Europe 1813: Armistice of Pläswitz
In the spring of 1813 Napoleon counterattacked the advancing Russo-Prussian forces in Saxony, defeating them at Lützen and Bautzen before advancing into Silesia. However, French losses in this campaign were almost as great as those of the Allies, and in early June Napoleon and his opponents agreed to an armistice at Pläswitz.
2 May 1813 Battle of Lützen▲
At the end of April 1813 Napoleon crossed the Saale into Saxony to oppose the invading Russian and Prussian armies under Prince Peter Wittgenstein and Count Gebhard von Blücher. The 96,000-strong Allied forces attacked the 78,000-strong French army at Lützen in the early afternoon of 2 May, but were outmaneuvered and beaten back by Napoleon. However, despite inflicting up to 30,000 casualties on the Allies, Napoleon lacked the cavalry to pursue his enemy and bring the battle to a decisive conclusion.
20–21 May 1813 Battle of Bautzen▲
On 20 May 1813 Napoleon caught up with the retreating Russo-Prussian army under Blücher and Wittgenstein at Bautzen in eastern Saxony. Napoleon’s 115,000 troops outnumbered the 96,000 Allies and, with Marshal Ney leading another 85,000 nearby, threatened to cut off and destroy their army. However, Ney was distracted, allowing the Allies to escape with roughly the same casualties as the French (about 20,000 on each side).
20 May 1813 Start of Vitoria Campaign▲
By early 1813 the French had regained Madrid and most of northern and central Spain, but were weakened by the continued harassment of Spanish guerrillas and Napoleon’s withdrawal of men to fight in Germany. In May Arthur Wellesley, Marquess of Wellington, launched a renewed offensive, leading 121,000 British, Spanish, and Portuguese troops from northern Portugal across the mountains of northern Spain and the Esla River. Wellington retook Salamanca on the 26th, then skirted north of the main road to Burgos, forcing the French to abandon Madrid for fear of being outflanked.
4 Jun 1813 Armistice of Pläswitz▲
Following his victory at Bautzen, Napoleon advanced as far as Breslau in Silesia at the beginning of June 1813, threatening to outflank the leaders of Russia and Prussia, who were near the Austrian border at Schweidnitz. Alarmed by their situation, the Allies requested a truce, which Napoleon—who wanted to gather reinforcements and rebuild his weakened cavalry—agreed to. The armistice would eventually be extended to mid-August and ultimately favored the Allies by giving them time to reorganize and convince Austria to join their side.