The Liberation of Germany
1812 to 1815
from the disaster of the invasion
of Russia, Napoleon Bonaparte
frenetically rebuilt his army as the Sixth
Coalition formed to remove him from power.
enemy nations began as Britain, Russia, Spain and Portugal,
but were joined by Prussia, Austria (unofficially), Sweden
and minor German states.
Determined to re-establish his hold over Germany, Bonaparte's
new army successfully began his campaign by beating the
Russians and Prussians at Lutzen
gave him the political strength to force an armistice and
earn a breathing space in which he could gather more men
to his cause.
Hostilities resumed when Austria officially entered the
fray in August and now France found herself up against almost
all of Europe once again.
the Allies were Field Marshal
Blucher, Austria's Karl Schwarzenberg and Sweden's Jean-Baptiste
the outset things were tough for the French with Marshal
Oudinot losing the battle of Grossbeeren against Bernadotte.
evened the campaign by besting Schwarzenberg at Dresden,
but then followed a series of disastrous reverses.
battle at Kulm saw a French
corps under General Vandamme
destroyed, Marshal Macdonald
was beaten by Blucher at Katzbach
and, at Dennewitz, Bernadotte
defeated Marshal Ney.
deliberate campaign to avoid battle with the emperor and
try to defeat his subordinates had worked well for the Allies.
fate was sealed during the three-day battle for Leipzig,
the biggest clash of the Napoleonic Wars, although the sheer
bravery of his troops allowed the French army to extricate
itself from complete destruction.
more allies, Bavaria and Saxony, now switched sides and
a Bavarian army was brushed aside at Hanau
and the battered French army crossed the Rhine to lick its
wounds. It wouldn't get much rest, however, as the invasion
of France was imminent.