The Battle of Jena in 1806 was crucial for Napoleon. Having crushed the might of the Austro-Hungarian empire at Austerlitz, he now needed to defeat Prussia in order to put all of continental Europe under the control of his First Empire. The might of Prussia's army was legendary, but while the French revolutionary army had learned tactics charecterized by the skirmishing of its fast-moving infantry, the Prussian forces had not really changed since Frederick the Great's day. Their troops were severely disciplined and drilled, and were manoeuvred like machines. The result was a crushing defeat for the Prussian forces, both at Jena itself and at nearby Auerstadt, where Davout bore the brunt of the Prussian onslaughts, and still won the day despite overwhelming odds. This is an in-depth study of the events of the 14th of October 1806. It seeks to clarify many questions and correct commonly-accepted mistakes regarding the course of the action. The author places particular emphasis on the merits of the Emperor's heroic subordinates and blunders of their adversaries.
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