Austerlitz 1805


Brian Blessed narrates this thorough documentary into Napoleon Bonaparte's greatest victory and does so with a passion that one finds irresistible.

As if the events surrounding the French emperor's crushing campaign victory are not enough, Blessed's use of his voice adds a huge amount of excitement to its portrayal.

In addition, the team that put History of Warfare: Austerlitz 1805 together has used actors speaking French and German to voice the memoirs of the esteemed Jean-Roch Coignet and an Austrian, General Stutterheim.

While you may not understand their languages - don't worry it is subtitled - the use of these actors gives excellent flavour and historical context to what they are saying.

Adding weight to the whole project is the doyen of Napoleonic experts, Dr David Chandler, who gives his views on the campaign with his usual barely contained excitement.

Like Line of Fire: Austerlitz, the first stage of this documentary sets the political scene and the opening moves of the campaign, and is very useful for explaining just why Austerlitz was so crucial to Bonaparte's hold on power.

The use of a simple but easy to understand series of maps shows the Allied campaign plans to attack France from four directions and how Bonaparte tricked them all into thinking he was still camped on the English Channel, while in fact his Grande Armee was quickly closing on unsuspecting Austrian forces.

The capitulation of General Mack at Ulm and the subsequent retreat of Russia's General Kutusov had the worn-out French in a bit of a predicament. To ensure a decisive victory Bonaparte had to smash the remaining Allied armies and so set after Kutusov.

Evetually he closed on them near Austerlitz and, by feigning weakness, lured them into attacking him on the ground of his choosing.

The documentary covers the battle in very good detail and the use of War and Peace footage, together with excellent maps, will give you a terrific understanding of just how great a victory it was for Bonaparte.

History of Warfare: Austerlitz 1805 is an excellent and exciting explanation of the 1805 Campaign.


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