Military Subjects: Battles & Campaigns


 


Prussian Army of the Lower Rhine: the Waterloo Campaign 1815

By Stephen Millar


Napoleon faced two opponents in Belgium during the 1815 Waterloo Campaign: the Anglo-Allied Army under Field-Marshal the Duke of Wellington and the Prussian Army of the Lower Rhine under Generalfeldmarschall Gerhard-Leberecht, Prinz Blucher von Wahlstadt.

The Prussian force deployed against Napoleon consisted of I, II, II and IV Corps. The Royal Prussian Army’s two remaining field corps -- V Corps and the Prussian Garde Corps (Generalleutnant Karl-Friedrich-August, Duke of Mecklenberg-Strelitz) -- played no direct role in the Waterloo Campaign.

Blucher also had nominal command of another formation: a North German “federal” corps. The Nord-deutsch Armeekorps – 15,000 troops commanded by General der Infanterie Friedrich-Heinrich, Graf Kleist von Nollendorf -- was composed of units from Hesse-Cassel, Mecklenburg, Anhalt and several other small German states. Kleist’s troops were not engaged in the Waterloo Campaign.

The Army of the Lower Rhine’s organization differed from that of Napoleon’s L’Armee du Nord. There was no divisional structure; infantry brigades were assigned directly to a particular corps. The cavalry brigades in each corps, however, were under the command of a semi-divisional “Reserve Cavalry” commander.

There were units of the Army of the Lower Rhine that were not present during the Waterloo Campaign -- Major Einsiedel’s 32 Infantry Regiment of Generalleutnant Freiherr von Thielemann’s III Corps, for example. Generalleutnant Graf Bulow von Dennewitz’s IV Corps had also been delayed and was not present at the Battle of Ligny on 16 June 1815.

Prussian Army of the Lower Rhine

[135 battalions, 125 squadrons and 312 guns in 39 batteries]

Blucher von Wahlstadt, Generalfeldmarschall Gerhard-Leberecht, Prinz
Neidhardt von Gneisenau, Generalleutnant August-Wilhelm-Anton, Graf; Chief-of-Staff
Grolmann, Generalmajor Karl-Wilhelm-Georg von: Chief of the General Staff
Prussen, General der Infanterie August-Friedrich-Wilhelm-Heinrich, Prinz von; Artillery Commander

 

 

 

Placed on the Napoleon Series: July 2004

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