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Battle of Leipzig

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World history courses certainly study The Battle of Leipzig as one of the decisive conflicts of the Napoleonic Wars. This famous battle was also known as the Battle of Nations, and this October 1813 battle included, on the allies side, the combined forces of:

  • Prussia
  • Russia
  • Austria
  • Sweden

Prussia, Russia, Austria and Sweden were pitted against the French forces of Napoleon and his allies. Some 600,000 troops took place in the battle between 16 and 19 October, making this the largest European land battle before the First World War. Battle of Leipzig

Battle of Leipzig

and Napoleon


By the autumn of 1813, Napoleon had failed in his attempt to invade Russia. Seeking to retain his hold over Germany, Napoleon’s shrinking forces were retreating westward when the regrouped Coalition forces approached his position around the town of Leipzig.

Although he was greatly outnumbered, Napoleon took to the offensive. A hard fought first day resulted in a stalemate. A second day of fighting also proved inconsequential. By the 18th of October, Coalition forces were beginning to surround Napoleon, who then attempted to sue for an armistice, which was rejected. Many of Napoleon’s German allies then defected, so that by the 19th of October, Bonaparte began retreating.

Battle of Leipzig... Bloodiest Battle

The Battle of Leipzig was one of the bloodiest in European history, with as many as 110,000 casualties. This was Napoleon’s first defeat and it emboldened the Coalition to press into France itself, eventually leading to Napoleon’s abdication and first exile on the Isle of Elbe.

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