Battle of Borny–Colombey

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Battle of Borny–Colombey
Part of the Franco–Prussian War
Bataille de borny.PNG
1904 French map of the battle
Date14 August 1870
Result Inconclusive

North German Confederation North German Confederation

Second French Empire French Empire
Commanders and leaders
Kingdom of Prussia Karl Friedrich von Steinmetz François Bazaine
Units involved
Kingdom of Prussia First Army Army of the Rhine
67,500 83,500
Casualties and losses


1,189 killed
3,590 wounded
127 missing


377 killed
2,641 wounded
590 missing

The Battle of Borny–Colombey or the Battle of Colombey-Nouilly took place on 14 August 1870 as part of the Franco–Prussian War. It saw the escape route of the French army under François Bazaine blocked when they encountered the First Army under von Steinmetz. The outcome of the battle itself was indecisive though it saw the French make good their escape to Metz.[3]

Like most of the early battles of the war, Borny was one that neither side had planned or wanted.[4] For the French, the battle had dire consequences as they neglected to use their numerical superiority to force a passage and it delayed the Army's retreat out of Metz for twelve precious hours.[2] This gave the Prussians the time to bring up their Second army under Prince Frederick Charles and assured that after the battles fought in the following days (Mars-la-Tour and Gravelotte) France's premier army would be trapped at Metz.[5]



  • German General Staff (1881). The Franco-German War 1870-71: Part 1; Volume 1. Translated by F.C.H Clarke (2nd ed.). London: Clowes & Sons.

Further reading[edit]

  • Georges Hardoin, Français & Allemands. Histoire anecdotique de la guerre de 1870–1871. Tome V. L'Investissement de Metz. La journée des dupes. Servigny. Noisseville. Flanville. Nouilly. Coincy.
  • Georg von Widdern, Kritische Tage. I. Teil. Die Initiative und die gegenseitige Unterstuetzung in der deutschen Heeres-und Truppenfuerung. Bd. 1. Die I. Armee bei Colombey-Nouilly am 13. u. 14. August 1870, Berlin, 1897.
  • Rédigé par la section historique du grand état-major prussien et traduit par le capitaine Paul Émile Costa de Serda, Supplément cartes de la guerre franco-allemande de 1870–71. Première partie, Histoire de la guerre jusqu'à la chute de l'empire. Premier volume, Du début des hostilités à la bataille de Gravelotte., s.l., 1874.

Coordinates: 49°06′40″N 6°15′16″E / 49.11111°N 6.25444°E / 49.11111; 6.25444