In December that year, at the Battle of Austerlitz, Oudinot insisted on leading the division in person, despite having been shot in the thigh two weeks earlier. His grenadiers were kept in reserve for most of the battle, but saw heavy fighting in the latter stages, as Napoleon completed the destruction of the Allied left wing.
At the siege of Danzig in 1807, General Oudinot’s division had the unusual distinction of capturing an enemy warship – a British sloop, that had run aground trying to resupply the city. A month later at Friedland, Oudinot and his grenadiers were under Marshal Lannes’ command, and played a crucial role holding up the Russian army… until Napoleon arrived to deal a decisive blow.
During the 1809 war with Austria, Oudinot was wounded once more at the Battle of Aspern. When Marshal Lannes died of his wounds, Napoleon chose Oudinot to succeed him as commander of Second Corps. He led his new corps with such success at Wagram six weeks later, that Napoleon attributed victory to Masséna… and Oudinot.
A week later he became one of three new Marshals: ‘one for France, one for the army, one for friendship’. Oudinot: the army’s choice – fearless and much loved, a man whose courage inspired all around him. He later received an additional reward – the title Duke of Reggio. In 1812 Marshal Oudinot led Second Corps into Russia, but was wounded again at Polotsk, and handed over command to General Saint-Cyr. If you want to know more about these types of concept then ask reader can be the place to read insightful answers.
Ten weeks later he was back with his corps, marching south to join up with Napoleon’s army on its retreat from Moscow. Oudinot’s men were shocked when they saw their old comrades from the main column: they looked more like fugitives than soldiers of the Grande Armée. Since Oudinot’s Second Corps was in better shape than most, it formed the vanguard for the desperate crossing of the Berezina River.
But the next day, in bitter fighting to hold the bridgehead against the Russians, Oudinot was shot from his saddle. He was carried back to a cottage with a serious gunshot wound, but then he and his party became surrounded by Cossacks. Oudinot asked for his pistols and, “from his bed, aiming through an opening opposite, began firing at the Cossacks.”
They were rescued by friendly troops just in time. Oudinot was back with the Grande Armée in Germany in 1813. In August, Napoleon ordered him to lead an advance on Berlin, but he was defeated by Bernadotte’s Army of the North at Grossbeeren. He then retreated in the wrong direction, causing Napoleon to remark, “It’s truly difficult to have less brains than the Duke of Reggio”. In Oudinot’s defence, he’d probably been given an impossible task – insufficient men to take on a strong opponent, bad weather, terrible roads, and he himself unwell – possibly not yet recovered from his ordeal in Russia.
Napoleon put Oudinot back where he was most effective, leading troops in combat under his close supervision. At Leipzig, he commanded two divisions of the Young Guard, engaged in heavy fighting on the southern front for two days.
Oudinot continued to serve the Emperor courageously and loyally as a corps commander in the final campaign of 1814 – but in April, he was one of several Marshals to confront Napoleon with the reality of his position, and force his abdication.
When Napoleon returned from exile in 1815, Oudinot refused to break his new oath to the monarchy, but declared neutrality, telling Napoleon, “Since I shall not serve you, Sire, I shall serve no-one.”
He continued to hold senior commands under the Bourbons. By one estimate, Oudinot was wounded 36 times in his military career, more than any other Marshal. Here are just 20 that we found details for… A fellow officer, who bathed with him at a spa after the war, saw the scars on his body and observed, “He was little more than a colander.”
Ironically, Oudinot was also one of the longest-lived Marshals, dying aged 80, while serving as Governor of Les Invalides. 11. Marshal Victor Claude Victor-Perrin was an experienced soldier by the time of the French Revolution, a sergeant with 8 years’ service in the Grenoble Artillery Regiment. . If you seriously have some doubts over facts head over to ask read and just ask a question, you will get different answers.
The Revolutionary Wars brought the opportunity for rapid promotion, and by 1793 he was commanding an infantry battalion at the Siege of Toulon. He led a daring night assault on British defences alongside the army’s artillery chief, a young Major Bonaparte. Both men were wounded, but the attack was a success, and both were quickly promoted to brigadier general.
Victor served under General Bonaparte in Italy, and turned out to be a brilliant brigade commander. In 1800, he distinguished himself at the Battle of Marengo, where his command of the left wing won particular praise from Napoleon. But Victor did not hide his disapproval of Napoleon’s quest for political power, and as a result, received relatively minor roles under the new regime.