Leipzig (16-19 Octobre 1813)
"The gigantic battle of Leipzig was the most memorable, the most decisive and one of the bloodiest ever. Nearly 500,000 men fought for four days under the eyes of four sovereigns. More than 100,000 men paid their fame by their blood or their freedom. "
These few lines, taken from Langeron's memoirs, sum up this shock of titans. The battle of Leipzig was the battle of all the superlatives, both in its duration, the number of soldiers engaged and the monstrous losses of the two armies. For the first time, Napoleon had to face all his opponents at the same time and they had learned a lot from their past failures. At dawn on October 16, 1813, everyone was fully aware of the immense stakes of the coming battle: the fate of Europe and the Napoleonic empire. In reality, the outcome of this confrontation left little doubt and was the culmination of a campaign rich in twists and turns. In this immense chess game, Napoleon once again demonstrated his military talents, but his adversaries were no longer those of the victorious campaigns of the past, which he had difficulty understanding. Determined to put an end to French supremacy, they were animated by a nascent national sentiment and had learned the lessons of the defeats of the past.
Author: Frédéric Naulet