dÜben (october 9,1813)
In the first days of October 1813, the Blucher's Army of Silesia was put under the command of the Swedish Crown Prince, Bernadotte, and crossed the Elbe River at Wartenburg thus placing itself near the Bernadotte's Army of the North.
In order to achieve the junction of both forces, Blucher made a 'flank march' under the eyes of the Ney's Army of Berlin, routed recently in Gross-Beeren and Dennewitz. This dangerous situation was immediately spoted by Napoleon, that hurried up with the mauled Army of Berlin (VII, XI and IV Army Corps), other Army Corps (III, VI), the I, II and III Cavalry Corps and the Guard.
The maneuver was discovered by Blucher, which crossed the Mulde River towards Bernadotte, instead moving back towards the Elbe River and his line of communications. This bold action sealed the fate of Napoleon and forced him to fight in Leipzig against a ring of converging Allied armies.
The Düben affaire took place in October 9, when the vanguard of Reynier's VII Corps, advancing by the left bank of the Mulde River, arrived to the bridge of Düben and ran into the village. Düben was the crossing point over the Mulde River assigned to Langeron by Blucher, but when the Allied outposts were alerted from the arrival of the French, Langeron hurried up by the right bank towards the next northern crossing point.
The Russian rearguard, the Kapzevich's 10th Corps, scorting the heavy artillery, was almost catch up, and only the rapid reaction of that General stopped the pursuit saving time for the slow baggage columns. Incidentally, Blucher and Langeron avoided capture by only one half hour, because they were also staying at Düben.
I have used the 'Liberation' lists for both the French and Russians. The French got the organic Light Cavalry asset and an Allied Saxon brigade as reinforcements. The Russians got a Jäger organic brigade and a Light Cavalry brigade as reinforcements but the Jagers have been divided between the two main infantry brigades.
Düben is a running combat between an attacking vanguard (French VII Corps) and a defending and retiring rearguard (Russian 10th Corps) trying to evade and escorting a slow baggage train. A unit of two baggage trains, moving always by road at reduced Foot Artillery speed (2BW per turn) has been added to the Russian OOB. The wagons must be escorted to safety , leaving the table by the North road end.
My acknowledgements to my good Argentinean friend Armand d'Arc: he suggested me this little battle.
- Correspondance of Napoléon Ier. Vol. 26. Paris. 1868
- Mémoires de Langeron, Général d'infanterie dans l'armée russe. L.G.F. Paris. 1909
- Mémoires du Maréchal Marmont Duc de Raguse (Vol IV). Paris. 1857
- Journal des opérations des IIIe and Ve Corps en 1813. G. Fabry. Paris. 1902
- Napoleon at Leipzig. The Battle of Nations 1813. G. Nafziger. Chicago. 1996
TO THE BATTLE IN PICTURES
Old map (taken from
The actual battlefield
Lasalle Scenario file for Düben (pdf)
TO THE BATTLE IN PICTURES
French Forces: 13th Division (VII Corps) (Army Moral 41; Break point 14)
Général de Division Guilleminot
1st Brigade: 1st Brigade (5 battalions)
2nd Brigade (5 battalions)
Foot artillery (2 batteries)
26th Light Cavalry Brigade: 2 Saxon Light Cavalry regiments; 1 Horse battery
Reinforcements 24th (Saxon) Division (6 battalions); 1 Foot battery; 1 Horse battery
Russian Forces: 10th Corps (Langeron’s Army Group) (Army Moral 38; Break point 13)
8th Division: 6 battalions (4 Musketeer; 2 Jager)
22nd Division: 6 battalions (4 Musketeer; 2 Jager)
Artillery: 1 Position battery; 2 Light batteries; 2 wagon units
Reinforcements Cavalry: 2 Dragoon regiments; 1 Cossack Regiment;, 1 horse battery
See a more detailed version at the Project Leipzig (1813) blog
THE BATTLE IN PICTURES