Aspern(redirected from Lion of Aspern)
a village 8 km east of Vienna on the left bank of the Danube where, during the Austro-French War of 1809, a battle took place on May 21–22 between the French forces of Napoleon I and the Austrian forces under the command of the archduke Charles. After the occupation of Vienna by the French on May 13, the Austrians took up a defensive position on the left bank of the Danube. On the night of May 21 the French forces crossed the Danube and seized the villages of Aspern and Essling. On May 21 the Austrians (with about 80,000 men and 288 cannon) attacked the French forces that had crossed the river (about 40,000 men and 50 cannon), occupied part of Aspern, and surrounded Essling but then halted their offensive. On May 22, Napoleon succeeded in concentrating 70,000 men and 114 cannon on the left bank against 105,000 Austrians and 288 cannon. Napoleon attempted to deliver a massive blow but was repulsed with great losses. During the night Napoleon withdrew his troops to the island of Lobau. This defeat forced Napoleon to undertake more serious preparations for crossing the Danube.