14 October, 1806
The Napoleonic Guide's
battle of Jena began with the chance evening meeting of
Marshal Lannes' corps with
a Prussian force of 35,000 men under General
for immediate reinforcement, Lannes camped near the enemy
Throughout the night new units moved up until French forces
numbered at least 50,000, more men were on the way ensuring
Napoleon Bonaparte would
have some 90,000 men available.
initial French move was to push the Prussians into open
ground, where the advantage of numbers would be telling,
and while the resistance was strong it was eventually achieved.
Hohenloe urgently sent for assistance from Ruchel's nearby
15,000 men and hoped to hold on until they arrived.
Meanwhile, all of the good work done by marshals Augereau
and Lannes was almost undone
by the impatient Marshal Ney
who launched an unauthorised assault in the centre.
side could believe the stupidity of the assault and soon
Ney was in danger of being swamped by Prussian cavalry.
Fortunately, for the fiery marshal, Lannes, Bertrand and
massed French cavalry intervened before the trap could shut.
1pm, Bonaparte ordered a general advance and within two
hours the exhausted Prussians gave way, fleeing the field
and trying to avoid the sabres of Marshal
cost Bonaparte some 5000 men, but the Prussians had a staggering