Europe 1809: Battle of Wagram
Determined to avenge his defeat at Aspern-Essling, Napoleon spent over a month preparing for a renewed French crossing of the Danube. By early July 1809 he was ready and, making the crossing, attacked the Austrians in force at Wagram. The brutal two-day battle proved costly for both sides, but ultimately ended in a French victory that all but knocked Austria out of the War of the Fifth Coalition.
2–3 Jun 1809 Austrian abandonment of Warsaw▲
By late May 1809 Polish advances in Galicia had rendered the Austrian position in the Duchy of Warsaw untenable. Having already abandoned their siege of Toruń, the Austrians withdrew from Warsaw itself at the beginning of June. At about the same time, the Russians crossed the Bug into Galicia, ostensibly in support of Napoleon, but in reality to limit Polish advances. As the Austrians continued their retreat south, both the Poles and the Russians moved west to jointly occupy Krakow in mid-July.
14 Jun 1809 Battle of Raab▲
In May 1809 the Franco-Italian troops of Eugène de Beauharnais, Viceroy of Italy, defeated the Austrian invasion of Italy under Archduke John at the Piave River and then proceeded to chase their erstwhile invaders across the southern Austrian Empire. Finally catching up with John at Raab (Győr) in western Hungary, Eugène led his 40,000 Franco-Italians to victory over the Archduke’s 35,000 inferior quality troops on 14 June. Having lost some 6,000 men for Eugène’s 3,000–4,000 casualties, John escaped across the Danube with his remaining forces to join his brother Archduke Charles.
25 Jun–19 Aug 1809 Jørgen Jørgensen▲
In 1808–9 the Danish adventurer Jørgen Jørgensen, with the support of a number of British merchants and even the Department of Navy and Commerce, attempted to establish trade between Britain and Iceland. When, in June 1809, Jørgensen discovered that the Danish governor of Iceland was curtailing his operations, he and his followers promptly arrested the governor and proclaimed Iceland’s independence. Jørgensen’s reign as Protector of Iceland lasted just two months before the British warship HMS Talbot arrived and restored Danish government.
5–6 Jul 1809 Battle of Wagram▲
Determined to reverse his defeat at Aspern-Essling, Napoleon spent all of June 1809 securing the way for a renewed crossing of the Danube by reinforcing his position on the island of Lobau, building bridges, and assembling a flotilla. On the night of 4 July the 172,000-strong French force began crossing and late the next day they advanced to engage the 136,000-strong Austrian army under Archduke Charles. The resulting battle—the largest in European history at the time—lasted until mid-afternoon on 6 July, when the Austrians, despite initial successes in which they almost broke through the French right, were compelled to withdraw in the face of a massed French attack. Even so the victory cost Napoleon dearly, with some 35,000 French lost for 39,000 Austrian casualties, largely due to the battle’s heavy use of artillery.