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Battle of Grand Couronné
Part of the First World War
Date4 – 13 September 1914
LocationMeurthe-et-Moselle, France
Result French victory
 France  German Empire
Commanders and leaders
France General Noel de Castelnau German Empire Rupprecht, Crown Prince of Bavaria
French 2nd Army (225 000 men) German 6th Army (350 000 men)
Casualties and losses
unknown unknown, but very heavy, many more surrender

The Battle of Grand Couronné (French language: Bataille du Grand Couronné) was an episode of the Battle of the Frontiers, at the beginning of the First World War. The battle was fought from 4 to 13 September 1914, between the 6th German Army commanded by Crown Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria and the 2nd French Army commanded by Noel de Castelnau.

Background[edit | edit source]

After the failure of the Battle of Lorraine on 20 August 1914, the 2nd French Army retreated. It occupied the Grand Couronné; a series of heights near Nancy, on an arc of Pont-à-Mousson, Champenoux, Lunéville and Dombasle-sur-Meurthe. After the Battle of the Mortagne, a first attempt at opening up the junction point of the First and Second French Armies, the Germans decided to simultaneously attack Saint-Dié and Nancy resulting in the Battle of Grand Couronné. After the failure of the Battle of Mortagne, the capture of Nancy would have been an important German psychological victory. German Emperor Wilhelm II came in person to supervise the offensive. In parallel with the German attack, pressure was placed on the Allied forces in the west and Castelnau had to dispatch several divisions to reinforce the French 3rd Army.

The battle[edit | edit source]

The battle began on 4 September 1914 by the starting of a German artillery bombardment. Many villages of the sector were destroyed. From 5 September, in spite of heavy losses, the outcome remained in doubt. On the 9th and 10th Nancy was bombarded.

On 12 September, the Germans started a retreat under the protection of their artillery. On the 13th, Pont-à-Mousson and Lunéville were recaptured by the French without combat. The French forces continued to advance until close to the Seille river, where the front stabilized until 1918.

Aftermath[edit | edit source]

The Battle of Grand Couronné and the Battle of Mortagne largely contributed to the allied success of the First Battle of the Marne, by fixing a large number of German troops in Lorraine. Castelnau was promoted to Grand cross of the Légion d'honneur on September 18, 1914.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

Further reading[edit | edit source]

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