Battle of Craonne

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Battle of Craonne
Part of the War of the Sixth Coalition
Battles of Laon and Craonne map.jpg
Map of the battle (lower-right corner)
Date 7 March 1814
Location Craonne, France
Result French victory
France French Empire Kingdom of Prussia Kingdom of Prussia
Russia Russian Empire
Commanders and leaders
France Napoleon
France Michel Ney
France Étienne de Nansouty
Kingdom of Prussia Gebhard Blücher
Russia Mikhail Vorontsov
30,000[1] 50,000[1]
Casualties and losses
5,400 5,000

The Battle of Craonne was fought on 7 March 1814 and resulted in a French victory under Napoleon I against Russians and Prussians under General Blücher.[2]

Craonne is a village on the Chemin des Dames, in the département of Aisne.

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.

While Blücher planned his counter with some 85,000 men, his flanking army did not move fast enough and 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. 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.


  1. ^ a b Houssaye Henry, Napoleon and the campaign of 1814. p. 157
  2. ^ Gregory Fremont-Barnes (2002). The Napoleonic Wars: The Fall of the French Empire 1813-1815. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1-84176-431-0. 


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