During his reign, Napoleon was seen as invincible, but in 1808 the French Empire saw some defeats in Spain, and this encouraged the Austrian Empire to join the Anti-French Alliance. The war moved to the Alps and saw fighting at Fort Malborgeth commanded by Austrian Captain Friedrich Hensel. For three days, from May 14 to 17, 1809, the commander and his men heroically fought to their death. His actions delayed the French Army long enough to allow Austrian Archduke Charles to defeat Napoleon’s forces at the Battle of Aspern-Essling on May 21. Hensel’s last stand was widely respected and celebrated by the Austrian Empire.
After the 1866 Austro-Prussian War, the Italian border moved closer to the Austrian heartland. This frontier change raised the importance of Fort Malborgeth, so it was modernized and renamed Fort Hensel after its heroic defender. The fort consisted of two large buildings at different elevations, and a network of walls around.
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