23 August 1813, the battle took place at Grosberen. Opponents in this battle were the French army under the command of Marshal Nicolas Charles Oudinot and the Prussian-Russian-Swedish army under the command of Crown Prince Jean Battiste Bernadotte. It was the first large-scale battle after the end of the truce in the 1813 campaign of the year. The Allies repelled an attempt by the French to seize the Prussian capital, Berlin.
After the defeats at Lutzen and Bautzen (Battle of Lutzen; Battle of bautzen), 4 on June 1813 of the year in Plesvice was concluded a truce for a period of up to 20 of July of 1813 of the year (then extended to 10 of August). Both sides hoped to use this truce to mobilize forces and strengthen their ranks. Later, the researchers and Napoleon himself called this truce one of the greatest mistakes in his life. The Allies used this time with greater efficiency than the French.
The British promised Russia and Prussia significant subsidies to continue the war. London still pursued a cunning policy, preferring to pay for the blood of foreign soldiers with gold. Great Britain in the middle of June 1813 signed an agreement on subsidies. England pledged to pay Prussia for 6 months of 1813 666,6 thousand pounds (4 million rubles in silver), which should have been enough to support 80 thousand soldiers. The British promised to help increase the territory of Prussia to the borders of 1806. The Prussian king promised to give Hannover, who belonged to the British crown, the bishopric of Hildesheim. At the same time, England promised before January 1, 1814 to pay Petersburg 1 million 333,3 thousand pounds (8 million rubles in silver) for the maintenance of 160 thousand soldiers. The British also committed themselves to supplying Russian ships fleet in the harbors of England in the amount of 500 thousand pounds (3 million rubles in silver). The allies agreed to issue 5 million pounds sterling (30 million silver rubles) bank notes - federal money guaranteed by Great Britain, Russia and Prussia. Two-thirds of this amount was provided to Russia, a third - to Prussia. They planned to pay after the end of the war and the Peace Congress.
June 22 in the anti-French coalition entered Sweden, which promised to give belonged to the Danes Norway. Negotiations between France and Austria failed, 12 August Vienna officially entered the war on the side of the coalition. As a result, the Allies have already received a significant advantage. 30 June (12 July) 1813, the Allies took the so-called. The Trachenberg plan, he envisaged avoiding direct clashes with the enemy's forces, which were led directly by Napoleon Bonaparte and recommended to beat certain parts of his army, headed by marshals and generals. This was to lead to the bleeding of the main forces of the enemy, and the possibility of a general battle with Napoleon himself. This idea was proposed by Bernadot and French General Jean Victor Moreau, who was summoned from North America by the Russian emperor Alexander Pavlovich. Moreau was one of the most talented commanders of France, but was accused of conspiracy, sentenced to prison, which was replaced by exile. On the advice of Bernadot, Moreau became an adviser at the main apartment of the Allied monarchs.
Failure of negotiations
The truce, which stopped the fighting for some time, could not lead to peace. For the world, one of the warring parties had to make a strategic concession. Napoleon, inspired by the military successes, did not want to understand the obvious - in the war of attrition, his resources are weaker than the capabilities of Russia, Prussia, England, Sweden. Inevitably was joining the coalition and the strong Austrian empire. France was exhausted by the war, its demographic, economic and military resources were coming to an end. There was no hope for a decisive victory. The armies of Prussia and Austria were reformed, taking into account the previous defeats of France. Their combat capabilities have increased significantly. The morale of the Prussians eager for revenge was high. The Russian army, which defeated Napoleon’s Great Army in 1812, became the core of the Allied forces.
On the other hand, Napoleon did not want to give in, wanting to control a large part of Europe and preserve most of the previous achievements. He did not want to rule only France. Until recently, the French emperor hoped for a lack of unity in the ranks of the allies, that he would manage to maintain the neutrality of Austria. Back in April 1813, he offered Vienna to Silesia, and then Illyria. In addition, he proposed a separate peace of the Russian Empire. Napoleon wanted to expand the ownership of the Rhine Union controlled by France to the Oder, to increase the Kingdom of Westphalia. As compensation, he offered to give Prussia the Duchy of Warsaw with Danzig. Dominion over Europe received Russia and France, divided by Austria and Prussia. However, Alexander I, putting the illusion of a "common European (common) good" above Russia's national interests, did not even begin to consider this proposal.
Vienna is tricky. During the 1812 campaign of the year, the Austrians waited who would win, although they were the official allies of France. In 1813, public opinion and the military tended to oppose the French. However, the emperor Franz doubted, fearing the power of Napoleon, as well as being bound by a union treaty and a dynastic marriage (Napoleon’s wife was the archduchess of Austria, Marie-Louise). Perhaps Vienna would have maintained neutrality even further if Napoleon had made significant concessions in her favor. But Napoleon didn’t see such a need for a long time, he was ready to cooperate with Russia, and didn’t see strength in Austria. Austria, in his opinion, did not deserve anything. Initially, his vigilance was put to sleep by Metternich’s clever policies and deceitful innocence of the Emperor Franz. The Vienna Cabinet convinced Napoleon of his loyalty and offered mediation in the negotiations. At the same time, Vienna urged Prussia to continue the struggle. At the same time, intensive preparations for hostilities were going on in Austria.
From the very beginning of 1813, Vienna led secret negotiations with Napoleon's enemies. The 8 (20) of June, the rulers of Russia and Prussia met with the Emperor Franz in Yozefstadt. A secret agreement was concluded that if, upon the completion of the truce, Napoleon did not accept the conditions of the Allies, the Austrians would side with Russia and Prussia. The main conditions of the allies were the following items: 1) the division of the Warsaw Duchy between Russia, Prussia and Austria; 2) an increase in Prussia at the expense of the Polish lands and Danzig with a district, the purification by the French of all the fortresses in Prussia and the Duchy of Warsaw; 3) the return of the Illyrian provinces by the French of Austria; 4) the refusal of France from the German territories.
After the conclusion of an armistice, Napoleon offered to convene a peace congress in Prague. Vienna assumed the mission of a mediator, in every possible way delaying the negotiations and preparing for war. Napoleon expressed the duplicity of Austria’s position on June 16 (28), when the French emperor met Metternich, waiting news about the negotiations. He met an Austrian with the following words: “... why did you arrive so late? We have already lost a whole month ... The inaction of your mediation did a lot of harm to me. ... If you didn’t conclude an allied treatise with me, perhaps I wouldn’t go to Russia, if you explained to me frankly on my return from there, I would change my proposals and could avoid a new war. In all likelihood, you wanted to exhaust me with new efforts ... Victory crowned them; already my enemies were ready to admit their delusion ... Suddenly you sneak in between the warring powers, offering me your mediation, and my enemies to unite with you; without your distressing intervention, we would make peace already. I did not chase your assistance, for me your neutrality was enough. But you, under the pretext of mediation, made big weapons, and having finished them, you want to prescribe to me the conditions of peace ... ”
Metternich kept his composure and outlined the demands of the Allies. Napoleon cried out: “How! Not only Illyria, but also Poland, Lübeck, Hamburg and Bremen, and the destruction of the Rhine Union! ... you want to get all of Italy; Russia - Poland, Sweden - Norway, Prussia - Saxony, England - Holland and Belgium. You hope to acquire those fortresses with one handwriting of the pen which I conquered with so many victories! You believe that I will give my future to the dubious generosity of the very ones I just won. And they make such offers to me, when my victorious troops stand at the gates of Berlin and Breslavl, when here I am with the 300-thousand army ... ”.
Negotiations in Prague did not lead to success. Both sides did not want to give in. Napoleon wanted to keep everything as it was before the war. He was ready to concede only the Duchy of Warsaw, already occupied by the allies. The allies also showed no moderation. The Allied Commissioners handed over their demands to the representative of France - Kolenkur. Austria was to be restored to the borders before the 1805 of the year, having received the lost territories in Italy and Germany, Prussia - to the borders to the 1806 of the year. The Rhine Union was dissolved, all German states gained independence from France. The French left Northern Germany. The Duchy of Warsaw was destroyed. The French left Italy and Holland. In Spain, the former dynasty was restored. Thus, the appetites of the Allies increased even more. In fact, the Allies wanted to continue the war, knowing that Austria would oppose France.
Opposing Forces in August 1813
The Russian army during the truce was significantly strengthened. If at the beginning of June it numbered about 90 thousand people, then at the end of the truce its forces increased to 175 thousand people with 648 guns. In addition, under Danzig, there was a 30 thousand building with 59 guns, and in Poland, Bennigsen formed a middle reserve - 70 thousand people with 200 guns. Prussia exhibited 235 thousand soldiers with 376 guns, part of the troops was Landwehr, a kind of militia. Austria has 110-th. the army in 270 guns, which already during the fighting quickly replenished and grew in number. At the same time, Austria sent an army to Italy. In addition, 28, thousands of Swedes, 13, thousands of Germans representing other state entities, fought against Napoleon’s army.
According to the Trachenberg plan, the Allied forces were divided into three armies: 1) The northern army under the command of the Swedish heir to the throne Bernadotte - about 150 thousand people with 369 guns (most of them were Russian and Prussian). It was located in Prussia between the Lower Elbe and Berlin. 2) The Silesian army under the command of Prussian general Gebhard Blucher - about 100 thousand people (61 thousand Russian soldiers and 38 thousand Prussians with 340 guns). The army was in the area Shveydnitsa. 3) The Bohemian army (South) under the command of Austrian Field Marshal Karl Schwarzenberg - more than 230 thousand bayonets and sabers with 672 guns (110 thousand Austrians, 82 thousand Russians, 42 thousand Prussians). The Bohemian army was stationed in the Budina area. The formal commander in chief was Field Marshal Schwarzenberg. But his powers were limited to the allied "General Staff" - the headquarters of the three monarchs (the Russian Empire, Austria and Prussia). For political reasons, the Russian emperor did not insist on the appointment of a Russian commander as commander-in-chief, or commander of one of the armies. In addition, the commanders of the national corps retained considerable autonomy in decision-making.
Russian troops were considered the most stable and, as having successful experience in the fight against Napoleonic troops, were divided among all the allied armies. Army General P.Kh. Wittgenstein and several reserve corps under the general command of MB Barclay de Tolly was part of the Bohemian army. Compounds of generals F.V. Saken and A.F. Langeron were included in the Silesian Army. The corps of General F.F. Wintzingerode was part of the Northern Army. The Silesian army, located in the center, was supposed to carry out demonstrative actions, and, as necessary, support the Northern or Southern armies. All three Allied armies covered the French army in Saxony from the north, east, and southeast. In the case of the performance of Napoleon's troops against one of the Allied armies, the others were to strike at his operational line.
The French army to 6 in August numbered about 420 thousand people, taking into account individual units, the number of troops increased to 440 thousand people with 1180 guns. It is also necessary to take into account that there were still troops that were stationed in the garrisons on the Elbe and besieged fortresses along the Vistula and the Oder. Napoleon, relying on the chain of fortresses along the Elbe, planned to continue the offensive, smash the main enemy forces and occupy Berlin, then begin negotiations. In Saxony, the 122 ths grouping was located under the command of Napoleon Bonaparte himself — the guards, the 1s, the 2s, the 8s, the 14s infantry, and the 4s cavalry corps. In Silesia, 105-thousand the army commanded by Jacques Macdonald — 3, 5, 6, 11 infantry, and 1 cavalry corps. In Prussia, on the Berlin direction, the 70-th the group under the command of Nikola Udino - 4, 7, 12 and infantry 2 and cavalry corps. In Bavaria, the 9 th Infantry Corps of Marshal Augereau was formed. Danzig defended the 10 Infantry Corps under the leadership of Rapp. The 13 Infantry Corps and the Danish troops under the command of Louis Nicholas Davout stood in Hamburg.
To be continued ...