Crisis on the Danube: Napoleon’s Austrian Campaign of 1809

New Anniversary Edition with New Maps, Photos, and Illustrations

Crisis on the Danube: Napoleon’s Austrian Campaign of 1809 by James Arnold

by James R. Arnold

Hardcover: 286 pages
Publisher: Paragon House; 1 edition (August 1, 1990)
ISBN-10: 1557781370
ISBN-13: 978-1557781376
Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
Out of Print. Watch for the 1809 Omnibus edition in Summer 2021.

The year 1809 witnessed a geopolitical shift in Europe. While France and Napoleon’s Grande Armée remained ascendant, new forces weighed in the European balance of power. The author conducts us through the swirl of diplomatic intrigue that preceded the 1809 Austrian campaign. Revealed is the complex web of alliances, Napoleon’s mistaken political calculations, and the duplicity of his underlings that draw the French emperor into an unwanted war. Despite his diplomatic naïveté, Napoleon continues to exhibit the flashes of military genius that prompted him to describe this campaign as among the finest in his career. A detailed description of the makeup and tactical objectives of the Napoleonic war machine is followed by an explanation of the rival army’s organization and qualities. Crisis on the Danube relates the major engagements in this first phase of the 1809 war, from the Austrian invasion of Bavaria to the French capture of Ratisbonne. Readers see troop movements from the perspective of Napoleon and the Archduke Karl, allowing them to perceive how imperfect knowledge, “the fog of war,” influenced command decisions. In this atmosphere of uncertainty, the ability to make good strategic choices and stick to them was the hallmark of great military leadership and here Napoleon’s genius remained unsurpassed. Dramatic first-hand accounts vividly relate the consequences of these decisions by depicting what it was like to be under fire on a Napoleonic battlefield. Quality paperback. 276 pages, 27 maps, illustrations, orders of battle.

Crisis on the Danube map

Praise for Crisis on the Danube: Napoleon’s Austrian Campaign of 1809

“By any standards this is a thrilling period of military history, and the author does it full justice.” — David G. Chandler author of The Campaigns of Napoleon

“Well written and researched.” — American Library Association

“The author presents a detailed analysis of the force structure, material, and manpower resources of both France and Austria…well written and valuable.” — Infantry Magazine

“A well-done history of the Austrian war with France and its memorable battles and leaders that will be greatly enjoyed by anyone from scholar to student.” — San Antonio Express-News

Table of Contents

  • Chapter I. Diplomatic War
    • Setting the Stage
    • Background to Betrayal
    • Dateline to War
  • Chapter II. The Napoleonic War Machines
    • The Tactical Mosaic
    • The Austrian Army
    • The French Army
  • Chapter III. Surprise in Bavaria
    • The Battle for Intelligence
    • War Plans
    • The Fog of War
  • Chapter IV. The Master Arrives
    • The Invasion of Bavaria
    • To the Front
    • Approach March
  • Chapter V. The Tenth Legion
    • Ridgetop Battle
    • Seizing the Initiative
    • Planning a Counteroffensive
  • Chapter VI. The Battle of Abensberg
    • Cordon Defense
    • Lannes
    • Collapse of the Abens Position
    • Ratisbonne Beleaguered
  • Chapter VII. The Landshut Hunt
    • Davout’s Ordeal
    • The Lion of Landshut
  • Chapter VIII. The Battle of Eckmühl
    • Two A.M. Courage
    • Set-Piece Battle
  • Chapter IX. The Scale of Victory
    • Pursuit
    • Moonlit Combat
    • Conference of War
  • Chapter X. The Emperor’s Wound
    • To Cross the Danube
    • Convergence on Ratisbonne
    • Displays of Courage
  • Chapter XI. Conclusion
    • Campaign’s End
    • Assessment
  • Appendix I. Fates Intermingled: The Principal Characters And What Became of Them
  • Appendix II. Order of Battle
  • Appendix III. Command and Control
  • Appendix IV. The 1809 Campaign as a War Game
  • Appendix V. The Battlefield Today