Battle of Kulm


Battle of Kulm

Infobox Military Conflict
conflict=Battle of Kulm


caption=Battle of Kulm
partof=the War of the Sixth Coalition
date=August 30, 1813
place=Kulm, Bohemia
result=Coalition victory
combatant1=flagicon|France First French Empire
combatant2=flagicon|Russia Russian Empire flagicon|Prussia|1803 Kingdom of Prussia flagicon|Austria|empire Austria
commander1=flagicon|France Dominique VandammePOW flagicon|France Laurent Gouvion Saint-Cyr flagicon|France Auguste Marmont
commander2=flagicon|Russia Barclay de Tolly flagicon|Russia Peter Wittgenstein flagicon|Russia Alexander Ostermann-Tolstoy flagicon|Prussia|1803 Friedrich von Kleist
strength1=32,000
strength2=54,000
casualties1=5,000 killed or wounded,
7,000-13,000 captured
casualties2=~11,000 total

The Battle of Kulm was a battle near the town Kulm (Chlumec) and the village Přestanov in northern Bohemia. It was fought on August 30 1813, during the War of the Sixth Coalition. 32,000 French troops under Dominique Vandamme attacked an army of 54,000 Austrians, Russians, and Prussians under Barclay de Tolly, but were defeated with heavy losses on both sides.

Background

Following the French victory at Dresden, Vandamme pursued the retreating allies. Napoleon I of France sent Marshals Gouvion Saint Cyr and Auguste Marmont to support Vandamme's corps. With Vandamme in advance, Saint Cyr's and Marmont's corps brought up the rear. Vandamme caught up with Alexander Ivanovich Ostermann-Tolstoy's forces near the town of Kulm, eight kilometres northwest of Aussig (Ústí nad Labem) (now in the Czech Republic).

Battle

At 6:00, Vandamme attacked Russian formations under the command of Peter Wittgenstein, capturing Russian troops and artillery. Vandamme then crossed the Ore Mountains and at about 12:00 attacked Austrian troops located in Kulm. Initially, the Austrians were forced to withdraw to Teplitz (Teplice). However, Prussian corps commanded by Friedrich von Kleist attacked Vandamme's rear guard. Kleist then received help from a combined Russian and Austrian attack on Vandamme's front, under the command of General Ostermann-Tolstoy. In an attempt to repulse simultaneous attacks on his front and rear, Vandamme ordered his forces to form squadrons. The inexperienced French troops were unable to fend off the allies, and soon withdrew from the battlefield, with heavy losses.

Casualties

The French lost about 5,000 soldiers killed or wounded. Between 7,000 and 13,000 French soldiers were taken prisoner, including Vandamme. The allies lost approximately 11,000 soldiers killed or wounded.

In Vandamme's corps there were two Polish regiments of Uhlans, part of cavalry divisions under the command of general Jean Corbineau. These regiments were used by Vandamme to defend against enemy cavalry charges. One regiment, commanded by Colonel Maximilian Fredro (brother of playwright Alexander Fredro), was attacked after withdrawal in defile and surrendered. The other regiment of Uhlans, under command of count Tomasz Łubieński (generally known in English as Thomas Lubienski) successfully withdrew.

Insults

After the battle, Vandamme was accused by Tsar Alexander I of Russia of being a brigand and plunderer. He retorted, "I am neither a plunderer nor a brigand but in any case, my contemporaries and history will not reproach me for having soaked my hands in the blood of my father." This statement apparently hinted at the widespread belief that Alexander I was implicated in the murder of his father, Tsar Paul I.

References

* Jadwiga Nadzieja "Lipsk 1813" historical battles serie published in Warsaw by Bellona 1998 ISBN 83-11-08826-8 pages 57-59

External links

* [http://www.napoleonguide.com/battle_kulm.htm Battle of Kulm]
* [http://www.Peterswald.org/geschichte/Pete_rovigo.html Memoirs] of the Duke Rovigo


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