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From Berlin to Leipzig: Napoleon's Gamble in North Germany, 1813

Michael V. Leggiere
The Journal of Military History
Vol. 67, No. 1 (Jan., 2003), pp. 39-84
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3093168
Page Count: 46
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From Berlin to Leipzig: Napoleon's Gamble in North Germany, 1813
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Abstract

This article examines Napoleon's desperate scramble in 1813 to preserve French dominance in Europe by closely scrutinizing his operations and strategy. Instead of concentrating his forces for a decisive showdown with the enemy's main force, Napoleon repeatedly detached large numbers of troops under ineffective commanders to capture the Prussian capital of Berlin. The heavy losses and strategic reverses sustained by the French in these questionable undertakings left Napoleon's Grande Armée vulnerable to the massive Allied coalition that would confront him at Leipzig. This study of French military operations in North Germany highlights the breakdown of Napoleonic strategy in 1813, and demonstrates that the Allied defense of Berlin in 1813 played a significant role in Napoleon's ultimate expulsion from Germany.

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