Wednesday, February 28, 2018

1805: Austerlitz by Robert Goetz

Robert Goetz
(Red letters on black background...)

I read this book after reading Scott Bowden's book.  I was just expecting a repeat and was very pleasantly surprised it that it covered the subject matter slightly differently so that the two books interleaved rather than overlapped.

This is all part of my research for the Austerlitz project.  I've done the Order of Battle more or less (one for Bowden and one for Goetz).  I still have the Osprey Campaign book(s) to read and F G Hourtoulle's Austerlitz - The Empire at its Zenith (although I bought that more for it's uniform pictures that I found irresistible), but my next challenge is to the play the boardgame of the battle that I have (Napoleon at Austerlitz that appeared in The Wargamer Number 17 - issued in 1981).  My current aim being to get a feel for the required terrain as that seems to be the next big challenge in order to progress the project.

Meanwhile I'm continuing to work on the figures required for the battle.

Goetz wrote his book in 2005 after Bowden's book (which was published in 1997) and as  a result he makes reference to it when discussing various aspects of the battle, particularly the number of troops engaged.

While very much focussed on the battle, I enjoyed his summary of the outcomes of this unique battle which had such a wide ranging impact on the politics of the day.

When it comes to the Austerlitz scenario I can see a need for two: one would commit the Allies very much to their plan, while a second would give them more freedom to react (such as if Alexander had better advice and acted on it).  Both could be challenging, but we will see.

My current thinking is to look at three depictions of the battlefield.  One is to shrink it to 9x5, the standard for Napoleon's Battles.  Another is to go to 12x5 which would seem based on my calculations so far to fit most of the battle in.  Finally, there is the option of breaking the battle into its various parts.  All of these options are attractive and I'm hoping that the work done on one will readily facilitate the others.


  1. Very much looking forward to your take on the battle Mark as I am hoping to put something similar, albeit in 28mm and on one particular aspect of the day. Have you read Christopher Duffys “Austerlitz”? If not I could not recommend it highly enough.

    1. If I did it was so long ago I can't remember!

  2. Goetz is my favorite account of the battle. Many revisions to the OB in Bowden’s work. Goetz is a more balanced account in my view. When I refought Austerlitz on the 200th Anniversary, I relied on Goetz’ work.

    Austerlitz is a big battle. Good luck in this venture!

    1. I remember you recommended this book in a previous comment. I agree it being balanced which makes for an exciting recount and also that the French really earned their victory.