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Siege of Metz
Part of the Franco-Prussian War
Franco-prussian war faubourg Metz.jpg
The defense of Metz
Date19 August – 27 October 1870
LocationMetz, France
Result Decisive Prussian victory
Kingdom of Prussia Prussia France France
Commanders and leaders
Prince Friedrich Karl of Prussia François Bazaine (POW)
134,000 ~180,000
Casualties and losses
47,000 38,000 dead and wounded
142,000 captured

The Siege of Metz lasting from 19 August – 27 October 1870 was fought during the Franco-Prussian War and ended in a decisive Prussian victory.


After being defeated at the Battle of Gravelotte, Marshal Bazaine retreated into the defenses of Metz. There he was besieged by the Prussian Second Army led by Prince Friedrich Karl of Prussia on 19 August.[1][2] The French attempted to break the siege first at Noiseville and again at Bellevue but were repulsed each time. Although no call for help was made, the French Army of Châlons under the command of Marshal Mac-Mahon was nevertheless ordered to reinforce Bazaine. Marching to Metz, the Army of Châlons was trapped and destroyed at the Battle of Sedan. Bazaine was forced to surrender his entire army on 27 October 1870 because of starvation, without this, there is high chance that the French would have won the battle.[2][3] Prince Friedrich Karl and the Prussian Second Army were now free to move against the French force in the Loire River area. The siege is commemorated by the "Siegesmarsch von Metz" which uses parts of the "Die Wacht am Rhein".

One notable figure present on the Prussian side was the prominent philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, who served as a medical attendant. Nietzsche contracted both diphtheria and dysentery during the siege, worsening his already poor state of health.[4]


  1. Michael Howard, The Franco Prussian War ISBN 0-415-26671-8
  2. 2.0 2.1 William Fortescue, The Third Republic in France, 1870-1940: conflicts and continuities, (p. 9) ISBN 0-415-16944-5
  3. Article on F. Bazaine in Encyclopaedia Britannica

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