Military Subjects: Battles & Campaigns


 


Allied Order-of-Battle at Dresden: 26 - 27 August 1813

By Stephen Millar


The two-day battle of Dresden was the final large-scale victory of Napoleon’s military career. It came in the late summer of the 1813 Campaign, following the ten-week Armistice of Poischwitz. Historians have debated the usefulness of this Armistice for Napoleon because his Allied opponents used the time to assemble formidable military forces: the Prussian Army of Silesia under GdK Gerhard-Leberecht von Blucher; the Austrian Army of Bohemia under FM Karl-Philipp, Furst zu Schwarzenburg; the Swedish Army of the North under Kronprinz Bernadotte; the Russian-Prussian Army Reserve under GI Mikhail Bogdanovich, Count Barclay de Tolly (who had replaced GC Ludwig-Adolf-Peter [Petr Christianovich], Graf von Wittgenstein on 17 May 1813).

There is little reliable online data about the Allied forces present at the Battle of Dresden. Schwarzenburg’s command on 26-27 August consisted of his Army of Bohemia along with Barclay de Tolly’s Russian and Prussian troops. Information dating from April and early August 1813 is available; however, subsequent changes before 26 August make these orders-of-battle of limited use to researchers.

In particular, Russian divisional, brigade and regimental data for the Napoleonic Wars is often unavailable, inaccurate or too broad in scope. Information on the Russian Army at the Battle of Borodino in 1812 is somewhat better, but if details are required, researchers should consult available primary and secondary print sources.

The Prussian infantry brigades in GL von Kleist’s II Corps each have two “command” officers (GM Georg von Pirch and OBL Friedrich-Wilhelm-Christian-Ludwig von Jagow are listed with 10th Brigade). The first officer is the “brigadechef” (head of the brigade); the second officer is the “brigadekommandeur” (brigade field-commander). In the Austrian and Prussian armies, this practice was more common on the regimental level; units bore the name of their colonel-in-chief, but were commanded in the field by another officer. To cite an example, the Austrian Infantry Regiment Graf Albrecht Gyulai von Maros-Nemeth und Nadaska Nr. 21 was commanded by OB Muller von Hohenthal.

In common with other Napoleonic coalition armies, the composition and command structure of Schwarzenburg’s tri-national force at Dresden was complicated and cumbersome. In addition, the Allied sovereigns of Prussia, Russia and Austria were present during the battle, each exercising influence over their national military affairs (a similar situation had faced GI Mikhail Illarionovich Kutusov eight years before at the Battle of Austerlitz).

In general terms, Schwarzenburg’s strength (minus detachments) was about 120,000 men on the first day of the battle, rising to a total of about 170,000 on the final day. Historian David Chandler gives a total of 38,000 Allied casualties/losses for the two-day battle.

Army of Bohemia (Austrians)

99 battalions, 72 squadrons and 170 guns in 28 batteries

Army Reserve (Russians and Prussians)

94 battalions, 102 squadrons [excluding Cossack regiments] and 318 guns in 33 batteries

Allied Sovereigns

Friedrich-Wilhelm III, King of Prussia
Aleksandr I, Czar of Russia
Franz I, Emperor of Austria

Allied Commander-in-Chief: Schwarzenburg, FM Karl-Philipp, Furst zu

Chief of Staff: Radetzky von Radetz, FML Johann-Josef-Wenzel-Anton-Franz-Karl, Graf

General-Quartermasters:

Langenau, GM Karl-Gustav, Freiherr von
Trapp, GM Baron
Toll, GM Karl-Friedrich von

Artillery: Reisner, FML Anton, Freiherr von

 

 

Placed on the Napoleon Series: August 2004

 

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