Battle of the Göhrde

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Battle of the Göhrde
Part of the War of the Sixth Coalition
Date18 September 1813
Location
Result Coalition victory
Belligerents
Flag of France (1794-1815).svg  France Flag of Prussia (1892-1918).svg  Prussia
Flag of The Russian Empire 1883.svg  Russia
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom
Flag of Hanover (1692).svg  Hanover
Commanders and leaders
Marc Nicolas Louis Pécheux Ludwig von Wallmoden-Gimborn
Strength
3,000 men 7,800 men
Casualties and losses
1,000 men ?

The battle of the Göhrde was a battle of the War of the Sixth Coalition on 18 September 1813 between French and Coalition troops at Göhrde in Germany. The French troops were defeated and withdrew to Hamburg. [1]

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.

Göhrde Place in Lower Saxony, Germany

Göhrde is a municipality in the district of Lüchow-Dannenberg, in Lower Saxony, Germany.

Hamburg City in Germany

Hamburg is the second-largest city in Germany with a population of over 1.8 million.

Contents

Site

It occurred near what is now the site of the Göhrde State Forest (Staatsforst Göhrde), near Dannenberg, near Lüneburg. At that time this area belonged to the electorate of Braunschweig-Lüneburg (Hanover), which had been occupied by the French since 1803. The battlefield lies on the border between the modern-day districts of Lüneburg and Lüchow-Dannenberg, between Oldendorf an der Göhrde and Göhrde.

The Göhrde State Forest is the largest contiguous mixed forest region in North Germany. It lies in the districts of Lüchow-Dannenberg and Lüneburg.

Lüneburg is a district in Lower Saxony, Germany. It is bounded by the districts of Lüchow-Dannenberg, Uelzen, Heidekreis and Harburg, and the states of Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.

Lüchow-Dannenberg is a district in Lower Saxony, Germany, which is usually referred to as Hanoverian Wendland or Wendland. It is bounded by the districts of Uelzen and Lüneburg and the states of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Brandenburg and Saxony-Anhalt.

Context

In spring 1813, Russian troops under Friedrich Karl von Tettenborn forced the French out of Hamburg and some northern areas of Hanover. In the wake of Prussia's reentry into the war against France, the eastern areas of Hanover also rose against Napoleon. Wallmoden then received overall command of all the Allied troops on the Lower Elbe: troops from Prussia, Russia, the United Kingdom, Hanover, Hamburg, Mecklenburg and Sweden, including the Russian German legion, the Lützow Free Corps, the Hanseatic Legion and a part of the King's German Legion, under the overall command of Generalleutnant Ludwig von Wallmoden-Gimborn. Part of the British contingent was the newly formed Rocket Brigade under Capt Richard Bogue. On 7 September Bogue marched with half his brigade to join the main Army of the North, near Wittenburg. The other half of the brigade, under Lieut Thomas Fox Strangways, [2] joined the 4th Cavalry Division of General von Dornberg under General Wallmoden. [3]

Friedrich Karl von Tettenborn Russian military commander

Friedrich Karl Freiherr von Tettenborn was a famous cavalry commander in the Austrian and Russian armies during the Napoleonic Wars.

Unterelbe river in Germany

The Unterelbe or, in English usually the Lower Elbe, refers to the lower reaches of the river Elbe in Germany influenced by the tides.

Lützow Free Corps Prussian volunteer force during the Napoleonic wars commanded by Ludwig von Lützow

Lützow Free Corps was a volunteer force of the Prussian army during the Napoleonic Wars. It was named after its commander, Ludwig Adolf Wilhelm von Lützow. The Corpsmen were also widely known as the “Lützower Jäger“ or “Schwarze Jäger“, sometimes also "Lützower Reiter".

The Free Corps such as that from Lützow again and again attacked French supply lines and bases in the area around Mecklenburg, south of the Elbe. The XIII Corps there, under marshal Davout, had up to this point behaved quite passively, restricting itself to holding Wallmoden's corps in check. As an anti-skirmishes measure, in September Davout sent general Pécheux on the western Elbufer with a brigade of 50th infantry division and moved on Lüneburg with 3,000 troops. After completing his mission, Pécheux was ordered to rejoin the French troops in Magdeburg. Wallmoden's corps advanced on Dömitz on 15 September with 12,300 men, crossed the Elbe, marched toward the Frenchmen and set up camp in Dannenberg.

Mecklenburg Historical region of Germany

Mecklenburg is a historical region in northern Germany comprising the western and larger part of the federal-state Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. The largest cities of the region are Rostock, Schwerin, Neubrandenburg, Wismar and Güstrow.

Marc Nicolas Louis Pécheux, was a French general during the Napoleonic Wars.

Magdeburg Large city in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany

Magdeburg is the capital city and the second largest city of the state of Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. It is situated on the Elbe River.

Course

Attack of 3rd KGL Hussars & Rocket Battery Battle of Gohrde.jpeg
Attack of 3rd KGL Hussars & Rocket Battery

The French division under Pécheux decided to attack the allies. On the early afternoon of 18 September 1813, it reached the Steinker Höhen (Steinker Heights) in Nahrendorf and gave battle. Whilst Wallmoden’s infantry attacked the centre, Dornberg with the KGL cavalry and artillery attacked the enemy’s left. However, Dornberg brought the guns and rockets into action at too great a range; their fire was ineffective and General Lyon’s infantry attack was held up. The French began to retire, formed in squares, and Strangways advanced to bring the rockets into action “close under the fire of the enemy’s infantry”. [4] The 3rd KGL Hussars broke two squares and the rockets spread such terror through the retiring ranks that order could no longer be preserved, and breaking, the French fled in all directions. [5]


Results

The battle was the first victory over the French troops garrisoning Germany, and interrupted the link between XIII Corps under marshal Davout (with its headquarters in Hamburg) and Napoleon's main army (then in Saxony) and the French armies' supply-lines across Hanover from France to Magdeburg and Berlin. This result was critical for the outcome of the Battle of Leipzig soon afterwards. This was the first battle in which the newly developed Congreve Rocket had been successfully deployed in action. At the Battle of Leipzig, The Rocket Brigade, under Bogue and Strangways, would make a significant attack whilst attached to the Swedish Corps of Crown Prince Bernadotte.

Saxony State in Germany

Saxony, officially the Free State of Saxony, is a landlocked federal state of Germany, bordering the federal states of Brandenburg, Saxony Anhalt, Thuringia, and Bavaria, as well as the countries of Poland and the Czech Republic. Its capital is Dresden, and its largest city is Leipzig.

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.

Commemorations

Memorial Gordeschlachtdenkmal ReiKi.jpg
Memorial

A large stone monument stands as a memorial to the battle in 1839, at a site now north of Bundesstraße 216 about 2 km behind Oldendorf in Richtung Dannenberg.

1000 dead soldiers from both sides were buried in a mass grave in the forest, 100m from where the memorial is sited. This grave was rediscovered in 1985.

Rudolf von Bennigsen's father Karl von Bennigsen fought in this battle (as a lieutenant), as did the famous freedom fighter Eleonore Prochaska. She had disguised herself as a man and joined the Lützow Free Corps. During the battle she was wounded and soon afterwards succumbed to her injuries in the hospital at Dannenberg.

A reconstruction of the battle occurs every two years at Dahlenburg. At the Heimatmuseum in the town a diorama of the battle is on permanent display, with 1500 tin soldiers.

Related Research Articles

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Ludwig Adolf Wilhelm von Lützow Prussian lieutenant-general

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References

  1. Chappell, Mike. The King's German Legion (2): 1812-16. Osprey Publishing. p. 7. ISBN   978-1-85532-997-3.
  2. a nephew of the 2nd Earl of Ilchester
  3. Page 173, II, L Ludlow Beamish, History of the Kings German Legion in 2 vols
  4. London Gazette, 1813 No 16784 – Walmoden’s dispatch
  5. Pages 194-198, II, Ludlow Beamish

Coordinates: 53°09′11″N10°50′06″E / 53.153°N 10.835°E / 53.153; 10.835