|Battle of Großbeeren|
|Part of the War of the Sixth Coalition|
Rain having rendered small arms fire impossible, Saxon infantry (left) use musket butts and bayonets to defend the churchyard at Großbeeren against a Prussian onslaught.
|Commanders and leaders|
|Casualties and losses|
| 3,000 killed or wounded|
13 guns lost
|1,000 killed, wounded or captured|
In the Battles of Großbeeren and neighboring Blankenfelde and Sputendorf (23 August 1813) an allied Prussian-Swedish army under Crown Prince Charles John – formerly Marshal of France Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte – defeated the French under Marshal Oudinot. Napoleon had hoped to drive the Prussians out of the Sixth Coalition by capturing their capital, but the swamps south of Berlin combined with rain and the Marshal's ill health all contributed to the French defeat.
Following the Battle of Bautzen, in May 1813, during the War of the Sixth Coalition, both sides agreed to a seven-week truce to plan and better prepare. When the campaign resumed, in August, Napoleon ordered an offensive drive to take the Prussian capital of Berlin. With its capture, he hoped to knock the Prussians out of the war. Meanwhile, he kept the bulk of his army on the strategic defensive, to deal with any potential moves by the large Austrian army, which had now gathered in southeastern Germany. For this task, he chose one of his bravest and best commanders, Marshal Nicolas Oudinot, to lead the offensive. Oudinot tried to turn down this honor due to his poor health. He had been wounded on several occasions during the previous year's disastrous campaign in Russia, and had not yet fully recovered. But the emperor insisted, so Oudinot with three corps of about 60,000 men advanced on Berlin.
Unknown to both Napoleon and Oudinot at the time, this strategy played right into the Coalition's hands. In accordance with the Trachenberg Plan (the Allied plan for the campaign formulated during the truce), in large part created by Bernadotte himself, they would avoid any large, main engagement with Napoleon himself until after they had gathered overwhelming strength and weakened the emperor by defeating his marshals in separate, smaller battles.
Initially, Bernadotte, as commander of the Allied Army of the North, felt that Berlin was not defensible against a large French attack due to the lack of natural barriers to the south of the city and the danger to his line of retreat to Swedish Pomerania in the event Napoleon made the attack against Berlin his main effort. However, for political reasons, and the Prussian insistence that they would defend Berlin by themselves if necessary,the Crown Prince relented and began planning for the defense of the city. Bernadotte made use of the disposition of local road networks and marshy terrain and placed his various corps in position to hold an enemy advance along the few North-South roads long enough for the rest of the Army of the North to take advantage of a larger number of East-West roads, and the open terrain, to arrive.
From its start the offensive was plagued by misfortune. On the same day as the advance began, the 19 August, heavy rain storms broke out turning the roads into muddy quagmires and making it nearly impossible to move the artillery. Further hindering the advance, the area south of Berlin was crisscrossed with small lakes and swamps. In the best of weather there were only a couple of roads by which to approach the city from the south. But rain turned many of the Prussian defensive positions into fortified islands. Oudinot was forced to advance his Corps along three separate roads, with little communication between them.
General Bertrand's 4th Corps of 13,000 and 32 cannons to the right, on the left General Guilleminot's 12th Corps of 20,000, mainly inexperienced recent recruits, (nicknamed Marie-Louises). In the centre was the main column of General Jean Reynier's 7th Corps of 27,000 largely French allied Saxon troops. Oudinot did not expect any serious opposition and a lack of cavalry kept him unaware of the position of the enemy.
Berlin was defended by the Army of the North, commanded by Crown Prince Charles John of Sweden, formerly French Marshal Bernadotte. When Reynier's corps reached Großbeeren, he encountered the bulk of Prince Charles' army drawn up for battle. Acting without orders or support, he attacked Friedrich von Bülow's corps, which had just been reinforced by the Swedes to 38,000 strong, and was repulsed with heavy casualties. Oudinot, unable to concentrate his army, arrived late in the day just as Reynier's Saxons had begun to waver after that general failed to rally them for another assault. Von Bülow's Corps suffered light casualties, had fought extremely well, and petitioned to set out on an immediate pursuit of the unorganized French but was reined in by Charles John.
Realising the advance had been checked, and believing his army was in an exposed position, Oudinot ordered the retreat to Jüterbog after sustaining heavy losses. Reynier alone lost over 3,000 killed or wounded, 1,500 captured and 13 guns lost.
Bernadotte did not order a pursuit, despite the extreme vulnerability of the demoralized French and the vigorous protests of his Prussian generals. Bülow and Tauentzien argued that the French forces under Oudinot could be utterly destroyed by a rapid pursuit south, and protested Bernadotte's idleness to the senior Prussian commander in the field, Field Marshal Blücher and the King of Prussia.However, Bernadotte feared that moving away from Berlin to chase the French might be falling right into Napoleon's hands as it would mean isolating his Army, endangering his lines of communication by leaving Marshal Davout and his force of 35,000 in Hamburg in his rear, and drawing closer to the French main body thus allowing Napoleon to use interior lines to attack him before any Allied army could intervene. As a consequence, and to the extreme displeasure of the Prussians, the Allied Army of the North remained in its favorable defensive position near Berlin waiting to receive another French attack.
The defeat at Großbeeren, combined with continued ill health, had shaken Oudinot's confidence, and he continued the general retreat to Wittenberg. Napoleon was furious with Oudinot, not so much for his defeat, but for his withdrawal to Wittenberg instead of back to Luckau. He fumed, "It is truly difficult to have fewer brains than the Duke of Reggio!". Napoleon then appointed Marshal Michel Ney to lead a second drive on Berlin with the same three, now reduced and demoralized, corps and the ailing Oudinot as Ney's subordinate. The result would be the Battle of Dennewitz.
In 1833 Theodor Fontane – then a fourteen-year-old boy – visited the site of the Battle of Großbeeren and was deeply impressed, later writing a school essay about this battle – the first work known to have been penned by a man who would become a major German writer. Fontane recounted this reminiscence in a much later essay, written in his old age (1894). He mentioned also that his mother – at the time a young Berlin woman – had in the aftermath of the battle tended wounded soldiers, both German and French. Being of a Huguenot family who still spoke French among themselves, she was able to speak to dying French soldiers in their own language.
This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations . (August 2011) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Charles XIV John from 1818 until his death was King of Sweden and Norway. In modern Norwegian lists of kings he is called Charles III John. He was the first monarch of the Bernadotte dynasty.
The Battle of Leipzig or Battle of the Nations was fought from 16 to 19 October 1813, at Leipzig, Saxony. The Coalition armies of Austria, Prussia, Sweden, and Russia, led by Emperor Alexander I and Karl von Schwarzenberg, decisively defeated the Grande Armée of French Emperor Napoleon I. Napoleon's army also contained Polish and Italian troops, as well as Germans from the Confederation of the Rhine. The battle was the culmination of the German Campaign of 1813 and involved 500,000 soldiers, 2,200 artillery pieces, the expenditure of 200,000 rounds of artillery ammunition, and 127,000 casualties, making it the largest battle in Europe prior to World War I.
The Battle of Arcis-sur-Aube saw an Imperial French army under Napoleon face a much larger Allied army led by Karl Philipp, Prince of Schwarzenberg during the War of the Sixth Coalition. On the second day of fighting, Emperor Napoleon suddenly realized he was massively outnumbered, and immediately ordered a masked retreat. By the time the Austrian Field Marshal Schwarzenberg realized Napoleon was retreating, most of the French had already disengaged and the Allied pursuit afterwards failed to prevent the remaining French army from safely withdrawing to the north. This was Napoleon's penultimate battle before his abdication and exile to Elba, the last being the Battle of Saint-Dizier.
The Battle of Dresden was a major engagement of the Napoleonic Wars. The battle took place around the city of Dresden in modern-day Germany. With the recent addition of Austria, the Sixth Coalition felt emboldened in their quest to expel the French from Central Europe. Despite being heavily outnumbered, French forces under Napoleon scored a victory against the Allied army led by Field Marshal Schwarzenberg. However, Napoleon's victory did not lead to the collapse of the coalition, and the lack of effective French cavalry units, caused by a very heavy loss of French horses during the past 1812 French invasion of Russia, precluded a major pursuit. Three days after the battle, the Allies surrounded and captured a French corps at the Battle of Kulm.
Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher, Fürst von Wahlstatt, Graf (count), later elevated to Fürst von Wahlstatt, was a Prussian Generalfeldmarschall. He earned his greatest recognition after leading his army against Napoleon I at the Battle of the Nations at Leipzig in 1813 and the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.
The twin battles of Jena and Auerstedt were fought on 14 October 1806 on the plateau west of the river Saale in today's Germany, between the forces of Napoleon I of France and Frederick William III of Prussia. The decisive defeat suffered by the Prussian Army subjugated the Kingdom of Prussia to the French Empire until the Sixth Coalition was formed in 1812.
In the War of the Sixth Coalition, sometimes known in Germany as the War of Liberation, a coalition of Austria, Prussia, Russia, the United Kingdom, Portugal, Sweden, Spain and a number of German States defeated France and drove Napoleon into exile on Elba. After the disastrous French invasion of Russia of 1812 in which they had been forced to support France, Prussia and Austria joined Russia, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Portugal and the rebels in Spain who were already at war with France.
The Trachenberg Plan was a campaign strategy created by the Allies in the 1813 German Campaign during the War of the Sixth Coalition, and named for the conference held at the palace of Trachenberg. The plan advocated avoiding direct engagement with French emperor, Napoleon I, which had resulted from fear of the emperor's now legendary prowess in battle. Consequently, the Allies planned to engage and defeat Napoleon's marshals and generals separately, and thus weaken his army while they built up an overwhelming force even he could not defeat. It was decided upon after a series of defeats and near disasters at the hands of Napoleon at Lützen, Bautzen and Dresden. The plan was successful, and at the Battle of Leipzig, where the Allies had a considerable numerical advantage, Napoleon was soundly defeated and driven out of Germany, back to the Rhine. The plan was an amalgam of two prior works: the Trachenberg Protocol and the Reichenbach Plan, authored by the Austrian chief of staff of the Sixth Coalition, Joseph Radetzky von Radetz and Crown Prince of Sweden Charles John whose experience with the tactics and methods of the Grande Armée, as well as personal insight on Napoleon, proved invaluable. The combined, modified version of the two prior plans became known as the Trachenberg Plan.
Friedrich Wilhelm Freiherr von Bülow, Graf von Dennewitz was a Prussian general of the Napoleonic Wars.
The Battle of Dennewitz took place on 6 September 1813 between the forces of the First French Empire commanded by Marshal Ney and the Allied Army of the North consisting of Prussians, Swedes and Russians of the Sixth Coalition commanded by Crown Prince Charles John of Sweden and Friedrich Wilhelm von Bülow. It occurred in Dennewitz, a village in the Prussian province of Brandenburg, near Jüterbog, 40 kilometres (25 mi) southwest of Berlin. The Battle of Dennewitz marked a turning point in the German Campaign of 1813. Not only did the Allied victory end Napoleon's hopes of capturing Berlin and knocking Prussia out of the War, but the severity of the French defeat was also the catalyst for the defection of Napoleon's primary German ally Bavaria and the erosion of fidelity in the Saxon Army toward the Napoleonic cause.
The Battle of the Katzbach on 26 August 1813, was a major battle of the Napoleonic Wars between the forces of the First French Empire under Marshal MacDonald and a Russo-Prussian army of the Sixth Coalition under Prussian Marshal Graf (Count) von Blücher. It occurred during a heavy thunderstorm at the Katzbach river between Wahlstatt and Liegnitz in the Prussian province of Silesia. Taking place the same day as the Battle of Dresden, it resulted in a Coalition victory, with the French retreating to Saxony.
The Convention of Tauroggen was an armistice signed 30 December 1812 at Tauroggen between General Ludwig Yorck on behalf of his Prussian troops and General Hans Karl von Diebitsch of the Imperial Russian Army. Yorck's act is traditionally considered a turning point of Prussian history, triggering an insurgency against Napoleon in the Rheinbund. At the time of the armistice, Tauroggen was situated in Russia, 40 kilometres (25 mi) east of the Prussian border.
The German Campaign was fought in 1813. Members of the Sixth Coalition, including the German states of Austria and Prussia, plus Russia and Sweden, fought a series of battles in Germany against the French Emperor Napoleon, his Marshals, and armies of the Confederation of the Rhine - an alliance of most of the other German states - which ended the domination of the First French Empire.
The III Cavalry Corps of the Grande Armée was a French military unit that existed during the Napoleonic Wars. The corps was created in 1812 and reconstituted in 1813 and 1815. Emperor Napoleon I first mobilized the corps for the invasion of Russia. Commanded by General Emmanuel de Grouchy, two divisions of the corps fought at Borodino, Tarutino, and Vyazma. A third division fought at the First and Second battles of Polotsk and the Berezina. During the War of the Sixth Coalition in 1813, General Jean-Toussaint Arrighi de Casanova led the corps at Großbeeren, Dennewitz, Leipzig, and Hanau. During the Hundred Days in 1815, Napoleon reorganized the corps and appointed General François Étienne de Kellermann to lead it. One brigade of the corps was engaged at Quatre Bras and both divisions fought at Waterloo.
The Treaty of Paris of 5 March 1812 between Napoleon I of France and Frederick William III of Prussia established a Franco-Prussian alliance directed against Russia. On 24 June, Prussia joined the French invasion of Russia. The unpopular alliance broke down when the Prussian contingent in French service signed a separate armistice, the Convention of Tauroggen, with Russia on 30 December 1812. On 17 March 1813, Frederick William declared war on France and issued his famous proclamation "To My People".
The First Battle of Bar-sur-Aube was fought during the War of the Sixth Coalition when Marshal Édouard Mortier, duc de Trévise's corps of French Imperial Guards defended against an Austrians corps under Ignaz Gyulai and a Württemberger corps led by Crown Prince Frederick William of Württemberg. After holding his main defensive positions in stiff fighting, Mortier withdrew his elite troops during the night and retreated to Troyes. Bar-sur-Aube is located 53 kilometres (33 mi) east of Troyes.
The Battle of Courtrai saw Johann von Thielmann's Kingdom of Saxony troops and a few Prussians encounter an Imperial French force under Nicolas Joseph Maison near Kortrijk (Courtrai), a city south-west of Ghent in what is now Belgium. Thielmann attacked only to find himself facing the bulk of Maison's I Corps. The action ended in a rout of the Saxons, most of whom were under fire for the first time.
The Battle of Arnhem saw Friedrich Wilhelm Freiherr von Bülow's Prussian corps fight an Imperial French division under Henri François Marie Charpentier at Arnhem. Attacking under the cover of fog, the Prussians broke into the city at several points and forced the French to retreat to Nijmegen after hard fighting in this War of the Sixth Coalition clash. Arnhem is a city in the Netherlands located on the Rhine River 100 kilometres (62 mi) southeast of Amsterdam.
The Battle of Laubressel saw the main Allied army of Field Marshal Karl Philipp, Prince of Schwarzenberg mount a three-pronged converging attack on the weaker army of Marshal Jacques MacDonald. The French forces under Marshal Nicolas Oudinot bore the brunt of the fighting, in which the Allies tried to turn their left flank. The French abandoned Troyes and retreated west as a result of the action. The village of Laubressel is located 10 kilometres (6 mi) east of Troyes.
The Treaty of Troyes was an agreement of 22 February 1814 by Austria, Russia and Prussia following a council of war with senior generals, Tsar Alexander I of Russia and King Frederick William III of Prussia. The treaty determined the movements of the Austrian and Prussian-Russian armies following a series of defeats during the invasion of north-east France. Despite dissent from the Russian and Prussian leaders, Austrian General Karl Philipp, Prince of Schwarzenberg secured support for a withdrawal ahead of the French forces of Emperor Napoleon I who was seeking to bring the allies to battle.