Battle of Craonne
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|Battle of Craonne|
|Part of the War of the Sixth Coalition|
Map of the battle (lower-right corner)
|French Empire|| Kingdom of Prussia
|Commanders and leaders|
| Napoleon I,
Étienne de Nansouty
|Casualties and losses|
Marshal Blücher had recovered from his earlier setbacks more quickly than Napoleon Bonaparte had hoped, and so the French Emperor was forced to switch his attacks from the Austrian Field Marshal Schwarzenberg back to the Prussian commander.
Moving with speed and aggression, the French pushed the Allies over the Aisne river and while Blücher planned his counter with some 85,000 men, his flanking army did not move fast enough. As a result, Napoleon's 37,000 troops struck Vorontsov's on their own. Napoleon's aim was to pin the Allies and then launch Marshal Ney, leading a mixed force heavily weighted towards cavalry, in a flanking move. Unfortunately for the French, the coordination was poorly timed. Consequently Ney not only suffered heavy casualties, including cavalry commander Etienne de Nansouty, but the Allies managed to extricate themselves from a sticky situation. Craonne cost Blucher 5,000 casualties, while Napoleon lost some 5,400.
The young French conscripted soldiers were called "Marie-Louises" (after Napoleon's second wife) because Marie-Louise signed the order for their conscription in Napoleon's absence.
- Craonne - the bloodiest battle of Campaign of France in 1814
- Illustrated article on the Battle of Craonne at 'Battlefields Europe'
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