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Leipzig, Battle of


The "Battle of Nations" near Leipzig between allied Russian, Prussian, Austrian, and Swedish armies against Napoleon's army from October 16 to 19,1813.

Napoleon's army (approximately 200,000 troops, 747 field guns), concentrated near Leipzig, faced four allied armies, totaling 305,000 troops125,000 of them Russian, 90,000 Austrian, 72,000 Prussians, 18,000 Swedesand 1,385 field guns. The battle took place on a plain near Leipzig on October 16, mainly on the grounds of the Bohemian army (133,000 men, commanded by the Austrian field marshal Karl Schwarzenberg), which approached the city from the south. Napoleon tried to defeat the coalition armies one by one. He concentrated 122,000 men against the Bohemian army, and 50,000 under the command of marshal Michel Ney against the Silesian army (60,000 men, commanded by the Prussian general Gebhardt Blücher), attacking from the north.

The opposing sides' positions did not suffer much change by the end of the day. Casualties turned out to be relatively even (30,000 each), but the allies' casualties were compensated with the arrival of the North army (58,000 men, commanded by KarlJuhan Bernadotte) and the Polish army (54,000 men, commanded by Russian general Leonty Bennigsen) on October 17. Meanwhile, Napoleon's army received a mere 25,000 men as a reinforcement.

On the morning of October 18, the allies attacked Napoleon's positions. As a result of a fierce battle, they gained no significant territorial advantage. The allies, however, sent only 200,000 men to battle, while 100,000 more were kept in reserve. The French, meanwhile, had nearly exhausted their ammunition. On the night of October 18, Napoleon's armies were drawn back to Leipzig, and began their retreat in the morning. In the middle of the day on October 19, the allies entered Leipzig.

Napoleon's losses at Leipzig amounted to 100,000 men killed, wounded, and taken captive, and 325 field guns. The allies lost approximately 80,000 men, of them 38,000 Russians. The allied victory at Leipzig led to the cleansing of the territories of Germany and Holland of Napoleon's forces.

See also: napoleon i


Nafziger, George F. (1996). Napoleon at Leipzig: the Battle of Nations, 1813. Chicago, IL: Emperor's Press.

Smith, Digby George. (2001). 1813, Leipzig: Napoleon and the Battle of the Nations. London: Greenhill Books; Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books.

Oleg Budnitskii

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