Europe 1809: Fifth Coalition
Encouraged by Napoleon’s preoccupation with Spain, Austria attacked the French satellites of Bavaria, the Duchy of Warsaw, and Italy in April 1809, starting the War of the Fifth Coalition. However, the French quickly rallied, defeating the Austrians in Bavaria later that same month.
8 Feb 1809 Austrian mobilization▲
In October 1808 France withdrew 108,000 troops from Germany, reducing its strength there by more than half, to reinforce its armies in Spain. This move greatly encouraged the pro-war faction in the Austrian government, which saw an opportunity to expel the French from Germany, Poland, and Italy. By February 1809 Emperor Francis I and Archduke Charles had been persuaded and the Austrian army was mobilized for war.
10–21 Mar 1809 Åland Offensive▲
On 10 March 1809 17,000 Russian troops under Johann von Knorring advanced across the frozen Gulf of Bothnia to seize the archipelago of Åland from its 6,000 Swedish defenders. Realizing that they were outnumbered, the Swedes withdrew across the ice to the mainland, convincing the Russians to abandon their intended march on Stockholm. In the meantime, the Swedish king Gustav IV Adolf was deposed in a palace coup and his uncle, soon to be Charles XIII, offered a truce to the invaders. Knorring immediately agreed and withdraw from Åland, greatly angering Tsar Alexander I, who revoked the truce when he learned of it.
9 Apr–8 Nov 1809 Tyrolean Rebellion▲
In April 1809, encouraged by Austrian agents, the Tyrol rose up against Bavarian rule, the revolt timed to coincide with the Austrian invasion of Bavaria. The Tyroleans quickly defeated the Bavarians, but were briefly driven back into the mountains by French interventions in May and July. Even so, it was only in October, after the defeat of Austria, that a Franco-Bavarian force was able to decisively defeat the rebels, the last of whom surrendered in early November.
10 Apr 1809 Fifth Coalition▲
On 10 April 1809 Archduke Charles led the Austrian army across the Inn River into Bavaria, catching the French by surprise and initiating the War of the Fifth Coalition. To support the financially troubled Austrians, the British promptly provided them with £250,000, promised them £1 million more, and agreed to send forces to the Low Countries and launch a new offensive in Spain. The British also supplied the Prussians with £20,000, but were unable to convince them to enter the war.
14 Apr–2 Jun 1809 Austrian invasion of Duchy of Warsaw▲
In mid-April 1809 forces of the Austrian Empire crossed the Pilica river into the Duchy of Warsaw. Despite lacking French military support, the Poles proved surprisingly resilient and checked the more numerous Austrians at Raszyn, south of Warsaw. Realizing, however, that the city was indefensible, the Poles withdrew across the Vistula to Zegrze, leaving the Austrians to seize the capital and advance north as far as Płock.
16 Apr 1809 Battle of Sacile▲
On 10 April 1809 Archduke John of Austria invaded the French dependent Kingdom of Italy from Tarvisio and the middle Isonzo, advancing to capture Udine two days later. Underestimating his opponent, Eugène de Beauharnais met the Austrians at Sacile with his Franco-Italian army but was defeated and forced back towards Verona. Fortunately for Eugène, John failed to exploit his victory and by the time the Austrians neared Verona, at the end of the month, the Franco-Italians had regrouped in a strong position behind the Adige.
21–22 Apr 1809 Battle of Eckmühl▲
Napoleon responded quickly to the Austrian invasion of Bavaria on 10 April 1809 and by the 20th had defeated the Austrian vanguard at Abensberg. The next day Archduke Charles of Austria moved to destroy Davout’s corps, isolated in the forest between Ratisbon (Regensburg) and the village of Eckmühl, but was held off until the early morning of the 22nd, when Napoleon’s army began to arrive. With their forces combined, the French drove the Austrians back to Ratisbon, inflicting some 10,700 casualties at the cost of just 3,000.