Fourth Coalition, War of the 1806–07
Fourth Coalition, War of the (1806–07)
(in Russian, Russian-Prussian-French War of 1806–07), a war between the Fourth Coalition of the European powers (Great Britain, Russia, Prussia, Saxony, and Sweden) and Napoleonic France. It was virtually a continuation of the Russo-Austro-French War of 1805.
The Allies had no war plan and their military operations were not coordinated, which permitted Napoleon to defeat them one by one. In the battle of Jena-Auerstädt of 1806, fought in October 2 (14), the French Army routed the Prussian-Saxon troops, occupied the greater part of Prussia, and took Berlin on October 12 (24). In Berlin, Napoleon signed the decree on the continental blockade on November 9 (21). Field Marshal M. F. Kamenskii’s Russian Army of three corps (about 160,000 men) deployed in the region of Pułtusk, Ostrołęka, and Brest-Litovsk, with advance detachments on the Vistula. On November 16 (28) the French troops occupied -Warsaw. Napoleon tried to encircle the main Russian forces, but on December 14 (26) the Russian troops foiled his plan in the battle of Pułusk by defeating J. Lannes’ corps. The Russian Army withdrew to the Tykocin region, and Napoleon’s troops went into winter quarters.
Napoleon’s main forces were in the Warsaw region, Marshal J. Bernadotte’s corps was at Elbing, and Marshal M. Ney’s corps was at Allenstein. On Jan. 4 (16), 1807, the Russian Army under General L. L. Benningsen (commander in chief from January 1 ) launched an offensive from the Biała region into East Prussia in order to prevent the French capture of Königsberg and Pillau and to defeat Ney’s and Bernadotte’s isolated corps.
Napoleon learned about the movement of the Russian troops. On January 20 (February 1) he sent his main forces to the north in an attempt to turn the left flank of the Russian Army and cut it off from Russia. Fighting rearguard actions, the Russian troops retreated to Preussisch-Eylau; in a battle there on January 26–27 (February 7–8), the Russian troops successfully repulsed attacks by Napoleon’s army. In the battle of Friedland of 1807, fought on June 2 (14), the Russian Army was severely defeated because of Benningsen’s incompetence. On June 13 (25), Napoleon met Emperor Alexander I in Tilsit, and the Treaty of Tilsit of 1807, which was very unfavorable for Russia, was signed on June 25 (July 7). On June 27 (July 9) a peace treaty between France and Prussia was concluded in the same city.
REFERENCESClausewitz, K. von. 1806g., 2nd ed. Moscow, 1938.
Lettow-Vorbeck, O. Istoriia voiny 1806 i 1807, vols. 1–4. Warsaw, 1895–98.
Mikhailovskii-Danilevskii, A. I. Opisanie vtoroi voiny imp. Aleksandra s Napoleonomv 1806 i 1807 …. St. Petersburg, 1846.
I. I. ROSTUNOV