Battle of Miechów
|Battle of Miechów|
|Part of The January Uprising|
Battle of Miechów
|Polish insurgents||Tsarist Russia|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Apolinary Kurowski||Major Nepenin|
|Casualties and losses|
|Around 200, 67 POWs||7 killed, 32 wounded|
Polish units under Apolinary Kurowski numbering around 2500 troops attacked the town in an attempt to gain control of the so-called border triangle - an area at the cross roads of the Austrian, Prussian and Russian partitions which would have allowed the insurgents access to supplies and troops from outside the Congress Poland where the uprising proper was taking place. They were hoping to surprise Russian troops. However, Russian garrison (2 companies, 550 men) was stronger than expected by insurgents. Either the Russian commander guessed the intent, or the strategic plan of the Poles was somehow betrayed. As a result they bolstered their defenses.
Initial engagements were favorable to the Poles. These included a successful charge by the Zouaves of Death, a unit organized by Francois Rochebrune and led by Wojciech Komorowski in this battle, on Russian positions in the local cemetery. However, charges by the Polish cavalry through the narrow streets of the town resulted in very high casualties in the face of concentrated fire from the Russians and eventually a panic of the Polish troops. According to contemporary Russian reports, 200 insurrectionists died. There were also some reports of atrocities, including the killing or burying alive of the wounded. As a measure of repression, the town was set on fire and local residents were forbidden to put it out.
As a result of the engagement, Kurowski' unit ceased to exist. Rochebrune reformed his Zouaves later in Kraków.
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