Military Subjects: Organization, Strategy & Tactics


The Saxon Army 1810 - 13

Part VI:   Orders-of-Battle - The Campaigns of 1812 - 13

By Howard Giles

Sketches by Geoff Gibbs

Russia

The 1812 campaign was to involve, and be the death of, most of the Saxon army. Designated VII Corps, two Saxon divisions consisting of 18 battalions, 16 squadrons and 50 guns (including 20 Regimental pieces), formed part of the right wing of the Grande Armee under Jerome. On their right were Schwarzenberg’s Austrians. Advancing into Russia, the army pursued Bagration, who was falling back in accordance with Barclay's orders.

Napoleon made the error of discounting any serious threat from the Volhynia region, south of the Pripet Marshes, although in actual fact the Russian General Tormassov was assembling an army of 43,000 men. Consequently, Jerome was ordered to pursue Bagration, with Schwarzenberg's unenthusiastic Austrians in support. Eventually, however, Napoleon woke tip to the potential. threat and ordered Jerome to detach VII Corps, with instructions to operate independently to cover Warsaw. Tormassov advanced against the outnumbered and overstretched Saxons - on 26 July Reynier learned that his small garrison at Brest had been overwhelmed. The next day, 12,000 Russians forced Klengel's Brigade and 3 squadrons of the Prinz Clemens Uhlans to capitulate at Kobrin, after an epic 8-hour defence. Outnumbered 5 to 1, the Saxons fought on until their ammunition gave out. Calling for assistance from Schwarzenberg, Reynier fell back. Once united, the Saxons and. Austrians marched south against Tormassov and, on 12 August, defeated him at Gorodetschna, the Saxons taking the lion's share of the fighting, losing over 900 men. By this time, the remaining 13 squadrons of Saxon cavalry were steadily being worn away by battle casualties and fatigue, which seriously diminished VII Corps’ reconnaissance screen.

At the end of August, VII Corps received reinforcements - General Kwasieski's Brigade, consisting of the 13th Polish Infantry and a regiment of the National Guard of Warsaw. However, in mid-September, Admiral Tachitshagov's 34,000 strong Army of Moldavia arrived at Ostrog, linking up with Tormassov's battered force. The Russians, now around 70,000 strong, forced the 35,000 Austrians and Saxons to retire over the Tara and Bug Rivers. In early October a further retreat took them over the Leona. However, on 27 October, Tschitsbagov, in accordance with orders received from Russian Headquarters, detached Sacken with 25,000 men to watch the enemy, and than marched north, hoping to block Napoleon's line of retreat at the Berezina. Schwarzenberg pursued followed by Sacken. VII Corps had in the meantime been reinforced, again, this time by Durutte's 32nd Division, consisting of five French penal regiments and the Würzburg Infantry Regiment.

Noting that VII Corps was marching some distance to the rear of the Austrians, Sacken seized his chance. On  14 November, Reynier found his Corps facing the entire Russian force at Wolkowsky. Hanging on until Schwarzenberg relieved them two days later, VII Corps lost 1,300 Saxon casualties including most of the surviving cavalry. On the appearance of the Austrians, Sacken retreated, losing most of his army's baggage to the pursuing allies. However, Tschitsbagov had got clean away and was able to contest Napoleon’s crossing of the Berezina.

On 7 December, the fate of Napoleon's central column was learned. The Emperor ordered Reynier to fend for himself so, with his strength down to 7000 Saxons and 4000 French, retired westward through the icy weather, reaching Warsaw on 3 January. The Austriann, meanwhile, took their own route, marching on Pultusk, the Russians following cautiously. Leaving 1,500 sick and wounded at Warsaw, where they were captured, VII Corps pressed on since it had become painfully clear that the Austrians were about to conclude an armistice with the Russians. This they did, marching off into Galicia, carrying with them Kwasieski’s Poles. On 13 February, VII was attacked at Kalisch, losing heavy casualties. Around 1000 men under General Gablenz was out off and only rejoined the army in May after a memorable march. Passing through Glogau on 17 February, the survivors of the Corps reached Dresden on 7 March, where they were joined by 600 reinforcements. On 19 March Davout blow up the Elbe bridge, thus ending any pursuit, and the part played by VII Corps in Napoleon's 1812 adventure.

The Leib Grenadier Garde, Leib Kürassiere Garde and Jäger remained in Saxony during 1812, but other Regiments took part in the campaign, operating detached from VII Corps. The Saxon Heavy Cavalry Brigade fought as part of Latour-Maubourg's IV Cavalry Corps, distinguishing themselves by taking the Great Redoubt at Borodino. Characteristically, the Emperor refused to admit that it was Saxony rather than his own French Cuirassiers, that had taken this vital feature. However, Napoleon later had cause to respect his Saxon allies, for on the retreat, the heavy cavalry, reduced to the strength of a troop, had the dubious honour of rescuing the Emperor from cossacks.

The Infantry Regiments von Reohten and von Low were placed In garrison during the Summer, but later advanced into Russia to fight at the Berezina and WIlna, where they were wiped out. The Chevauleger Regiments Prinz Johann and Prinz Albrecht also failed to return from the campaign.

The two musketeer battalions of Regiment Prinz Maximilian, togetherr with 6 guns, were lucky - they were not sent to Russia, instead forming part of the force holding down the Baltic coast and Swedish Pomerania. Eventually they joined a mixed force under Morand, who in March 1813 fell back to Bremon. Ordered to act as a screen in front of Hamburg, Morand attacked, driving back cossacks and Hanoverian Landwehr, capturing Lünaburg on 1 April. However, the next day a large force of Russians and Pruusians surrounded the town, stormed it, killing or wounding 255 Saxons and capturing the rest. Given the choice between captivity or joining the RussoGerman Legion, most wisely opted for the latter.

Order of Battle, 30 June 1812

VII  CORPS  -  General  de Division.  Reynier

(ADC’s  Majors  Venneville,  Charlet,  Lt. Vintimille)

Staff

Adjutant-Commandant: Gressot  (ADCs  Capitaines  Gaares, Grandmaison,D’Esclingnal)
Chief of Staff: Oberst  von  Langenau  (ADCs  Majors StUnzer, Aster,  von Koppenfele)
OC Artillery:  Oberstlieutenant  von  Hoyer  (ADCs  Lt. Blassman, Sous  Lt. Schoess)
OC Engineers:  Major  Bruley  (ADCs  Kapitin  Geiss,  Lt. Erhadt)
Acting Intendant:  Oberst  von  Ryusel  (ADCs  Kapitins  von Cerrini von Watzdorf)

OC  21st Division: Generallieutenant  von  Lecoq  (ADCs  Lt. von Eingildel,  Sous  Lt.  von Lutzerode)

OC  lst Brigade: Generalmajor  von  Staindel  (ADCs  Lts. von Doering,  von Senfet)
OC  2nd Brigade:  Generalmajor  von  Nostitz  (ADCs  Lt. von Gotz, Sous  Lt. Theime)
Chief  of Staff,  21st Division: Oblerat  von Ryseel
OC  Division Artillery: Major  von  Groanman  (ADC  Lt. Vogel)

OC  22nd Division: Generallicutenant  von  Funck  (ADCe  Lts. von Schulenberg,  von Wolfersdorf)

OC 1st Brigade:  Generalmajor  von  Klengel  (ADCs  Sous  Lt. Aste von Heintz)
OC  2nd Brigade:  Generalmajor  von  Sahr  (ADCs  Lts. von Kommerstadt,  von Brause)
Chief  of Staff, 22nd Division:  Oberstlieutenant  von  Zezschwitz (ADCs Kapitins  von  Fabrice,  von Langerau)
OC  Division Artillery:  Major Auenmuller
OC  Corps Cavalry:  Generalmajor  von  Gablenz  (ADCs  Lts. von Kohjsharr, Liebeskind)
OC  Medical Services: Raschig

21st Division: Generallieutenant on Lecoq

Unit
Officers
Men
Officers' Horses
Draft Horses
1st Brigade (Generalmajor Von Steindel)
Von Liebenau Grenadier Battalion
17
688
12
15
Prinz Friedrich August
(Oberst von Bruchewsky)
  1st Battalion
16
684
19
30
  2nd Battalion
15
659
10
0
Prinz Clemens
(Oberst von Mellentin)
  1st Battalion
18
698
16
30
  2nd Battalion
20
694
8
0
2nd Brigade (Generalmajor von Nostitz)
Prinz Anton
(Oberst von Ryssel)
  1st Battalion
20
670
21
23
  2nd Battalion
18
703
10
8
1st Light Infantry
(Oberst von Egidy)
  1st Battalion
16
694
14
19
  2nd Battalion
18
690
13
11
Divisional Artillery
(Major von Grossman)
1st Foot Battery
(Hauptmann von Brause)
4
115
4
80
  4 6-pounder cannon
  2 8-pounder howitzers
  4 6-pounder caissons
  2 8-pounder caissons
  1 forge
  1 spares caisson
  1 tools caisson
Detachment of Train
(1 Company)
3
110
3
128
Regimental Artillery
  12 4-pounder cannon and caissons
Divisional Park
  1 spare 6-pounder carriage
  1 spare 8-pounder carriage
  2 8-pounder howitzer caissons
  15 infantry caissons
  2 cavalry caissons
  1 spares caisson
  1 ambulance wagon
  1 administrative wagon
Pioneer Company (Ploedterl)
2
66
2
17
   

22nd Division: (Generallieutenant von Funck)

Unit
Officers
Men
Officers' Horses
Draft Horses
1st Brigade (Generalmajor Von Klengel)
Eychelburg Grenadier Battalion (Von Brause)
17
692
14
15
König (Oberst von Gophadt)
  1st Battalion
15
691
15
30
  2nd Battalion
16
618
11
0
Niesemeuschel
(Oberst von Vogel)
  1st Battalion
17
713
17
30
  2nd Battalion
16
687
15
0
2nd Brigade (Generalmajor von Sahr)
Von Anger Grenadier Battalion
18
673
8
15
Von Spiegel Grenadier Battalion
17
647
9
15
2nd Light Infantry
(Oberst Tettenborn)
       
  1st Battalion
20
670
21
23
  2nd Battalion
18
703
10
8
1st Light Infantry
(Oberst von Egidy)
  1st Battalion
20
685
14
31
  2nd Battalion
17
661
13
0
Divisional Artillery
(Major Auenmuller)
3rd Foot Battery
(Hauptmann Bonniot)
4
115
4
80
  4 6-pounder cannon
  2 8-pounder howitzers
  4 6-pounder caissons
  2 8-pounder caissons
  1 forge
  1 spares caisson
  1 tools caisson
Detachment of Train
(1 Company)
3
110
3
128
Regimental Artillery
  8 4-pounder cannon and caissons
Divisional Park
  1 spare 6-pounder carriage
  1 spare 8-pounder carriage
  2 8-pounder howitzer caissons        
  4 6-pounder caissons
  15 infantry caissons
  2 cavalry caissons
  1 spares caisson
  1 ambulance wagon
  1 administrative wagon

Corps Cavalry - 23rd Light Cavalry Brigade (Generalmajor von Gablenz)

Unit
Officers
Men
Officers'
Horses
Other Ranks' Horses
Draft Horses
Prinz Clemens (Oberstlieutenant von Zezschwitz)          
  1st Squadron
7
149
14
141
6
  2nd Squadron
6
147
14
139
5
  3rd Squadron
6
137
14
141
5
  4th Squadron
7
145
10
142
6
Polenz
(Oberst von Hann)
         
  1st Squadron
7
141
16
135
6
  2nd Squadron
6
127
16
141
5
  3rd Squadron
7
138
15
138
6
  4th Squadron
7
136
15
143
3
Hussars
(Oberst von Engel)
         
  1st Squadron
4
101
9
99
3
  2nd Squadron
4
99
9
101
4
  3rd Squadron
3
94
9
98
4
  4th Squadron
3
96
7
100
4
  5th Squadron
2
97
5
100
4
  6th Squadron
3
96
7
100
3
  7th Squadron
4
87
9
99
4
  8th Squadron
4
98
9
97
3
1st Horse Battery
(Major von Roth)
4
156
8
86
12
  4 6-pounder cannon          
  2 8 pounder howitzers          
  attached caissons          
Detachment of Train
Not Recorded

Detached Cavalry

Heavy Cavalry Brigade (Part of Latour-Maubourg's IV Cavalry Corps): Generalmajor Thielmann (ADCs Lts. Seydenwitz, Minckwitz)

Unit
Number of Squadrons
Officers
Men
Officers'
Horses
Other Ranks'
Horses
Draft Horses
Garde du Corps
(Oberst von Leisser)
4
36
639
92
628
27
Zasrrow Kürassiere
(Oberst von Ruzschilelr)
4
36
639
95
628
27
2nd Horse Battery
(Hauptmann Hiller)
Not Recorded
  4 6-pounder cannons            
  2 8-pounder howitzers            
  attached caissons            
Detachment of train
(1 Company)
   

Other Units

Unit
Number of Squadrons
Officers
Men
Officers' Horses
Other Ranks' Horses
Draft Horses
Prinz Johann (Oberst von Reyski) Part of 31st Light Cavalry Brigade, IX Corps, Victor
4
36
639
93
628
27
Prinz Albrecht (Oberst von Lessing) Part of 3rd Heavy Cavalry Division, III Cavalry Corps, Grouchy
4
Not Recorded

Detached Infantry

Von Low: 2 Battalions, part of 28th Division (Girard), IX Corps, (Victor)
Recten: 2 Battalions, part of 28th Division (Girard), IX Corps, (Victor)
Prinz Maximilian: 2 Battalions, part of 34th Divsion (Morand), XI Corps, (Augereau)
Pontoon Train: 1 company

Units Remaining in Saxony

Leib Kürassiere Garde: 4 Squadrons
Leib Grenadier Garde: 2 Battalions
Jäger: 1 Company

 

 

 

Placed on the Napoleon Series: October 2001

 

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