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6 September 1813


Marshal Ney, at the head of some 58,000 men of Marshal Oudinot's corps, was ordered to advance from Dresden towards Berlin.

There was bad blood between the two marshals, brought about by Ney's appointment to overall command, but Ney was determined nothing would slow his rapid advance.

The speed of the march was not helped by poor reconnaissance and the French blundered straight into the waiting troops of their former colleague Marshal Bernadotte, now leading an Allied army.

Initially forced back, the Prussian elements of Bernadotte's army were reinforced by General Von Bulow and recovered the lost ground.

A see-sawing battle now developed, but just as the French appeared on the verge of a victory, Ney - 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 tactical situation on the sandstorm-hit battlefield, Ney unwittingly pulled Oudinot from the decisive area of the battle and opened the way for an enemy counterattack.

Under great pressure, the French were forced back and when Bernadotte arrived at the scene with his entire army Ney ordered a retreat that turned into a rout.

The French suffered 10,000 casualties, while the Allies some 7000.





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