Friedland, Battle of 1807

Friedland, Battle of (1807)


the last battle between Russian and French troops in the War of the Fourth Coalition of 1806–07. The battle was fought on June 2 (14) near the city of Friedland in East Prussia (now Pravdinsk, Kaliningrad Oblast).

The Russian Army of approximately 60,000 men under General L. L. Bennigsen took up an unfavorable defensive position on the west bank of the Alle River (now the Lova), to the north, west, and south of Friedland. At the beginning of the battle the French troops under Napoleon, which had approached the city from the west, numbered only 12,000 men; Bennigsen missed the opportunity, however, to inflict a blow on the enemy with his superior forces.

The arrival of the main French force increased the French Army to 85,000 men, and Napoleon attacked the left flank of the Russian Army; escape across the Alle River had been cut off, and Napoleon attempted to encircle the Russian Army and annihilate it. Despite the superiority of the French forces, the left wing of the Russian Army, under General P. I. Bagration, used artillery fire and counterattacks by the cavalry to repulse the enemy. Bagration’s defense made it possible for the Russians to withdraw to the east bank of the Alle and to retreat to the Pregolia River.

Although Napoleon did not succeed in destroying the Russian Army, the defeat at Friedland, which involved the loss of 10,000 men, forced Emperor Alexander I to negotiate the Treaty of Tilsit in July 1807.