Battle of Katzbach
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (August 2007)|
|Battle of Katzbach|
|Part of War of the Sixth Coalition|
Battle of Katzbach
|French Empire||Sixth Coalition:
|Commanders and leaders|
|Jacques MacDonald||Gebhard von Blücher|
|Casualties and losses|
The Battle of Katzbach on 26 August 1813, was an accidental engagement of the Napoleonic Wars between the forces of the First French Empire under Marshal MacDonald and a Russo-Prussian army of the Sixth Coalition under Prussian Marshal Graf (Count) von Blücher. It occurred during a heavy thunderstorm at the Katzbach river (after y.1945 polish Kaczawa) between Wahlstatt and Liegnitz in the Prussian province of Silesia. Taking place the same day as the Battle of Dresden, it resulted in a French defeat.
The two armies, roughly equal in size, stumbled upon one another, taking both by surprise. In the midst of the confusion and heavy rain, MacDonald seemed to recover first. Although his orders were to defend the flank of Napoleon's main force from Blücher, MacDonald decided to attack. He dispatched two-thirds of his army, about 60,000 men, in an attempt to flank the Russo-Prussian right. But confusion reigned again as the French columns found themselves too far apart to support one another. The attack lost momentum.
Meanwhile, the remaining 30,000 men of MacDonald's force, who were supposed to hold down the Coalition forces, were met by a heavy counter-attack. Without support or reinforcement, the French were soon forced to withdraw, taking heavy losses. MacDonald's casualties numbered 15,000 killed, wounded or captured, Blücher's some 4,000. Beyond the battle losses, the French strategic position had been weakened. This, coupled with the defeats at Kulm, four days later, and Dennewitz on 6 September, would more than negate Napoleon's victory at Dresden.
Because of his victory, Blücher received the title of "Prince of Wahlstatt" on 3 June 1814.
In Germany there used to be a now obsolete saying "Der geht ran wie Blücher an der Katzbach!" ("He goes forward like Blücher at Katzbach!"), referring to Blücher and describing a vigorous behavior.