two villages in France (Moselle Department), 5–6 km southeast and northeast of the fortress of Metz.
The Colombey-Nouilly region was the site of a battle of the Franco-Prussian War fought on Aug. 14, 1870, between the French Rhine Army of Marshal A. Bazaine and the German First Army of General K. von Steinmetz. Anticipating that the southern wing of the Rhine Army could be outflanked by superior enemy forces, Bazaine began a retreat from Metz toward Châlons-sur-Marne in order to make contact with Marshal MacMahon’s army, which was still being mobilized. The retreat was covered by the Third Corps and one division of the Fourth Corps, which were deployed at Colombey-Nouilly. At about 4 P.M. on August 14, the German First and Seventh corps attacked the French troops. In the course of the battle Bazaine was forced to move three more divisions of the Fourth Corps from the western bank of the Moselle River. All the German attacks were repulsed. During the night the French troops withdrew to the west of Metz and the Germans to the east of Colombey-Nouilly. The French troops lost about 3,000 men and the Germans more than 5,000. The delay of one day in the advance of the Rhine Army at Colombey-Nouilly gave the German Second Army time to reach the rear of Bazaine’s troops and then to encircle it in the region of Metz.