1813 was a critical year in the world war that ended with the downfall of Napoleon. In a series of major battles the converging armies of the Sixth Coalition drove the French forces back. This was the year in which the balance of power tipped decisively against Napoleon's First Empire, and that is why Jonathon Riley's highly readable and timely new study is so important. He covers the operations in central Europe and Spain, where the allies broke French power, humbled Napoleon and laid the foundations for the Congress of Vienna and the European settlement that endured for the next fifty years. In particular he focuses on the operation of the Sixth Coalition - Austria, Prussia, Russia, the United Kingdom, Portugal, Sweden, Spain and the smaller German states. This was the prototype of all uneasy modern coalitions, with their troubled command relationships, disagreements on strategy and operations, and clashing political ambitions. At the same time he reassesses the performance of Napoleon himself who was also an alliance commander, for his armies included not only Frenchmen but also Poles, Danes, Italians, Germans and a host of other contingents.
In graphic detail he covers the 1813 campaigns which have received less attention than those of 1812 and 1814/15 in spite of the fact that all the decisive moments came in 1813 - save for one: Waterloo.
Lieutenant-General Jonathon Riley's military career included multiple tours in Northern Ireland, the Balkans, Sierra Leone, Iraq and Afghanistan. He commanded, 1st Battalion The Royal Welch Fusiliers in GoraA de where he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order. He is one of a small number of British officers to have commanded a tri-service joint task force on operations, which he did in Sierra Leone. In Iraq, he was Commanding General, Multi-National Division (South-East). He then became Senior British Military Adviser to the United States Central Command before being appointed Deputy Commanding General of NATO's International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. He has a PhD in modern history and he is currently Visiting Professor in War Studies at King's College London. His recent published works include Napoleon as a General, Decisive Battles, a new edition of Llewelyn Wyn Griffith's Great War classic Up to Mametz, and a biography of Major-General Sir Isaac Brock, A Matter of Honour.