Battle of Waren-Nossentin

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Battle of Waren-Nossentin
Part of the War of the Fourth Coalition
Warengeorgenagp.jpg
View of Müritz Lake from St. Mary's Church tower in Waren
Date1 November 1806
Location Waren (Müritz), Germany
Result Prussian victory
Belligerents
Flag of the Kingdom of Prussia (1803-1892).svg Kingdom of Prussia Flag of France.svg French Empire
Commanders and leaders
Flag of the Kingdom of Prussia (1803-1892).svg August von Pletz
Flag of the Kingdom of Prussia (1803-1892).svg Ludwig Yorck
Flag of France.svg Marshal Bernadotte
Strength
4,000-5,000
4 guns
12,000
Casualties and losses
Waren: 26
Nossentin: Unknown
Waren: over 46
Nossentin: Unknown

The Battle of Waren-Nossentin on 1 November 1806 saw soldiers of the Kingdom of Prussia led by August Wilhelm von Pletz and Ludwig Yorck von Wartenburg fight a rear guard action against troops of the First French Empire commanded by Marshal Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte. Though forced to give ground, the Prussians successfully kept the French from inflicting serious loss or cutting off any units in this War of the Fourth Coalition action. Waren lies on the northern end of Lake Müritz, about 70 kilometres (43 mi) southeast of Rostock. Nossentin is a small village on the Fleesen See (Fleesen Lake) about 15 kilometres (9 mi) due west of Waren.

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.

Ludwig Yorck von Wartenburg Prussian Field Marshal

Johann David Ludwig Graf Yorck von Wartenburg was a Prussian Generalfeldmarschall instrumental in the switching of the Kingdom of Prussia from a French alliance to a Russian alliance during the War of the Sixth Coalition. Ludwig van Beethoven's "Yorckscher Marsch" is named in his honor.

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.

Contents

After the Battle of Jena-Auerstedt on 14 October 1806, Emperor Napoleon launched an all-out pursuit of the defeated Prussians. At the end of October, the Franch cut off and captured large numbers of Prussian soldiers near Prenzlau and Stettin. Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher's corps evaded capture by turning back to the west. Near Waren, Blücher linked up with another Prussian corps and the combined force withdrew to the west.

Prenzlau Place in Brandenburg, Germany

Prenzlau is a town in Brandenburg, Germany, the administrative seat of Uckermark District. It is also the centre of the historic Uckermark region.

Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher Prussian field marshal

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.

As the Prussian rear guard pulled out of Waren, the first French cavalry attacked. This action started an all-day battle between Pletz and Yorck's troops and the French. Though Bernadotte attacked vigorously, the Prussians got away intact after several clashes. In contrast to their dismal performance to date, the Prussians acquitted themselves well in this fight.

Background

The Battle of Prenzlau on 28 October 1806 ended with the capitulation of General of Infantry Frederick Louis, Prince of Hohenlohe-Ingelfingen with his surviving 10,000 Prussian troops to Marshal Joachim Murat. [1] This disaster was followed by the Capitulation of Pasewalk on 29 October and the Capitulation of Stettin on 30 October. [2] In the next few days, the French mopped up the Prussian forces in the area in a series of surrenders at Boldekow on 30 October, Anklam and Küstrin on 1 November, [3] and Wolgast on 2 and 3 November. [4]

Battle of Prenzlau

In the Battle of Prenzlau or Capitulation of Prenzlau on 28 October 1806 two divisions of French cavalry and some infantry led by Marshal Joachim Murat intercepted a retreating Prussian corps led by Frederick Louis, Prince of Hohenlohe-Ingelfingen. In this action from the War of the Fourth Coalition, Hohenlohe surrendered his entire force to Murat after some fighting and a parley. Prenzlau is located about 90 kilometers north of Berlin in Brandenburg, Germany at the intersection of routes B109 and B198.

General of the Infantry (Germany) military rank of a General officer in the German infantry

General of the Infantry is a former rank of German Ground forces. Present it is an appointment or position to an OF-6 rank officer, responsible for particular affairs of training and equipment of the Bundeswehr infantry.

Frederick Louis, Prince of Hohenlohe-Ingelfingen German general

Frederick Louis, Prince of Hohenlohe-Ingelfingen was a Prussian general.

Prenzlau-Lubeck Campaign, October-November 1806, showing the march routes of Hohenlohe and Blucher Prenzlau-Lubeck 1806 Campaign Map.JPG
Prenzlau-Lubeck Campaign, October–November 1806, showing the march routes of Hohenlohe and Blücher

Since 24 October, General-Leutnant Blücher had served as Prince Hohenlohe's rear guard commander. [5] The commander of the I Corps, Marshal Bernadotte [6] picked up news of Hohenlohe on the 25th when he was at Brandenburg an der Havel and determined to follow the Prussians. From Nauen, the I Corps moved northeast on the 26th, to reach Oranienburg on the 27th. Moving north, the French arrived at Furstenberg on the 28th before turning northeast to reach Boitzenburg on the 29th. On 30 October, Bernadotte received reports that Blücher turned back to Neustrelitz. [7]

Brandenburg an der Havel Place in Brandenburg, Germany

Brandenburg an der Havel is a town in Brandenburg, Germany, which served as the capital of the Margraviate of Brandenburg until replaced by Berlin in 1417.

Nauen Place in Brandenburg, Germany

Nauen is a small town in the Havelland district, in Brandenburg, Germany. It is chiefly known for Nauen Transmitter Station, the world's oldest preserved radio transmitting installation.

Oranienburg Place in Brandenburg, Germany

Oranienburg is a town in Brandenburg, Germany. It is the capital of the district of Oberhavel.

Marshal Bernadotte CarlXIVJohnSweden.jpg
Marshal Bernadotte

Bernadotte sent Colonel Étienne Maurice Gérard with his 2nd Hussar Regiment [8] to harass the Prussian retreat and turned his corps northwest on the 30th. Besides capturing 400 soldiers and a number of wagons, Gérard secured the information that Blücher was headed for Waren. That evening, Bernadotte's troops made it to Burg Stargard, 8 kilometres (5 mi) southeast of Neubrandenburg. At this time Marshal Nicolas Soult's IV Corps was at Wusterhausen, just north of Neustadt an der Dosse. [9]

Colonel is a senior military officer rank below the brigadier and general officer ranks. However, in some small military forces, such as those of Monaco or the Vatican, colonel is the highest rank. It is also used in some police forces and paramilitary organizations.

Étienne Maurice Gérard Marshal of France

Étienne Maurice Gérard, 1er Comte Gérard was a French general, statesman and Marshal of France. He served under a succession of French governments including the ancien regime monarchy, the Revolutionary governments, the Restorations, the July Monarchy, the First and Second Republics, and the First Empire, becoming Prime Minister briefly in 1834.

Hussar light cavalry originally from Hungary

A hussar was a member of a class of light cavalry, originating in Central Europe during the 15th and 16th centuries. The title and distinctive dress of these horsemen were subsequently widely adopted by light cavalry regiments in European armies in the late 17th and early 18th centuries.

On 31 October, Blücher joined the column under General-Leutnant Johann Friedrich von Winning near Waren. [9] Winning's force, originally led by General Karl August, Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, missed the Battle of Jena-Auerstedt on 14 October and had been trailing Blücher ever since. [10] Winning wanted to reach Rostock to the north, and, to this end, he ordered General-Major Karl Georg Friedrich von Wobeser to move ahead and prepare the port for evacuation. However, Blücher called off the Rostock operation in favor of his own idea, which was to cross to the west bank of the Elbe at Boizenburg. He hoped to join with General Karl Ludwig von Lecoq in the former Electorate of Hanover or with General-Leutnant Franz Kasimir von Kleist at Magdeburg. To that end he sent officers to collect boats and supplies in the area. Blücher organized his army into two corps. He gave Winning command of the 11,000-man I Corps, while retaining control of the 10,000-strong II Corps. The Prussians had a particularly powerful cavalry contingent, with 80 squadrons total. Each corps was subdivided into two heavy and one light divisions. [11]

Karl August, Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach German noble

Karl August, sometimes anglicised as Charles Augustus, was the sovereign Duke of Saxe-Weimar and of Saxe-Eisenach from 1758, Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach from its creation in 1809, and grand duke from 1815 until his death. He is noted for the intellectual brilliance of his court.

Rostock Place in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany

Rostock is a city in the north German state Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Rostock is on the Warnow river; the district of Warnemünde, 12 kilometres north of the city centre, is directly on the Baltic Sea coast. Rostock is the largest city in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, as well as its only regiopolis.

Boizenburg Place in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany

Boizenburg is a municipality in the Ludwigslust-Parchim district, in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Germany. It is situated on the right bank of the Elbe, 53 km west of Ludwigslust, 25 km northeast of Lüneburg and 50 km east of Hamburg. It is part of the Hamburg Metropolitan Region. Boizenburg's historical old town stretches along the Elbe, has a harbour and offers heritage baroque timberframe and brick buildings.

Altogether, 47,252 French troops were hunting for Blücher. Bernadotte had 15,450, Soult led 24,375, General of Division Louis Michel Antoine Sahuc's 4th Dragoon Division numbered 2,550 troopers, General of Division Emmanuel Grouchy's 2nd Dragoon Division had 2,432 horsemen, General of Brigade Antoine Lasalle counted 785 hussars, and General of Division Jean-Joseph Ange d'Hautpoul's 2nd Cuirassier Division included 1,660 cavalrymen. Bernadotte dropped off his least fit men at Neubrandenburg and pressed on with 12,000. Meanwhile, Murat and his cavalry were sweeping west through Western Pomerania. [11]

Battle

Claude-Etienne Guyot Antoine Jean Gros - Portrait of Colonel Claude Etienne Guyot.jpg
Claude-Étienne Guyot

On the morning of 1 November, the Prussians left Waren. Blücher moved to the northeast via Hohen Wangelin, covered by a rear guard under General-Major Friedrich Gottlieb von Oswald. Winning marched east along the north shore of several lakes, covered by Oberst von Pletz's rear guard. That morning in Waren, [12] Colonel Claude-Étienne Guyot with the 400-strong 22nd Chasseurs à Cheval from Soult's corps surrounded and captured Major Schmude and 170 dragoons. However, when Guyot tried to advance from the town, Pletz counterattacked with 850 horsemen of the Köhler Hussar Regiment # 7. For a loss of only one killed, 15 wounded, and 10 missing, the Prussian hussars threw Guyot's cavalry back into Waren and freed Schmude and his men. The French lost six officers killed or wounded, over 40 men captured, and an unknown number killed or wounded in this minor Prussian victory. [13]

Battle of Waren-Nossentin, 1 November 1806, showing forests and lakes. Battle of Waren-Nossentin 1806.JPG
Battle of Waren-Nossentin, 1 November 1806, showing forests and lakes.

After Guyot's discomfiture, Bernadotte's cavalry arrived in Waren to give the French six regiments in the area. [12] General of Brigade Jacques Louis François Delaistre de Tilly led the I Corps cavalry, consisting of the 2nd and 4th Hussar Regiments and 5th Chasseur à Cheval Regiment. General of Brigade Pierre Margaron commanded the IV Corps cavalry, including the 8th Hussar Regiment, and 11th, 16th, and 22nd Chasseur à Cheval Regiments. [14] On the outskirts of Waren, the French light cavalry began a series of skirmishes with the Prussian horsemen that lasted from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM. Meanwhile, the Prussian rear guard under Yorck took a defensive position between two lakes at the village of Jabel. [15] The lakes near Jabel are the Jabelscher See to the south and the Loppiner See to the north. [note 1]

Ludwig Yorck Ludwig Yorck von Wartenburg.jpg
Ludwig Yorck

While historian Francis Loraine Petre notes that Pletz was the rear guard commander, he credits Yorck with the tactical control of the battle. Under Yorck's direction were three fusilier battalions, six jäger companies, and 20 squadrons of hussars. General of Division Anne Jean Marie René Savary arrived with a task force consisting of the 1st Hussar and 7th Chasseurs à Cheval Regiments, giving the French a total of eight cavalry regiments. Savary detected Oswald's rear guard at Sommerstorf northwest of Waren and prepared to attack, but Bernadotte recalled him to Jabel. The two sides exchanged artillery fire at Jabel for an hour before Yorck pulled back into the woods toward Nossentin. Spearheaded by the 9th Light Infantry Regiment of General of Division Pierre Dupont de l'Etang's division, the French pressed ahead into the woods to be met by vigorous resistance from the Prussian jägers and fusiliers. [16]

At length, Bernadotte's force passed the western edge of the wood to find Yorck's men drawn up awaiting them. The Prussian right flank rested on the Fleesen Lake, the center on Nossentin village, and the left flank on marshy ground. Yorck deployed his infantry in the front line with his horsemen in the rear. After a French hussar regiment was repulsed from Nossentin, Bernadotte committed General of Division Jean-Baptiste Drouet, Comte d'Erlon's division to the attack. [17] Drouet's seven-battalion division included of the 27th Light Infantry, and the 94th and 95th Line Infantry Regiments. [18]

At the same time the marshal tried to turn the Prussian left flank with his cavalry. The cavalry attack failed amid marshes and water-filled ditches, but Drouet drove Yorck's men out of the village after a hard fight. During the ineffectual cavalry maneuvers, Bernadotte was thrown from his horse and ridden over by the 5th Chasseurs à Cheval Regiment. Yorck retreated to Alt Schwerin, reaching there at 10:00 PM that evening. [19]

Result

General Drouet General Jean Baptiste Drouet.jpg
General Drouet

Later, Bernadotte claimed to have fought 12,000 or more Prussians, while Soult estimated there were between 5,000 and 6,000 enemies. Petre, who gives no casualty figures, suggested that the Prussians had only about 2,000 infantry and 2,000 cavalry available, in addition to a half battery of horse artillery, plus regimental guns. [19] Since a Prussian horse battery comprised six 6-pound guns and two 7-pound howitzers, Yorck's half-battery must have had four guns. Gunther E. Rothenberg states that the fusilier battalions did not use regimental guns in 1806. [20]

When Murat heard about the fighting at Waren and Nossentin, he abandoned his march on Rostock and decided to march to the I Corps' assistance. He later found that Bernadotte and Soult joined hands and realized that they did not need his help. [21] Petre credits the Prussian success to Yorck's tactical competence and the fact that his troops missed the Jena-Auerstedt disaster. Yorck sensed when each of his positions became untenable and issued orders to fall back just in time. In his after battle report, Bernadotte admitted that his enemies fought well, but tried to minimize the action. Savary criticized Bernadotte for not supporting his cavalry with infantry attacks. [19] The French pursuit continued until Blücher was crushed at the Battle of Lübeck on 6 November. [18]

Notes

Footnotes
  1. This observation was confirmed at Google Earth.
Citations
  1. Smith, Digby. The Napoleonic Wars Data Book. London: Greenhill, 1993. ISBN   1-85367-276-9. pp 227-228
  2. Smith, p 228
  3. Smith, p 229
  4. Smith, p 230
  5. Petre, F. Loraine. Napoleon's Conquest of Prussia 1806. London: Lionel Leventhal Ltd., 1993 (1907). ISBN   1-85367-145-2. p 236
  6. Smith, p 226
  7. Petre, p 257
  8. Petre, p 266
  9. 1 2 Petre, p 258
  10. Petre, pp 194, 233
  11. 1 2 Petre, p 258-259
  12. 1 2 Petre, p 260
  13. Smith, pp 229-230
  14. Smith, p 231. Smith lists seven regiments, not six. Either Petre was mistaken about six regiments or one of Margaron's was not present at Waren.
  15. Petre, pp 260-261
  16. Petre, p 261
  17. Petre, 262
  18. 1 2 Smith, p 231
  19. 1 2 3 Petre, pp 262-263
  20. Rothenberg, Gunther E. The Art of Warfare in the Age of Napoleon. Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press, 1980. ISBN   0-253-31076-8. pp 189-190
  21. Petre, pp 263-264

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References