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The Humiliation of Prussia

The Rout of the Prussian Army, by Woodville

Disaster at Jena-Auerstadt

October, 14, 1806

In a feat of masterly strategy Napoleon cut off the Prussian Army and their Saxon allies from their main lines of communication. Forced to give battle, the Prussian army was shattered, it's elements fleeing to the winds. Those units that maintained order despite the loss of the battle were forced into situations where they were outnumbered and trapped, with little other choice than surrender. Yet, in the midst of this grand failure, there still remained moments of bravery and heroism.

The Fall of the Fortresses

Prussia, in 1806 had in place a fortress system which would have given her Army and Nation time to regroup in the event of any defeat. Sadly, these fortresses were in the main commanded by doddering old men, seeing the remnant's of a once proud and powerful army stream into their gates, lost all thoughts of defiance. Most of these powerful islands of stone and cannon fell to paltry parties of Frenchmen...one even as small as one plucky Lieutenant. Few were to hold until the cessation of hostilities. Colberg the most well known example. The name Colberg was to become synonymous with bravery and defiance against the greatest odds.

The Death of Old Fritz's Army

In most books, one reads that the Prussian Army had ceased to exist after Jena-Auerstadt. This is untrue. Many of the soldiers who fought and fled in 1806-1807 were to return to battle again in 1806, 1807, and 1813. Too rarely, the Prussian Force's significant contribution to The Battle of Eylau is recognized. At Eylau, the Russian left was being turned by Davout. L'Estocq and his force of Prussians was to push Davout back, and stabilize the situation, leading to what is considered Napoleon's first defeat. Even in it's darkest days, there were glimmers of bright light.

Jena-Auerstadt and the fall of the fortresses cannot be considered the fault of the common soldier. If the Prussian soldier of 1806-1807 can be considered guilty of anything, it would have been a loss of faith in old men, and an old system unworthy of such faith.

Below is a list of the Regiments of 1806, their fates, and their rebirths.

Infantry Regiment 1......dissolved in surrenders at Ratekau and Stettin

Infantry Regiment 2......fought with distinction at Eylau

Infantry Regiment 3......dissolved at capitulation at Magdeburg

Infantry Regiment 4......dissolved in surrenders at Ratekau, Travemunde, and Danzig (members east of the Elbe joined the First Leib Regiment zu fuss)

Infantry Regiment 5......dissolved in capitulation at Magdeburg

Infantry Regiment 6......dissolved in surrenders at Erfurt and Prenzlau

Infantry Regiment 7......First two Battalions capitulated at Ratekau. Third Battalion defended Colberg with all soldiers in service

Infantry Regiment 8......dissolved in surrender at Ratekau

Infantry Regiment 9......dissolved in capitulations at Erfurt and Hamelin

Infantry Regiment 10....dissolved at surrenders at Erfurt and Nienburg

Infantry Regiment 11....fought with distinction at Eylau, renamed 2nd East Prussian No. 3

Infantry Regiment 12....dissolved in surrenders at Ratekau and Stettin. Some soldiers escaping to fight at Colberg

Infantry Regiment 13....dissolved in surrenders at Prenzlau, Pinnow, and Stettin

Infantry Regiment 14....fought with distinction at Eylau, renamed 3rd East Prussian No. 4

Infantry Regiment 15....despite the capitualion at Prenzlau, renamed First Leib Regiment zu fuss

Infantry Regiment 16....fought with distincion at Eylau, renamed 4th East Prussian No. 5

Infantry Regiment 17....dissolved in capitulation at Magdeburg, Third Battalion joined Infantry Regiment 2

Infantry Regiment 18....dissolved in capitulation at Prenzlau. Uncaptured members joined the First Leib Regiment zu fuss

Infantry Regiment 19....dissolved in capitulations at Magdeburg and Kustrin, despite protestations of the troops

Infantry Regiment 20....dissolved in capitulation at Magdeburg

Infantry Regiment 21....dissolved in capitulations at Magdeburg and Prenzlau

Infantry Regiment 22....dissolved in surrenders at Nieder-Rossla and Pasewalk. Grenadiers gathered at Colberg and formed the Waldenfels Battalion, later renamed the First Kaiser Alexander Grenadier Regiment. Canton troops formed the 1st Pommeranian Regiment

Infantry Regiment 23....dissolved in capitulations of Erfurt and Prenzlau. third Battalion joined the Colberg Regiment

Infantry Regiment 24....dissolved at capitulations at Erfurt, Pasewalk, and Kustrin. Canton troops joined the 1st West Prussian Regiment

Infantry Regiment 25....dissolved at capitulations of Prenzlau and Stettin. Canton troops joined the 1st West Prussian Regiment

Infantry Regiment 26....dissolved in surrenders at Ratekau and Stettin. Canton troops joined the 1st West Prussian Regiment

Infantry Regiment 27....dissolved in surrenders at Ratekau and Hameln. Garrison troops joined the First Leib Regiment zu fuss

Infantry Regiment 28....dissolved in the capitulations of Magdeburg and Brieg. Garrison troops joined the 1st Silesian Regiment

Infantry Regiment 29....dissolved in capitulations of Pasewalk and Breslau. Garrison troops joined the 2nd West Prussian Regiment

Infantry Regiment 30....dissolved in the capitulation at Ratekau. The third Battalion became the 2nd Colberg Regiment

Infantry Regiment 31....dissolved in capitulation of Schweidnitz. Grenadiers faought with distinction at Eylau, and later joined Infantry Regiment 2

Infantry Regiment 32....dissolved in capitulations of Erfurt, Prenzlau, and Breslau. Garrison troops joined the 1st Silesian Regiment

Infantry Regiment 33....dissolved in capitulation at Magdeburg. Third, Fourth, and Fifth Battalions formed 2nd Silesian Regiment No. 12

Infantry Regiment 34....dissolved in capitulation at Pasewalk

Infantry Regiment 35....dissolved in capitulations at Erfurt and Magdeburg

Infantry Regiment 36....dissolved in capitulation at Magdeburg. Grenadiers joined Waldenfels Battaion at Kolberg

Infantry Regiment 37....dissolved in capitulation at Magdeburg

Infantry Regiment 38....dissolved in capitulation at Neisse. Third Battalion after the successful defense of Cosel joined the 2nd Silesian Regiment No. 12

Infantry Regiment 39....dissolved in capitulations at Magdeburg and Glogau

Infantry Regiment 40....dissolved in capitulations at Magdeburg, Erfurt, and Schweidnitz. Third Battalion joined the 2nd West Prussian Regiment

Infantry Regiment 41....dissolved in capitulations of Hameln and Neinburg

Infantry Regiment 42....fought with distinction at Eylau, it's numbers much reduced to the desertion of Polish troops. Remainder joined the 1st Silesian Regiment

Infantry Regiment 43....dissolved in capitulations at Magdeburg and Schweidnitz. Garrison troops joined the 2nd West Prussian Regiment

Infantry Regiment 44....dissolved in capitulation of Hameln. Survivors joined the 1st Silesian Regiment

Infantry Regiment 45....dissolved in capitulations at Magdeburg and Erfurt

Infantry Regiment 46....dissolved in capitulation of Breslau. Third Battalion joined the 1st Silesian Regiment

Infantry Regiment 47....dissolved in capitulation at Magdeburg. Third and Fourth Battalions remained in Glatz where they joined the 2nd Silesian Regiment No. 12

Infantry Regiment 48....dissolved in capitulations of Erfurt and Hameln

Infantry Regiment 49....dissolved in capitulations of Erfurt and Neisse. remaining troops joined the 1st Silesian Regiment

Infantry Regiment 50....dissolved in capitulations at Erfurt and Magdeburg. Third Battalion after the successful defense of Cosel joined the 1st Silesian Regiment

Infantry Regiment 51....Surrendered in Ratekau. Remaining men joined the 3rd East Prussian Regiment. Third Battalion took part in the successful defense of Danzig and joined the 1st West Prussian Regiment

Infantry Regiment 52....Formed the 1st West Prussian Regiment

Infantry Regiment 53....dissolved in surrender at Ratekau. Third Battalion defended Graudenz and joined the 1st West Prussian Regiment

Infantry Regiment 54....dissolved in surrender at Ratekau. Third Battalion defended Graudenz and joined the 2nd West Prussian Regiment. Garrison troops joined the 4th East Prussian Regiment

Infantry Regiment 55....dissolved in surrender at Ratekau. Third Battalion defended Graudenz and joined the 3rd East Prussian Regiment. Garrison troops joined the 4th East Prussian Regiment

Cuirassier Regiment 1......dissolved at surrenders of Pasewalk and Breslau. Remaining men joined the 1st West Prussian Dragoon Regiment

Cuirassier Regiment 2......dissolved at surrenders of Ratekau and Erfurt. Depot squadron joined the Brandenburg Cuirassier Regiment

Cuirassier Regiment 3......mostly captured at Prenzlau, Anklam, and Wahren. Remainder joined the Brandenburg Cuirassier Regiment

Cuirassier Regiment 4......in Reserve Corps in East Prussia in 1806-1807. Later joined Cuirassier Regiment 1

Cuirassier Regiment 5......renamed Brandenburg Dragoon Regiment No. 2

Cuirassier Regiment 6......Remained in existence

Cuirassier Regiment 7......Partially captured at Magdeburg. Remainder joined Cuirassier Regiment 6

Cuirassier Regiment 8......dissolved in capitulation of Pasewalk. Depot and survivors joined Cuirassier Regiment 1

Cuirassier Regiment 9......dissolved in capitulation of Pasewalk. Garrison troops joined the Silesian Cuirassier Regiment

Cuirassier Regiment 10....partially capitulated at Anklam. remainder joined the Stulpnagel Cuirassier Brigade

Cuirassier Regiment 11....partially capitulated at Prenzlau and Anklam. Remainder joined the Brandenburg Cuirassier Regiment

Cuirassier Regiment 12.....dissolved in capitulation of Pasewalk. Depot and Garrison troops joined the Silesian Cuirassier Regiment

Cuirassier Regiment 12...."Garde du Corps"....Fought at Auerstadt, and later at Eylau, unchanged until 1918

Dragoon Regiment 1......survivors gathered at Danzig and East Prussia

Dragoon Regiment 2......dissolved in capitulation at Prenzlau. Depot and survivors joined newly formed units in Silesia

Dragoon Regiment 3......Partially capitulated at Ratekau

Dragoon Regiment 4......Partially capitulated at Ratekau

Dragoon Regiment 5......Fought it's way to freedom.

Dragoon Regiment 6......Fought with distinction at Eylau and Heilsberg

Dragoon Regiment 7......Fought with distinction at Thorn and Soldau.

Dragoon Regiment 8......Fought with distinction at Thorn and Soldau.

Dragoon Regiment 9......Surrendered at Ratekau. remained in existence

Dragoon Regiment 10....Surrendered at Ratekau. remained in existence

Dragoon Regiment 11....dissolved in capitulation at Prenzlau. Remainder joined the 1st West Prussian Dragoon Regiment

Dragoon Regiment 12....Surrendered at Ratekau. Depot and survivors joined Hussar Regiment 6

Hussar Regiment 1......Partially surrendered at Ratekau and Anklam

Hussar Regiment 2......Surrendered at Ratekau. Reestablished in East Prussia

Hussar Regiment 3......Partially surrendered at Ratekau and Hameln. Became Hussar Regiment 6

Hussar Regiment 4......Renamed 1st Silesian Hussar Regiment

Hussar Regiment 5......Fought with great distinction at Eylau and Heilsberg became Leib Husaren Regiment

Hussar Regiment 6......Fought it's way to East Prussia. Survivors joined the new Hussar Regiment 4

Hussar Regiment 7......Partially surrendered at Ratekau and Krempelsdorf. Survivors and depot joined the new Hussar Regiment 4

Hussar Regiment 8......"Bluchers Hussars"......escaped Ratekau and became Hussar Regiment 5

Hussar Regiment 9......Became an Uhlan regiment, and later Uhlan Regiments 1 and 2

Hussar Regiment 10....Partially surrendered at Lubeck, Kustrin, and Magdeburg. Survivors joined the new Hussar Regiment 4

Peace With Dishonor

O Deustchland, holy fatherland!

They faith and love how true!

Thou noble land! Thou Lovely Land!

We swear to the anew.

Our country's ban for knave and slave!

Be they raven's food!

To Freedom's battle march the brave!

'Tis fell revenge we brood.

....Ernst Moritz Arndt, from "Vaterlandslied"

Frederick Wilhelm III Waiting for the End of the Conference on the Raft, by Woodville

As the Prussian King waited impatiently for three hours Napoleon and Alexander I held a conference on a raft at Tilsit. They were on Prussian Soil, and set upon making peace wholly at Frederick Wilhelm's expense. Rarely had a king been treated so disparagingly.

When Alexander met Napoleon, his first words were "I hate the English as heartily as you do, and am ready to help you in everything you undertake against them." Strange language to use in regards to one's allies. For the moment, however, it seemed to fit the Russian's purpose.

Baited with the lure of freedom to unlimited expansion in the east, Alexander forgot all about his erstwhile Prussian ally. His eyes were looking east to Siberia and India. And also south to Turkey which he had always seen as his legitimate prey.

At last, almost as an afterthought, Alexander asked Napoleon that he might present his dear friend Frederick Wilhelm. The next day, again on the raft, Napoleon treated the humiliated King of Prussia with conspicous rudeness. Treating him as one who would be asking for charity, remarks he addressed almost wholly to Alexander. Treating Frederick Wilhelm as some form of interloper. Alexander was never at ease until his Prussian ally had left them.

Alexander so far forgot his relations to both parties that he listened contentedly while Napoleon joked about the "Brandenburg Don Quixote". Alexander had pretended to be a man of chivalry and honour. At last, the true nature of this oportunist was revealed.

Forced upon Prussia was a huge war indemnity which was to render her fiscally broken. This indemnity was 16 times more than Prussia could raise in one year. Prussia was to lose half of her lands and population, being reduced to a state no larger than the one inherited by Frederick the Great.

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