Combat of Dahme, 7 September 1813 (Prussia)

The combat of Dahme (7 September 1813) saw Allied troops capture 3,200 French prisoners in the aftermath of the battle of Dennewitz. (War of Liberation)

On 5 May Marshal Ney had left Wittenberg on the Elbe at the start of a march east towards Luckau and an planned rendevous with Napoleon. On the second day of the march he was effectively ambushed by Bernadotte's Army of the North around Dennewitz. Ney's three corps were spread out, and arrived on the battlefield several hours apart. Ney rather lost control of the battle, and by the end of the day his army had been scattered and was fleeing towards safety.

War of Liberation 1813 - Autumn Campaign
War of Liberation 1813 - Autumn Campaign

At about 6pm on 6 September Ney ordered his troops to retreat east towards Dahme, and Napoleon, who he believed was a little further to the east, at Luckau. This order failed to reach most of his men, and the majority of Reynier's and Oudinot's corps fled south to Torgau on the Elbe instead.

By the end of the day Bertrand and Ney were at Dahme, along with Raglovich's largely intact Bavarian unit. However it soon became clear that very few other troops were heading towards Dahme, and so on the following day Ney and Bertrand left for Torgau.

Napoleon's own plans had changed when it became clear that Marshal Macdonald's Army of the Bobr, which had suffered a defeat at the Katzbach (26 August 1813) and never really recovered, was once again retreating as Blücher's Army of Silesia advanced. He had abandoned the plans to concentrate at Luckau and instead moved east to support Macdonald. General Wobeser, with a force of Prussian cavalry, occupied the place.

On 7 September Wobeser attacked Ney and Bertrand as they left Dahme. Wobeser was able to capture Dahme village soon after Ney left, and captured 2,800 prisoners. He then pursued Bertrand, who left Dahme at 3am. During this fighting another 400 prisoners were taken, for a total of 3,200. This added significantly to the 10,000 French casualties suffered at Dennewitz on the previous day, and further damaged Ney's already battered army. Ney's remaining troops concentrated at Torgau, with orders to hold that key fortified crossing of the Elbe.

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (15 June 2017), Combat of Dahme, 7 September 1813 (Prussia) ,

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