Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Introduction to the Passau Campaign

1 July 1813

Locations at the start of the campaign

Napoleon is confident that the Austrian army will remain neutral during 1813. Not only did they fight alongside the French in Russia the previous year, but also Napoleon is married to the daughter of the Emperor Ferdinand. Despite this he sends Marshal Oudinot to Munich to take command of the Bavarian and Baden armies, to reorganize them and to ensure that no Austrian troops are sent north to join the allies.

On arrival at Munich Oudinot finds his army spread throughout Bavarian. The majority of the army are Confederation of the Rhine troops, organised under French and Bavarian command. There is one corps in reserve in Munich, a second watching the Austrian border at Passau and a third at Salzburg keeping the tyrolean rebels under control. A fourth Baden corps has just reached Ratisbon and is now under his command.

Austria has long resented earlier defeats at the hands of the French. Observing the French defeat and retreat from Russia, Ferdinand forms an alliance with the allies to strike at France through Bavaria.

The Archduke Charles has been given command of the main Austrian army, and has orders to take Munich. When he arrives at Linz to take command he finds that only two of his corps are available. A third is marching to join him, but has only got as far as St Polten. A fourth corps has just been formed at Vienna, and will be sent to join him immediately.

Aware that any delay will increase the chances that Oudinot will move his concentrate his scattered army and move it towards the border, Charles orders the two corps under his direct command to cross the border and advance on Passau.

The Austrian advance comes as a complete surprise to Oudinot.

Link to Passau Campaign Blog

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