Ulm Campaign, 1805

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Karl Mack von Lieberich versus Napoleon Bonaparte: An Austrian army under Mack charges blindly into a trap set by the French army under Bonaparte. Can Bonaparte close the net before Mack realizes his folly? Includes the Battles of Wertingen, Haslach-Jungingen, Elchingen and Ulm.

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Significance
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This is one of Bonaparte’s most important campaigns. Without this nearly bloodless capture of the entire Austrian army, Bonaparte would have never been able to fight Austerlitz on the terms that allowed him to win a glorious victory, one of the most decisive victories of the Napoleonic Wars.

Analysis
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Bonaparte misdirected Mack’s attention by playing on his expectations of a French invasion through the Black Forest. Even so, only the speed and direction of Bonaparte’s marshals ensured that such a large Austrian force was captured at almost no cost. The campaign is an excellent example of how to get inside the enemy’s decision cycle (or OODA loop), reacting more quickly and effectively, and paralyzing the enemy’s decision-making apparatus.
ulm preview 2Notes
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Bonaparte’s battles and campaigns are a treat to animate. Whenever I try to explain the brilliance in this man possessed in all aspects of war, I fail, so I will not attempt to do so here. Instead, I will continue to animate the most fascinating military operations history has ever seen in my opinion. In fact, I have considered using an entire season to focus entire of Bonaparte’s battles and campaigns. It will most likely never happen because there are already enough battles I am prepared to animate to last through Season VII but you never know.The scale is only for an extremely rough approximation of the distances involved in this campaign. The reason for this is while upgrading the animation and adding a scale, I realized that the original map I used is slightly distorted, making any precise scale impossible. This is a mistake I occasionally made during my earlier animations, which I have long ensured not to make again.

– Jonathan Webb
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Works Consulted
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Dupuy, Trevor N. The Harper Encyclopedia of Military History: From 3500 BC to the Present, Fourth Edition. New York: HarperCollins, 1991.

Esposito, Vincent J. and John Robert Elting. A Military History and Atlas of the Napoleonic Wars. New York: Praeger, 1965.

Griess, Thomas. The Wars of Napoleon. New Jersey: Avery Publishing, 1985.

Weigley, Russell F. The Age of Battles: The Quest for Decisive Warfare from Breitenfeld to Waterloo. Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1991.

Images
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Austrian cavalry: http://www.napoleonguide.com/cavalry_austria.htm
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Austrian infantry: http://napnuts.tripod.com/napwars/frameaustriainf.htm
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French cavalry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grande_Arm%C3%A9eFrench infantry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grande_Arm%C3%A9e

Karl Mack von Liebereich: http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl_Mack_von_Lieberich

French guns: http://marsfigures.com/prew.php?m=8&type=Figures&scale=1:72&numb=8023&id=209

Map of Europe: http://www.owasso.k12.ok.us/webpages/gyankey/regadvhandouts.cfm?subpage=313703

Napoleon Bonaparte: http://wil3.typepad.com/funny_pictures/2005/08/napoleon_bonapa_1.html

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If you enjoyed the Ulm Campaign 1805 battle animation, you may also enjoy these other battle animations:

Battle of Austerlitz 1805, the next battle Napoleon fought during the War of the Third Coalition:

austerlitz preview 1

Battle of Dresden 1813, another battle Napoleon fought against the Austrians during the Napoleonic Wars:

dresden preview 1

Battle of Gallipoli 1915-1916, another battle in which a commander attempted the indirect approach:

gallipoli preview 1

Thank you for visiting The Art of Battle: Animated Battle Maps.

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Readers Comments (7)

  1. The opening sentence of your narration of the battle of Ulm is simply wrong. The battle of Trafalgar took place on October 21st 1805, i.e. after the Austrian surrender at Ulm. Napoleon had left Boulogne on 27th August with the main body of La Grande Armee. Further Villeneuve was not sailing to invade England, but to pass through the straits of Gibraltar and conduct operations against the Austrian controlled parts of Italy (Cap Trafalgar is south of Cadiz(!).

  2. While we’re talking about Napoleon Bonaparte, I just read that he was killed. But I believed he succombed to stomach cancer. Which one is correct?

  3. Thanks a lot for this map, it shows the battle really clearly =)

  4. William Ulrich June 1, 2012 @ 7:06 pm

    I have always resented those who consider Ulm a battle, Ulm was a maneuver that showed the austrian just how skilled and dangerous Napoleon was, just by positioning his troops the way he did he simply baffled them and had them surrender, general Mack simply could not grasp the genious of the emperor and of course he succumbed to it, now as to consider what was above written on villeneuve´s part it was another strategical maneuver because the direction of his action was to divert Nelson instead he trapped himself and all the fleet in cadiz were he was obliterated…

  5. office moving company August 15, 2012 @ 8:06 pm

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  6. Absolutely excellent! Love the detail and narration. As a big fan of military history I give a big thumbs up to this one, shows Napoleon’s genius in its finest.

  7. Richard Boam is incorrect, if anyone’s wondering. True, Trafalgar hadn’t happened yet, but the part about “failing to negate the Royal Navy and invade England” is correct. Villeneuve WAS supposed to work towards an invasion of England; his orders had been to break out from Toulon, evade Nelson, and help the other main French fleet at Breat break out and combine with them. Villeneuve did the first two, but was intercepted by another British fleet (Battle of Cape Finisterre). That battle caused him to lose his nerve and sail for Cadiz, at which point the plan to invade England had already failed. That was when Bonaparte took what had been his Army of England, renamed it the Grand Armee, and began this campaign agaist Austria. Villeneuve wasn’t trying to do anything related to Italy or Austria when he sailed from Cadiz, he was making a last-ditch effort to redeem himself by defeating Nelson because he found out he was about to be replaced in command.

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