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publication date: february 2021

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Napoleon Retreats

Napoleon Retreats

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After dispatching Blücher’s Army of Silesia at Vauchamps, Napoleon diverted temporarily toward the Seine at Montereau, for an inconclusive brush with Schwarzenberg’s Army of Bohemia.

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The Library of Napoleonic Battles is a two player simulation at the brigade level. This comprehensive overview covers all the basics you need to get started.  Subscribe to the Thursday Night Gamers Youtube channel to watch all of their game sessions on The Library of Napoleonic Battles (TLNB).

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The library of napoleonic battles

The Library is an ambitious project to present 84 Battles of the Napoleonic era (Napoleon was present at 70 of them). So far, 42 battles in the Library have been published, as well as several Expansion Kits. 

Explore the timeline of Napoleonic Battles. For a more detailed account of each battle, visit The Complete Library of Napoleonic Battles page

1794

French revolutionary wars

The decisive Battle of Fleurus led to the Austrian loss of Belgium. With the two armies clashing again at Mont St Jean, the campaign gave the French Republic additional resources and manpower, opened the gateway to Germany, and the port of Antwerp to the French navy.

Image: Jourdan at Fleurus

1796-1797

War of the 1st Coalition

General Bonaparte’s first campaign broke two years of stalemate in the coastal mountains, and succeeded in detaching the Piedmontese from the Austrian alliance.

Bonaparte parried four massive Austrian offensives in six months, marching quickly to gain local superiority. 

Image: Napoleon at the Battle of Rivoli, by Henri Félix Emmanuel Philippoteaux

1799-1800

War of the 2nd Coalition

After the first battle in Zurich (Zurich I, 4-7 June 1799)  a stalemate ensued. Joubert’s force landed at Genoa and was defeated at Novi. At the second battle in Zurich (Zurich II, 25-26 Sept. 1799) Massena defeated Korsakov and drove Russia from the Second Coalition.

Bonaparte led his army over the Alps in mid-May (1800). Melas’s communications were cut with Ott’s defeat at Montebello. Melas launched a surprise attack at Marengo, catching Bonaparte off-guard. At 2:30 he arrived with the Reserve, and Desaix joined in at 5:30, clinching victory.

Image: General Moreau at the Battle of Hohenlinden

1805

War of the 3rd Coalition

NAPOLEON'S WHEEL (210):

Austria opened hostilities, seizing Venezia and Bavaria. Before Russian help could arrive, Napoleon marched his army from the Channel coast and surrounded Ulm. The swiftness of the collapse and the fall of Vienna stunned the world.

Image: Napoléon at the Battle of Austerlitz, by François Pascal Simon, Baron Gérard

1806-1807

War of the Fourth Coalition

THE COMING STORM (201):

In 1806 and 1807 the French encountered the poorly-led Prussians in Saxony and then came chaotic winter battles against the Russians.

Image: The French Army entering Berlin in 1806

1808-1809

Peninsular War

PART I, NAPOLEON IN SPAIN (211):

The disaster at Bailen and Joseph’s withdrawal from Madrid forced the Emperor to appear there in person. The British had a strong base in Portugal. Popular insurrections broke out and the French were nearly driven from the peninsula by the time Napoleon arrived in November. By January Madrid had been reconquered, but rumblings from the Danube interrupted the mopping up operations and forced Napoleon to depart on January 17.

PART II, NAPOLEON'S QUAGMIRE (207):

Wellesley advanced against Victor, who withdrew onto reinforcements from Joseph and Sebastiani. Together they advanced on Talavera, suffering a tactical defeat. Venegas and then Aréizaga advanced on Madrid only to be defeated in turn. 

Image: Sir John Moore, British commander

1809

War against Austria

THE LAST SUCCESS (202):

Napoleon and his Army of Germany met their first setback in the shadow of Vienna against a modernized Austrian Army.

Image: Napoleon at Wagram, painted by Horace Vernet

 

1810-1811

Peninsular War, Part III

THE STRUGGLE FOR PORTUGAL: 

Wellington was forced to withdraw behind the lines of Torres Vedras to protect the approaches to Lisbon. Masséna's army was brought up short and eventually withdrew into Spain. In April 1811, Wellington besieged Almeida. When Soult gathered a new army and marched to relieve the siege of Badajoz, the opposing armies met at the village of Albuera.

Image: Marshal Beresford disarming a Polish lancer at the Battle of Albuera, Thomas Sutherland

1811-1813

Peninsular War, Part IV

THE SPANISH ULCER:

Wellington’s renewed offensive led to the defeat of Marmont at Salamanca. Madrid and Andalusia fell in quick succession.

Image: General Joaquín Blake

1812

From Smolensk to Moscow

NAPOLEON AGAINST RUSSIA (205):

The Russian Army finally gave Napoleon the decisive battles he so greatly desired. His first maneuver started out well—with the French poised to slip into Smolensk behind the Russians. However, the opportunity to bring an end to the campaign remained unfulfilled. After that, Moscow became the default destination.

Image: Napoleon before burning Smolensk. Oil on canvas by Albrecht Adam

1813

War of Liberation

PART I, NAPOLEON'S RESURGENCE (208):

Napoleon arrived with a fresh army at the end of April and drove the Coalition out of Saxony by the end of May. He left Oudinot to defend his communications against an advance from Berlin. The Armistice had been declared days before Oudinot’s loss at Luckau.

PART II:

At the conclusion of the armistice the Emperor advanced into Silesia and caught up with Blücher at Löwenberg, but Blücher retreated to safety. Napoleon returned to Dresden to repulse the onslaught of the main enemy force in the plain of Dresden. After several lost battles, Napoleon abandoned the right bank of the Elbe, and Yorck’s crossing could not be stopped.

PART III, THE FOUR LOST BATTLES:

Napoleon was outnumbered and strategically surrounded by three large armies: Bernadotte’s Army of the North, Blücher’s Army of Silesia, and Schwarzenberg’s Army of Bohemia. The Trachtenberg Plan required any one of these armies to retreat when faced by Napoleon in person, coordinated with an advance by the other two Armies. This plan was the undoing of Napoleon.

PART IV, NAPOLEON AT LEIPZIG (203):

Napoleon at Leipzig is a comprehensive game with a proven track record of excellent re-playability, among the most popular Napoleonic wargames of all time, with 20,000 copies in print across the first four editions. Now it has a bigger playing area and more manpower for both sides. Completely revised order of battle; all new unit set-ups; revised and expanded maps. 

Image:  The Red Lancers after the charge at the battle of Hanau

1814

Campaign in France

PART I, LA PATRIE EN DANGER (204):

Napoleon arrived at the front and surprised Blucher's Prussians and Russians during a snowstorm. Just two days later the Prussians triumphed at La Rothiere and wrote-off the enemy as a spent force, advancing hell-for-leather across the Marne and onto the highway to Paris. Ten days later Napoleon seized his opportunity when Marshal Vorwarts got his dispersed columns defeated in detail, in rapid succession in three short sharp combats.

PART II, NAPOLEON RETREATS (209):

Blücher withdrew from the Ourcq when he heard of Napoleon's advance. At Soissons he linked up with reinforcements that brought his total force to 100,000. On 7 March, Napoleon attacked westwards along the Chemin des Dames. The Prussians were forced to withdraw towards Laon.

Image: General Emmanuel de St-Priest

1815

Campaign of the Hundred Days

NAPOLEON'S LAST GAMBLE (206):

Napoleon began by moving on the central position between the Prussian and British Armies. On June 15th the Grande Armée was unleashed across the Sambre River. As the 16th dawned, troops of both sides still converged on the battlefields. After withdrawing from the Rhine, General Rapp turned to oppose an Austrian crossing of the river line. The Württembergers moved to intercept. Rapp pulled back toward Strasbourg and fought the last pitched battle of the Napoleonic Wars.

Image: Scotland Forever!, the charge of the Scots Greys at Waterloo painted by Elizabeth Thompson