First Battle of Polotsk

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First Battle of Polotsk
Part of the French invasion of Russia (1812)
Polacak. Polatsak (16-18.08.1812).jpg
Date17–18 August 1812
Location Polotsk, Russian Empire
Result French victory
Belligerents

Flag of France.svg French Empire

Flag of Russia.svg Russian Empire
Commanders and leaders
Flag of France.svg Laurent de Gouvion Saint-Cyr
Flag of France.svg Nicolas Oudinot  (WIA)
Flag of Russia.svg Peter Wittgenstein
Strength
18,000–44,000 men [1] [2] [3]
150 guns [4] [1]
20,000–22,000 men [1] [2] [3]
98 guns [4] [1]
Casualties and losses
2,500–6,000 [4] [1] [3]

3,000–6,000 [4] [1] [3]


1,800–4,000 killed and wounded [4] [3]
1,200–1,500 captured [4] [3]
14 guns [4] [3]

In the First Battle of Polotsk, which took place on 17–18 August 1812, Russian troops under the command of Peter Wittgenstein fought French and Bavarian troops led by Nicolas Oudinot near the city of Polotsk, halting Oudinot's advance toward Saint Petersburg. [5] The First Battle of Polotsk should be distinguished from the Second Battle of Polotsk which took place during the same campaign two months later. [6]

Russian Empire former country, 1721–1917

The Russian Empire, also known as Imperial Russia or simply Russia, was an empire that existed across Eurasia and North America from 1721, following the end of the Great Northern War, until the Republic was proclaimed by the Provisional Government that took power after the February Revolution of 1917.

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.

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

Events

After the battle of Klyastitsy and several minor losses, Oudinot's Corps retreated to Polotsk. In the early morning of 17 August, the 1st Infantry Corps led by Wittgenstein attacked the French positions near the village of Spas, forcing the French to retreat. Oudinot transported additional units to the sector of the attack and also counterattacked in the centre. By the night both the French and the Russians managed to keep their positions. Oudinot was wounded and had to hand over the command to Gouvion Saint-Cyr.

Battle of Klyastitsy battle

The Battle of Klyastitsy, also called Battle of Yakubovo, was a series of military engagements that took place in 1812 near the village of Klyastitsy on the road between Polotsk and Sebezh. In this battle the Russian corps under the command of Peter Wittgenstein stood up to the French corps under the command of Marshal Nicolas Oudinot. The result was inconclusive, with both sides suffering heavy losses and retreating along their communication lines after the battle.

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.

Infantry military service branch that specializes in combat by individuals on foot

Infantry is the branch of an army that engages in military combat on foot, distinguished from cavalry, artillery, and tank forces. Also known as foot soldiers, infantry traditionally relies on moving by foot between combats as well, but may also use mounts, military vehicles, or other transport. Infantry make up a large portion of all armed forces in most nations, and typically bear the largest brunt in warfare, as measured by casualties, deprivation, or physical and psychological stress.

The next morning Gouvion Saint-Cyr undertook a major offensive. He managed to mislead Wittgenstein about the area of the offensive, regroup his troops and suddenly attack the left flank and centre of the Russian positions. In the beginning the offensive was a major success, the French troops crushed the Russians and captured seven cannons.

When defeat seemed imminent, Wittgenstein organized a cavalry counterattack. It caused a scare among the French, who ceased the offensive and retreated. Wittgenstein retreated to the Drissa. For the next two months both the French and the Russians did not attempt to upset the balance of powers.

French-Bavarian losses numbered 6,000 killed, wounded. The Russians lost 5,500. Bavarian general officer losses were heavy. General of Infantry Bernhard Erasmus von Deroy was mortally wounded and General-Major Siebein was killed. General-Majors Vincenti and Raglovitch were both wounded. Among the French, both Oudinot and General of Brigade François Valentin were wounded. Russian Generals Berg, Hamen, and Kazatchkowski suffered wounds. [7]

A General Officer is an officer of high rank in the army, and in some nations' air forces or marines.

Bernhard Erasmus von Deroy German general

Bernhard Erasmus von Deroy from the Electorate of the Palatinate became a noted general officer in the army of Bavaria. His military career began shortly after the start of the Seven Years' War. During the French Revolutionary Wars he first served on the side of the Coalition against the French revolutionaries, then fought as an ally of the First French Empire during the Napoleonic Wars. Deroy and his colleague, Karl Philipp von Wrede, were dominant personalities in the Bavarian military during the era of Napoleon Bonaparte.

Clemens von Raglovich German general

Clemens or Klemens Wenzel Freiherrvon Raglovich und zum Rosenhof was a Bavarian General der Infanterie.

See also

Citations

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Bodart 1908, p. 435.
  2. 1 2 Nafziger 1988, p. 146.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Clodfelter 2017, p. 162.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Nafziger 1988, p. 157.
  5. Wittgenstein, Peter Khristianovich Napoleon.org
  6. Hugh Seton-Watson (1967). The Russian Empire, 1801-1917: 1801-1917. Oxford University Press. ISBN   0-19-822152-5.
  7. Smith, Digby. The Napoleonic Wars Data Book. London: Greenhill, 1998. ISBN   1-85367-276-9, 386–387

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References

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Coordinates: 55°29′N28°48′E / 55.483°N 28.800°E / 55.483; 28.800

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