German campaign of 1813

The German campaign (German: Befreiungskriege, lit.'Wars of Liberation') was fought in 1813. Members of the Sixth Coalition, including the German states of Austria and Prussia, plus Russia and Sweden, fought a series of battles in Germany against the French Emperor Napoleon, his marshals, and the armies of the Confederation of the Rhine - an alliance of most of the other German states - which ended the domination of the First French Empire.[lower-alpha 3]

German campaign
Part of the War of the Sixth Coalition

The Battle of Leipzig
Germany, the Low Countries, and Central Europe
Result Sixth Coalition victory
Confederation of the Rhine dissolved
German states and Austria unite to form the German Confederation
Netherlands gains independence
Norway ceded to The King of Sweden

 United Kingdom
German States



Commanders and leaders
Alexander I
Crown Prince Karl Johan
Karl von Schwarzenberg
Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher
Friedrich Wilhelm von Bülow
Maximilian I Joseph
Frederick Francis I
Frederick Augustus
 Württemberg Frederick I
Barclay de Tolly
Levin August von Bennigsen
Matvei Platov
Peter Wittgenstein
William I of Orange-Nassau
Arthur Wellesley of Wellington
Napoleon Bonaparte
Pierre Augereau
Jean-Baptiste Bessières 
Louis-Nicolas Davout
Jacques MacDonald
Auguste de Marmont
Édouard Mortier
Michel Ney
Nicolas Oudinot
Laurent de Gouvion Saint-Cyr
Jean-de-Dieu Soult
Claude Victor-Perrin
Jacques Lauriston (POW)
Józef Poniatowski 
Eugène de Beauharnais
Joachim Murat

16 August 1813:
Total: 860,000 men[2]

Field army:
512,113 men[2]
1,380 guns[2]

16 August 1813:
Total: 700,000 men[3]

Field army:
442,810 men[4]
1,284 guns[4]
Casualties and losses
  • 223,000 killed and wounded
  • 76,000 captured and missing
  • 60,000 killed
  • 196,000 wounded
  • 190,000 captured and missing
  Napoleon in command
  Napoleon not in command
Battles of the German campaign inscribed on a medal
The Lützow Free Corps in action

After the devastating defeat of Napoleon's Grande Armée in the Russian campaign of 1812, Johann Yorck – the general in command of the Grande Armée's German auxiliaries (Hilfskorps) – declared a ceasefire with the Russians on 30 December 1812 via the Convention of Tauroggen. This was the decisive factor in the outbreak of the German campaign the following year.

The spring campaign between France and the Sixth Coalition ended inconclusively with a summer truce (Truce of Pläswitz). Via the Trachenberg Plan, developed during a period of ceasefire in the summer of 1813, the ministers of Prussia, Russia, and Sweden agreed to pursue a single allied strategy against Napoleon. Following the end of the ceasefire, Austria eventually sided with the coalition, thwarting Napoleon's hopes of reaching separate agreements with Austria and Russia. The coalition now had a clear numerical superiority, which they eventually brought to bear on Napoleon's main forces, despite earlier setbacks such as the Battle of Dresden. The high point of allied strategy was the Battle of Leipzig in October 1813, which ended in a decisive defeat for Napoleon. The Confederation of the Rhine was dissolved following the battle with many of its former member states joining the coalition, breaking Napoleon's hold over Germany.

After a delay in which a new strategy was agreed upon, in early 1814 the coalition invaded France, coinciding with the march of Duke of Wellington's British army northward from Spain into southern France. Napoleon was forced to abdicate and Louis XVIII assumed the French throne. The war came to a formal end with the Treaty of Paris in May 1814.

Share this article:

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article German campaign of 1813, and is written by contributors. Text is available under a CC BY-SA 4.0 International License; additional terms may apply. Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.