Battle of Jena and Auerstedt
The battle of Jena began with the chance evening meeting of Marshal Lannes' corps and a Prussian force of 38,000 men under General Friedrich Hohenlohe.
Sending for immediate reinforcements, Lannes camped near the enemy positions. Throughout the night new units moved up until French forces numbered at least 50,000, and more were on the way, ensuring Napoleon Bonaparte would have some 90,000 men available.
Murat's cavalry charging the Prussian lines.
The initial French move was to push the Prussians into open ground, where the advantage of numbers would be telling, and while the resistance was strong it was eventually achieved.Hohenlohe urgently sent for assistance from Ruchel's nearby 15,000 men and hoped to hold on until they arrived.
Meanwhile, all of the good work done by marshals Augereau and Lannes was almost undone by the impatient Marshal Ney, who launched an unauthorised assault in the centre.Neither side could believe the stupidity of the assault and soon Ney was in danger of being swamped by Prussian cavalry.Fortunately for the fiery marshal, Lannes, Bertrand, and massed French cavalry intervened before the trap could shut.
At 1 pm, Bonaparte ordered a general advance and within two hours the exhausted Prussians gave way, fleeing the field and trying to avoid the sabres of Marshal Murat's horsemen. Jena cost Bonaparte some 5,000 men, but the Prussians had a staggering 25,000 casualties.
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Photo taken in Cospeda, 07751 Jena, Germany
Misplaced? Suggest new location