Battle of Dresden, day two (27 August 1813)

Battle of Dresden, day two (27 August 1813)

Battle of Dresden, day two (27 August 1813)

French Position
Allied Position
The Allied Plan
Napoleon's Plan
The Battle on the French Right
The Battle on the French Left
End of the Battle

The second day of the Battle of Dresden (27 August 1813) saw Napoleon launch a massive counterattack that forced the Allies to retreat, and that might have given him a decisive victory if Marshal Vandamme had made more progress to the south of Dresden.

At the start of the Autumn Campaign of 1813 Napoleon moved east towards Silesia to deal with Marshal Blücher, the first Allied commander to begin to move. Blücher obeyed the Trachenberg plan and withdrew without risking a battle. News then reached Napoleon that the main Allied army, under Prince Schwarzenberg, was advancing on Dresden. Napoleon turned back to save the city. He briefly considered leaving St. Cyr to defend Dresden alone while he took the bulk of his army across the Elbe into the enemy's rear, but then decided that Dresden was too vulnerable. Vandamme was given the task of getting into the enemy's rear, with a single corps, while Napoleon led the bulk of his army directly to Dresden.

The fighting on the first day of the battle had fallen into three phases. In the morning the Allies conducted a rather half-hearted reconnaissance in force. In the afternoon they launched a larger, but unsuccessful attack on the city. Finally Napoleon launched a counterattack that forced the Allies back to their starting points.

French Position

Overnight VI Corps (Marmont) arrived with 40 infantry battalions, 8 cavalry squadrons and 78 guns, II Corps (Victor) with 36 battalions, 2 squadrons and 68 guns and the Guard Cavalry (Lefebvre-Desnoettes) with 10 squadrons and 6 guns. As a result Napoleon had around 120,000-125,000 men ready for the second day of the battle. The Allies had 158,000 men on the field, with reinforcements of their own expected.

On the first day of the battle St. Cyr had commanded the defence of Dresden, Murat had been given a column to the west of the Wiesseritz, Ney a column in the French centre and Mortier on the French left, east of Dresden.

On the second day Murat, Ney and Mortier remained roughly in their original positions, with Marmont and St. Cyr slotted into the line between Murat and Ney.

Mortier was on the French left, with Decouz's and Roguet's divisions from the Young Guard. He held the area between the Grosser Garten and the Elbe, with Nansouty's cavalry on his left.

Ney had Barrois's and Dumoustier's divisons from the Young Guard, and was to attack through the Grosser Garten and along its northern edge.

St. Cyr was next in line, with his XIV Corps and Jacquet's cavalry brigade. His left faced the south-east courner of the Grosser Garten and his main body was to the north-west of Strehlen.

Marmont was on the right bank of the Wiesseritz, commanding his VI Corps and supported by Normann's cavalry brigade. He held the area from the Weisseritz to Redoubt No.III.

Murat was posted on the left bank of the Wiesseritz, with Victor's corps and six battalions of Teste's division, supported by 63 squadrons of cavalry (Pajol and Latour-Maubourg).

To the south-east Vandamme had crossed the Elbe and defeated Eugen of Württemberg. The Allies send reinforcements under Ostermann-Tolstoy to help him.

Allied Position

On the Allied side the Russian advanced guard held a line from Blasewitz on the Elbe to Grüna, to the north-east of the Grosser Garten. The Russian 5th Infantry Division was between Torna and Leubnitz, south-east of the Grasser Garten. Ziethen's and Klüx's Prussians were to the north-east of the 5th Division.

Two more Prussian brigades were spread out to the south-west of Leubnitz, reaching Gostritz, with the third brigade behind Gostritz. The landwehr cavalry formed the 3rd line.

To their left General Miloradovich's Russians were in Tschertnitz (or Zscherntnitz), Klein Pestitz and Mockritz, to the west/ north-west of the Prussians.

The Austrians formed the left of the Allied army. Colloredo's and Chasteler's corps were between Miloradovich and the Weisseritz, with troops at Plauen and Coschütz on the river (Plauen nearest to Dresden, Coschütz a little way to the south-west). Civillart's division and Moritz Lichtenstein's cavalry were behind Colloredo and Chasteler, with Nostitz's cavalry forming a third line.

The Austrian reserve (Weissenwolf's division but without its commander, Bianchi's division and Schuler's cavalry, commanded by Ignaz Gyulai) were posted at Gittersee, south of Coschütz.

The Austrian left, on the left bank of the Weisseritz, were commanded by Weissenwolf. On his right he had Czöllich's brigade, two infantry regiments from Klenau, and two squadrons of cuirassiers around Dölzschen (on the Weisseritz), Rossthal and Neu Nimptsch (west of Plauen). Messery's brigade formed a reserve to the south/ south-west at Pesterwitz and Alt Franken. On his left Meszko's division was around Neider Gorbitz and Leutewitz, connecting the Austrian right to the Elbe west of Dresden.

Klenau was approaching the battlefield with 21,000 men, and was expected to take up a position on the far left, with Weissenwolf, but most of his troops didn't arrive in time to take part in the battle.

The Allied numerical advance was thus reduced from around 80,000 on the first day of the battle, to 50,000 on the second day (120,000 French vs 170,000 Allies).

The Allied Plan

The Allies expected Napoleon to attack their centre on 27 August. This was thus the strongest part of their line, with two thirds of their available strength. Bianchi had 25,000 men on the left, across the Weisseritz River. He would also have received Klenau's reinforcements if they had arrived. Wittgenstein had another 25,000 men on the right.

The weather played a part in the second day of the battle. The first day had been fine, but heavy rain began at midnight and continued throughout the second day of the battle. As a result the Weisseritz River turned from a minor inconvenience to a major barrier. The only contact between the Allied left and centre was via the bridge at Plauen.

The Allies were outnumbered to the west of the Weisseritz, and could easily be cut off. In the centre the Allied outnumbered the French by two-to-one. To the east of Dresden Ney and Mortier outnumbered their opponents by a similar margin.

Napoleon's Plan

By the end of the fighting on the first day Napoleon expected the Allies to retreat overnight, having failed to take the city before his reinforcements could arrive.

Napoleon's plan was to fight a holding action in the centre, to keep the bulk of the Allied army pinned down. He would attack on both flanks. The attack on the French right would cut off and defeat the Allied left, taking advantage of the barrier of the Weisseritz. The attack on the French left was designed to cut the road to Pirna and Peterswalde in Bohemia (now Petrovice in the Czech Republic). Total victory would only be possible if Vandamme could cut of the lines of retreat across the mountains into Bohemia.

Murat commanded on the French right, with 35,000 men (including Victor and Latour-Maubourg's commands).

Marmont and St. Cyr were in the centre, with 50,000 men. Behind them the Old Guard infantry formed the only French reserve.

On the left were Ney and Mortier with 35,000 men, including Nansouty's cavalry.

The battle felt into two clear halves - the fighting to the west of the Weisseritz and the fighting to the east and south-east of Dresden.

The Battle on the French Right

On the French right Victor's corps was to attack on the left, with Teste's division on the right. Victor's first target was a group of four villages - Wolfnitz in the north, Nauslitz in the east, Rossthal in the south and Gorbitz in the west. The key bridge at Dölzschen was to the south-east of these villages. From the French point of view Nauslitz was on the left and Wolfnitz on the right as they advanced towards the Allied line.

Victor attacked in four columns. On his left the first column took advantage of a hollow lane than ran from his position to the area between Rossthal and Dölzschen. This column reached its destination easily. The second column attacked Nauslitz, which fell after a number of attacks. Once the village fell, this column followed two ravines which ran towards Rossthal and the area between Rossthal and the river. The Austrians in that key position were forced to give way, with some heading to Dölzschen and some to Rossthal. The first French column was able to trap the Austrians in Dölzschen, while the second column captured Rossthal.

The third French column advanced to the right of Nauslitz, in the gap between that village and Wolfnitz. Supported by a flank attack from the second column at Rossthal, they were able to force their Austrian opponents to retreat towards Neu Nimptsch (an estate between Rossthal and Gorbitz) and Pesterwitz, a village to the south-west of the four villages. The third column then captured Neu Nimptsch.

The fourth column attacked Wolfnitz and then Nieder Gorbitz. Wolfnitz was captured early. The garrison of Gorbitz attempted to retreat south-west, but was surrounded and captured in a ravine between Neu Nimptsch and Alt Franken (a village to the south-west of Gorbitz and north-west of Pesterwitz).

By noon a mix of troops from Meszko's and Munb's brigades, along with the surviving defenders of Wolfnitz and Ober Gorbitz (west of Gorbitz) were in open ground west of Neu Nimptsch. Victor's cavalry attacked, and the Austrian infantry formed squares, but in the rain their muskets wouldn't fire, and the cavalry rode down all four squares.

By the early afternoon the Austrian line had thus been split into three - one part was trapped around Dölzschen. The second was west of Rossthal, the third was west of Gorbitz.

On the French right Teste and Murat's cavalry attacked Meszko's and Mumb's brigades, in the area west of Ober Gorbitz. The Austrians fulled back. By now Weissenwolf realised that his line had collapsed, and he ordered a general retreat towards Pesterwitz, to the south-west of his original position.

The French now began to capture large parts of the Austrian force. Meszko's brigade was trapped when Teste's right wing got to Pennrich, west of Gorbitz, cutting off their only escape route. Threatened by cavalry on three sides and infantry on the fourth, four Austrian regiments surrendered, along with Meszko and Mumb themselves. On the other flank the defenders of Dölzschen fought on until around 2pm, when a French shell set fire to the village. The surviving defenders attempted to get down to the river, but there was no way across. The sizable Austrian forces on the other side of the river were unable to intervene.

By about 2pm resistance had largely collapsed on this front. The French probably took around 12,000 prisoners, although the figure might be higher. The Austrian survivors retreated well into the Allied rear.

The Battle on the French Left

Mortier attacked at 6am, with Roguet's division on his left, nearest to the Elbe and Decouz's division on his right. By 7am Roguet had taken the village of Blasewitz, on the Elbe, at the far right of the Allied line. He then advanced into the Blasewitz woods, while Decouz advanced to the south of the wood. A little further south Ney's divisions advanced along the northern edge of the Grosser Garten. There was little fighting in this area, as the Prussians had retreated from the garden at daybreak, realising that they were dangerously exposed in front of the main Allied line.

The Russians were forced out of Grüna, east of the garden, and retreated east to Seidnitz. Their new line now ran north-east from Seidnitz to the Elbe.

Mortier's men now swung around, with their right fighting at Seidnitz and their left advancing via Tolkewitz to threaten to outflank the Russian position. Wittgenstein ordered a retreat south to Reick and Prohlis, away from the Elbe, but close to the main Allied position around Torna. However Seidnitz remained in Russian hands for some time longer.

As the Russians retreated from the Elbe, Mortier's cavalry passed through Tolkewitz and continued along the river to Laubegast. They then formed up south of that village, facing south towards the key Pirna road.

On Mortier's right Seidnitz was captured. Roguet then advanced toward Dobritz, east of Seidnitz and south of Laubegast. Nansouty's cavalry moved to Leuben, east of Dobritz, a move that forced the Russians to retreat south-west to Reick.

Ney also made good progress, reaching Grüna. To his right St. Cyr pushed a single Prussian battalion out of Strehlen, but then left most of his corps behind Strehlen.

At about 11am Napoleon reached Seidnitz, after making sure that the attack on his right had gone well. He ordered an attack on Reick, which now formed the right flank of the main Allied position. This village was protectd to the north and east by a water feature, the Landgraben, at this point a channel eight feet deep, six to eight feet wide and protected by an embankment ten-twelve feet high and twenty feet wide. The French attacked from the north-east, hitting a corner in the Landgraben. The Russians made a determined defence of the village, but were forced to retreat into the southern half of the village after a shell set the northern half on fire. The Russian garrison was then cut off. By noon the defenders had been wiped out, and the rest of the Russian force retreated to Torna.

At about the same time St. Cyr made two unsuccessful attacks on Leubnitz, where the Prussian garrison had been replaced by the Russians. The first was repulsed close to the village after two Prussian battalions made a bayonet charge. The second didn't get as far. Napoleon then arrived, after making sure Reick had failed. He ordered a third attack on the village, to be made from Strehlen, with support provided by some hore artillery. This attack failed after it was hit by heavy artillery fire while the French were leaving Strehlen.

At about 1pm, after the failure of this attack, Napoleon left St. Cyr. On his way to Redoubt No.IV he paused to direct the fire of a horse artillery battery. Its second target was a group of horsemen seen just to the left of Räcknitz. This group turned out to be the Tsar and his advisors. The first shot hit General Moreau, then serving with the Russians. The shot mangled both of his legs, which were later amputated in an unsuccessful attempt to save his life. This happened just as the Tsar, with Moreau's and Jomini's advice, was preparing a counterattack against Mortier and Ney. Barclay de Tolly objected to the plan, and in the confusion caused by Moreau's wounding no reply to his objections was sent. As a result the counterattack never happened.

End of the Battle

Moreau was wounded at about the same time that news of Prince Eugène's defeat at Pirna on the previous day arrived. The French had also rather run out of steam. By 3pm the artillery fire had ended, and by 4pm Napoleon had returned to the palace in Dresden

On 28 August the French patrols found little but rearguards. Although the Allies had to retreat along a limited number of roads, Vandamme hadn't been able to occupy Teplitz, and so some lines of retreat were still open.

The battle of Dresden was Napoleon's last great victory. Despite being heavily outnumbered on the first day he had been able to defeat the Allied attack on Dresden and then counterattack, then on the second day he managed to defeat both flanks of the larger Allied army.

The battle showed that the French army was still a potent force. The Allies had lost 38,000 men in the two days of the battle, the French only 10,000. The battle also showed that the French could defeat a larger army – Leipzig is often portrayed as an inevitable Allied victory, but Dresden shows that this wasn't really the case.

The big difference between 1813 and earlier campaigns was that Napoleon was unable to take full advantage of his victory. His lack of cavalry meant that the pursuit wasn't as powerful as in earlier years, and despite the victory at Dresden the French were still outnumbered. Vandamme's failure to move more vigorously on the second day of the battle meant that the best roads to Bohemia were still open.

Elsewhere Napoleon's subordinates were letting him down. On 23 August Oudinot was defeated by Bülow at Grossbeeren and his attack on Berlin came to an end. On 26 August Macdonald suffered a careless defeat at the Katzbach at the hands of Blücher. As a result Napoleon had to spend the days after the battle of Dresden concentrating on how to undo those defeats leaving his subordinates to conduct the pursuit of Schwarzenberg and the defeated Army of Bohemia. This led to a third disaster, at Kulm (29-30 August 1813). Vandamme spent the first day of this battle attacking part of the Allied rearguard, but on the second day a second Allied force, retreating down the same road, attacked him in the rear. Vandamme was trapped, and was eventualy forced to surrender.

Napoleon has also been critised for his distribution of forces at Dresden. He was able to hold the city on the first day of the battle without Marmont or Victor. If he had kept their troops on the upper Elbe with Vandamme, and attacked the Allied rear area with three corps instead of one then he probably would have been able to cut their lines of retreat into Bohemia. On the other hand if Napoleon hadn't been present at Dresden in person then the city might have fallen.

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August 27 1813: Battle of Dresden

On August 27 1813, Napoleon is outnumbered two to one and almost surrounded at Dresden by Austrian, Russian, and Prussian troops. The day before the French garrison in the city had been attacked by troops led by the Austrian commander, Karl Philipp Fürst zu Schwarzenberg. Napoleon had arrived in the evening with reinforcements and had been able pushed the allies back.

On August 27, Napoleon had about 135,000 men to the allies 214,000. The allies had three monarchs on the field with the Emperor Francis of Austria, Tsar Alexander of Russia and King Frederick William III of Prussia all present. The presence of the monarchs probably did not help the allies. Considering his position, Napoleon decided that he had to attack. At about 6 a.m., he ordered an attack lead by two divisions of his Young Guard. The allies counterattacked but were stalled as heavy rain dug up the ground into debilitating mud. French troops rolled the allied left flank mired in the mud. At about 4 p.m. the allies retreated leaving about 38,000 killed, captured or wounded.The French suffered about 10,000 casualties.

The Napoleon’s tactical victory was wasted when the allies were able to retreat. Again, French pursuit was hampered by lack of the cavalry that had been killed the year before in Russia. The pursuit was also stalled because Napoleon had to leave the field when he was overcome by a fit of gastric spasma or a “violent cholic“. The Battle of Dresden thus remains a French victory, but the failure to rout the allies meant that it was to be Napoleon’s last on German soil.

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Battle Notes

Allied Army
•Commander: Wittgenstein
•5 Command Cards
•3 Tactician Cards
•Mother Russia rule is in effect, roll 4 dice
•Iron Will 2

3 2 2 2 1 2 2 3 1 2 1 1 1 1 1 2

French Army
•Commander: Mortier
•5 Command Cards
•5 Tactician Cards
•move first

7 2 1 3 1 1 1 2 1 4

Victory
8 Banners

Special Rules
•The "Great Garden" is composed of the 2 walled garden hexes near Gruhna. This represents a temporary victory banner objective for the allies. One banner is gained by the allies if they occupy either hex at turn start.

•Streisen, Gruhna and Strehla are a Temporary Group Victory Banner Objective worth 1 banners to the side occupying two of them at turn start or 2 banners to the side occupying all three of them at turn start.

•Mud: Artillery moves a maximum of 1 space per turn, regardless of Command or Tactician Card effects.


Background

When Napoleon lost most of his army in Russia, some may have thought there was a possibility it would mark the end of his attempts at conquest. They were dead wrong as the setback only served to increase his determination. Unbeknownst to him, Prussia was already taking steps to abandoning its alliance with the French. On December 30, 1812, the Prussian General von Wartenberg, who led a group of 15,000 German auxiliaries in Napoleon&rsquos army, declared a ceasefire with the Russians in the Convention of Tauroggen.

Meanwhile, Napoleon was able to raise a large army in quick time. During his campaigns, he had been able to call on his allies for support, so there was still a large number of available Frenchmen. By the end of March 1813, he had around 200,000 men marching on the Elbe. He would need these extra troops because, in February, Prussia had signed the Treaty of Kalisz with Russia which formalized their alliance. On March 17, Prussia declared war on France while Britain sent 23,000 men, along with munitions, to Russia and Prussia.

Battle of Leipzig &ndash Wikipedia

Napoleon began his Spring Campaign in April and marched into Germany. At this point, the allies were unable to generate more than 200,000 men and elected to bide their time and avoid facing Napoleon in open battle for the time being. The Battle of Lutzen on May 2 was the first major fight of the German Campaign and ended in a victory for Napoleon with the aid of the Duchy of Warsaw. However, he was not able to pursue the combined Prussian and Russian forces due to heavy losses.

Nonetheless, the Russian-Prussian army was in full retreat and was eventually chased by Napoleon and Marshal Ney. At the Battle of Bautzen on May 20-21, the French won again but suffered over 20,000 casualties. It is claimed that Ney may have failed to block their retreat which robbed the French of complete victory. On June 4, Napoleon signed the Armistice of Pleischwitz which was extended to August 10. He hoped to use the time to increase his troop and cavalry numbers while also training his men. The allies also used their time well and, boosted by Austria joining the Coalition they were ready for the French when hostilities resumed.


Closer Than Anticipated

On October 16, French troops repulsed an ill-advised Prussian attack, launched by the Prince of Schwarzenberg without the support of the Russians. The following day, French cavalry under Marshal Joachim Murat charged the Russians and nearly reached the field headquarters of Czar Alexander I before being driven back by Russian horsemen.

Napoleon believed that the Prussians were too far away to mount a strong attack and repositioned some of his forces, leaving a single corps to defend the nearby town of Möckern. However, the Prussians were closer than anticipated they captured the town and decimated the lone French corps.

On October 18, the combined weight of the now consolidated Coalition armies had a telling effect, bludgeoning Napoleon’s line with relentless frontal attacks and continuous artillery barrages and forcing him to retire his flanks in preparation for withdrawal. The following day, as the Coalition forces prepared to attack Leipzig itself, Napoleon ordered Marshal Alexandre MacDonald to fight a rearguard action in defense of the city with 30,000 troops while the rest of the French army withdrew via the bridges across the Elster River.


October 18: Thousands of arrows and a hare

The Battle of Leipzig, by Alexander Sauerweid

The coalition launched a huge assault from all sides. The bloodiest fighting was in Probstheida, a village southeast of Leipzig, where more than 12,000 men were killed in three hours. Colonel Jean-Baptiste-Antoine-Marcellin de Marbot, a member of the same light cavalry division as Colonel Saint-Chamans, wrote:

The Old Guard was deployed in rear of the village, ready to aid its defenders…. The French were maintaining their position all along the line. On the left, where Macdonald and Sébastiani had held their ground between Probstheida and Stotteritz in the teeth of frequent attacks from Klenau’s Austrians and Doctoroff’s Russians, we were suddenly assailed by a charge of more than 20,000 Cossacks and Bashkirs. Their efforts were chiefly directed against Sébastiani’s cavalry, and in a moment the barbarians surrounded our squadrons with loud shouts, letting off thousands of arrows. The loss these caused was slight, for the Bashkirs are totally undrilled and have no more notion of any formation than a flock of sheep. Thus they cannot shoot horizontally in front of them without hitting their own comrades, and are obliged to fire their arrows parabolically into the air, with more or less elevation according to the distance at which they judge the enemy to be. As this method does not allow of accurate aiming, nine-tenths of the arrows are lost, while the few that hit are pretty well spent, and only fall with the force of their own weight, which is inconsiderable so that the wounds they cause are usually trifling. As they have no other weapons, they are certainly the least dangerous troops in the world. However, as they were coming up in myriads, and the more of these wasps one killed the more came on — the vast number of arrows with which they filled the air were bound sooner or later to inflict some severe wounds. Thus one of my non-commissioned officers named Meslin, was pierced from breast to back by an arrow. Seizing it in both hands he broke it and drew the two portions from his body, but died a few minutes later. I fancy this was the only case of death caused by the Bashkirs’ arrows: but I had several men and horses hit, and was myself wounded by the ridiculous weapon. (5)

Meanwhile Lieutenant Parquin spent the day near Napoleon’s headquarters.

The regiment was held in reserve until evening, and we suffered merely a few losses from the enemy’s heavy guns. I had to deplore the death of one personal friend, a lieutenant of my regiment named Helson, who was struck by a cannon-ball that ricochetted full against his breast.

At nightfall we made our bivouac behind a hedge. As I was riding toward the spot that had been assigned for my squad, I heard my own name called. It was by one of my friends, a captain in the Guard infantry, who was in company with two other officers of his corps, from their bivouac close by. He invited me to come over to his quarters, as soon as I should be free, and join them in a modest supper.

‘I shall do so with pleasure, dear fellow I’ll also bring with me a bottle of brandy which I obtained from a sutler.’

A quarter of an hour later, with my loaf of mess-bread and bottle under my arm, I joined Servatius — such was the name of my friend, latterly a colonel of gendarmes at Arras. When we were all seated and ready one of the officers emptied into a big tin dish a fragrant stew, made of a hare, chopped into pieces and done brown with plenty of potatoes and onions. The dish was found to be capital.

‘I see you have found means to send to the Leipzig market,’ I said to Servatius.

‘No, indeed, dear friend,’ he answered, ‘but my sergeant-major sent a bullet, not ten yards away from here, through the excellent fat hare we are now despatching, and which was so silly as to cross the battle-field near my famished company.’

‘But how is it you did not invite the sergeant-major to share with us?’

‘Well, there was a little difficulty in the way,’ replied Servatius, ‘the sergeant-major had scarcely shot and picked up the hare, and was crying out to me: ‘Captain, here is our supper for tonight!’ when he was himself hit by a cannon-ball that sent him to take supper with Pluto. The hare he gave me has turned out to be his legacy, and that is the whole history of our banquet.’ (6)

During the day, two Saxon brigades and some Württembergers deserted to the coalition, leaving a hole in the French line. Encircled, with casualties rising and ammunition running low, Napoleon realized that the battle was lost. He ordered a phased retreat westward, across the bridge over the Elster River to Lindenau.

As we had for three days beaten off the enemy and held our part of the field, the troops were much astonished and grieved to hear…that for want of ammunition we were going to retreat. Hardly were we out of our bivouac when we felt the inconvenience arising from the neglect of the imperial staff to prepare for the retreat of so large an army. Every minute the columns were stopped by broad ditches, by marshes and brooks, which might so easily have been bridged. Horses and wheels stuck in the mud and as the night was dark there were blocks everywhere….

Day broke the broad road was covered with troops of all arms in great number…. The Emperor came by but as he galloped along the flank of the column he heard none of the acclamations which were wont to proclaim his presence. The army was ill-content with the little care which had been taken to secure its retreat. (7)


Battle

On the same day as Katzbach, Karl Philipp Fürst zu Schwarzenberg, the commander of the Austrian force of over 200,000 men of the Austrian Army of Bohemia and accompanied by Francis II, Alexander I, and Frederick William III, attacked Saint-Cyr. In Dresden, French infantry manned the various redoubts and defensive positions. 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 allied center were successful, and by nightfall the French had regained almost all of Saint-Cyr's original positions. Although outnumbered three to two, Napoleon attacked the following morning (27 August), turned the allied left flank, and won an impressive tactical victory. The flooded Weisseritz cut the left wing of the Allied army, commanded by Johann von Klenau and Ignaz Gyulai, from the main body. Marshal Joachim Murat took advantage of this isolation and inflicted heavy losses on the Austrians. [1] A French participant observed, "Murat. cut off from the Austrian army Klenau's corps, hurling himself upon it at the head of the carabineers and cuirassiers. . Nearly all his [Klenau's] battalions were compelled to lay down their arms, and two other divisions of infantry shared their fate." [2] Of Klenau's force, Lieutenant Field Marshal Joseph, Baron von Mesko de Felsö-Kubiny's division of five infantry regiments was surrounded and captured by Murat's cavalry, which amounted to approximately 13,000 men, and 15 colours. [3] Gyulai's divisions also suffered serious losses when they were attacked by Murat's cavalry during a rainstorm. With damp flints and powder, their muskets would not fire and many battalions became an easy prey to the French cuirassiers and dragoons.

Then suddenly, Napoleon had to leave the field by virtue of a sudden fit of gastric spasma and the failure to follow up on his success allowed Schwarzenberg to withdraw and narrowly escape encirclement. The Coalition had lost some 38,000 men and 40 guns. French casualties totaled around 10,000. Some of Napoleon's officers noted he was "suffering from a violent colic, which had been brought on by the cold rain, to which he had been exposed during the whole of the battle." [4]


Battle of Lodi

The Battle of Lodi (10 May, 1796) although not a decisive meeting, this was where Napoleon first made a name for himself and got a glimpse of his destiny. The nickname "the little corporal" remained with him throughout his early campaigns against Austria.

Battle of Arcole

The Battle of Arcole (15-17 November, 1796) during which Napoleon successfully outflanked the Austrian army and carried the Tricolour across the Alpone river in person. By seizing the bridge the French prevented the escape of the Austrians, and therefore their planned relief of the siege at Mantua.

Battle of the Pyramids

The Battle of the Pyramids (21 July, 1798) where Napoleon deployed his lethal divisional squares in the shadow of the Great Pyramids at Giza, defeating the fearless Mameluke cavalry force.

Battle of Austerlitz

The Battle of Austerlitz (2 December, 1805) in which Napoleon masterminded his greatest ever victory by defeating the combined armies of Austria and Russia on the vast Pratzen Heights.

Battle of Borodino

The Battle of Borodino (7 September, 1812) saw Napoleon force a close defeat upon the determined Russian defenders. Borodino would be the bloodiest battle of the Russian campaign for both sides, paving the way for Napoleon's subsequent march on Moscow.

Battle of Dresden

The Battle of Dresden (26-27 August, 1813) during which Napoleon reversed the predicted outcome by arriving with reinforcements to bolster the city's defences. The Sixth Coalition were taken by surprise, resulting in the infliction of a heavy defeat upon them.

Battle of Ligny

The Battle of Ligny (16 June, 1815) effectively determined the outcome of Napoleon's 100 day return to power. Although victory was achieved here Blucher was allowed to escape, something which very soon proved to be a fatal mistake.

Battle of Waterloo (France)

The Battle of Waterloo (18 June, 1815) proved to be Napoleon's last action. The combined British, Hanoverian, Prussian and Dutch-Belgian force of the Seventh Coalition decisively defeated Napoleon and his loyal generals, ending the emperor's rule forever and leading to his exile on the Atlantic island of St. Helena.

Battle of the Nile

The Battle of the Nile of Aboukir Bay (1-2 August, 1798) enabled the British Navy to take the upper hand in the Mediterranean, destroying the French fleet and stranding Napoleon and his army in Egypt.

Battle of Trafalgar

The Battle of Trafalgar (21 October, 1805) forever confirmed Britain's naval supremacy, leaving the Franco-Spanish fleet, Villeneuve's career and Napoleon's invasion plans in tatters off the coast of Spain.

Battle of Friedland

The Battle of Friedland (14 June, 1807) with Napoleon's empire at its height, he took a chance and defeated Russia in detail, knocking them out of the war and bringing the Fourth Coalition to an end.

This battle is part of the Coalition Battle Pack.

Battle of Waterloo (Great Britain)

The Battle of Waterloo (18 June, 1815) Napoleon had the feeling he had won the war as he advanced towards the Anglo-Dutch army at Waterloo. The Prussians were retreating, pursued by a French corps, and only Wellington remained. French arms would be victorious once again, and the Empire would be reborn in fire. But the history book on the shelf would not be repeating itself.


Battle of Dresden, day two (27 August 1813) - History

La Bataille de Dresde, 1813 - Volume No. XIII

August 1813, Austria ends its neutrality and enters the VIth Coalition against France. After joining contingents of the Russian and Prussian armies this new army marches north out of Bohemia nearly 200 thousand strong. They march along the west bank of the Elbe into Saxony, its large lumbering columns stretched across the Erz mountains.

From where he has been pursuing enemy forces to the east Napoleon sees this new threat aimed at his line of communications and the city of Dresden, the main supply depot for his army. Only a single French Corps stands in its way. Outnumbered nearly ten-to-one it cannot hold.In a flurry of orders Napoleon redirects his guard and several corps to march to its rescue.

La Bataille de Dresde details the titanic battle that ensued on August 25th and raged through the 27th. Up to 4 players control the Prussian, Austrian and Russian forces commanded by Feldmarschall Carl zu Schwarzenberg, while up to a further four command such French personages as Marshals Ney, Marmont, Mortier, Victor, St. Cyr. or Napoleon, himself. Every battalion of infantry, squadron of cavalry or battery of artillery that was present at the battle is included. and are at their command.

- Standard Rules (based on the 3rd and 4th Editions)
- Special Rules containing 5 scenarios and historical commentary
- Over 1000+ full-color 1/2" counters (6 sheets)
- 4 22" x 34" full-color period style maps
- 2 full-color Organizational Displays
- Multiple cardstock Charts and Tables for play
- Two six-sided dice


Napoleon‘s Irish Legion fights at the battle of Löwenburg on August 21, 1813. This is the first occasion on which Napoleon is frustrated by the Trachenberg Plan, in which the Allies had agreed not to risk a battle against the Emperor in person (War of Liberation).

On August 14, Marshal Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher prematurely crosses the armistice line in Silesia and begins to advance west. After briefly considering a move south to attack the Austrians in Bohemia, Napoleon decides to join his forces on the Bóbr and try and defeat Blücher.

By the evening of August 20 Blücher’s army is on the east bank of the Bóbr, facing Löwenberg (now Lwówek Śląski). On the opposite side of the river Michael Ney (III Corps), Jacques Lauriston (V Corps) and Jacques Macdonald (XI Corps) are spread out between Löwenberg and Bunzlau (modern Bolesławiec), a few miles to the north. Auguste de Marmont (VI Corps) and the Guard are approaching from the west, and Napoleon is at Lauban, where he puts in place attacks for a full scale attack on the following day.

On the following day Napoleon is disappointed. The French capture Löwenberg without any problems and at noon V Corps crosses the Bóbr over the bridges in the town, followed by XI Corps. As they advance toward the heights on the east bank of the river, Blücher retreats. Yorck’s corps is pushed back along the road to Goldberg (Złotoryja, ten miles to the south west of Legnica).

Further to the north III Corps and VI Corps cross the Bóbr at Bolesławiec pushed by General Fabian Gottlieb von der Osten-Sacken‘s Imperial Russian Army.

Napoleon misinterprets this move as demonstrating a lack of confidence amongst the Allied commanders, and that they had assumed the French would retreat without risking a battle so far east. Instead it is part of a deliberate Allied plan – no individual Allied army is to risk a battle with the Emperor in person.

On August 22 the French continue to push east, fighting a skirmish between Lauterseifen and Pilgramsdorf. Blücher retreats behind the Kaczawa. However the French pursuit is halted by news from Dresden, where Claude Carra Saint-Cyr finds himself facing a considerable Austrian and Russian attack. As a result, Napoleon decides to return west to deal with the threat to Dresden, leaving Marshal Macdonald in command of a new Army of the Bóbr (III Corps, XI Corps and V Corps).

Over the next few days Napoleon wins the Battle of Dresden (August 26-27, 1813), his most impressive victory of the entire 1813 campaign, but at the same time Macdonald suffers a defeat on the Kaczawa on August 26, 1813, largely negating the results of that victory.