Battle of Valutino

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Battle of Valutino
Part of French invasion of Russia (1812)
Battaglia di Valutino1.jpg
French infantry at the Battle of Valutino, by Christian Wilhelm von Faber du Faur
Date19 August 1812
LocationNear Smolensk, Russia
Result French victory
Belligerents
Flag of France.svg First French Empire Flag of Russia.svg Russian Empire
Commanders and leaders
Michel Ney
Jean-Andoche Junot
Michael Andreas Barclay de Tolly
Strength
30,000 40,000
Casualties and losses
7,000 [1] 6,000 [1]

The Battle of Valutino took place on 19 August 1812, between a corps of French and allied troops led by Marshal Ney, about 30,000 strong, and a strong rear-guard of General Barclay de Tolly's Russian army of about 40,000, commanded by the general himself. The Russians were strongly posted in marshy ground, protected by a small stream, about 20 Kilometers east of Smolensk. The French, attacking resolutely, captured the Russian position in the face of considerable physical obstacles.

Michel Ney French soldier and military commander

Marshal of the Empire Michel Ney, 1st Duke of Elchingen, 1st Prince of the Moskva, popularly known as Marshal Ney, was a French soldier and military commander during the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars. He was one of the original 18 Marshals of the Empire created by Napoleon. He was known as Le Rougeaud by his men and nicknamed le Brave des Braves by Napoleon.

Michael Andreas Barclay de Tolly Russian general

Prince Michael Andreas Barclay de Tolly was a Baltic German Field Marshal and Minister of War of the Russian Empire during Napoleon's invasion in 1812 and War of the Sixth Coalition. Barclay implemented a number of reforms during this time that improved supply system in the army, doubled the number of army troops, and implemented new combat training principles. He was also the Governor-General of Finland.

Smolensk City in Smolensk Oblast, Russia

Smolensk ; is a city and the administrative center of Smolensk Oblast, Russia, located on the Dnieper River, 360 kilometers (220 mi) west-southwest of Moscow. Population: 326,861 (2010 Census); 325,137 (2002 Census); 341,483 (1989 Census).

Contents

The battle

Napoleon's hopes of trapping General Barclay's army were dashed when he discovered that the Russian force awaiting the French was a rearguard under General Tutchkov. Barclay's main force of three infantry and one cavalry corps was strung out near Smolensk, trying to get away from the French after the Battle of Smolensk. They then turned around to fight the French on the Stragan river.

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.

After a heavy bombardment, Ney launched an assault against the Russians, crossing the Stragan but failing to capture the crest. Murat's cavalry attacks were bogged down in marshy ground and accomplished nothing. General Junot's force was close to the battlefield and was urged to attack the Russians by Murat. Junot did not engage, and the opportunity for a decisive victory passed.

Joachim Murat Grand Duke of Berg and King of Naples

Joachim-Napoléon Murat was a Marshal of France and Admiral of France under the reign of Napoleon. He was also the 1st Prince Murat, Grand Duke of Berg from 1806 to 1808, and King of Naples from 1808 to 1815. Murat received his titles in part by being Napoleon's brother-in-law through marriage to his younger sister, Caroline Bonaparte, as well as personal merit. He was noted as a daring, brave, and charismatic cavalry officer as well as a flamboyant dresser, for which he was known as "the Dandy King".

A few hours later, Ney launched the last French attack. General Gudin led the assault and was killed when a cannonball removed his legs. The French managed to capture the crest after hard fighting. By that point the majority of Barclay's army had escaped and was heading towards Lubino.

Charles-Étienne Gudin de La Sablonnière French general during the French Revolutionary Wars and Napoleonic Wars

Charles-Étienne César Gudin de La Sablonnière was a French general during the French Revolutionary Wars and Napoleonic Wars.

Aftermath

French casualties stood at around 7,000. The Russians lost about 6,000. Napoleon was furious after the battle, realizing that another good chance to trap and destroy the Russian army had been lost.

References and notes

  1. 1 2 Alan Palmer, Napoleon in Russia. p. 81

Sources

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Coordinates: 54°49′23″N32°14′28″E / 54.8231°N 32.2411°E / 54.8231; 32.2411

Geographic coordinate system Coordinate system

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