Thursday, December 02, 2004

The Emperor

Exactly 200 years ago on December 2, 1804, Napoleon Bonaparte was crowned emperor of France in Paris by Pope Pius VII. The next year in 1805, Napoleon defeated the Russians & the Austrians at Austerlitz.

Often regarded as Napoleon Bonaparte's greatest victory, Austerlitz was a sublime trap that destroyed the armies of his Russian and Austrian enemies. By tricking his opponents into thinking he was weaker than he actually was, and then calling in nearby reinforcements, Bonaparte initially met the combined Allied army of 85,000 men with just 66,000 men.

The French emperor deliberately abandoned a strong central position on the Pratzen Heights and left his right flank weak. The Allies eagerly moved forward to occupy the heights and then weakened their centre to crush the French right. As the bulk of Austrian and Russian troops attacked, Marshall Davout's III Corp arrived to bolster the French line.

With more and more Allied troops sucked into the attack, Bonaparte launched an assault that took back the Pratzen Heights and split the enemy. After a furious battle, the French crushed the Allies. Thousands of fleeing troops drowned when a frozen lake split under the weight of men and guns.

French losses amounted to 8000 while the Russian and Austrian emperors, present at the battle, saw more than 27,000 men killed, wounded, and captured.

35,000 Men were lost in battle on this day 199 years ago.

They died for the Emperors.

They died for the Nation State.

As of tonight, 1407 coalition soldiors have died in Iraq,

And 9552 have been mamed or injured.

Another 10,000 have been psychologically damaged.

Maybe it is another "sublime trap".

Somehow, I thought you would want to know.


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