By Arnold Blumberg At 4 am on October 14, 1806, 37-year-old Jean Lannes, Marshal of France in Napoleon Bonaparte’s Grande Armee and commander of that host’s V Corps, received his final instructions verbally from the emperor. The early part of the night had been clear with a slight frost, but toward dawn there descended a mist so thick that it was impossible to see more than a few yards distant. Two hours later daylight was scarcely perceptible as Lannes and his officers shifted their men from their cramped positions atop the Landgrafenberg Heights and deployed them into assault columns and firing lines covered by swarms of light infantry serving as skirmishers. As the French line infantrymen hastened to widen their front and assume their assault formations, Napoleon, riding among Lannes’s soldiers on the front lines, addressed them in groups and individually, stoking their martial enthusiasm for the coming fight. He told them that the enemy was cut off and was struggling, not for victory, but for mere existence. His words were received by the troops with wild cheers and cries of “En avant!” Thus, the V Corps and other corps in Napoleon’s Grande Armee prepared during the predawn light to meet the Prussian Army, the army of Frederick the Great, reputed to be the best in Europe, in a titanic struggle. Despite his stunning triumph at the Battle of Austerlitz on December 2, 1805, which resulted in the breakup of the Third Coalition against him, Napoleon could not c


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