After an intense bombardment by the grande batterie of Napoleon's artillery that started about noon and hours of heated fighting, the French overpowered the first defensive lines and seized the town of Bautzen. For the battle of the Napoleonic Wars see, Bautzen, Germany and surrounding rural areas. BAUTZEN 1813 (WHC 2017). Following the Battle of Bautzen, in May 1813, during the War of the Sixth Coalition, both sides agreed to a seven week truce to plan and better prepare. In the Battle of Bautzen (20–21 May 1813), a combined Prusso–Russian army, that was massively outnumbered, was pushed back by Napoleon but escaped destruction, with some sources claiming that Marshal Michel Ney failed to block their retreat. Wojskowe Biuro Badań Historycznych (2009) (in Polish). Bautzen definition, a city in E Germany, on the Spree River: scene of defeat of Prussian and Russian armies by Napoleon I, 1813. [12] 2nd Air Army was also assigned to this theater. Although a success for the French, Bautzen was not the decisive, strategic result Napoleon was looking for. [2], The Germans succeeded in linking up with the remnants of their forces in the Muskauer Forst, and throwing the local Polish and Soviet forces into chaos. April 1945". [2][4], On 21 April, a gap had formed between the Polish infantry units (8th and 9th Infantry Divisions) and the 1st Armored Corps pushing towards Dresden, and the Polish units which were securing the Muskauer Forst region. It received orders to retreat on 26 April. Although the battle had no strategic impact on the battle raging in Berlin, it allowed most of the participating German units as well as numerous refugees from the east to escape to the west, surrendering to the Western Allies. After the fall of communism, Polish historians became much more critical of Świerczewski's command, blaming the near destruction of the Polish force on his incompetence and desire to capture Dresden. [18] Konev also sent his chief of staff, General Ivan Yefimovich Petrov, and his chief of operations, General Vladimir Ivanovich Kostylev, to look at the situation. 76 relations. Once more Napoleon had to settle for a narrow, pyrrhic victory. [2] Świerczewski's lack of competence, according to some sources, included commanding the battle while drunk. The battle of Bautzen (20-21 May 1813) was the second major battle of the Spring Campaign of 1813, and saw Napoleon come close to winning the decisive victory he needed to knock at least one of his opponents out of the war (War of Liberation). [2][12] Official estimates claimed about 18,000 casualties (including almost 5,000 dead). [2][12] Many of them were new recruits inexperienced in combat, incorporated from the recently retaken Polish territories. [2] The quality of the officer corps has also been questioned. [2], German forces were composed of elements of the 4th Panzer Army and commanded by the headquarters for the Grossdeutschland and 57th Armored Corps. [1][22] On 22 April he ordered the 1st Armored Corps to change direction, retreat from Dresden and support the centre. This is an incorrect assertion as the 2nd SS Division fought in Hungary and Austria from January 1945 until the end of the war. [9][10], Świerczewski decided to prioritize the taking of Dresden over securing his southern flank, deviating from the plan he was given by Konev. The campaign would resume in August. See more. [7][8] On 18 and 19 April elements of the Second Army (the 8th Infantry Division and 1st Armored Corps) engaged the Germans in the south and pushed them back while the remaining units (5th, 7th, 9th and 10th Infantry Divisions) drove on to Dresden, gaining bridgeheads on the river Spree north of Bautzen and destroying German forces in the Muskauer Forst. [9] The Polish Second Army lost cohesion and split into four groups. The fierce tank battle which took place in early March 1945 near the Silesian town of Lauban („Luban” in Polish) was a rather interesting episode of WW2 for two reasons: 1. On 17 April, the Polish Second Army breached Germa… 2. Prelude. Losses on both sides totaled around 20,000. Aleksander A. Maslov; David M. Glantz (30 September 1998). The battle's outcome is now generally seen in Poland as a very costly victory for the Soviets and their Polish allies. The Prussians under General Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher and Russians under General Peter Wittgenstein, retreating after their defeat at Lützen were attacked by French forces under Napoleon. Coordinating with the trapped troops, he was able to break into the town. [2] One of the major problems facing the People's Army was lack of a qualified cadre; a 1944 estimate showed that the army had one officer for each 1,200 soldiers. [9] The events of 21 April marked the beginning of this battle. In the Battle of Bautzen (20–21 May 1813) a combined Russian /Prussian army was pushed back by Napoleon, but escaped destruction, some sources claim, because Michel Ney failed to block their retreat. [2] In the west 20th Panzer Division commenced its drive on Bautzen, while in the east 17th Infantry Division advanced on Niesky and Weißenberg, freeing a number of trapped German troops on its way. The Soviet 294th Rifle Division was encircled at Weißenberg by the Brandenburg Division. [5], On 17 April, the Polish Second Army breached German defenses on the rivers Weisser Schöps[6] and Neisse. [2] To stabilize the situation, Konev ordered eight divisions from the Ukrainian Front to reinforce the Polish positions. But Marshal Ney became confused, and his faulty positioning left the door open for the Allies to escape. It is reported that Napoleon later (on Saint Helena) said that his agreement to this truce was a bad mistake, because the break was of much more use to the allies than to him. In the last months of World War II the Polish Second Army, under General Karol Świerczewski, took part in the Soviet drive on Berlin. [2] Coordination between the units was also lacking. The Russo-Prussian army was nearly 100,000 strong, but Napoleon had 115,000. [31] The 21st Panzer Division has also been mentioned in connection with this battle, but the 21st had already moved north as part of reinforcements provided by the 4th Panzer Army to the 9th Army. [4][20][21], By 23 April the German breakthrough reached the Schwarzer Schöps River in the east, and Lohsa, Oppitz and Grossdubrau in the west. [1][12] The Polish casualties were particularly severe. [2][27] The division commander, Colonel Aleksander Łaski, was taken captive. Bautzen like Lutzen was a technical French victory that fell short of being the desired battle of annihilation. This force counted some 50,000 soldiers, 300 tanks, and 600 guns. Once again, Marshal Ney became distracted and decided to seize the village of Preititz [de], and thus lost sight of the strategic importance of cutting off the allies. On 17 April, the Polish Second Army breached Germa… The Allied retreat was mainly through Gorlitz on the Neisse. Wittgenstein formed two strong defensive lines east of the River Spree, with the first holding strongpoints in villages and along hills and the second holding the bridges behind a river bend. The Battle of Bautzen is the last successful German tank-offensive of the war and last noteworthy victory of the Wehrmacht. But some other sources (e.g. So Napoleon then decided he would not set up his trap until they had been softened up. During this time he hoped to gather more troops, especially cavalry, and better train his new army. [2][30] He was briefly relieved of command by Marshal Konev,[2] but due to the backing of the Soviet high command (most likely the NKVD) he not only retained his position but all controversies were hushed up, and after the war was hailed as a hero. Ney's failure to cut the line of retreat robbed the French of complete victory. [3], By 25 April Polish units were able to stabilize a defense on the line Kamenz–Kuckau–north Bautzen–Spree–Spreewiese–Heideanger. Several remaining pockets of resistance in the town were cleared during the next days. Krzysztof Komorowski; Poland. [17] In its subsequent breakout on 24 April, large parts of the 294th Division were destroyed. [5] Part of Marshal Ivan Konev's 1st Ukrainian Front, the Poles operated in the centre of the front, flanked on the right by the 5th Guards Army and on the left by the 7th Mechanized Corps. [12], According to some sources, 26 April marks the end of this battle, although less severe and isolated clashes in that region continued until 30 April. The Battle of Bautzen (or Battle of Budziszyn, April 1945) was one of the last battles of the Eastern Front during World War II. [1], The 9th Division found itself alone at the spearhead of the abandoned Polish push towards Dresden. Major combat began on 21 April 1945 and continued until 26 April although isolated engagements continued to take place until 30 April. According to one historian the Battle of Bautzen was one of the Polish Army's bloodiest battles. ) and the rural areas to the northeast situated primarily along the Bautzen–Niesky line. [2] Meanwhile Schörner was concentrating his units (the "Görlitz Group") in the Görlitz (Zgorzelec) and Reichenbach region, and planned to launch a counteroffensive at the southern flank of the Polish Army. [1][2][28] However, since the fall of communism modern Polish historians have been much more critical of Świerczewski's command, blaming his drive on Dresden for the near destruction of the Polish force. At the same time at Bautzen the 20th Panzer Division was able to make contact with the trapped units in the town from the south. "Die Kämpfe um Bautzen 18. bis 27. [2] The successful recapture of Bautzen, Weißenberg and surroundings is called one of the last successful German armored counterattacks of the war. The Battle of Bautzen 20-21 May 1813. [17] The Germans drove in between the Polish Second Army and the Soviet 52nd Army around Bautzen, some 40 kilometers (25 mi) north-east of Dresden and 25 kilometers (16 mi) west of Görlitz, sweeping the Soviet units of the 48th Rifle Corps, and driving towards Spremberg. There was only one survivor, chaplain Jan Rdzanek. Part of Marshal Ivan Konev's 1st Ukrainian Front, the Poles operated in the centre of the front, flanked on the right by the 5th Guards Army and on the left by the 7th Mechanized Corps. Without Ney's forces to seal them in; however, they again escaped the crushing defeat Napoleon had hoped for. Their left flank was anchored by the town of Bautzen and their right by a number of lakes. In the Battle of Bautzen (20–21 May 1813) a combined Russian/Prussian army was pushed back by Napoleon I of France, but escaped destruction, some sources claim, because Michel Ney failed to … [12] The Germans continued their push toward Königswartha and Hoyerswerda. It was the last counterattack of the Wehrmacht which had the desired tactical results. [1], Both sides suffered heavy casualties. Finally, generals Wittgenstein and Blücher were ordered to stop at Bautzen by Tsar Alexander I and King Frederick William III. His aim was to stop the 1st Front's advance and break through to Berlin to relieve the trapped 9th Army. The battle was one of … [18], Meanwhile the German advance to the southeast of Bautzen was successful. As Austria stirred, the tide began to run ever more strongly against Napoleon. Gordon Williamson; Stephen Andrew (19 February 2003). Bronikowski then lost no time and immediately ordered an attack into Bautzen. The allies, however, would not be idle; they too would mobilise and better prepare, and after hostilities were resumed, the Austrians joined the ranks of the allies. [2][9] The headquarters of the 5th Division, defended only by sapper and training battalions, came under attack. [2] The German forces failed in their objective of breaking through the 1st Ukrainian Front and coming to the aid of Berlin. [8] The following day Soviet units of the 7th Mechanized Corps captured parts of Bautzen and secured the line south of Niesky, taking Weißenberg and trapping several German formations. The battle of Lutzen will rank higher than the battles of Austerlitz, Jena, Friedland and the Moskowa”. [12] Several units of the Polish Second Army found themselves surrounded. Articles incorporating text from Wikipedia, Battles of World War II involving Germany, Battles and operations of the Soviet–German War, most of its personnel and wounded executed, http://books.google.com/books?id=McFVHAAACAAJ, http://www.polska-zbrojna.pl/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=9205:zapomniana-bitwa&catid=116:historia&Itemid=145, http://books.google.com/books?id=mMc9tLaOGzsC&pg=PA16, http://books.google.com/books?id=xZ3IA0TiSGIC&pg=PA129, http://books.google.com/books?id=XX5KcTNWbooC&pg=PA65, http://books.google.com/books?id=f1NnAAAAMAAJ, "10. [2] The Germans took the opportunity presented to them and pushed into this gap. [9] The 7th and 10th Infantry Divisions were engaged near Neisse and the 5th Infantry Division and the 16th Tank Brigade were in transit in between those two groups. After the loss of the Battle of Lützen, the combined Russian and Prussian army of Prince Wittgenstein retreated eastward. Eberhard Berndt (1995). Battle of Bautzen. [2], German casualties were significant, but smaller than the Polish and Soviet ones; contemporary Polish sources estimated German losses at 6,500 personnel, which is now seen as an inflated estimate. [11] The concentration of Schörner's units went unnoticed by Soviet and Polish reconnaissance. A hastily assembled Polish counterattack was not successful and most of Bautzen was then recaptured after several days of bloody house-to-house combat. Opposing these forces was the 4th Panzer Army under General Fritz-Hubert Gräser, of Field Marshal Ferdinand Schörner's Army Group Center. "Bautzen 1813" is a game for two players that simulates the second battle day of Bautzen, the second main battle of the spring 1813 Napoleonic campaign. Because the war was almost over and the battle had no strategic impact on the ongoing Battle of Berlin, German historiography has focused more on its tactical aspects. Following Napoleon’s victory at Lützen on 2 May 1813 Prince Ludwig Pyotr Wittgenstein’s Russo-Prussian army retreated to Bautzen, where it was reinforced by 13,000 Russians commanded by Prince Mikhail Barclay de Tolly. The battle was fought in the town of Bautzen (Polish: Budziszyn) and the rural areas to the northeast situated primarily along the Bautzen–Niesky line. To make matters worse, during the battle, Napoleon's close friend and Grand Marshal of the Palace, General Geraud Duroc, was mortally wounded by a cannonball the day after the battle and died. [2][24][29], Despite the heavy Polish casualties—or according to one historian, possibly because of that very reason—the battle has been largely neglected in Polish historiography. [1][12] On that day, Hitler congratulated Schörner on his "victory". In the aftermath of the Russian campaign of 1812 the Russians slowly advanced into Poland and Germany. French victory. The battle was fought in the town of Bautzen (Polish: Budziszyn) and the rural areas to the northeast situated primarily along the Bautzen–Niesky line. By nightfall, the French were positioning to cut the allies off from their line of retreat but the Coalition was aware of Ney's approach to their right flank. [26] Attempting to withdraw quickly and to form back with the main forces, it was intercepted by the Germans and sustained heavy losses. [12], Eventually, Świerczewski halted his force's advance on Dresden, and ordered it to pull back and secure the breach. 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