Monday, 24 August 2009

Campaign Background

Germany 17 June 1813 – Start of Halle Campaign

Russian Army

The allied success in northern Germany has left Blucher in a very exposed position. Although he has captured Magdeburg, his left flank is open to an attack by Napoleon’s First French Army. He demands that Kutuzov bring the Russian Army forward from Dresden to Halle to protect his flank.

Kutuzov is less than eager to march forward against Napoleon in person. He has learned during the previous year just how dangerous that could be. However his Army has been allowed to rest for two weeks, while Blucher has borne the brunt of the fighting. His corps have been reinforced and there is no excuse not to move forward to support Blucher.

On 17th May he orders a general advance over a wide front from Zwichau to Leipzig.

First French Army

For two weeks Napoleon has been expecting a Russian advance in support of Blucher.

He has been unable to join the army due to political and administrative problems in Paris. On 10 May he diverts reinforcements from the Imperial Guard to 3rd Corps which is short of a full division of infantry. By 16th May 3rd corps is ready to take the field, and is in reserve at Erfurt. The Imperial Guard will remain at Fulda to await reinforcements.

His plan of campaign is to march on Leipzig, which is the junction of the Prussian and Russian armies. He will defeat Kutuzov and drive the Russians away from the Prussian Army. . He will then turn north and strike at Blucher and drive him back towards Berlin. Within two weeks he expects to be in Berlin.

On 17th May the Russian army start their march from Dresden to the river Saale, and Napoleon departs from Paris to join the Imperial Garde at Fulda.

The Halle campaign has started.

Halle Campaign Area at start of campaign

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