The Defence of France 1814


Map Code: Ax01012

In 1814 Napoleon’s forces, depleted and weary after two years of successive defeats in Russia and central Europe, were now threatened by a coalition invasion of France itself. Outnumbered by the combined might of Austria, Prussia, Russia, the United Kingdom, Portugal, Sweden, Spain and several German states, Napoleon conscripted further soldiers, called upon his veteran guard divisions and revived the French cavalry. Between 27 January–30 March the Allies and French forces fought a series of battles in ‘barren Champagne’, a swathe of land that extended 145 miles (233 km) from Paris to La Rothière in the east. Napoleon inflicted many defeats, including the decimation of the Russian corps at the Battle of Champaubert and the Prussian and Russian forces under General Bücher at the Battle of Craonne. However, the coalition forces ultimately defeated Napoleon and in the Battle of Paris on 31 March, the French commanders surrendered.

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