For a while Świerczewski was out of communication with his superiors, including Marshal Konev. [15] Many of the officers in the Polish Army were Soviet officers of Polish descent. After an intense bombardment by the grande batterie of Napoleon's artillery that started about noon and hours of heated fighting, the French overpowered the first defensive lines and seized the town of Bautzen. The 8th Infantry Division was also recalled; however, the 9th remained near Dresden. Wittgenstein formed two strong defensive lines east of the River Spree, with the first holding strongpoints in villages and along hills and the second holding the bridges behind a river bend. Polish sources describe the Germans as more experienced, however the German sources accentuate their mixed structure of experienced soldiers and inexperienced recruits of Hitlerjugend and Volkssturm units. His 68,000 troops defeated almost 90,000 Russians and Austrians, forcing Austria to make peace with France and keeping Prussia temporarily out of the anti-French alliance. [12], According to some sources, 26 April marks the end of this battle, although less severe and isolated clashes in that region continued until 30 April. For the battle, the Germans had two armored divisions (the 20th and Hermann Göring Divisions), two mechanized divisions (the Brandenburg and Hermann Göring 2 Divisions), an infantry division (the 17th) as well as an infantry division battle group (the remnants of the 545th Volksgrenadier Division). [2] The commanding general of the Polish 5th Infantry Division, Aleksander Waszkiewicz, was killed. [2][12] Many of them were new recruits inexperienced in combat, incorporated from the recently retaken Polish territories. [12] 26th Infantry Regiment from the 9th Division took very heavy casualties (75 percent) in the "valley of death" around Panschwitz-Kuckau and Crostwitz. It was the last counterattack of the Wehrmacht which had the desired tactical results. [17] In its subsequent breakout on 24 April, large parts of the 294th Division were destroyed. Bautzen and surroundings stayed in German hands until Germany's capitulation. [6] Opposing these forces was the 4th Panzer Army under General Fritz-Hubert Gräser, of Field Marshal Ferdinand Schörner's Army Group Center. [1][2][28] However, since the fall of communism modern Polish historians have been much more critical of Świerczewski's command, blaming his drive on Dresden for the near destruction of the Polish force. Following the Battle of Bautzen, in May 1813, during the War of the Sixth Coalition, both sides agreed to a seven week truce to plan and better prepare. But these assaults were only intended to fix the allies in place so they could be cut off and enveloped. [9][16] In the village of Niederkaina, today a part of Bautzen, between 196 and 300 captured German members of the Volkssturm were locked in a barn which was set on fire by retreating Polish or Soviet troops. [19] At first, Polish general Świerczewski continued with his attempt to take Dresden, which contributed to the growing chaos in the Polish forces, as many communication lines were cut. The Russo-Prussian army was nearly 100,000 strong, but Napoleon had 115,000. Finally, generals Wittgenstein and Blücher were ordered to stop at Bautzen by Tsar Alexander I and King Frederick William III. [31] The 21st Panzer Division has also been mentioned in connection with this battle, but the 21st had already moved north as part of reinforcements provided by the 4th Panzer Army to the 9th Army. Polish historiography during the People's Republic of Poland portrayed the battle as difficult, but victorious. [18], Meanwhile the German advance to the southeast of Bautzen was successful. At the same time at Bautzen the 20th Panzer Division was able to make contact with the trapped units in the town from the south. The Polish Second Army under Karol Świerczewski suffered heavy losses, but with the aid of Soviet reinforcements prevented the German forces from breaking through to their rear. According to one historian the Battle of Bautzen was one of the Polish Army's bloodiest battles. Note Battle of Leipzig and the relative campaing was a large scale struggle with more indipendent Commands/Armies per side. The Battle of Bautzen was one of the last German counterattacks of World War II, occurring from 21 to 30 April 1945. [2][4], On 21 April, a gap had formed between the Polish infantry units (8th and 9th Infantry Divisions) and the 1st Armored Corps pushing towards Dresden, and the Polish units which were securing the Muskauer Forst region. [2] Coordination between the units was also lacking. The battle took place during Ivan Konev's 1st Ukrainian Front's push toward Berlin, which was part of the larger Soviet Berlin Offensive. Wojskowe Biuro Badań Historycznych (2009) (in Polish). Their pursuit of retreating German forces toward Dresden threatened to cut off additional forces in the Muskauer Forst region. A hastily assembled Polish counterattack was not successful and most of Bautzen was then recaptured after several days of bloody house-to-house combat. The Russo-Prussian army was being pushed back and at 4:00pm, the Tsar realized the threat that Ney posed on his right and that the battle was lost and issued orders for a general retreat. Although a success for the French, Bautzen was not the decisive, strategic result Napoleon was looking for. b ^ Wawer and Solak assert that the 2nd SS Panzer Division was also present in the battle. [2] The units were moving with insufficient security, on the assumption that the line of retreat was safe; at the same time the Germans captured Polish orders with details of their planned withdrawal routes. The Soviet 294th Rifle Division was encircled at Weißenberg by the Brandenburg Division. [2] In the west 20th Panzer Division commenced its drive on Bautzen, while in the east 17th Infantry Division advanced on Niesky and Weißenberg, freeing a number of trapped German troops on its way. See more. [2], The Germans succeeded in linking up with the remnants of their forces in the Muskauer Forst, and throwing the local Polish and Soviet forces into chaos. SS Panzer-Division "Frundsberg" - Lexikon der Wehrmacht (Encyclopedia of the Wehrmacht)", http://www.lexikon-der-wehrmacht.de/Gliederungen/PanzerdivisionenSS/10SSPD-R.htm, http://books.google.com/books?id=7Ff065RmrAsC&pg=PA40, http://books.google.com/books?id=c52tNnBdk7QC&pg=PA182, http://books.google.com/books?id=6UaU6ZLqK4UC&pg=PA591, http://books.google.com/books?id=l5aGjQbzkiYC&pg=PA180, "Gedenken an Kriegsgräuel von Niederkaina - Bautzner Anzeiger (Remembrance of the wartime atrocities of Niederkaina)", http://www.bautzen-anzeiger.de/bautzen/gesellschaft/6794_gedenken-an-kriegsgraeuel-von-niederkaina.html, http://books.google.com/books?id=Bg8drRyDGhEC&pg=PA395, "Budziszyn 1945 –zapomniana bitwa (Forgotten Battle)", http://classic-web.archive.org/web/20070311005707/http://www.myslpolska.icenter.pl/index.php?menu=historia&nr=2005050114473, http://books.google.com/books?id=vpq1AAAAIAAJ, http://books.google.com/books?id=p-ZJAAAAIAAJ, https://military.wikia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Bautzen_(1945)?oldid=4422857, Saxony articles missing geocoordinate data. It received orders to retreat on 26 April. [12], Eventually, Świerczewski halted his force's advance on Dresden, and ordered it to pull back and secure the breach. The Prusso-Russian army was in a full retreat following their defeat at the Battle of Lützen.Finally, generals Wittgenstein and Blücher were ordered to stop at Bautzen by Tsar Alexander I and König Frederick William III.The Prusso-Russian army was nearly 100,000 men strong, but Napoleon had 115,000 troops. – Napoleon’s propagannda was hyperbole in the extreme, but it served to rouse the new recruits, who had performed marvels upon the field, into believing themselves immortal gainers of one of the greatest battles in history. [13] The supply train of the 10th SS Armored Division was also present near Bautzen. Several days of bloody house-to-house combat very costly victory for the battle of Bautzen was one the! Formation as the 2nd SS Panzer Division was also present in the forested region around Lohsa Gräser. Guards Army. 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