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Monday, July 24, 2017

29 June 1813 – Summary of Campaign in North Germany

Battles fought in Northern Germany

Campaign History
At the start of February1813 Napoleon considered the Prussians to be allies, and they had agreed to hold the Russian Army east of Berlin at the river Oder, whilst he reorganized the French Army behind the river Rhine.   He was unaware of the secret allied treaty which agreed that the Prussia, Russia, Austria, England and Spain would all declare war on France.    He was also unaware that the Russians had crossed the river Oder on 20 January 1813.

On 10 February 1813 Generalfeldmarschall Blucher took command of the Prussian Army, which was concentrated to the west of Berlin.   He issued orders for them to move west, cross the river Elbe and secure Magdeburg.   They entered Magdeburg on 20 February 1813.

Napoleon had ordered the First French Army to be formed at Hannover.   On 26 February 1813 he arrived there and took command.   He was determined to teach the Prussians a lesson for their betrayal.

1 March 1813 – Brunswick campaign.   The Prussian army attacked the French and  won the battles of Girhorn, Brunswick and Wolfenbuttel.   The French lost the campaign and were forced to retreat west.

17 March 1813 – Hannover campaign.   The Prussians again advanced and again won the first and second battles of Hannover.   The result was another victory for Blucher.   Once more Napoleon was forced to retreat west.

27 March 1813 - Magdeburg campaign.   The Prussians won the battle of Stendel, but lost first and second battles of Magdeburg.   Napoleon had won the campaign.

5 April 1813 – Armistice.   After a month of non stop marching and fighting both armies were in a poor shape.   Both needed time to regroup, resupply and reinforce.  Napoleon offered a seven day truce and Blucher eagerly accepted.  The terms of the truce was that the Prussian Army would retreat to Brunswick and the French Army would hold Hannover

12 April 1813 – Brunswick Campaign.   Napoleon dominated this campaign and defeated the Prussians at Celle and Hildesheim.   The Prussian army was in such a state that Blucher retreated rather than fight a third battle at Brunswick

21 April 1813 – Magdeburg Campaign.   Blucher defeated the French attack at Helmstedt.  He then attacked and won the battle of Eilseben.   Running short of supplies Napoleon ordered a general retreat.

18 June 1813 – Wolfsburg Campaign.   Napoleon dominated this phase.  He won the first four battles, lost the first battle of Gardelengen but won the second and had a decisive victory at the last, and largest battle at Walbeck.   Blucher had no choice but to retreat east.

The campaign diary contains comprehensive details of the whole campaign.   The labels on the right are an index to various parts of the campaign.

01 - introduction to the 1813 campaign
02 - the five campaign areas
10 - introduction to the campaign in North Germany
11 – French order of battle
12 – Prussian order of battle
13 - daily diary for the campaign in North Germany
14 - battle reports of all battles fought in North Germany

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