III Corps (Grande Armée)

For the similarly numbered formation in World War I and World War II, see 3rd Army Corps (France).
III Corps (Grande Armée)
Active 18051815
Country First French Empire
Branch Army
Type Army Corps
Size Corps
Engagements Napoleonic Wars
Louis-Nicolas Davout
Bon-Adrien Jeannot de Moncey
Jean-Andoche Junot
Louis-Gabriel Suchet
Michel Ney
Joseph Souham
Dominique Vandamme

The III Corps of the Grande Armée was the designation of a few military units during the Napoleonic Wars. The III 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. Then troops from that Corps took part in many battles in Poland (1807) e.g. Czarnowo, Pultusk, Golymin, Eylau, in Bavaria at Teugen-Hausen, Eckmuhl and in Austria 1809 at Wagram. These troops later were reorganized as I Corps and included French, German/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 Bon-Adrien Jeannot de Moncey, Jean-Andoche Junot, and 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 Suchet.


By the time of Napoleon's invasion of Russia in 1812, III Corps was reorganized and went under the command of Marshal Ney. It consisted of French, Württemberg, Portuguese and Croatian 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 III Corps' size was estimated at around 44,000 men; by the Battle of Smolensk, only 22,000 men remained.[1]


The III Corps participated in a number of battles, including Battle of Wagram Austerlitz, Auerstadt, Eylau, Teugen-Hausen and Eckmühl. The III Corps also fought at Borodino.[2]


Marshal Michel Ney (1812)

References and notes

  1. Badone, Jean Cerino; et al. "1812 - Invasion of Russia". Retrieved 2007-08-16.
  2. Badone, Jean Cerino; et al. "Battle of Borodino, 1812 - Armies. "French and Russian Orders of Battle"". Retrieved 2007-08-16.
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