III Corps (Grande Armée)
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|Country||First French Empire|
|Engagements||War of the Third Coalition|
War of the Fourth Coalition
War of the Fifth Coalition
War of the Sixth Coalition
War of the Seventh Coalition
Bon-Adrien Jeannot de Moncey
The III Corps of the Grande Armée was a French military unit that existed during the Napoleonic Wars. The corps came to prominence between 1805 and 1809 under the command of Marshal Louis-Nicolas Davout, when it repeatedly scored impressive victories single-handedly or in conjunction with other French forces. Napoleon called it "My tenth legion", in reference to Julius Caesar's finest unit, the X Equestris. Troops from III Corps then took part in many battles in Poland, during the War of the Fourth Coalition, e.g. Czarnowo, Pultusk, Golymin, Eylau, in Bavaria at Teugen-Hausen and Eckmuhl, and in Austria at Wagram in 1809. These troops were later reorganized as the I Corps and included French, German, and Polish units. It also included the 127th to 129th "régiment d'infanterie de ligne" from the North German countries of Oldenburg, Bremen, and Hamburg that were annexed shortly before and thus counted as French.
A parallel III Corps existed in Spain from 1808 until 1811 when it became the Army of Aragon. Its commanders were Marshal Bon-Adrien Jeannot de Moncey, General Jean-Andoche Junot, and Marshal Louis-Gabriel Suchet. Cobbled together from hastily raised French conscripts and Polish auxiliaries, the corps later became one of the most effective French forces in Spain under Marshal Suchet.
By the time of Napoleon's invasion of Russia in 1812, the III Corps had been reorganized and went under the command of Marshal Michel Ney. It consisted of a mixture of Croatian, French, Portuguese, Dutch and Württemberger units and like the rest of Napoleon's forces, suffered heavy casualties as the campaign progressed. At the crossing of the Niemen River in 1812, the size of the corps was estimated at around 44,000 men; by the Battle of Smolensk, only 22,000 men remained.
- Corps commander: Marshal Louis-Nicolas Davout (1805 through 1809);
- Corps commander: Marshal Michel Ney (1812-1813)
- Divisional commanders:
- Corps cavalry under General-Major Woellwarth (1812), later General of Brigade Laboissière
- Corps commander: General Joseph Souham (1813)
- Corps commander: General Dominique Vandamme (1815)
References and notes
- Badone, Jean Cerino; et al. "1812 - Invasion of Russia". Retrieved 2007-08-16.
- Badone, Jean Cerino; et al. "Battle of Borodino, 1812 - Armies. "French and Russian Orders of Battle"". Retrieved 2007-08-16.