Military Wiki
Battle of Craonne
Part of the War of the Sixth Coalition
Map of the battle (lower-right corner)
Date7 March 1814
LocationCraonne, France
Result French victory
France French Empire Kingdom of Prussia Kingdom of Prussia
Russia Russian Empire
Commanders and leaders
France Napoleon I,
France Michel Ney
France Étienne de Nansouty
Kingdom of Prussia Mikhail Vorontsov
37,000 16,300
Casualties and losses
5,400-8000 5,000

The Battle of Craonne was fought on 7 March 1814 and resulted in a French victory under Napoleon I against Russians and Prussians under General Blücher.[1]

Craonne is a village on the Chemin des Dames, in the département of Aisne.

Marshal Blücher had recovered from his earlier setbacks more quickly than Napoleon Bonaparte had hoped, and so the French Emperor was forced to switch his attacks from the Austrian Field Marshal Schwarzenberg back to the Prussian commander.

Moving with speed and aggression, the French pushed the Allies over the Aisne river and while Blücher planned his counter with some 85,000 men, his flanking army did not move fast enough. As a result, Napoleon's 37,000 troops struck Vorontsov's on it own. Napoleon's aim was to pin the Allies and then launch Marshal Ney, leading a mixed force heavily weighted towards cavalry, in a flanking move. Unfortunately for the French, the coordination was poorly timed. Consequently Ney not only suffered heavy casualties, including cavalry commander Etienne de Nansouty, but the Allies managed to extricate themselves from a sticky situation. Craonne cost Blucher 5,000 casualties, while Napoleon lost some 5,400.

The young French conscripted soldiers were called "Marie-Louise" (after Napoleon's second wife) because many were too young to have a beard.


  1. Gregory Fremont-Barnes (2002). The Napoleonic Wars: The Fall of the French Empire 1813-1815. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1-84176-431-0. 

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