Battle of Bautzen
In the Battle of Bautzen a combined Russian/Prussian army was pushed back by Napoleon I of France, but escaped destruction, some sources claim, because Michel Ney failed to block their retreat. The Prussians under Count Gebhard von Blücher and Russians under Prince Peter Wittgenstein, the Prusso-Russian army was in a full retreat following their defeat at the Battle of Lützen. Finally, generals Wittgenstein and Blücher were ordered to stop at Bautzen by Tsar Alexander I, the Prusso-Russian army was nearly 100,000 men strong, but Napoleon had 115,000 troops. Additionally, Marshal Ney had 85,000 more men within easy marching distance, Wittgenstein formed two defensive lines, with the first holding strongpoints in villages and along ridges and the second holding the bridges behind a river bend. Napoleon had planned to pin down his enemies to their lines, due to faulty reconnaissance, he became concerned that the Prusso-Russians had more soldiers and held stronger positions than they actually did.
So Napoleon decided he would not set up his trap until they had been softened up, after an intense bombardment by the grande batterie of Napoleons artillery and hours of heated fighting, the French overpowered the first defensive lines and seized the town of Bautzen. The Prusso-Russians appeared to be buckling, by nightfall, the French were ready to cut the allies off from their line of retreat. But Marshal Ney became confused and his faulty positioning left the open for the Allies to escape. Fighting on the day, the 21st, was again hard and after several hours of setbacks. But these assaults were only intended to fix the allies in place so they could be cut off, once again, Marshal Ney became distracted and decided to seize the village of Preititz, and thus lost sight of the strategic importance of cutting off the allies. The Prusso-Russians were being pushed back across the river and, at 4 p. m. when the Imperial Guard was sent in, without Neys forces to seal them in, they again escaped the total defeat Napoleon had planned.
Losses on both sides totaled around 20,000, the French victory at Bautzen is therefore often called a Pyrrhic victory. Although a success for the French, Bautzen was not the decisive, Neys failure to cut the line of retreat robbed the French of complete victory. Once more Napoleon had to settle for a narrow, pyrrhic victory, to make matters worse, during the battle, Napoleons close friend and Grand Marshal of the Palace, General Geraud Duroc, was mortally wounded by a cannonball and died hours after the battle. Following Bautzen, Napoleon agreed to a truce with the Coalition. The Armistice of Pleischwitz was signed on 4 June, and lasted until 20 July, during this time he hoped to gather more troops, especially cavalry, and better train his new army. The allies, would not be idle, they too would mobilize and better prepare, and after hostilities were resumed, the Austrians joined the ranks of the allies. It is reported that Napoleon quoted, that his agreement to this truce was a bad mistake, the campaign would resume in August
Battle of Dennewitz
The Battle of Dennewitz took place on 6 September 1813 between the forces of the First French Empire and an army of Prussians and Russians of the Sixth Coalition. It occurred in Dennewitz, a village in the Prussian province of Brandenburg, in late August 1813, Napoleon decided to order a general offensive to take Berlin, the Prussian capital, with the overall goal of knocking the Prussians out of the war. Marshal Oudinots corps advanced towards this objective along three separate roads, the fighting that took place on 23 August was essentially three isolated actions at Blankenfield and Sputendorf. In each case the Allies prevailed and Oudinot retreated to Wittenberg, at this point Napoleon appointed Marshal Michel Ney to command. Ney, with around 58,000 men, renewed the advance on Berlin on 6 September and this was because he mistakenly expected Napoleon, away to the southeast near Dresden, to support him from this direction. He encountered mixed elements of Prussian and Swedish troops under the command of Crown Prince Charles John of Sweden at Dennewitz.
Ney had decided to move his army down a single road and was shadowed to the north by Bülows III Corps. While this allowed Ney to maintain communications with his entire army, as a result, the battle swayed back and forth with the arrival of fresh French and Allied reinforcements throughout its course. The Prussian General Tauentzien was at Juterbog, blocking Neys route to Berlin, Neys troops reached Dennewitz as Bülow was approaching Juterbog along an eastward route to their north. To keep Tuentzien and Bülow from uniting, the French occupied the north of Dennewitz now known as the Denkmalsberg. Despite early damage done to Tauentziens Corps, Bülow saved the situation by taking the hill and this was followed by a charge of the Brandenburg Dragoons down the hill. This gave time for the Prussian units which had earlier wavered to regroup, there were signs that all was not well in the French army at this time. The French empire was short of cavalry troops and mounts since the 1812 Russian campaign.
As a result, there was a lack of screening and reconnaissance, the French command situation was strained, as Oudinot was angered at being placed under Neys command. Marshal Ney was determined to advance with all haste to Berlin, initially forced back, the Prussian elements of Bernadottes army were reinforced by General Bülow and recovered the lost ground. Bülow would now assume command of the side for most of the remainder of the day. A see-sawing battle now developed, but just as the French appeared on the verge of a victory, not helped by a lack of support from Oudinot, made a mistake that swung the battle. Having joined in the fighting personally and being unaware of the situation due to a rainstorm on the battlefield
Battle of Dresden
The Battle of Dresden was a major engagement of the Napoleonic Wars. The battle took place around the city of Dresden in modern-day Germany, with the recent addition of Austria, the Sixth Coalition felt emboldened in their quest to kick the French out of Central Europe. Despite being heavily outnumbered, French forces under Napoleon scored a modest victory against the Allied army led by Field Marshal Schwarzenberg, Napoleons victory did not lead to the collapse of the coalition, and the lack of effective French cavalry units precluded a major pursuit. A few days after the battle, the Allies surrounded and captured a French corps at the Battle of Kulm. On 16 August, Napoleon had sent Marshal Saint-Cyrs corps to fortify and hold Dresden in order to hinder allied movements and he planned to strike against the interior lines of his enemies and defeat them in detail, before they could combine their full strength. He had some 300,000 men and 800 cannons against allied forces totaling over 450,000 and 1200 cannons, but the Coalition avoided battle with Napoleon himself, choosing to attack his subordinate commanders instead.
On 23 August, at the Battle of Grossbeeren, south of Berlin, and on 26 August, Prussian Marshal Blücher defeated Marshal MacDonald at the Katzbach. In Dresden, French infantry manned the various redoubts and defensive positions and they hoped to last long enough for reinforcements to arrive. Sure enough, they got their wish, Napoleon arrived quickly and unexpectedly with reinforcements to repel this assault on the city. French counterattacks on the Great Garden in the southeast and on the center were successful. Although outnumbered three to two, Napoleon attacked the following morning, turned the allied left flank, and won a tactical victory. The flooded Weisseritz cut the wing of the Allied army, commanded by Johann von Klenau and Ignaz Gyulai. Marshal Joachim Murat took advantage of isolation and inflicted heavy losses on the Austrians. A French participant observed, Murat. cut off from the Austrian army Klenaus corps, nearly all his battalions were compelled to lay down their arms, and two other divisions of infantry shared their fate.
Gyulais divisions suffered losses when they were attacked by Murats cavalry during a rainstorm. With damp flints and powder, their muskets would not fire and many became a easy prey to the French cuirassiers. However, Napoleons failure to follow up on his success allowed Schwarzenberg to withdraw, the Coalition had lost some 38,000 men and 40 guns. Some of Napoleons officers noted he was suffering from a violent colic, on 27 August, General Vandamme received orders to advance on Pirna and bridge the Elbe there
Battle of the Bidassoa
In the Battle of the Bidasoa on 7 October 1813 the Allied army of Arthur Wellesley, Marquess of Wellington wrested a foothold on French soil from Nicolas Soults French army. The Allied troops overran the French lines behind the Bidassoa River on the coast, the nearest towns to the fighting are Irun on the lower Bidassoa and Bera on the middle Bidasoa. The battle occurred during the Peninsular War, part of the wider Napoleonic Wars, Wellington aimed his main assault at the lower Bidasoa, while sending additional troops to attack Soults center. Believing his coastal sector secure, Soult held the right flank with a weak force while concentrating most of his strength on his left flank in the mountains. However, the British general obtained local intelligence that indicated that water levels on the river were much lower than the French suspected. After careful planning, Wellington launched an assault which easily overran the French left flank defenses. In the center, his army won through the French defenses, at the beginning of the fighting, Soult realized that his left flank was in no danger, but it was too late to reinforce his positions on the right.
Some French generals were shocked at how poorly their soldiers fought, in the Battle of San Marcial on 31 August and 1 September 1813, Soults army was repelled in its final bid to advance into Spain. After a costly assault followed by a sack of the city. A French garrison held out in the Siege of Pamplona which would end in a surrender on October 31, Wellington determined to create a bridgehead across the Bidassoa River. If successful, his army would be the first Allied army to establish itself on French soil, the British commander wanted to capture French positions that overlooked the Allied lines on the west side of the Bidassoa. He had to hold a 48 km front in the Pyrenees mountains, the area was highly defensible, but lateral communications were poor. Deciding that the sector was the strongest part of his line. Reilles command included General of Division Antoine Louis Popon de Maucunes 3, 996-strong 7th Division and General of Division Pierre François Joseph Boyers 6, Maucune held the lower Bidassoa on the Bay of Biscay, while Boyer defended the stream farther inland.
Behind them was the camp of Bordagain and the port of St-Jean-de-Luz which were held by General of Division Eugene-Casimir Villattes 8. General of Division Bertrand Clausel held the center with 15,300 men under Generals of Division Nicolas François Conroux, Jean-Pierre Maransin, on the right, near the Bidassoa, stood the La Bayonette redoubt. Mont La Rhune rose in the center of Clausels sector and his left touched the Nivelle River near Ainhoa. Conrouxs 4th Division numbered 4,962 men, Maransins 5th Division counted 5,575 troops, Taupins 8th Division had 4,778 soldiers, Soults gunners and other troops added up to 2,000 and his total forces numbered 55,088 effectives
Battle of Montereau
Gathering up his outnumbered forces, Napoleon rushed his soldiers south to deal with Schwarzenberg. Hearing of the approach of the French emperor, the Allied commander ordered a withdrawal, ordered to hold Montereau until nightfall on the 18th, the Crown Prince of Württemberg posted a strong force on the north bank of the Seine River. All morning and past noon, the Allies stoutly held off a series of French attacks, under increasing French pressure, the Crown Princes lines buckled in the afternoon and his troops ran for the single bridge to their rear. Brilliantly led by Pierre Claude Pajol, the French cavalry got among the fugitives, the Allied force suffered heavy losses and the defeat confirmed Schwarzenbergs decision to continue the retreat to Troyes. On 10 February, the Army of Bohemia under Karl Philipp, on the right, Peter Wittgenstein and Karl Philipp von Wrede headed for Nogent and Bray on the Seine River supported by the Guards and Reserves. On the left, Crown Prince Frederick William of Württemberg moved on Sens with the I Corps of Frederick Bianchi, the left flank forces were backed by Ignaz Gyulais corps.
The Allies were briefly checked at Nogent on the 10th by 1,000 French troops under Louis-Auguste-Victor, Sens was taken on the 11th after a skirmish between the Crown Prince and Jacques-Alexandre-François Allix de Vaux. Tasked with the defense of the Seine, Marshal Claude Perrin Victor held Nogent, on the 12th the Allies captured Bray from a weak force of French National Guards as well as the bridge at Pont-sur-Seine near Montereau. Afraid of being surrounded, Victor evacuated Nogent and fell back, the appearance of troops under Marshal Jacques MacDonald did not stop the retreat and by 15 February the French were moving back to the Yerres River only 18 miles from Paris. Alexander Nikitich Seslavin led a force of three Russian hussar squadrons and one Cossack regiment well to the south to seize Montargis and threaten Orléans. Auxerre was stormed and its garrison wiped out, Cossacks roamed freely in the Forest and Palace of Fontainebleau. When Victors wagon train appeared at Charenton-le-Pont the Parisians were thrown into panic, fleeing peasants reported that Paris would soon be attacked by 200,000 Cossacks.
Following his successes in the Six Days Campaign on 10–14 February 1814, forces under Marshals Édouard Mortier and Auguste Marmont were left behind to keep Gebhard Leberecht von Blüchers Army of Silesia under observation. Giving up his plans to finish off Blücher, Napoleon left Montmirail on 15 February with the Imperial Guard and Emmanuel Grouchys cavalry. In an epic march, with some traveling in carts. Another authority stated that some troops marched 60 miles in 36 hours, hearing of Blüchers defeat and the approach of Napoleon, the cautious Schwarzenberg scrambled to put the Seine between his army and the French emperor. On 17 February, he ordered Wittgenstein to retreat to Provins while Michael Andreas Barclay de Tolly massed the Russian and Prussian Guards near Nogent and he instructed Wrede to fall back to Donnemarie while leaving an advanced guard at Nangis. Württemberg and Bianchi were posted near Montereau while Gyulai held Pont-sur-Yonne, if the Army of Bohemia needed to retreat farther, it was important to hold the position at Montereau
Battle of Feistritz
The Battle of Feistritz saw an Imperial French corps led by Paul Grenier attack an Austrian brigade under August von Vécsey. After putting up a resistance, the outnumbered Austrians were defeated and forced to retreat. The clash occurred during the War of the Sixth Coalition, part of the Napoleonic Wars, Feistritz im Rosental is located on the Drau River near the southern border of Austria, about 16 kilometres southwest of Klagenfurt. When hostilities commenced between the Austrian Empire and Imperial France, Johann von Hiller led an Austrian army to attack the Illyrian Provinces, when the Austrian general established a second bridgehead at Feistritz, Eugène sent Grenier to wipe it out. The minor victory only delayed the inevitable, and within a few weeks Eugène was compelled to abandon Illyria, in 1812, the best French and Italian units from the French Army of Italy were assigned to the IV Corps for the French invasion of Russia. The troops fought well under the command of Eugène de Beauharnais, to rebuild his army in Germany for the 1813 campaign, Emperor Napoleon transferred four more divisions from the garrison of Italy to join the newly established IV and XII Corps.
The emperor gave his stepson Eugène permission to organize a new out of French. By May 1813, the new army began forming around the French 46th, 47th, and 48th Divisions, the Italian 49th Division, and one cavalry division. In fact, only 13,000 French conscripts joined the army, since military equipment was scarce, some soldiers were sent to the front dressed in police uniforms. Nevertheless, the continued to expand and Eugène eventually renumbered his divisions 1 through 6. Meanwhile, the Austrian Empire prepared for war with Napoleon by expanding their army, while their main army was based in Bohemia, Austria stationed one army corps on the Danube and another in the Duchy of Carinthia. The troops in Carinthia were placed under the command of Feldzeugmeister Johann von Hiller, since it was considered a minor theater, Hillers army only counted 35,000 soldiers and 120 artillery pieces in August. This total was smaller than the number of troops in his opponents army, the Austrian general had veteran division and brigade commanders, but he was handicapped by a clumsy command system and large numbers of indifferently-equipped conscripts in the ranks.
Though the Danube corps remained in place, reinforcements were continually switched from there to the Army of Inner Austria throughout the autumn, the Advanced Guard had two Grenz infantry battalions and two hussar squadrons. Frimonts division had three brigades led by General-majors Franjo Vlašić, Ferdinand Daniel Pulszky, and August von Vécsey. Vlašićs light brigade comprised one jäger and one Grenz battalion and six squadrons, Pulszkys brigade consisted of four line battalions. Marzianis division was made up of a brigade led by General-major Johann Mayer von Heldensfeld with seven line battalions. Sommarivas division counted three brigades commanded by Generals-major Joseph Xaver von Stutterheim, Joseph von Fölseis, and Georg Johann von Wrede
Battle of Nivelle
The Battle of Nivelle took place in front of the River Nivelle near the end of the Peninsular War. After the Allied siege of San Sebastian, Wellingtons 80,000 British, after the Light Division, the main British army was ordered to attack and the 3rd Division split Soults army into two. By 2 oclock, Soult was in retreat and the British in an offensive position. Soult had lost 4,351 men to Wellingtons 2,450, in the Siege of San Sebastian, the Anglo-Portuguese stormed and captured the port at the beginning of September 1813. In the Battle of San Marcial on 31 August, Soult failed to break through the Spanish defences in his attempt to relieve the siege. The French army fell back to defend the Bidassoa River, at dawn on 7 October the Anglo-Allied army overran the French river defences in the Battle of the Bidassoa in a surprise crossing. During this action, the allies captured several fortified positions in the area of La Rhune mountain, both sides lost about 1,600 men in these actions. Soults lines stretched from the shores of the Atlantic on the French right flank to the pass of Roncesvalles on the left.
With only 60,000 men, Soult was stretched to an almost impossible point and this means that he could not hold troops back as reserves, something which may have turned the tide of the battle. As Soult moved back to his base at Bayonne, his position strengthened but he was not quick enough, the French position was dominated by the Greater Rhune, a gorse-covered, craggy mountain nearly 3,000 feet high. Separated from the Greater Rhune by a ravine, roughly 700 yards below it, is the Lesser Rhune along the precipitous crest of which the French had constructed three defensive positions. If the French defences on La Rhune could be taken Soults position would become dangerous as it would open him to attack from all elements of the British three point pincer plan. Wellingtons plan was to distribute troops along the whole of Soults line, any breakthrough in the centre or the French left flank would enable the British to cut off the French right Flank. So, Wellington ordered that the British left would be led by Sir John Hope and would involve the 1st, Wellington decided to attack on the 10th of November.
The battle started just before dawn as the Light Division headed towards the plateau on the summit of the Greater Rhune, the objective of the division was to sweep the three defensive forts the French had constructed out of the battle. They moved down into the ravine in front of the Lesser Rhune and were ordered to lie down, after the signal from a battery of cannon, the offensive began. It started with the men of the 43rd, 52nd and 95th - with the 17th Portuguese Caçadores in support - storming the redoubts on the crest of the Rhune. Despite this being a move and the men being almost exhausted