Battle of Mesoten

Last updated
Battle of Mesothen
Part of French invasion of Russia (1812)
Date29 September 1812
Location Mežotne, Latvia
Result Prussian victory
Belligerents
Flag of Russia.svg Russian Empire Flag of Prussia (1892-1918).svg Kingdom of Prussia
Commanders and leaders
Fabian Steinheil Ludwig Yorck von Wartenburg
Strength
4 battalions, 2 squadrons [1] 5 battalions, 5 squadrons [2]
Casualties and losses
unknown 264 [3]

The Battle of Mesothen took place on September 29, 1812, between the Russian Corps of Finland and the French-allied Prussian Auxiliary Corps. It was fought near the Latvian town of Mežotne (German : Mesothen), then part of the Courland Governorate.

Mežotne

Mežotne is a town in Latvia 10 km west of Bauska and 40 km south of the capital of Latvia, Riga. It lies in the historical region of Zemgale on the left bank of the Lielupe river near the Lithuanian border.

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.

Courland Governorate governorate of the Russian Empire

Courland Governorate, also known as the Province of Courland, Governorate of Kurland, and Government of Courland, was one of the Baltic governorates of the Russian Empire, that is now part of the Republic of Latvia.

Contents

Background

In September 1812, Russian troops of General Steinheil entered Mitau, Gross Eckau and Bauska without a fight. However, they were spread out and vulnerable to enemy counterattacks. The Prussian command deployed its forces to defend the artillery stationed at the Bauska Castle and sent small squads to the ford across the river Lielupe.

Jelgava City in Latvia

Jelgava is a city in central Latvia about 41 kilometres southwest of Riga with about 63,000 inhabitants. It is the largest town in the region of Zemgale (Semigalia). Jelgava was the capital of the united Duchy of Courland and Semigallia (1578–1795) and the administrative center of the Courland Governorate (1795–1918).

Iecava human settlement

Iecava is a village on the via Baltica in Iecava municipality, in the Zemgale region of southern Latvia. The village has a population of around 9,500.

Bauska Town in Bauska Municipality, Latvia

Bauska is a town in Bauska Municipality, in the Zemgale region of southern Latvia. Bauska is located 66 km from the Latvian capital Riga and 20 km from the Lithuanian border on the busy European route E67.

The battle

On September 29, the Prussians launched a counterattack against the advancing Russian forces and attacked their vanguard at 5 pm. The struggle lasted until late at night and pushed the Russian troops back. On the same night, Ludwig von Wartenburg sent forces under the command of Friedrich Kleist against the troops of Alexander Belgard, which were chasing a retreating Prussian squad on the left bank of the Lielupe. The resulting battle was fought in darkness and involved only infantry units. Vastly outnumbering the enemy, the Prussians forced the Russian troops back and, after having received substantial reinforcements, went on the offensive. [4]

Friedrich Graf Kleist von Nollendorf prussian general

Friedrich Emil Ferdinand Heinrich Graf Kleist von Nollendorf, born and died in Berlin, was a Prussian field marshal and a member of the old junker family von Kleist.

Aftermath

As a result of the battle, Steinheil called off the advance and returned to Riga. Although a defeat, the battle eased some of the pressure on the Russian army of Peter Wittgenstein, helping it to eventually capture the city of Polotsk on October 20. [5]

Riga City in Latvia

Riga is the capital and largest city of Latvia. With 637,827 inhabitants (2018), it is also the largest city in the three Baltic states, home to one third of Latvia's population and one tenth of the three Baltic states' combined population. The city lies on the Gulf of Riga, at the mouth of the Daugava river. Riga's territory covers 307.17 km2 (118.60 sq mi) and lies 1–10 m above sea level, on a flat and sandy plain.

Peter Wittgenstein Russian army officer in the Napoleonic wars (1769–1843)

Louis Adolph Peter, 1st Prince of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Ludwigsburg-Berleburg, better known as Peter Wittgenstein in English, was a Prince of the German dynasty Sayn-Wittgenstein and Field Marshal in the Imperial Russian Army during the Napoleonic wars.

Polotsk City in Vitebsk Region, Belarus

Polotsk is a historical city in Belarus, situated on the Dvina River. It is the center of the Polotsk District in Vitsebsk Voblast. Its population is more than 80,000 people. It is served by Polotsk Airport and during the Cold War was home to Borovitsy air base.

Notes

  1. Отечественная война 1812 года (2004), p. 13
  2. Отечественная война 1812 года (2004), p. 13
  3. Отечественная война 1812 года (2004), p. 13
  4. Отечественная война 1812 года (2004), p. 13
  5. Отечественная война 1812 года (2004), p. 615.

Related Research Articles

Battle of Leipzig 1813 Napoleonic battle

The Battle of Leipzig or Battle of the Nations was fought from 16 to 19 October 1813, at Leipzig, Saxony. The coalition armies of Russia, Prussia, Austria, and Sweden, led by Tsar Alexander I of Russia and Karl Philipp, Prince of Schwarzenberg, decisively defeated the French army of Napoleon I, Emperor of the French. 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 600,000 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.

Battle of Vauchamps battle

The Battle of Vauchamps was the final major engagement of the Six Days Campaign of the War of the Sixth Coalition. It resulted in a part of the Grande Armée under Napoleon I defeating a superior Prussian and Russian force of the Army of Silesia under Field-marshal Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher.

Battle of Jena–Auerstedt decisive battle of the Napoleonic Wars, allowing the French Grande Armée to occupy Prussia

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.

War of the Sixth Coalition Part of the Napoleonic Wars

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, the continental powers joined Russia, the United Kingdom, Portugal and the rebels in Spain who were already at war with France.

Battle of Kulm battle

The Battle of Kulm was a battle near the town Kulm (Chlumec) and the village Přestanov in northern Bohemia. It was fought on 29–30 August 1813, during the War of the Sixth Coalition. 32,000 French troops under Dominique Vandamme attacked an army of about 50-60,000 Austrians, Russians and Prussians under Alexander Ostermann-Tolstoy, but were defeated with heavy losses on both sides.

Battle of Smolensk (1812)

The Battle of Smolensk was the first major battle of the French invasion of Russia. It took place on 16–18 August 1812 and involved 45,000–50,000 men and 84 guns of the Grande Armée under Emperor Napoleon I against 30,000–35,000 Russian troops and 108 guns under General Barclay de Tolly. Napoleon attacked Smolensk, occupied by Prince Pyotr Bagration's Second Army and captured two of the suburbs. During the night the Russians evacuated the burning city.

Waterloo Campaign

The Waterloo Campaign was fought between the French Army of the North and two Seventh Coalition armies, an Anglo-allied army and a Prussian army. Initially the French army was commanded by Napoleon Bonaparte, but he left for Paris after the French defeat at the Battle of Waterloo. Command then rested on Marshals Soult and Grouchy, who were in turn replaced by Marshal Davout, who took command at the request of the French Provisional Government. The Anglo-allied army was commanded by the Duke of Wellington and the Prussian army by Prince Blücher.

Battle of Berezina battle

The Battle of Berezina took place from 26 to 29 November 1812, between the French army of Napoleon, retreating after his invasion of Russia and crossing the Berezina, and the Russian armies under Mikhail Kutuzov, Peter Wittgenstein and Admiral Pavel Chichagov. The battle ended with a mixed outcome. The French suffered very heavy losses but managed to cross the river and avoid being trapped. Since then "Bérézina" has been used in French as a synonym for "disaster."

Semyon Moiseevich Krivoshein was a Soviet tank commander, who played a vital part in the World War II reform of the Red Army tank forces and in the momentous clash between German and Soviet tanks in the Battle of Kursk.

Alexander Chernyshyov Russian general, diplomat and statesman

Prince Alexander Ivanovich Chernyshov, General of Cavalry (1827), was a Russian military leader, diplomat and statesman, whose career began in the Napoleonic Wars. After the Battle of Austerlitz (1805), he carried out successful diplomatic missions to France and Sweden and served with distinction in battles of 1812 and 1813. Chernyshyov rose through the ranks to the role of Russian Minister of War (1827–1852), chairman of the State Council and Cabinet of Ministers (1848–1856), and acquired the styles from Count (1826) to Serene Prince (1849).

Battle of Kumanovo

The Battle of Kumanovo, on 23–24 October 1912, was a major battle of the First Balkan War. It was an important Serbian victory over the Ottoman army in the Kosovo Vilayet, shortly after the outbreak of the war. After this defeat, the Ottoman army abandoned the major part of the region, suffering heavy losses in manpower and in war materiel.

French invasion of Russia Napoleon Bonapartes attempted conquest of the Russian Empire

The French invasion of Russia, known in Russia as the Patriotic War of 1812 and in France as the Russian Campaign, began on 24 June 1812 when Napoleon's Grande Armée crossed the Neman River in an attempt to engage and defeat the Russian army. Napoleon hoped to compel Tsar Alexander I of Russia to cease trading with British merchants through proxies in an effort to pressure the United Kingdom to sue for peace. The official political aim of the campaign was to liberate Poland from the threat of Russia. Napoleon named the campaign the Second Polish War to gain favor with the Poles and provide a political pretext for his actions.

Battle of Mohrungen

In the Battle of Mohrungen on 25 January 1807, most of a First French Empire corps under the leadership of Marshal Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte fought a strong Russian Empire advance guard led by Major General Yevgeni Ivanovich Markov. The French pushed back the main Russian force, but a cavalry raid on the French supply train caused Bernadotte to call off his attacks. After driving off the cavalry, Bernadotte withdrew and the town was occupied by the army of General Levin August, Count von Bennigsen. The fighting took place in and around Morąg in northern Poland, which in 1807 was the East Prussian town of Mohrungen. The action was part of the War of the Fourth Coalition in the Napoleonic Wars.

The 43rd Army was a Red Army field army of World War II that served on the Eastern Front. Formed in late July 1941, the army fought in the Battle of Smolensk (1941). It was forced to retreat after German troops broke through in October 1941 and subsequently fought in the Battle of Moscow. The army then fought in the Rzhev-Vyazma Offensive. After the end of the offensive, the army held its positions and transferred to the Demidov area in late 1942. It fought in the Battle of Smolensk (1943). During the summer of 1944 the army fought in Operation Bagration. In the fall the army advanced into the Baltic region and fought in the Riga Offensive (1944) and the Battle of Memel. In 1945 the army fought in the East Prussian Offensive before being placed in reserve near the end of April. The 43rd Army was disbanded postwar in July 1946.

Leonid Grigorevich Petrovsky was a Soviet lieutenant general. He was the oldest son of Grigory Petrovsky. He was born in what is now Donetsk Oblast in Ukraine. He was promoted to Komkor from Komdiv in 1937. While in command of forces in Central Asia, he was removed from command and expelled from the army. He was not executed like many of his colleagues. In 1940, he was reinstated in the army. He was a recipient of the Order of the Red Banner, the Order of the Red Star and the Order of the Patriotic War. Less than a month after his death, his younger brother, Peter was executed on September 11, despite a request from his father for his release.

Filipp Rudkin

Filipp Nikitovich Rudkin was a Belarusian Soviet Army major general and a Hero of the Soviet Union.

The 262nd Rifle Division was an infantry division of the Red Army during World War II.

The 3rd Anti-Aircraft Artillery Division was an anti-aircraft artillery division of the Soviet Union's Red Army during World War II.

The 260th Rifle Division was an infantry division of the Red Army during World War II, formed twice.

Battle of Ekau

The Battle of Ekau was a battle of the initial phase of the French invasion of Russia. Napoleon's troops from the 10th corps of Marshal MacDonald, who had the advantage, defeated the troops of Alexander I defending under the command of General Löwis.

References

(in Russian) Отечественная война 1812 года: Энциклопедия (Patriotic War of 1812: an Encyclopedia). Moscow: РОССПЭН. 2004.