Battle of Beaugency (1870)
|Battle of Beaugency|
|Part of the Franco-Prussian War|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Frederick Francis II||General Chanzy|
|27,000 infantrymen||ca. 110.000 soldiers|
|Casualties and losses|
The Battle of Beaugency was a battle of the Franco-Prussian War contested between the army group of the Grand Duke of Mecklenburg, and the French Armée de la Loire, won by the Prussians. It lasted from 8 to 10 December 1870 and occurred on the left bank of the Loire River to the northwest of the town of Beaugency. Due to the large area over which it was fought, it is also known as the Battle of Beaugency-Cravant or the Battle of Villorceau-Josnes.
Sharing the Army of the Loire at Orléans
The Army of the Loire had been split subsequent to the retreat of General Aurelle after the Battle of Loigny. French political leader Gambetta 'retired' Aurelle and appointed two generals to lead the now split armies. General Chazny commanded the two corps north of the Loire (XVI and XVII) while General Bourbaki commanded south of the river (XV, XVIII and XX corps).
Beaugency until 8 December
Chazny grouped three divisions in defensive positions at Beugency to make a stand with the Loire river on his right flank and his left in the forest of Marchenoir. Continual rain and snow coupled with flagging morale and disorganization he could do little else.
During the 8th and 9th fierce fighting occurred between the Germans and French. Both sides fought for the key positions of the walled villages of Cravant and Beumont. The French had superiority of numbers (~100,000) and effective artillery fire forced the Germans (Mecklenburg) to break contact. Cold, exhaustion and deprivations plagued the Germans as well as the French during this time.
Moltke ordered Mecklenburg reinforced by Prince Freiderich Karl in order to destroy the French forces under Chazny. Chazny's only hope was assistance from Bourbaki's 150,000 troops south of the Loire. Bourbaki attempted to order is dispirited troops into action, but they refused his order. After visiting Bourbaki Gambetta stated that it "was the saddest sight he had ever seen," the army was "in veritable dissolution."
Chazny had to break contact and retreat from the Loire toward LeMans once German reinforcements arrived.
- Compton’s Home Library: Battles of the World
- Friedrich Engels: On the War, The Pall Mall Gazette Nr. 1824 of 17 December 1870
- Amtspresse Preußen
- (in German) Orléans, in: Meyers Konversationslexikon, Vol 12. p 444 f
- (in German) Beaugency, in Meyers Konversationslexikon, Vol 2 p 574
- (in German) http://www.preussenweb.de Preußen-Seite
- (in French) http://www.loire1870.fr/