Battle of Dennewitz

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Battle of Dennewitz
Part of the War of the Sixth Coalition
The Battle of Dennewitz, September 6, 1813 (Alexander Wetterling) - Nationalmuseum - 21864.tif
Battle of Dennewitz, visible in the middle is the Swedish crown prince Karl Johan with lancers behind him, to the right Prussian infantry can be seen formed into a square. Painting by Alexander Wetterling 1842.
Date6 September 1813
Location
South of Berlin
Result Coalition victory
Belligerents
Flag of France.svg French Empire Flag of the Kingdom of Prussia (1803-1892).svg Kingdom of Prussia
Flag of Russia.svg Russian Empire
Flag of Sweden.svg Sweden
Commanders and leaders
Flag of France.svg Michel Ney
Flag of France.svg Nicolas Oudinot
Flag of the Kingdom of Prussia (1803-1892).svg Friedrich Wilhelm Freiherr von Bülow
Flag of the Kingdom of Prussia (1803-1892).svg Bogislav von Tauentzien
Flag of Sweden.svg Crown Prince Charles John
Strength
60,000 100,000
Casualties and losses
10,000 7,000–10,000

The Battle of Dennewitz (German : Schlacht von Dennewitz [1] ) took place on 6 September 1813 between the forces of the First French Empire and an army of Prussians and Russians of the Sixth Coalition. It occurred in Dennewitz, a village in the Prussian province of Brandenburg, near Jüterbog, 40 kilometres (25 mi) southwest of Berlin.

German language West Germanic language

German is a West Germanic language that is mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and official or co-official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, South Tyrol (Italy), the German-speaking Community of Belgium, and Liechtenstein. It is also one of the three official languages of Luxembourg and a co-official language in the Opole Voivodeship in Poland. The languages which are most similar to German are the other members of the West Germanic language branch: Afrikaans, Dutch, English, the Frisian languages, Low German/Low Saxon, Luxembourgish, and Yiddish. There are also strong similarities in vocabulary with Danish, Norwegian and Swedish, although those belong to the North Germanic group. German is the second most widely spoken Germanic language, after English.

First French Empire Empire of Napoleon I of France between 1804–1815

The First French Empire, officially the French Empire, was the empire of Napoleon Bonaparte of France and the dominant power in much of continental Europe at the beginning of the 19th century. Although France had already established an overseas colonial empire beginning in the 17th century, the French state had remained a kingdom under the Bourbons and a republic after the Revolution. Historians refer to Napoleon's regime as the First Empire to distinguish it from the restorationist Second Empire (1852–1870) ruled by his nephew as Napoleon III.

Kingdom of Prussia Former German state (1701–1918)

The Kingdom of Prussia was a German kingdom that constituted the state of Prussia between 1701 and 1918. It was the driving force behind the unification of Germany in 1871 and was the leading state of the German Empire until its dissolution in 1918. Although it took its name from the region called Prussia, it was based in the Margraviate of Brandenburg, where its capital was Berlin.

Contents

Prelude

In late August 1813, Napoleon decided to order a general offensive to take Berlin, the Prussian capital, with the overall goal of knocking the Prussians out of the war. Marshal Oudinot's corps advanced towards this objective along three separate roads. The fighting that took place on 23 August was essentially three isolated actions at Blankenfield, Grossbeeren, and Sputendorf. In each case the Allies prevailed and Oudinot retreated to Wittenberg. At this point Napoleon appointed Marshal Michel Ney to command.

Berlin Capital of Germany

Berlin is the capital and largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,748,148 (2018) inhabitants make it the second most populous city proper of the European Union after London. The city is one of Germany's 16 federal states. It is surrounded by the state of Brandenburg, and contiguous with its capital, Potsdam. The two cities are at the center of the Berlin-Brandenburg capital region, which is, with about six million inhabitants and an area of more than 30,000 km², Germany's third-largest metropolitan region after the Rhine-Ruhr and Rhine-Main regions.

Nicolas Oudinot Marshal of France

Nicolas Charles Oudinot, 1st Comte Oudinot, 1st Duc de Reggio, was a Marshal of France. He is known to have been wounded 34 times in battle. Oudinot is one of the Names inscribed under the Arc de Triomphe, Eastern pillar Columns 13, 14.

Corps military unit size

Corps is a term used for several different kinds of organisation. A military innovation by Napoleon, the formation was first named as such in 1805.

Battle

Ney, with around 58,000 men, renewed the advance on Berlin on 6 September, but moving first easterwards in order to advance on Berlin from the Southeast. This was because he mistakenly expected Napoleon, away to the southeast near Dresden, to support him from this direction. He encountered mixed elements of Prussian, Russian, and Swedish troops under the overall command of Crown Prince Charles John of Sweden (formerly French Marshal Bernadotte) at Dennewitz. Ney had decided to move his entire army down a single road and was shadowed to the north by Bülow's III Corps. While this allowed Ney to maintain communications with his entire army, the single road stacked his army for miles. As a result, the battle swayed back and forth with the arrival of fresh French and Allied reinforcements throughout its course.

Charles XIV John of Sweden King of Sweden and Norway between 1818-1844. Prince of Ponte Corvo 1806-1810 and French field marshal

Charles XIV John or Carl John, from 1818 until his death was King of Sweden and King of Norway and served as de facto regent and head of state from 1810 to 1818. He was also the sovereign Prince of Pontecorvo, in south-central Italy, from 1806 until 1810.

Dennewitz is a village of Germany, in the federal state and old Prussian province of Brandenburg, near Jüterbog, 40 km. S.W. from Berlin. It is part of the municipality of Niedergörsdorf, Teltow-Fläming district.

The Prussian General Tauentzien was at Jüterbog, blocking Ney's route to Berlin. Ney's troops reached Dennewitz as Bülow was approaching Jüterbog along an eastward route to their north. To keep Tuentzien and Bülow from uniting, the French occupied the heights north of Dennewitz now known as the Denkmalsberg (Monument Hill). Despite early damage done to Tauentzien's Corps, Bülow saved the situation by taking the hill. This was followed by a charge of the Brandenburg Dragoons down the hill. This gave time for the Prussian units which had earlier wavered to regroup.

Bulow memorial Dennewitz Denkmal Buelow.jpg
Bülow memorial

There were signs that all was not well in the French army at this time. The French empire was seriously short of cavalry troops and mounts since the 1812 Russian campaign. As a result, there was a lack of screening and reconnaissance. The French command situation was also strained, as Oudinot was angered at being placed under Ney's command. Marshal Ney was determined to advance with all haste to Berlin and this, combined with the poor reconnaissance, allowed the French army to walk right into an assembled Allied defense. Initially forced back, the Prussian elements of Bernadotte's army were reinforced by General Bülow and recovered the lost ground. Bülow would now assume command of the allied side for most of the remainder of the day.

Cavalry soldiers or warriors fighting from horseback

Cavalry or horsemen are soldiers or warriors who fight mounted on horseback. Cavalry were historically the most mobile of the combat arms. An individual soldier in the cavalry is known by a number of designations such as cavalryman, horseman, dragoon, or trooper. The designation of cavalry was not usually given to any military forces that used other animals, such as camels, mules or elephants. Infantry who moved on horseback, but dismounted to fight on foot, were known in the 17th and early 18th centuries as dragoons, a class of mounted infantry which later evolved into cavalry proper while retaining their historic title.

Reconnaissance military exploration beyond the area occupied by friendly forces

In military operations, reconnaissance or scouting is the exploration outside an area occupied by friendly forces to gain information about natural features and other activities in the area.

Friedrich Wilhelm Freiherr von Bülow Prussian general of the Napoleonic Wars

Friedrich Wilhelm Freiherr von Bülow, Graf von Dennewitz was a Prussian general of the Napoleonic Wars.

A see-sawing battle now developed, but just as the French appeared on the verge of a victory, Ney, not helped by a lack of support from Oudinot, made a mistake that swung the battle. Having joined in the fighting personally and being unaware of the tactical situation due to a rainstorm on the battlefield, Ney ordered Oudinot to form a reserve. This pull back by Oudinot was perceived as a retreat and the Allies redoubled the attack.

Under great pressure, the French were forced back. Bernadotte arrived with his Swedish army on the French left flank. The French, already falling back under heavy pressure, were routed. The French suffered 10,000 casualties, the Allies some 11,000.

Memorial of the battle, built by Schinkel Dennewitz Denkmal.jpg
Memorial of the battle, built by Schinkel

Aftermath

Bavaria withdrew from the war as a result of the failure of the Berlin campaign. Other German states were now wavering in their support of the French Empire. Friedrich Wilhelm von Bülow was subsequently ennobled as Graf von Dennewitz.

Bavaria State in Germany

Bavaria, officially the Free State of Bavaria, is a landlocked federal state of Germany, occupying its southeastern corner. With an area of 70,550.19 square kilometres, Bavaria is the largest German state by land area comprising roughly a fifth of the total land area of Germany. With 13 million inhabitants, it is Germany's second-most-populous state after North Rhine-Westphalia. Bavaria's main cities are Munich and Nuremberg.

Order of battle

Allies

French Empire

Commander: Marshal Michel Ney

Notes

  1. also German : Schlacht bei Jüterbog (Battle near Jüterbog)

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References

Coordinates: 51°58′00″N13°00′00″E / 51.9667°N 13.0000°E / 51.9667; 13.0000