Duc de Montebello
of Napoleon Bonaparte's closest
marshals, Jean Lannes was a courageous fighter, excellent tactician
and had no desire for politics.
loved the army and the battlefield and proved himself time and again,
despite being wounded many times and often facing great odds.
volunteered for the French army in 1792 and served against Spain
before transferring to the Army of Italy. He fought at Loano (1st)
in 1795 and then joined Bonaparte at the battles of Ceva, Millessimo
elite grenadiers, Lannes led from the front and further distinguished
Bassano and Arcola.
1798, he was a general of brigade in Egypt
where he assisted in the seizure of Alexandria and Rosetta, crushed
the Cairo uprising and fought at El
Arish, Jaffa and Acre
before suffering a neck wound. He was further injured at Aboukir.
to France with Bonaparte, Lannes assisted with the Coup de Brumaire
and, in 1800, was promoted to general of division.
the alpine advance into northern Italy, Lannes won the battle of
Montebello and soon after held up the Austrians long enough for
General Desaix to reinforce Bonaparte
at Marengo and help win that crucial
to the Marshalate in 1804, Lannes next
saw action at Ulm and Austerlitz
and in 1806 won Saalfield, led the way at Jena
and was wounded at Pultusk.
following year he fought at Heilsberg and had a vital role at Friedland,
where he held off far greater numbers of Russians long enough for
Bonaparte to bring up reinforcements and crush them against the
late 1808, Lannes was transferred to Spain, won the battle of Tudela
and then successfully ended the horrendous siege of Saragossa. He
wept when he saw the terrible suffering and death toll that hit
the people of the city.
Austria resurgent in the east, Lannes joined Bonaparte along the
Danube in the battles of Abensberg,
and Ratisbon, where he led the assault on the walls himself.
last battle was Aspern-Essling where
his advance II Corps held off, against massive odds, the Austrian
army while Bonaparte desperately tried to get more troops across
the swollen, flooded Danube.
a strongpoint in the village of Essling, Lannes denied the Austrians
for two days.
during the fighting withdrawal he had his legs crushed by a cannonball
and, after the amputation of the left one, died of fever.
army, and Bonaparte himself, wept at the loss.