Friday, August 27, 2010

Another Prussian victory at Colbitz

7 May 1813

Battle of Colbitz

Blucher now had two bridgeheads over the river Elbe one in Colbitz and the second at Calbe.

With the approach of 6th corps, Davout was determined to regain the initiative. He ordered Marmont to retake Colbitz without delay.

6th French corps approach Colbitz

The French approached Colbitz in three columns. The strongest along the road in the valley, infantry on the high ground to their left and cavalry on the hills to their right.

The main column in the valley take heavy casualties as they near Colbitz. The supporting cavalry on their right charge the guns, but the gunners take cover in a nearby square until their own cavalry arrive to drive the French back.

The third column of two infantry brigades approach the village from the north. They are met by the elite 10th brigade, who are deployed in line. The Prussians easily hold their own in a skirmish and fire fight.

With the heavy casualties in the centre column, the loss of their cavalry brigade and the failure of the attack on the left Marmont has had enough. He orders his corps to fall back along the Halbeck road.

This has been a second decisive victory for Blucher.

He is now firmly established on the west bank of the river both north and south of Magdeburg.

The city itself is now becoming isolated and Davout will have to consider whether to withdraw the garrison and fall back to the west to meet his reinforcements from Hamburg, or hope it will hold long enough for his battered army to recover and attempt to drive the Prussians back across the river Elbe.

6 May 1813

3rd Prussian Corps

Blucher’s plan for the campaign called for an advance north of Magdeburg, to protect his communications with Berlin.

Pleased with the victory to the south, he was still determined to stick to his original plan.

He ordered 3rd corps, at Parey, to cross the river and occupy Colbitz.

4th corps was ordered to move north to support them.

Davout was concerned at the loss of Calbe.

The Prussians were now established on the west bank of the river.

However he still held Magdeburg, 6th corps was immediately available and 4th corps approaching from the north.

When he received reports of Prussian cavalry crossing the river to the north, at Colbitz, He ordered 6th corps to move north to Halbeck.

5th corps would regroup at Groningen and hold the southern flank.

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