The little known Battle of Znaim (10th-11th July 1809) was the last battle fought on the main front of the Franco-Austrian War that year. As part of the pursuit after the Battle of Wagram, Znaim was a major battle in its own right with more than 100,000 soldiers engaged at its height. It was also, however, intimately related to the diplomacy that ended the war. As ferocious combat raged, French and Austrian leaders were already discussing a local ceasefire and general armistice. The battle thus represents a study in the confluence of both conflict and diplomacy.
Pursuing French forces caught the Austrians at Znaim, forcing a rearguard action that featured the outnumbered French and their German allies attacking the numerically superior enemy. What followed was two days of intense action with vicious fighting in burning villages, instant reversals of fortune, military ruses and the drama of a stunning thunderstorm before the sudden ceasefire brought combat to a close.
Jack Gill delves deep into the manoeuvres of both sides as Napoleon endeavours to trap the retreating Austrians while they attempt to escape his grasp. Drawing on unprecedented archival research, his account dissects and investigates the dual aspects of the Battle of Znaim and explains how the military actions and diplomatic decisions influenced each other to produce the peace treaty which was signed at Schönbrunn Palace on 14th October 1809.