The Austrians were almost constantly at war with Napoleon from the beginning of the period. The main areas of Austrian operations against Napoleon were Central Europe and Northern Italy. After being defeated by Napoleon at Wagram, 1809, Austria found itself in an unwilling alliance with France. It provided a Corps for Napoleon's ill-fated Russian campaign.
The Austrian army was large - but its organisation and tactics were outdated. Training was generally inadequate - even after 2 major reforms, Austrian troops were only issued 10 musket rounds per year for musketry practice! However, notwithstanding the generally poor quality of Austrian commanders, Austrian troops were known for their steadiness and courage under fire. This was even recognised by Napoleon after the Battle of Wagram. Henceforth, anyone who denigrated Austrian troops in Napoleon's presence would receive the retort, "obviously you were not at Wagram".
Tthe Austrian army of the Napoleonic wars went through 3 distinct phases:
- pre-Austerlitz (1798-1805)
- post-Austerlitz (1805-1809); and
- post-Wagram (post-1809).
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