Napoleonic Wars: Battles of Jena – Auerstedt 1806 DOCUMENTARY

Napoleonic Wars: Battles of Jena – Auerstedt 1806 DOCUMENTARY

The French emperor napoleon Bonaparte
managed to win a number of decisive battles and showed complete tactical and
strategic dominance over his opponents during the War of the Third Coalition,
but brilliance often begets new challenges, and more enemies would join the alliance against the French in the war of the Fourth Coalition among the
central actions of this conflict were the twin battles of a Jena and Auerstedt
fought in 1806. Napoleon utterly defeated the Allied Austro-Russian army at the
battle of Austerlitz in early December of 1805. A separate peace at Pressburg was
signed by the end of the month as Austria had no capacity to continue
fighting. Austria had to recognize Bavaria and Wurttemberg as kingdoms, ceding
a number of provinces to them in Germany, while Napoleon received the provinces of
Venetia and Dalmatia as the king of Italy. France was also promised 40
million francs in war indemnities. The Russians were given a free pass to
retreat through Austrian territory, as the French troops were too tired to
chase them anyway. Prussia was planning to join the coalition in 1805, but was
delaying declaring war on France. The Allied defeat at Austerlitz was alarming
for the Prussian King Frederick William III and in early 1806 he signed a
treaty with Napoleon. The Prussians had to cede a few provinces to the German
allies of France while they would receive in return French occupied
Hanover, which belonged to Britain Prussia also formally entered the
alliance with France against Britain. Meanwhile the Austrian forces, which were
keeping French commander in Italy Massena occupied returned home, and that allowed
the French to concentrate their forces against the kingdom of Naples. In February 1806 Massena invaded Naples. Although the British expedition of
Stewart supported the Neapolitans they lost the decisive battle at Campo Tenese and by the end of July King Ferdinand IV and General Stewart
had to retreat to Sicily. All of mainland Italy was now under French control and
this situation would remain unchanged until the end of the Napoleonic Wars.
Since Britain and Russia did not share borders with France and were not eager
to start an amphibious invasion the War of the Third Coalition was effectively
over and Napoleon started forming a new order in Germany. In July 1806 he
established the Confederation of the Rhine consisting of 16 German states
with himself as the protector. This gave Napoleon a buffer between France and the
most influential German states – Austria and Prussia. On the 6th of August he
declared the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire, which had existed since 800.
All this was insulting for Prussia and as Napoleon offered to return Hannover
to Britain to procure peace, war became inevitable. The Prussian court was
divided with the king leading the peace party while his spouse Queen Louise was
nudging the country into conflict. Finally the war party won and on the
10th of August Prussia started mobilizing its army in the next two
months was able to enter the alliance with Britain and Russia. Napoleon learned about the Prussian
mobilization in early September and ordered 50,000 conscripts to join the
army. The French troops were stationed all over Germany, and Napoleon was not
ready to go on an offensive just yet. Prussia used that to enter Saxony and
conscript 20,000 locals into its army. Napoleon demanded that the Prussian army
leave Saxony, but on the first of October received an ultimatum to leave the lands
to the east of the Rhine. On the 6th of October the War of the Fourth Coalition
began. Both France and Prussia had about 200,000 troops however there was no
unity in the Prussian army and it had three formal leaders. A number of
generals advised the defensive approach with a slow strategic retreat in the
hopes that Bennigsen would soon join them with more than 100,000 Russians
under his command. However this plan was ignored and a more ambitious plan
created by the Prince of Brunswick Charles William Ferdinand was adopted.
The Prussians were going to go on the offensive,
take Stuttgart to cut Napoleon from a portion of his forces
and France. Meanwhile the French Emperor had already decided on his moves: he was
going to move towards the Prussian capital of Berlin from the southwest,
which meant that his troops would be able to avoid the majority of the rivers.
Just a few days after the declaration of war Napoleon was already on the move. It
seems that neither army was sure about the location of the enemy, but Napoleon’s
plan was better as it was cutting the Prussians from the Russians and Berlin,
and therefore forcing them to fight. Due to scouting reports Napoleon was now
sure that the Prussians were concentrating near Jenna, however the
latter finally understood that the French army was moving fast to cut the roads to Berlin and some of the Prussian forces
started moving to the north. Indeed just three days after the war
began Napoleon’s troops ended up to the south and east of the Prussian army and
due to their faster movement concentrated and defeated the Prussians
in the first battles of the campaign at Schleiz and Saalfeld. Once again the
French were too quick for their opponents and two corps alongside the cavalry
reserve ended up to the northeast of the Prussian positions. The Prussians were
not encircled, but as the road to Berlin was open to attack, they had to stand and
fight. The twin battles of Jenna and Auersted took place on the 14th of October.
In a way it was two distinct battles as the two locations were more than 30
kilometers from each other and the two battles never combined into one. The
French had about 40,000 infantry 8,000 cavalry and 110 guns at Jenna under the
overall command of Napoleon, against 34,000 infantry 12,000 cavalry and 15
artillery batteries of the Prussian Prince Hohenlohe the French Center
was commanded by Lannes the left flank by Augereau and the right by Soult. Napoleon
ordered his troops to take Landgraefenburg – the plateau that prevailed
over the battlefield. Part of the plateau was taken by the French during the night,
but they needed more space, so at 6 a.m. an attack commenced the. French Center
took Closwith while the left captured captured Cospeda. The Prussians lost the hill. Hohenlohe now understood that he was fighting the
main French army and asked for help from the reserves at Weimar. The Prussians
managed to set the second line of defense between the villages of Isserstadt and Vierzehnheiligen French advance was halted. However by 11:00 a.m.
Ney’s 6th Corps was on the scene and Napoleon launched another attack
Augereau captured Isserstadt, Ney occupied Vierzehnheiligen and Soult turned the
Prussian left. By 1 p.m. Hohenlohe had committed all his reserves in order to
keep his line intact. Reserved from Weimar were desperately needed. Napoleon ordered
his whole line to advance and the Prussians finally collapsed by 3:00 p.m.
The Prussians were in full retreat with the French cavalry chasing them.
The reserves from Weimar finally arrived and stopped the French at Kapellendorf
Rüchel, who was leading the newly arrived 15,000 Prussians didn’t set a proper
line and decided to counter-attack. Although the French forces were
initially halted, their cavalry soon outflanked and routed the enemy. By 4:00
p.m. the Battle of Jena was over. The French had lost about 6500 men while the
Prussian losses have been estimated at 25,000. Napoleon was sure that he had
defeated the main Prussian army, but he was wrong. At this point his marshal Davout
was fighting the Prussian prince Brunswick. On the previous day
Davout was ordered to move to the south and attack what Napoleon considered to
be the main Prussian army from the north. He also was told to join forces with
Bernadotte. However the latter declined and kept his position at Dornburg,
as he was ordered to before. In the early morning
Davout’s 28,000 left their positions near the river Salle and moved towards Auerstadt. Yere they were attacked by 52,000 Prussians with no hope of support. Early
in the battle the French took the village of Hassenhausen. the French
leader deployed his three divisions nearby. Despite repeated charges by the
Prussian cavalry by 8:30 a.m. Davout’s infantry managed to rout the enemy
cavalry. But the Prussian infantry was arriving to the battle. The French
stopped a number of Prussian attacks mainly because the Prussians attacked in
small groups with each division advancing in isolation. As their leader
was mortally wounded early on, the Prussians lacked any coordinated command.
At 11:00 a.m. when the Prussians had exhausted their efforts,
Davout ordered a French advance and the Prussians collapsed. by the end of the battle Davout had
inflicted 10,000 casualties and taken 3,000 prisoners while he lost 7,000. Over
the next few weeks a relentless French pursuit caused more casualties to the
Prussians and Berlin was occupied on the 27th. In less than a month since the
start of the campaign Napoleon’s forces killed 20,000 Prussians and took more
than 140,000 prisoners. Still the Prussian leadership retreated towards
the Russian army, so the war of the fourth coalition was just starting. Thank
you for watching our documentary on the twin battles of Jena and Auerstedt. In
two weeks we will be back to cover the Battle of Eylau. We would like to express
our gratitude to our patreon supporters who make the creation of these videos
possible. Patreon is the best way to suggest a new video, learn about our
schedule and so much more. This is the Kings and Generals channel and we will
catch you on the next one!


  1. Thanks for watching! For some reason, our Napoleonic videos are less popular than our other videos. So, please, share this video you think it is good enough. 🙂

  2. 4th coalition war caused solely by Prussia. Others wanted to maintain the peace. Without Prussia's move to make war in 1806, European history might have taken a different route.

  3. Between 1600 and 1805, it was daily for the Prussians to see the French invading, sweeping and sacking their country.

  4. Explained it very nicely. I actually lived in Jena for some years and it was great fun to walk across those fields exploring the former battleground. Peaceful villages… hard to imagine the slaughter.

  5. We, latinos, could get our independences from Spanish dominance thanks to this French genius. Thanks for the hard work put in this videos, really appreciate it

  6. A good clear exposition; though you might have mentioned Bonaparte's disbelief when a rider told him that Davout had defeated the major part of the Prussian army. "Your marshal must be seeing double!" (Davout had no vanity, and wore his spectacles into battle.)

    Arguably the first, but not the only, occasion which should have resulted in Bernadotte's being court-martialled for cowardice.

    PS. You need to work on your German pronunciation.

  7. Great presentation. Very informative. If you would check the pronunciation of your place/person names, it would be better. At times I can hardly understand them. But, again, a great job.

  8. there needs to be a channel solely dedicated to the study of napoleon. the world was completely transformed by this ONE man.

  9. I just suscribed and I really enjoy watching your channel. You should make a series about the latin american independence. You 'll find some atonishing military campaings. Greetings from Argentina

  10. How ironic. The Europeans started a war against French democracy a way they succeeded as napoleon took the throne..but continued the war with 7 in total coalitions. Biggest bullying of all time😁

  11. "L'idée que la Prusse ose me défier seule est à telle point ridicule qu'elle ne mérite pas d'être relevée"
    Napoléon Bonaparte, 1806

    "The tough that Prussia dares to challenge me alone is so ridiculous that it does not deserve to be noted"
    Napoléon Bonaparte, 1806

  12. Watching these videos makes one wonder whether Napoleons opponents were morons, or if Napoleon simply made them look like morons.

  13. Davout was lucky he won that battle. It even surprised me! Winning against cavalary with just Infantry, along with another wave of infantry after them!

  14. I found this to be a fascinating read on Bernadotte's perspective of the battle:

  15. When you realize that the Prussians were not crushed by Napoléon but by Davout…crazy.
    France had it's best generation of officers thanks to the revolution. Back then France lost almost all its officers who were nobles and had to completely renew all its personnel !

  16. Now I have got a very good understanding of the battle. You used some good graphics to let your audience understand what happened. Great vid

  17. I’m not sure if it was this battle, but I recall reading that the philosopher Hegel was nearby when Napoleon was fighting the Prussian Army (the latter of which included many of Hegel’s students) and after Napoleon won, Hegel met him and was inspired to write one of his works which was basically a long-as-hell fan letter to the French Emperor. I probably got every detail of that wrong, but I know for a fact that Hegel and Napoleon met. Does anyone know the correct version of the story?

  18. I am from the region of Thuringia in Germany, in which Jena lies, but I never knew that such an important battle took place in Jena. Thanks for letting me learn something new today. 😀

  19. People who push the rather overrated "Prussian Space Marines" meme from EU4 need to look at how France defeated Prussia in one month.

  20. davout was indeed his most capable & loyal marshall !! The Great Louis Nicholas Davout !! Viv3 l' Empereur ! 🇫🇷🇫🇷🇫🇷🇫🇷

  21. On the 7th of October 1806 the Prussian declaration of war arrived along with a twenty-page manifesto. Napoleon's private reply read:

    " Your Majesty will be defeated, you will compromise your repose and the existence of your subjects without a shadow of a pretext. Prussia is today intact, and can treat with me in a manner suitable to her dignity; in a month's time she will be in a very different position."

    Prussia was crushed within two weeks.

  22. It's funny how Napoleon strategy never strayed from :
    – Bring 250,000 to the enemy capital
    – Leave 50,000 elsewhere
    – Repeat untill there's nobody left in the coalition

  23. Im not sure if you do fictional battle, but a breakdown of the battle of the five armies from the Hobbit would be cool

  24. 00:56 Tyrol is not in the region where the symbol points on the map, it's in the alps you can say nearly in the middle and afterwards it was occupied by france for several years.

  25. The GREAT VICTORY of the Iron Marshall : Louis Nicholas Davout and one of the best divisional generals of the time: Charles-Étienne César Gudin de La Sablonnière , future marshall but died at Valutina.

  26. Barbarian only use firepowder to kill each orther for profit and changed its rightful name to gunpowder. How pathetic!

  27. Napoleon was sure a great strategist but also france's population back then was as big as russia. It really helps when you have the manpower

  28. Gloire à l’empereur et à ses hommes, gloire à cette nation qui fit trembler le monde. Que ces soldats reposent en paix avec tous les honneurs qui sont dus à leur courage et leur abnégation, Vive l’Empereur !

  29. I’m on Napoleon’s side. I grew up viewing him as a genius that made his country one of the world's most powerful empires.

  30. Today is the 103 Year Anniversary of this titanic struggle. I think watching Kings and Generals is the way to commemorate this epic battle.

  31. i used to be friend with of one  of direct   descendant of Marshall Davout !!we were  in French SF and after we worked together  in private  security and he passed away in Algeria during terrorist attack  In 2014 he was very good guy i think is genetic !!! RIP Yann

  32. That's what happens when an aristocratic hierarchial society tries to stand against a republic: the aristocrats have no chance of victory whatsoever, they will either bow to the common man, a man who's by the way far better than any noble scum in all ways that exist, or rout for their lives, or die and fertalize the fields for crops with their liveblood for their attempt to stand up for the old way of doing things, a way of life that is to be left for dead, or wiped out as the vermin that all noblility is by their very nature due to their place!

  33. J'imagine Napoléon pendant la bataille : "Davout est toujours pas arrivé, mais qu'est ce qu'il fout ce con ?!?"
    Et Davout : "Putain c'est chaud, je me mange le gros de l'ennemi tout seul !"

  34. To really get an idea of ​​the horror of the Napoleonic wars that these handsome gentlemen well seated in their armchairs, who talks to us about strategy, have the courage to show us the extreme horror worthy of the worst unimaginable tortures of a battlefield, after this "genius" (Napoleon) proclaimed that he had won the victory!
    Pour vraiment avoir une idée de l’horreur des guerres Napoléoniennes que ces beaux messieurs bien assis dans leur fauteuil, qui nous parle de stratégie, ait le courage de nous montrer l’horreur extrême digne des pires tortures inimaginables d'un champs de bataille, après que ce "génie" (Napoléon) ait proclamé qu'il avait remporté la victoire!

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