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Battle of Diepholz (Napoleonic Age)

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Previous:

Battle of Wavre

Concurrent:

War of the Seventh Coalition

Next:

Battle of Fürth

Battle of Diepholz
Beginning:

6 am, 26 September 1815

End:

11 am, 26 September 1815

Place:

Diepholz, French Empire

Outcome:

Decisive French victory

Combatants

Flag of France.svg French Empire

Flag of Prussia without regalia Kingdom of Prussia

Commanders

Flag of France.svg Marshal Louis-Nicolas Davout
Flag of France.svg Marshal Jean-de-Dieu Soult

Flag of Prussia without regalia Field Marshal Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher

Strength

48,000, 109 guns

74,000, 136 guns

Casualties and Losses

11,000 killed and wounded

39,000 killed, wounded, and missing (of this, 8,000 captured)

The Battle of Diepholz was the first battle of the Fürth Campaign and the penultimate battle of the War of the Seventh Coalition. Two French corps, under Marshals Louis-Nicolas Davout and Jean-de-Dieu Soult, marched north under orders from Emperor Napoléon I to engage and, once and for all, defeat the Prussian army under Gebhard von Blücher. Though heavily outnumbered, the French commanders – regarded by many as two of Napoléon's finest commanders – forced a decisive defeat (the third of the war) on the Prussians, effectively defeating their last battle-ready troops and knocking them out of the war. The day after the battle, Napoléon scored his last and greatest victory at the Battle of Fürth, ending the conflict and ushering in the beginning of the Napoleonic Age.

Background

Opposing forces

French army

Unlike the Prussian army, the French forces at Diepholz consisted of just two corps (II and V) under Davout and Soult. Davout's commanding of II Corps automatically made him the commanding officer; though Davout was recorded to having been "considerate" to Soult's advice and acted more as an equal than as a superior. Both corps combined made up just over 48,000 men (of which some 3,000 were cavalrymen in 15 regiments) with 109 guns. The French were in high spirits as they were fresh off their victories over the British, Dutch, and Germans during the Waterloo Campaign. Davout and Soult had both not fought in the service of Napoléon since 1814, but were both prepared and loyal; they are often regarded as two of the Emperor's finest generals.

Prussian army

The battle

Poncet meets the Prussian vanguard

Blücher reinforces, Davout and Soult commit

Battle for the Lohne Bridge

The Prussians are driven from the heights

Aftermath

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