Having escaped the disaster of the Russian campaign of 1812, Napoleon set out to defeat a coalition of epic proportions, who had coalesced to change the French preponderance of power on the Continent. Leaving his stepson Eugène with the shattered remnants of the Grande Armée in northern Germany, Napoleon's great organisation skills would be used to the full to replace his depleted ranks.
Short of cavalry, to scout and follow up any victory and with in-experienced troops, Napoleon struck at the Allied armies with vigour and energy, not wholly seconded by his subordinates. The battles of Lützen and Bautzen proved that he had the will and drive to beat his opponents, but time was running out. As losses mounted, including Grand Marshal of the Palace Duroc and Marshal Bessières, Napoleon could not hope to be everywhere at once. Oudinot was beaten at Gross-Beeren, Vandamme was destroyed at Kulm, Macdonald defeated on the Katzbach and Ney at Dennewitz, the hopes of the French were also brutally dashed by the Austrians joining the ranks of their enemies. The dénouement would be the largest battle known to man at that point in history, fought over three days the battle of Leipzig was rightly known as the "Battle of Nations", two thousand cannon and nearly six hundred thousand men would pound, charge, fire, and die to change the face of Europe.
Continuing on in the series of books, after Napoleon and the Archduke Charles, Petre's monumental summation of the 1813 campaigns in Germany is still relevant fresh and excellently researched, balanced.
Author - Francis Lorraine Petre OBE - (1852-1925)