed the Treaty of Amiens in 1802 Europe was at peace for the first time in a decade.  Relations between these two states deteriorated quickly, however, as a result of the aggressive policies of Napoleon Bonaparte, now ruler of France.  Napoleon strengthened French control of the Batavian and Helvetic Republics (Holland and Switzerland); took steps to extend French control of northern Italy; oversaw the dismantling of the Holy Roman Empire (Germany) to the benefit of French clients in western Germany; continued to discriminate against British trade; began building a navy; and sought to establish a French presence in the eastern Mediterranean. In May 1803, less than fourteen months after the conclusion of the Treaty of Amiens, Great Britain declared war on France, beginning what would become the War of the Third Coalition.

To begin with neither country had any means of attacking the other directly. Great Britain primarily targeted French shipping, while Napoleon occupied Hanover and began preparations for an invasion of Britain from a military camp established at the French port at Boulogne. Further French provocations served to transform a Franco-British war into a European conflict. In 1804 Napoleon shocked Europe with the extra-territorial arrest and execution of the Duc d’Enghien on trumped-up charges of conspiracy. A couple of months later Napoleon announced that France was now a hereditary empire and on December 2, 1804, he crowned himself emperor. The following spring he crowned himself King of Italy, annexed Genoa, Parma and Piacenza, transferred Lucca to his younger sister Elise, and partially occupied the kingdom of Naples.

These actions finally brought Russia, Sweden and Austria into an alliance with Britain. In early August 1805 Austria formally joined the Third Coalition and a month later Austrian forces crossed the Bavarian border. Napoleon now turned his attention to Austria.  “I am marching on Vienna,” Napoleon wrote to his foreign minister Talleyrand on August 23.  Two days later, his army had orders to prepare for a fall campaign in Germany.  As Napoleon wrote to his chief of staff, "The moment of decision has arrived."

For the quotations, see letters 10645 (to Talleyrand, 23 aout) and 10658 (to Berthier, 25 aout), in Napoléon, Correspondance générale, vol. 5, pages 607 and 618.

Rhine to the Danube Synopsis (1 of 2)

In the last week of September as his forces were nearing the Rhine Napoleon’s concept for the upcoming campaign finally gelled. His intelligence indicated that the Austrian forces under Mack were preparing to stand on a defensive line south of Ulm in the direction of the western end of Lake Constance and Napoleon now envisioned a massive movement that would cut Austrian forces off from their lines of retreat. On September 28 he sketched a plan that had his entire army swinging around east of Ulm with the idea of encircling and annihilating the Austrian army. Napoleon seems to have assumed that the Russian armies would not arrive before he had dealt with the Austrians. This surmise was indeed correct – the first columns of Kutuzov’s army would only arrive in Braunau on October 15 and would not be combat ready for another week. In late September, however, French intelligence of the location of the Russian forces was still fragmentary and often contradictory with some of it reporting Russian forces much closer than they actually were. Napoleon had already demonstrated his willingness to take risks in prior campaigns. We see it here in his decision to envelope the Austrian army and it would continue to characterize his decisions throughout the campaign.

See Kagan, Napoleon and Europe 1801-1805, 374 for a concise summary of Napoleon’s September 28 plan; and 376 for an assessment of Napoleon’s decision making.

Ulm Synopsis (1 of 2)

By June 6 French forces were approaching the Danube River at multiple points and in a position to cut off the Austrian army concentrated around Ulm from its primary lines of communication. At this point Mack could have retreated southeast toward Innsbruck, in the direction of Austrian forces stationed in the Tyrol and closer to those in Italy. Mack instead decided to stand at Ulm, apparently with the idea of holding out long enough for the Russians to arrive. Mack additionally held out the possibly of attacking from Ulm Napoleon’s own lines of communication. Such appears for instance to have been the logic behind the Austrian movements leading up to the battle of Günzberg on October 9.

For his part Napoleon realized that he had achieved an advantageous position against the Austrians but he remained uncertain of their exact location or intentions in the days that followed. Napoleon initially believed that Mack was withdrawing and that Ulm contained nothing more than a small rearguard. He later thought that Mack would attempt to breakout and thus positioned his forces for in anticipation of a major battle. It was not until October 12 that Napoleon realized that the main Austrian force was still at Ulm that he concentrated the bulk of his army toward Ulm with the intention of fighting a decisive battle with Austrian forces. That battle would not take place. On October 15 French forces had effectively surrounded Ulm and Napoleon sent an emissary to demand the army’s surrender. Mack refused but was overruled by the unanimous request of the seven lieutenant field marshals and two major generals serving under his command. On October 17 Mack and Napoleon agreed to a capitulation and on October 20 the Austrian army at Ulm surrendered.

Ulm to Vienna Synopsis (1 of 2)

Napoleon's Ulm maneuver resulted in the destruction of Mack's army. As many as 30,000 Austrian soldiers escaped. Field Marshal Jellachich's division moved south to the Vorarlberg region east of Lake Constance. Field Marshal Kienmayer retreated southeast via Munich and eventually to Braunau, where he would link up with Kutozov's Russian army. Archduke Ferdinand and 5,000 cavalrymen made their way to Bohemia, where they would remain for the rest of the campaign. Austria still possessed its other forces, including Archduke John's corps in the Tyrol and Archduke Charles's much larger army in northern Italy, as well as various units scattered throughout the empire. Austria was additionally allied with Russia, which now had two armies under Buxhöwden and Kutuzov in Austrian territory. But the French had taken as many as 50,000 Austrian prisoners at and around Ulm and Austria no longer possessed a force capable of standing up to Napoleon's Grande Armée in Germany.

Napoleon had thus won the first round. He now faced the question of what to do next. He could move south against Archduke John's army and secure the alpine passes. He could occupy the Austrian capital of Vienna and perhaps cut off Archduke Charles' army, now in headlong retreat from north Italy. Or he could try to overtake Kutuzov's army, now assembled at the military camp at Braunau on the Bavarian border. Napoleon hesitated and it was not until October 25, nearly a week after Mack's surrender, that he fully committed to the pursuit of Kutuzov's force.

In the first week of November Napoleon organized a new VIII Corps under the command of General Mortier and sent it to the north bank of the Danube in an attempt to cut off the Russians' line of retreat. Napoleon's remaining forces pursued Kutuzov's army on the road to Vienna. They failed to catch Kutozov, who crossed the Danube River on November 8 at St. Pölten. Three days later Mortier's corps was surprised and mauled by a Russian force at Dürnstein, a small town on the north bank of the Danube, in what would be the worst French defeat of the campaign.

Kutusov's army departed on August 22; first elements arrived at Braunau in the second week of October (he states Oct. 15 on p. 443) but after forced march and without artillery since the infantry had been sent ahead (the last infantry arrived October 19, the same day as the first artillery). Kutusov set about making it ready to advance against the French and it was only on October 19 that he learned that Mack's army had been trapped and defeated and on October 23 he learned from Mack in person.

Figures: French took some 50,000 Austrian prisoners at Ulm, Memmingen, and surrounding areas; a further 25,000-30,000 escaped (Jellacic south to the Vorarlberg, Kienmayer via Munich, while Ferdinand broke out of Ulm and headed to Bohemia: the battle of Austerlitz would find him in Prague). But Mack's army was effectively destroyed.

Napoleon didn't move east against the Russians until Oct. 25

Napoleon's delay: 1) lack of firm plans; 2) supply problems; 3) lack of knowledge regarding Russian forces - he had various information, much of it wrong.

Kagan argues that 2) and 3) are plausible, make sense, and have evidence in their favor but that 1) is certain (see 444).


Kutuzov's army marched through Krems on way to Braunau (the first column passed through on October 3).

On to Moravia Synopsis (1 of 2)

The French army continued to pursue Russian and Austrian forces north and into Moravia after Kutuzov's crossing of the Danube on November 8 and the defeat of Mortier's VIII Corps on November 11 at Dürnstein. On November 14 the French occupied Vienna and managed to capture intact the bridges across the Danube. It became increasingly clear, however, that French forces would not be able to prevent the junction of the Russian armies. On November 19 Kutusov joined Buxhöwden at Wischau and on November 23 they moved to Ölmutz, where the Russian Emperor Alexander I had arrived the week before.

In the meantime Napoleon gathered his army around the town of Brno. He now faced a problem. Although the campaign had gone his way, with the winter looming he was now deep in enemy territory facing an army that he had no means of forcing into battle. While he occupied the Austrian capital of Vienna, the length of his supply lines required him to disperse his forces throughout the theatre of operations. Meanwhile, Archduke John's corps had escaped the pursuit of Ney's corps in the Alps and the army under the command of Archduke Charles was fast approaching Vienna. Finally, Prussia was mobilizing its armies with the intention of joining the Third Coalition in its war against Napoleon.

Napoleon had several options but none of them any good. He could retire to winter quarters in Austrian territory and continue the campaign the following year but against an enlarged coalition. Alternatively, he could withdraw altogether but with little to show for his efforts. Instead, having failed to separate the allies by diplomatic means, he determined to try to bait the Russians and Austrians into giving him the battle he so desired. It was his good fortune that they took the bait.

Austerlitz Synopsis (1 of 2)

Napoleon had with him at Brno Murat's, Lannes's, and Soult's Corps, as well as the Imperial Guard and the Grenadiers Division, a total of perhaps 45,000 soldiers. He could additionally expect to call on Bernadotte's and Davout's Corps in case of a battle but even in then he was seriously outnumbered. The Austrians and Russians already had nearly 100,000 men at Olmütz, another 40,000 Russian soldiers were on their way, and Russia had yet another army of roughly 50,000 troops stationed on the Russian-Austrian border. Had the allies waited another few weeks for the 200,000 strong Prussian Army to enter the war and for the army under Archduke Charles to arrive in theatre, they might have enjoyed overwhelming superiority over Napoleon's much smaller Grande Armée. Instead, the Austrians and Russians opted to challenge Napoleon's army in a decisive battle.

Napoleon too wanted a battle and made great efforts to lure the allies into fighting one. When he learned that the allies were moving in the direction of Austerlitz, he voluntarily gave up his position on the Pratzen heights. He would later feign a withdrawal. The allies, however, made the decision to engage Napoleon for their own reasons. The two emperors, the Russian tsar Alexander I and the Austrian emperor Francis II, were now present with their armies, together with their retinues of advisors and assorted hangers-on. Against the advice of their older, more experienced commanders, it was the emperors and their advisors who made the decision to move against Napoleon's army.

On November 27 Russian and Austrian troops left Olmütz and began their advance toward the town of Austerlitz, just east of French positions. Although only twenty miles away, it took them three days to move into position. The delay allowed Napoleon to call in reinforcements. On November 29 Napoleon withdrew Soult's corps from the Pratzen heights and concentrated his forces around a fortified position just east of Brno.

The allied plan was to swing around Napoleon's right flank and cut him off from his line of retreat to Vienna. Napoleon, however, anticipated the allies and was able to counter the their maneuver. He left just enough troops to halt the allied advance on his right wing and concentrated the bulk of his forces for a counter-attack against the allied center on the Pratzen heights, now empty due to the allied attack on Napoleon's right wing.

What followed is the stuff of Napoleonic legend, if not simply myth. The sun shone on the heights while Napoleon's forces lay shrouded in the fog below when he gave the order to attack. The attacking French force thus emerged out of the fog and into the sun to fall upon the rear of the allied army from the very position it had just left. Meanwhile, in the north, French forces successfully advanced on Russian positions, forcing the Russians to retreat.

After heavy and confused fighting, particularly on the Pratzen heights and in the villages to the south, the French prevailed and the Russian and Austrian armies left the field. Casualties were heavy. Kutuzov reported losing nearly 20,000 dead and missing and French losses numbered more than 8,000 soldiers. The Russian and Austrian armies nevertheless remained largely intact. Napoleon had won a battle. But it was only Alexander's and Francis's acceptance of it as decisive that spelled the demise of the Third Coalition and brought the war to an end.

August 27, 1805 - Napoleon’s Orders to Saint Cyr:

Since war had broken out with Britain in May, 1803, French forces under General Gouvion Saint Cyr had been occupying coastal parts of Naples (the Kingdom of Two Sicilies, Taranto, Otranto, and Brindisi were all under French occupation). In late August, 1805, Napoleon reinforced St. Cyr's army with French forces from the Kingdom of Italy, and he ordered St. Cyr to depose the current rulers, establish a French regency, and then to defend against a potential Anglo-Russian landing. St. Cyr, however, was doubtful of his ability to execute this plan and Napoleon's initial plan was soon superseded by negotiations with the Neapolitan court for a treaty of neutrality. Once negotiations were concluded on September 23, St. Cyr was ordered to remain in Naples until the Neapolitans ratified the treaty (which it did on October 8), at which point St. Cyr was to evacuate Naples and move his forces north to the southern border of the Kingdom of Italy to cover the flank of Masséna's army from a possible Anglo-Russian landing in Naples. (Kagan, 314-21; Flayhart, 26-7)

August 27, 1805 - Bernadotte, Hanover, and I Corps:

France had occupied Hanover immediately upon the resumption of hostilities with Great Britain in May, 1803 (the British king, George III, was also the elector of Hanover) and the following year Bernadotte had been appointed Governor of Hanover. In August, 2005, the French army occupying Hanover, rechristened the I Corps and placed under Bernadotte’s command, was ordered to abandon Hanover and concentrate at Würzburg, in part to cover the possible withdrawal of Bavaria forces in the face of an Austrian attack. (Kagan, 321-23)

August 29, 1805 - The Austrian War Plan:

Of the three major coalition powers Austria was the most reluctant to go to war against France. Archduke Charles had long counseled against war on the grounds that Austria was unlikely to be able to defeat France on its own and was equally unlikely to receive sufficient assistance from either Great Britain (in the form of money) or Russia (in the form of troops). In opposition to Charles, Baron Karl von Mack, the general who would replace Charles as the emperor Francis's chief military advisor, and the foreign minister Ludwig Cobenzl, were more optimistic but, as Frederick Kagan has argued, Cobenzl's military optimism was driven as much by political imperatives as a realistic assessment of Austria's military position.

Ironically, it was Charles's own war plan, first devised in 1804 to illustrate for the emperor the difficulties Austria would face in a war against France, that served as the template for Mack's plan of the following year. This plan called for dividing Austrian forces into three armies, one of which would be deployed in northern Italy, the second in the Tyrol, and the third in southern Germany (these armies correspond to the commands of Archduke Charles in Italy, Archduke John and Hiller in the Tyrol, and Archduke Ferdinand and Mack in Germany). The Italian force would be the largest in anticipation of Italy as the major focus of French operations. The German army would invade Bavaria and hold a defensive position along the Iller River between Lake Constance and the Danube River in order to secure the rear of the Italian army. Once northern Italy was secured (along the Adda River to control the alpine passes), Austrian forces would invade France via Switzerland and the Franche Comté, presumably in early 1806. The plan reflected awareness of the vulnerability of Austria's left flank but not of its right flank in Germany.

At a conference in July, 1805, Russia agreed to support the Austrians with two armies. The first army was to enter Austrian territory from Brody on August 20 and begin arriving at Braunau on October 20. The second army was to depart from Brest at a date that was eventually pushed back to September 16, three weeks later than originally proposed. Until the arrival of the Russians, the Austrian army would be expected to hold off any French forces that might be operating in Germany or, as Charles put it in an August 29 memoranda, to withdraw to a more secure position either to the east at Salzburg or to the south in the Tyrol.

Though Charles remained pessimistic, the Austrian plan was finalized at a conference held on August 29 at the Hetzendorf Palace just outside Vienna. In Frederick Kagan's judgment: ”It was not a hopeless plan, nor was it doomed from the start. Despite its many failings, it was not a foolish undertaking. Considering the constraints on allied actions … it is not clear that there were better options. It was a plan, however, that relied for success on a great deal of good fortune, on skillful and resolute generals to execute it, and on a cooperative enemy. The allies, as it happened, had none of those advantages in the event.” (Kagan, 357-58)

September 2, 1805 - Napoleon Departs Boulogne for Paris:

On September 2 Napoleon left the Boulogne military camp for Paris. He would remain in Paris until September 23 to deal with a financial crisis afflicting the Bank of France, and possibly also to deceive the coalition as to his intentions. One consequence of the financial crisis was that Napoleon was short cash at the start of the campaign and unable to provide adequate footwear for many of his soldiers. (Lefebvre, 232-7)

September 3, 1805 - Bavaria Sides with France:

On September 3 Austria broke diplomatic relations with France. On the same day Prince Karl von Schwarzenberg was sent to the court of the Bavarian Elector Maximilian IV Joseph in Munich to see if the Bavarians could be enticed into a treaty of alliance. Max Joseph, who had already allied himself to France, played for time and deceptively agreed to open negotiations about joining Austria before leaving Munich on the night of September 8 with his army in tow. (Kagan, 335-6)

September 3, 1805 - The Austrian Camp at Wels:

The Austrian army was concentrating at Wels in preparation for the invasion of Bavaria. On September 3 Mack gave orders for the advance to the Iller. He divided the army into two columns. The one, under the command of Field Marshal Klenau, would march by way of Braunau, while the other, commanded by Field Marshal Gottesheim, would go to Schärding. The columns would cross the Inn on September 8 and Klenau would march toward Munich while Gottesheim took a northerly route through Landshut and thence to Freising. Another body of troops under Jellacic would move into western Bavaria from the Vorarlberg (east of Lake Constance), while further columns under Field Marshal Reisch would follow those of Klenau and Gottesheim. (Kagan, 336-7)

September 7, 1805 - Crossing the Bavarian Border:

The Austrian forces crossed the Bavarian border on September 8.

September 7, 1805 - French Army of Italy:

On September 7 Marshal André Masséna arrived in Milan to take command of the Army of Italy, which was scattered throughout the kingdom. By mid-October Masséna estimated his force to be 41,000 strong. (Koch, 370)

September 8, 1805 - The Bavarian Elector Flees Munich:

Together with half of his army Bavarian Elector Max Joseph left Munich for Regensburg with the intention of meeting up with the French. The other half went in the direction of Ulm before eventually joining up with Bernadotte's corps. The following day Austrian plenipotentiary general Schwarzenburg left Munich to inform Mack of Bavaria's intentions.

September 13, 1805 - More Austrian Forces March Towards Iller:

Throughout the next couple of weeks Austrian forces under the command of Kienmayer and Riesch marched in the direction of the Iller.

September 14, 1805 - Mack:

Over the next couple of weeks Mack's icon will remain stationary but the general was moving throughout the area between the Iller and Lech Rivers establishing defensive positions, inspecting preparations, meeting with his officers, and defending his preparations before the emperor. The first clear report that the French army was moving in Mack's direction had been sent to Vienna on September 5. By mid-September Mack was convinced that Napoleon was moving rapidly. The news did not change his decision to take up a position on the Iller line, even though his forces remained dispersed over the one hundred fifty miles separating the Inn and Iller Rivers. (Kagan, 345-6)

September 17, 1805 - Napoleon’s Operational Plans:

The Austrian war plan focused on northern Italy as the central theater. By contrast Napoleon focused on concentrating his forces against Austrian forces operating in Germany. As his chief of staff Berthier explained to the Elector Max Joseph, however, the specifics of Napoleon's plans depended on ”the movement of the enemy” and thus changed according to his knowledge of the location of the Austrian army and his understanding of Austrian intentions. These remained unclear until mid-September, when Napoleon began sketching plans for his movement to the Danube.

One of his first plans, dated September 17 (see map below), had French forces moving in an arc from Ulm to the northeast so as outflank an Austrian position on the Lech River and Augsburg. This plan, however, worked less well if the Austrians held Ulm, so when news arrived that the Austrian's were at Ulm, Napoleon developed another plan, dated September 20 (see second map below). This plan avoided Ulm altogether and called for a concentration of French forces along an east-west line to the northeast of Austrian positions in order to position his forces for a decisive battle with the Austrian army.

Plans for the envelopment of Austrian forces deployed along the Stockach-Ulm line would gel over the next week as Napoleon continued to receive intelligence of the strength and location of Austrian forces (which was smaller than initially estimated). By September 26 he seems to have gained confidence in the idea of a massive turning movement east of Ulm that could entrap the bulk of the Austrian army and on September 28 he sketched a plan to that effect. As Napoleon wrote Bernadotte on September 27, ”if I have the good fortune that the Austrian army sleeps for three or four more days on the Iller and in the Black Forest, I will have turned it and I hope that nothing will escape but debris.” (Kagan, 361-74)

September 20, 1805 - Tensions:

Tensions between Mack and Archduke Ferdinand, the emperor Francis's son and nominal commander of Austrian forces in Germany, ran high throughout the campaign. Both Ferdinand and Mack reported directly to the emperor and the hierarchy of command was never fully clarified, though Mack exercised de facto command. By placing Austrian forces on the Iller, Mack had gone beyond what Francis had authorized, and when Ferdinand arrived to take command in Munich on September 20, he called off the forced marches that Mack had ordered. By now Mack was aware that the Austrian assumptions about Napoleon's own plans were wrong and their plan, with its emphasis on the Italian theatre, was misconceived. But instead of rethinking his strategy (the position on the Iller was originally intended to defend the northern flank of Austrian army but if Italy was no longer the focus, that line lost its importance: he could have pulled back to a less exposed position), Mack instead lobbied Francis for the transfer of forces from Italy and the Tyrol to Germany and the reinforcement of the Iller line.

To resolve these differences Francis met with Ferdinand and Mack at Landsberg on September 22. At this meeting Mack won the argument: the Austrian Army remained on Iller, Francis ordered Archduke Charles to send five infantry regiments to Innsbruck, and a new corps under Kienmayer was organized with the mission of observing Bernadotte's corps. (Kagan, 345-56)

September 20, 1805 - Archduke Charles Arrives in Padua:

On September 20 Archduke Charles arrived in Padua to take up command of the Austrian Army of Italy. According to the original Austrian war plan, which anticipated that Napoleon would focus offensive operations in northern Italy, this was to be the largest of the Austrian armies. Its nominal strength was 136,000 troops but once garrison troops and the units detached to the Tyrol (25,000), the various units sent to reinforce the army in Germany (20,000), and the large number of absentee soldiers (roughly 20,000) are taken into account, Archduke Charles was left with a force of about 60,000 in northern Italy. This was still larger than the French army under Masséna, which numbered about 40,000 along the Adige River, but not enough to establish the clear numerical superiority that Charles regarded as necessary for successful offensive operations. He thus took up a defensive position along the Adige River between Rivoli and Legnano. As he wrote his brother, the emperor Francis, on September 27, he now intended to confine himself to the ”strictest defensive” posture and warned that any further reductions of his force would mean that he would ”not be able to remain responsible even for this goal.” (Kagan, 495-513)

September 22, 1805 - Austrian Meeting at Landsberg:

At a September 22 meeting at Landsberg, the emperor Francis met with the two commanders of Austria's Army of Germany, Mack and Ferdinand, and confirmed Mack's decisions. For the conflicts between Mack and Ferdinand, see the note above on the map of September 20.

September 22, 1805 - Bernadotte Ordered to Cross the Prussian Territory of Ansbach:

On September 22 Napoleon ordered Bernadotte to cross the Prussian territory of Ansbach (I Corps and II Corps would both enter Ansbach on October 3). There were good military reasons to cross Ansbach, since to do otherwise would have pulled Bernadotte's corps out of position. However, it also came with political costs, as it drove Prussia closer into partnership with the Third Coalition, and most commentators have regarded the decision as a political error. For his part, the Prussian king Frederick William III felt pressured on all sides. Napoleon had been trying to entice the Prussia into an alliance, and while Frederick William III feared Russia more than he did France, he wished to remain neutral. Tsar Alexander's own war plan placed a Russian army on the Prussia border in order to coerce Frederick William into joining the coalition. But Napoleon's decision to violate Prussian territory likely pushed Frederick William further in the direction of the Third Coalition than he would have otherwise gone. (Kagan, 324-7, 535-47)

September 23, 1805 - Masséna's Objective:

On September 23 Napoleon's chief of staff, Marshal Berthier, sent Masséna orders to take Verona and secure the crossings across the Adige River. Masséna's objective was to establish a strong defensive position against possible a possible Austrian attack across the Adige. Masséna, however, was not yet ready to begin operations, which were projected to begin on October 1. Napoleon authorized Masséna to establish a convention with the Austrians so as to buy time for further preparations and on September 30 Masséna and Charles agreed that neither army would commence hostilities without giving notice six days in advance. The convention remained in effect until Masséna announced on October 8 that he was terminating the truce. (Kagan, 513-18)

September 23, 1805 - Response to Landsberg Meeting:

In response to the decisions made at the September 22 meeting at Landsberg, Charles sent five infantry and two cavalry regiments to the Austrian army in Germany. These followed the three regiments from Auffenberg's army in the Tyrol and the two from Charles's army in Italy already sent to Ferdinand. Four of these units were later sent back to Trento in the Tyrol, an order that was then reversed yet again on October 13, though this time Charles refused to accede to the request. (Kagan, 507, 518-20)

September 23, 1805 - Klenau:

Klenau established his headquarters at Pfullendorf while his army took up positions in the surrounding region: Stockach, Engen, Radolfzell, Wurzbach, Biberach, and Waldsee.

September 24, 1805 - Napoleon’s Journey to Strasbourg:

Napoleon left Paris for Strasburg on September 23. By September 24 he had reached La Ferté-sous-Jouarre, Epernay by September 25, and Strasburg on September 26.

September 28, 1805 - Napoleon’s New Operational Plan:

On September 28 Napoleon first sketched the plan for the envelopment of the Austrian army (see map below). For more on the evolution of Napoleon's operational strategy, see the note on the September 17 map. (Kagan, 373)

September 28, 1805 - Role of Murat’s Cavalry Reserve:

Although Murat's icon will remain stationary for the next few days, the cavalry under Murat's command was quite active in this period. Murat's cavalry patrolled well into and even beyond the Black Forest. One of its tasks was to gather information regarding the location and strength of Austrian forces. Another was to sweep the area of Austrian cavalry so as to deny the enemy intelligence. Finally, they served to deceive the Austrians of French intentions. From Napoleon's perspective, the longer the Austrian remained focused on the Black Forest, the better. The map shows Murat's location (or the location of his headquarters). However, the user should imagine his cavalry ranging widely and deployed on a number of diverse missions.

September 29, 1805 - Supplying the I Corps and II Corps:

Both the I Corps under Bernadotte's command and the II Corps under Marmont's were scheduled to pass through Würzburg. Bernadotte's arrived first and moved toward the southern side of the town as Marmont's Corps arrived. Although the map shows each Corps as occupying a single place, the user should imagine them as more spread out. Marmont's Corps, for instance, was spaced out along a three days march. On September 29, he thus informed Berthier that his 1st Division had arrived in Würzburg and that he expected his 2nd Division to arrive on September 30, and the 3rd Division on October 1. He did not expect any of his artillery to arrive until October 2 and did not expect to be able to move his Corps out until October 3.

Both corps were expected to obtain supplies in Würzburg. A supply agent had been sent in advance to locate supplies but neither commander was able to obtain what he had hoped. Bernadotte was short of cash, a topic he brought up on numerous occasions in his letters to Napoleon. As he wrote on September 28, ”I have no money to pay for [supplies] and it is only by a miracle what we have been able survive up to now. I thus dare to pray that Your Majesty see fit to put some money at my disposal.” The money was not forthcoming. On October 1 he reported that he was leaving Würzburg with only two days subsistence. When in neutral territory, he told Berthier, he would give “receipts for all that will be supplied to the troops.” In other words he planned on requisitioning supplies on the promise of future payment.

Marmont too was having difficulties feeding his troops. In a letter to Berthier on September 30, he described the situation as follows: ”As usual the troops are billeted with the population. No supply magazine has been established. The inspector of supplies sent here neither purchased anything, nor had made either bread or biscuit, and I am now greatly concerned about how I am going to feed my troops at the end of the march we are expected to conduct.”

As with the whole of Napoleon's army, Marmont's troops were left to find what they could from the local population. What little testimony we possess from ordinary soldiers suggests that finding food was a constant preoccupation. Luckily for French soldiers, they were moving quickly through a region reasonably well stocked for food. As Jean-Pierre Blaise, a corporal in the III Corps, later recalled, ”The speed of our march made it impossible for supplies to keep pace with us, and so we were often short of bread in spite of all the efforts of our commanding general, Marshal Davout … Fortunately, it was the height of the potato season, and they were plentiful in our area. How many times did we ruin the hopes of the villagers! We pillaged from them the fruits of an entire year's work.” As the campaign continued, however, and the French moved into areas where the Austrians had already been through, it became more difficult to locate foodstuffs.

The first three quotations are from Alombert and Colin, La campagne de 1805 en Allemagne, vol. 2, 152, 156, and 153-4. For Jean-Pierre Blaise, see Fairon and Heusse, Lettres des grognards, 98; cited here from Chandler, The Campaigns of Napoleon, 392.

October 1, 1805 - Bavarian Armies Placed under Bernadotte’s Command:

The Bavarian units under the command of Generals Wrede and Deroy were now placed under the overall command of Bernadotte, whom Napoleon had placed in charge of his left wing.

October 3, 1805 - French Forces Violate the Prussian Territory of Ansbach:

On October 3 the I Corps and II Corps entered Ansbach, thus violating Prussia's neutrality. In a September 28 letter to Francis, Ferdinand had pointed out the danger the French left posed to the right wing of the Austrian army. Mack, however, had dismissed the danger on the grounds that Napoleon would not risk war with Prussia and its 200,000 strong army by violating its territory, though it is not clear that Ferdinand shared with Mack the intelligence he had of French movements. In the event Napoleon did violate Prussian neutrality. This action did alienate the Prussians, though it did not immediately lead to war (see the note on the September 22 map). It did, however, place Mack's entire army in jeopardy.

October 3, 1805 - Kienmayer:

Kienmayer's corps had been organized on September 23 with the mission of observing Bernadotte and the Bavarians. His headquarters were established in Munich but much of his army was concentrated to the north near Donauwörth. Subsequent orders indicated that Kienmayer should pull back to Ingolstadt in case of trouble.

October 5, 1805 - Mack Orders Concentration at Ulm:

On October 5 Mack issued new orders to concentrate toward Ulm. Although he had not yet fully grasped the gravity of his situation, he now realized that the Iller line had become irrelevant and that the Danube was now the defensive line and shifted his forces accordingly. (Kagan, 387)

October 5, 1805 - Napoleon Orders Capture of Bridges across the Danube:

Napoleon ordered Soult and Murat to seize bridges at Donauwörth. Ney and Lannes had already been ordered to concentrate in the direction of Donauwörth. As Kagan explains, “Napoleon believed that the main Austrian body was at Ulm. He had sent his main body to Donauwörth to ensure that it could not break out from the trap … the objective of this maneuver was the encirclement of Mack's main body at Ulm.” (Kagan, 395)

October 6, 1805 - Mack's Plan:

Mack’s initial plan was to attack across the Danube at what he perceived to be Napoleon's exposed lines of communication. He had concentrated his forces at Ulm for this purpose and had ordered Kienmayer to move up the left bank of the Danube to support that attack. That plan did not materialize.

October 6, 1805 - Kienmayer Retreats:

On night of June 6 Kienmayer sent an infantry battalion and cannon to secure the Donauwörth bridge but lost it to Vandamme's division. Unable to defend the Donauwörth Kienmayer's corps crossed the Danube at Neuberg and then continued to Aichach and Schwabhausen. With Kienmayer's withdrawal to Aichach and Mack at Ulm French forces were now interposed between component parts of the Austrian army.

October 7, 1805 - Mack's Predicament:

On receiving word of loss of Donauwörth, Mack finally recognized his predicament. He wrote the Emperor Francis: “Since my courier of yesterday evening, our position has become alarming. We have confirmed the unfortunate news that Bernadotte has forced Ansbach, whereby he gained many marches whereby he has arrived sooner on the Danube. We will do everything possible in order to defeat him or to find our junction with the Russianns without fighting, but everything has become much more difficult because of this unfortunate event which no one thought possible.“ It could not have helped Mack’s situation that Archduke Ferdinand joined the army at Ulm on October 7. With the exception of brief forays outside the town, he will remain there until his escape on October 15. (Kagan, 399)

October 8, 1805 - Ney Encounters Austrians at Günzburg:

Napoleon ordered Ney to seize bridges at Günzburg but did not anticipate Mack to move in that direction as well. As a result Ney forces met up against a much larger Austrian army than he was expecting. Berthier explained Napoleon's reasoning to Ney on October 8: “His Majesty does not thing that the enemy would be so foolish as to cross over to the left bank of the Danube when his supply depots are at Memmingen and he has every reason not get cut off from the Tyrol, and with a movement that would expose himself completely. The Emperor thus intends for you to proceed to the bridge at Günzburg and occupy it with your avant-guard.“ Napoleon’s reasoning was sound but on this and other occasions he was wrong about Mack’s moves. (Kagan, 400-1)

October 9, 1805 - Mack’s Intentions at Günzburg:

Although his intentions are murky, Mack seems to have decided to cross the river at Günzburg with the bulk of his force and operate along the left bank, possibly in the intention of linking up with the Russians. In the ensuing action at Günzburg, the Austrians initially had the better of Ney's forces and controlled the crossing. Mack then decided to send his army across the highway bridge to the east of Günzburg. Field Marshal Gyulai was dispatched to rebuild the bridge, which had been partially destroyed, and the rest of the army would cross that night. The repairs were finished just as the French 59th Infantry Regiment arrived and by the end of the day they controlled the south end of the bridge.

Meanwhile Ney's 2nd Division had been sent to seize the bridge a few miles upstream at Elchingen, so that by the end of the day French forces controlled nearly all the Danube bridges except those at Ulm. Having failed in his attempts to cross over to the left bank of the Danube, Mack now ordered his army back to Ulm. French forces continued pour over the river, some headed toward Ulm, others toward Augsburg. (Kagan, 402-10)

October 9, 1805 - Kutusov Arrives in Braunau:

On October 9 Kutuzov arrived at Braunau to await his army, which would not begin to arrive until October 15. If Mack was indeed hoping to link up with the Russian, the plan was delusional since the Russian army was nowhere near his own beleaguered forces.

October 10, 1805 - Ney Ordered to Take Ulm:

Napoleon now believed that Mack had abandoned Ulm and he ordered Ney to take it. Although Ney shared Napoleon's belief that Mack was withdrawing from Ulm, he realized that he was being asked to attack a much larger force. In his own mind Napoleon seems to have been positioning his forces for a battle against what he thought was a retreating army. Without intending it, he had nevertheless managed to seal off the Austrian army's escape routes to the south and east. (Kagan, 412-3)

October 10, 1805 - Approaching Russian Army:

On October 10 Napoleon received reports of approaching Russian army and began to position forces to meet them.

October 10, 1805 - Murat Given Command:

On October 10 Murat was given command of the right wing of the French Army (his own cavalry corps along with Ney's VI Corps and Lannes's V Corps). Like Bernadotte Murat had misgivings over the arrangement and Napoleon's efforts to establish an intermediate level of command between himself and the individual army corps never worked very satisfactorily.

October 13, 1805 - Mack’s Delusions:

Mack received (erroneous) news that the British had landed at Boulogne and revolution had broken out in France. Mack thus concluded that Napoleon was retreating to the Rhine. Mack's credulity is of a piece with his belief that Napoleon's domestic political situation was more fragile than it was – he seems to have imagined, for instance, that Napoleon ran a real risk of a coup if he left the country. Incredible as it seems Mack now decided to position his forces so that he could pursue Napoleon back to the Rhine, while Reisch was sent down the left bank of the Danube toward Donauwörth, a decision that led to the battle of Elchingen on October 14.

October 15, 1805 - Napoleon Demands Mack’s Surrender:

Napoleon ordered that the Michelsberg, a hill that dominated Ulm from the northwest, be seized. Having now totally surrounded Ulm, Napoleon sent an emissary to Mack demanding the Austrian army's surrender. Mack refused but was overruled by his senior officers. On October 17 Mack and Napoleon agreed to a capitulation that allowed Mack's army to march out of Ulm with full military honors. Mack was also granted a week's reprieve to allow the possibility of the arrival of a Russian relief force. If the Russians arrived by October 25, Mack's army would be free to march out and join the relief force.

October 16, 1805 - Archduke Ferdinand Escapes Ulm:

At 11 p.m. on October 14 Ferdinand escaped Ulm with Prince Schwarzenberg, Kollowrat and eleven squadrons of cavalry in the direction of Bohemia. Napoleon sent the 1st Division, VI Corps under the command of General Dupont, part of Murat's cavalry corps, and elements of Lannes' V Corps in pursuit. Murat's forces went as far as Nuremburg but failed to catch up with Ferdinand's small force and gave up on October 20.

October 19, 1805 - Mack Meets with Napoleon:

On October 19 Mack met with Napoleon, who convinced him that Russian forces were too far away to offer relief by October 25. Mack thus agreed to surrender Ulm the following day.