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Napoleonic Wars : Battle of Kulm


Napoleonic Wars : Battle of Kulm

Battle of Kulm by A. Kotsebu

Photograph Courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org


The Battle of Kulm was fought during the War of the Sixth Coalition (1812-1814), which was part of the Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815).


The fighting at Kulm took place on August 30, 1813.

Armies & Commanders:

Coalition Forces

  • Field Marshal Barclay de Tolly
  • Field Marshal Count Peter Wittgenstein
  • Lt. General Count Alexander Ostermann-Tolstoy
  • Field Marshal Friedrich von Kleist
  • 54,000 men

French Empire

  • Dominique Vandamme
  • Laurent Gouvion Saint-Cyr
  • Auguste Marmont
  • 32,000 men

Battle Summary:

Following the French victory at the Battle of Dresden (August 26-27, 1813), Napoleon dispatched the corps of General Dominique Vandamme to pursue the fleeing forces of the Sixth Coalition. To support Vandamme's advance, he ordered Marshals Gouvion Saint-Cyr and Auguste Marmont follow. Marching hard, Vandamme's column caught up with troops of Russian Lt. General Count Alexander Ostermann-Tolstoy near Kulm. At 6:00 AM, Vandamme launched an attack against the Field Marshal Count Peter Wittgenstein's lines, breaking them and capturing both men and artillery.

Pressing on, Vandamme assaulted Austrian troops in Kulm, and succeeded in driving them back to Teplitz. Realizing that he had Vandamme outnumbered, Ostermann-Tolstoy reformed his lines to renew the battle. As the battle recommenced, a 10,000 man Prussian force, under Field Marshal Friedrich von Kleist appeared in Vandamme's rear. The Prussians, which had been retreating from Saint-Cyr, now moved to attack Vandamme. Nearly encircled, Vandamme's corps fought doggedly and over half were able to escape before the fighting ended.

Aftermath & Impact:

In the fighting at Kulm, the French suffered 5,000 killed and wounded, as well as 13,000 captured, including Vandamme. For the Coalition, casualties numbered around 11,000. The victory at Kulm, coupled with the victories at Katzbach (August 26) and Dennewitz (September 6) helped offset the defeat at Dresden and aided in expelling the French from Germany.

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