18 March-27 May, 1807
the tremendous slaughter at Eylau,
Napoleon Bonaparte needed
to secure naval supply lines and his rear and so ordered
Marshal Francois Lefebvre
to deal with the formidable fortress at the Prussian port
around 18,000 men of X Corps, together with specialist siege
units, Lefebvre found himself facing some 16,000 defenders
- almost twice as many as believed - who were well entrenched
inside the well-stocked city.
difficult terrain did not assist his cause, with swamps,
canals, a lake and streams making progress slow.
was also the danger of enemy reinforcements arriving but,
by early March, Lefebvre had occupied ridges overlooking
were erected and despite the annoyances of minor sorties
by the Prussians, the French were inexorably moving towards
being able to assault the fortress.
10 May, however, a British and Russian naval force landed
some 8000 Russian troops under Marshal Alexander Kamenskoi
to help the defenders. As it turned out, their arrival was
of limited assistance because they found the French had
occupied the strategic Holm Island and were forced to fortify
their own camp first.
request to Marshal Jean Lannes
quickly brought another 15,000 French troops to the scene
and they succeeded in defeating Kamenskoi. Within two weeks
his force had abandonned the operation and reembarked.
final sortie did manage to buy some time for the defenders,
but with his last hope for assistance gone, and the French
readying for an assault, the Prussian commander, General
Count von Kalkreuth, decided to ask for terms.
approach was welcomed by Lefebvre and Bonaparte consented
to the Prussians, who had agreed to end the defence before
a breach in the walls had been made, being allowed to withdraw
with full military honours.
55-day investment of Danzig was one of the few major sieges
to take place in continental Europe outside of the Peninsula.