N & E
Napoleon & Empire

Campaigns and main battles

Campaign in Italy (1796-1797)

In 1796, a practically unknown officer, appointed by favor, became head of the Army of Italy, which had to serve as a diversion from the main French offensive in Germany. A year later, after a succession of victories that gave him an unrivaled prestige, General Napoleon Bonaparte spoke as equals with the French and Austrian governments.

Battles of Montenotte, Millesimo, Cosseria and Dego


April 12th, 1796
ItalyFrench Victory

General Bonaparte entered the scene by a first brilliant stroke.

Battle of Mondovi


April 21st, 1796
ItalyFrench Victory

After fifteen days of campaign, the Sardinians were already knocked out.

Battle of Lodi


May 10th, 1796
ItalyFrench Victory

The French crossed the river Adda in strength, pursuing the Austrians.

Battle of Borghetto


May 30th, 1796
ItalyFrench Victory

The passage of the river Mincio, near Valeggio, gave rise to a fierce confrontation.

Battle of Castiglione


August 5th, 1796
ItalyFrench Victory

Their defeat forced the Austrians to retreat towards Tyrol.

Battle of Bassano


September 8th, 1796
ItalyFrench Victory

Again beaten, the Austrians led by Dagobert von Wurmser had to seek refuge into Mantua.

Battle of Arcole


November 15th to 17th, 1796
ItalyFrench Victory

The crossing of the river Alpone required three days of fierce fighting.

Battle of Rivoli


January 14th to 15th, 1797
ItalyFrench Victory

Following this battle, the Austrian hopes of unlocking the city of Mantua were dashed.

Battle of La Favorita

La Favorita

January 16th, 1797
ItalyFrench Victory

There failed the last Austrian effort to get out of Mantua.

Egyptian Campaign (1798-1799)

Being too popular for the French Directory, whose deep corruption had not yet made imminent its fall, Bonaparte received the mission to carry on getting fame and honor far from Europe, in the fascinating Middle-East.

Battle of the Pyramids


July 21st, 1798
EgyptFrench Victory

A few miles from the Pyramids of Giza, just before the battle, General Bonaparte harangued his troops with those words that passed to posterity: Soldiers, from the summit of yonder pyramids forty centuries look down upon you!

The Mamluks, intrepid horsemen, impetuously rushed over the French squares, but found there nothing but death and defeat.

Battle of the Nile (or Abukir bay)

Battle of the Nile

August 1st and 2nd, 1798
EgyptFrench defeat

Subsequently to this naval battle won by Horatio Nelson, Bonaparte found himself deprived of his fleet, and prisoner of his conquest.

Battle of Mount-Tabor

Mount Tabor

April 16th, 1799
IsraelFrench Victory

The Turkish army, which had come to rescue the besieged city of Acre, was destroyed in this battle.

Battle of Abukir


July 25th, 1799
EgyptFrench Victory

The Ottomans, that the British had landed at Alexandria, were thrown there into the sea.

Battle of Heliopolis


March 20th, 1800
EgyptFrench Victory

General Jean-Baptiste Kléber gave there to the French Republic its last victory in Egypt.

Second Campaign in Italy (1800)

Napoleon Bonaparte, once became First Consul, planned to beat the second coalition, which had almost defeat the republican French, while himself was fighting in Egypt.

What better way for that, than returning to the scene of his first exploits, to combat once again Austria?

Siège de Gênes

Siege of Genoa

April 20th - June 4th, 1800

GeneralMasséna resists to the extreme limit despite famine and epidemics.

Battle of Montebello


June 9th, 1800
ItalyFrench Victory

This victory of General Jean Lannes opened the road to Alessandria and Marengo.

Battle of Marengo


June 14th, 1800
ItalyFrench Victory

That day, in the plain of the Bormida, east of the city of Alessandria, the First Consul Napoleon Bonaparte rolled the dice, and won in extremis against the troops of the Holy Roman Empire led by General Michael von Melas!

Operations in Germany in 1800

Strategically, the Italian campaign of 1800 was initially just a diversion designed to facilitate the main attack on Germany. General Jean-Victor Moreau was given command of the latter.

Battle of Hohenlinden


December 3rd, 1800
GermanyFrench Victory

General Jean-Victor Moreau won a decisive battle in Bavaria, that forced Austria to leave the second coalition.

Campaign in Germany (1805)

The French army was gathered around Boulogne and everything was ready for the invasion of England. Admirals had their instructions, which were to attract the English fleet far, far away, on the other side of the Atlantic ocean. Then it would be sufficient to cross the Channel on thousands of barges gathered for this purpose. But the defeat of Trafalgar and the bustle in Europe forced Napoleon to change his plans. Steering: Vienna!

Battle of Elchingen


October 14th, 1805
GermanyFrench Victory

Marshal Michel Ney, present everywhere in the heart of the fighting, wrote one of the pages of his legend.

Bataille d'Ulm


October 17th, 1805
GermanyFrench Victory

20,000 Austrians were forced to surrender almost without a fight.

Battle of Austerlitz


December 2nd, 1805
Czech RepublicFrench Victory

Emperor Napoleon I won in Moravia his most striking and most historic victory, against Russian and Austrian troops, under the gaze of Emperors Alexander I of Russia and Francis II of the Holy Roman Empire. This fight was named "The Battle of the three Emperors".

1805 Sea Campaign

After having sealed the failure of the landing project in England by locking himself in Cadiz, Admiral Villeneuve lingered too long in this port. When he decided to leave, Nelson was there, with an English fleet infinitely more seasoned and better equipped than Villeneuve's Franco-Spanish squadron. Villeneuve will suffer one of the worst defeats a sailor has ever experienced. He won't recover.

Bataille de Trafalgar


October 21st, 1805
SpainFrench defeat

Horatio Nelson finished on that day his work of destruction of the French fleet.

Campaign in Prussia (1806)

Prussia, prudent during the 1805 campaign, allowed himself to circumvent the following year by Russian and British promises. This proved to be wrong: two weeks after its ultimatum, it had no more army. Fifteen days later, Napoleon entered Berlin.

Battle of Auerstaedt


October 14th, 1806
GermanyFrench Victory

Marshal Louis-Nicolas Davout, alone, defeated the largest contingent of the Prussian troops.

Battle of Jena


October 14th, 1806
GermanyFrench Victory

While Marshal Davoust was victorious at Auerstaedt, the second part of the Prussian army was destroyed at Jena by Napoleon himself. The campaign had begun only last fortnight...

Campaign in Poland (1807)

In autumn 1806 the Russians had not had the time to lend a hand to their Prussian ally, whose collapse was as sudden as unforeseen. They gave asylum to the King of Prussia and continued fighting in East Prussia, under the command of General Levin August von Bennigsen.

Battle of Eylau


February 8th, 1807
RussiaUncertain outcome

A terrible slaughter and a huge cavalry charge for an uncertain result.

Battle of Friedland


June 14th, 1807
RussiaFrench Victory

For the anniversary of Marengo, the battle of Friedland was a total victory for Napoleon, which forced the Russians and Prussians to deal with him: thus the Treaty of Tilsit marked the end of the War of the Fourth Coalition.

Peninsular War (1808-1814)

During five years, the Peninsular war eroded the French army and consummated its best soldiers. The French were unable to defeat a Resistance that came from the depths of a spanish population fanaticized by priests, in which the Afrancesados (partisans of the French, often imbued with the ideas of the Enlightenment) were a minority.

Battle of Bailen


July 19th to 22nd, 1808
SpainFrench defeat

First terrestrial defeat of the Napoleonic armies, Bailen gave hope to all the enemies of French.

Battle of Somosierra


November 30th, 1808
SpainFrench Victory

This battle opened the road to Madrid to Napoleon, who had personnally come to install his brother Joseph on the Spanish throne.

Surrending of Zaragoza


February 20th, 1809
SpainFrench Victory

After two months of siege and 100,000 dead, the city fell into the hands of the French.

Battle of Ocaña


November 19th, 1809
SpainFrench Victory

By inflicting the Spanish army its biggest defeat of the war, Marshal Jean-de-Dieu Soult opened to himself the way to Andalusia.

Battle of Salamanca


July 22nd, 1812
SpainFrench defeat

Two months after this French defeat south of Salamanca, the Anglo-Iberian troops took Madrid.

Battle of Vitoria


June 21st, 1813
SpainFrench defeat

The French army, fleeing, suffered a rout, which was however tempered by the greed of the conquerors.

Campaign in Germany and Austria (1809)

Noting the French difficulties in Spain, Austria believed the time for revenge had come, and declared war on French. Its army was intrusted to one of the brightest opponents that Napoleon never had to fight: the Archduke Charles. Unprepared, the French experienced a difficult campaign.

Battle of Eckmuhl


April 22nd, 1809
GermanyFrench Victory

Near Regensburg in Bavaria, the stubborn resistance of Marshal Davout then Napoleon's arrival made this confrontation a victory, but not the decisive battle the Emperor had dreamed of.

Battle of Aspern-Essling


May 21st and 22nd, 1809
AustriaUncertain outcome

Cut off from its bases by the rupture of a bridge over the Danube, half of the French army managed to avoid annihilation but suffered heavy losses.

Battle of Wagram


July 5th and 6th, 1809
AustriaFrench Victory

On a battlefield near Aspern and Essling, in the plain of Marchfeld, Napoleon finally won the big victory that forced Austria to treat with him. But the time for quick wins had gone, giving way to that of slaughters.

French invasion of Russia (1812)

Russia, unwilling to respect the treaty of Tilsit whose clauses in international trade faced its interests, had increasingly distanced itself from French over the years. Napoleon could not compromise, since it undermined his struggle against England. The confrontation, which had become inevitable, was gigantic.

Battle of Smolensk


August 17th, 1812
RussiaFrench Victory

Napoleon seized the city of Smolensk on fire and in ruins, which could not serve him as a source of supplies for the continuation of the campaign.

Battle of Borodino

Borodino (The Moskva)

September 7th, 1812
RussiaUncertain outcome

Mikhail Kutuzov finally offered to the French the battle they had hoped since the beginning of the campaign. Without convincing results.

Battle of Berezina


November 27th to 28th, 1812
BelarusFrench Victory

A part of the French army managed to cross the Berezina River under threat from the enemy, with heavy sacrifices.

Last Campaign in Germany (1813)

Who else but Napoleon could have been able to face the European coalition in the aftermath of a rout like in Russia? Yet in 1813, the fate was several times about to declare in his favor.

Battle of Lützen


May 2nd, 1813
GermanyFrench Victory

The lack of cavalry prevented the French army to exploit this considerable success as it would have had.

Battle of Bautzen


May 20th and 21st, 1813
GermanyFrench Victory

The French won in Bautzen a new but insufficient victory.

Battle of Dresden


August 26th and 27th, 1813
GermanyFrench Victory

This was the last major success in Germany for Napoleon, who was ill and could not exploit his success.

Battle of Leipzig

Leipzig (Battle of the Nations)

October 16th to 19th, 1813
GermanyFrench defeat

At one against two, betrayed by his allies, and a victim of blows of fate, Napoleon conceded on that day his heaviest defeat and lost the initiative.

Battle of Hanau


October 30th, 1813
GermanyFrench Victory

This success allowed the French to continue their retreat.

Campaign in Northeast France (1814)

Cornered, fighting for the first time on French soil, Napoleon was more than ever to rise to the occasion. As he said himself, he had "put on his Italian boots" and realized one of his finest campaigns.

Battle of Brienne


January 29th, 1814
FranceFrench Victory

Marshal Blücher, only just managed to elude capture, which could have changed the face of the campaign.

Battle of La Rothière

La Rothière

February 1st, 1814
FranceFrench defeat

Napoleon, who had not wanted this battle, was defeated after a great resistance.

Battle of Champaubert


February 10th, 1814
FranceFrench Victory

This was the first of four commitments, which turned into a disaster for the invaders.

Battle of Montmirail


February 11th, 1814
FranceFrench Victory

Although twice as numerous, Russians and Prussians were defeated by French.

Battle of Château-Thierry


February 12th, 1814
FranceFrench Victory

The Emperor pursued his enemies of yesterday and inflicted them another failure.

Battle of Vauchamps


February 14th, 1814
FranceFrench Victory

It was the turn of Blücher in person to be punished. In four days, his army lost 30,000 men.

Battle of Montereau


February 18th, 1814
FranceFrench Victory

The Emperor triumphed again but his plans were undermined by the slowness of some subordinates.

Battle of Craonne


March 7th, 1814
FranceFrench Victory

Another success for the Emperor, yes, but this time it was a Pyrrhic victory.

Battle of Laon


March 9th and 10th, 1814
FranceFrench defeat

Napoleon attacked Blücher: an attempt that was difficult to justify, and which did not succeed.

Battle of Reims


March 13th, 1814
FranceFrench Victory

The capital of Champagne offered to the Emperor the "last smile of victory".

Battle of Arcis-sur-Aube


March 20th and 21st, 1814
FranceFrench defeat

Considerating that this battle was turning into a strategic failure, Napoleon abruptly broke the struggle to make other arrangements.

Battle of Fère-Champenoise


March 25th, 1814
FranceFrench defeat

The defeat of Marshals Auguste Viesse de Marmont and Adolphe Mortier opened the road to Paris to the Allies.

Campaign in Belgium (1815)

It took little time for Napoleon, after his return from Elba, to understand that his throne, again, depended on his ability in defending it. He accepted the challenge.

In other circumstances, could have he achieved that goal?

Battle of Ligny


June 16th, 1815
BelgiumFrench Victory

For the very last time, Napoleon inflicted another setback to his old adversary Blücher, this in Walloon Brabant, south of Brussels.

Battle of Quatre-Bras


June 16th, 1815
BelgiumUncertain outcome

Simultaneously, fifteen kilometers from Ligny, Marshal Michel Ney fiercely fought against the troops of the Duke of Wellington.

Battle of Waterloo

Waterloo (Mont-Saint-Jean)

June 18th, 1815
BelgiumFrench defeat

The Imperial epic reached its denouement in this confrontation without mercy among Arthur Wellesley of Wellington's defence and Napoleon's offensive.

But it was ultimately the General perhaps most often defeated by the Emperor, who tipped the scales: Blücher, whose late arrival closed the final chapter in the military history of the French Empire.

Battle of Wavre


June 18th and 19th, 1815
BelgiumUncertain outcome

On the battlefield of Wavre, Marshal Grouchy won a useless victory over the Prussian rearguard because his success only came after the decisive intervention of the rest of Blücher's forces at Waterloo. He then masterfully led a retreat which allowed him to return to France at the head of an army in good order of nearly 60,000 men.


  1. Logo for a French victory French victory
  2. Logo for an uncertain outcome Uncertain outcome
  3. Logo for a French defeat French defeat
  4. Flag Current country where the battle was held