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Prussian Victory
 
Prussian Victory
 
==Prelude to the Battle==
 
==Prelude to the Battle==
In the Spring of 1757, during the [[1757 - Prussian invasion of Bohemia|general advance of the Prussian columns on Prague]], General Königsegg attempted to defeat Bevern's column at it crossed the Neisse (present-day Noteć River). On Wednesday April 20, Königsegg chose an excellent position at or round Reichenberg, one march from Zittau and one from Liebenau (present-day Hodkovice nad Mohelkou). Reichenberg (present-day Liberec) was nestled among hills in the Neisse Valley and offered fine capabilities. There was especially an excellent hollow on the left or western bank of Neisse River, across from Reichenberg. This hollow was backed by woody hills, with brooks and woods all around. Königsegg posted his army in this hollow, planting batteries and falling abatis.  
+
In the Spring of 1757, during the [[1757 - Prussian invasion of Bohemia|general advance of the Prussian columns on Prague]], [[Königsegg-Rothenfels, Christian Moritz Count|FZM Königsegg]] attempted to defeat [[Braunschweig-Bevern, August Wilhelm, Duke of|Bevern]]'s column at it crossed the Neisse (present-day Lužická Nisa River). On Wednesday April 20, Königsegg chose an excellent position at or round Reichenberg (present-day Liberec), one march from Zittau and one from Liebenau (present-day Hodkovice nad Mohelkou). Reichenberg was nestled among hills in the Neisse Valley and offered fine capabilities. There was especially an excellent hollow on the left or western bank of Neisse River, across from Reichenberg. This hollow was backed by woody hills, with brooks and woods all around. Königsegg posted his army in this hollow, planting batteries and falling abatis.  
  
Bevern's column came upon General Königsegg who was manoeuvring ahead in superior force (26,000 men). Königsegg had with him Macquire who came from the right to cut off a large Prussian convoy on its way to join Bevern at Zittau. Königsegg had not completed concentration of his corps at Reichenberg and could field some 16,000 men. Bevern for his part had to send a strong detachment against Macquire, retaining only 15 battalions and 20 squadrons with him. Bevern approached Reichenberg in the evening of April 20 and found his way barred and had to take camp with the Neisse in front of him.
+
Bevern's column came upon Königsegg who was manoeuvring ahead in superior force (26,000 men). Königsegg had with him [[Maquire, Count Johann Sigismund|Maquire]] who came from the right to cut off a large Prussian convoy on its way to join Bevern at Zittau. Königsegg had not completed concentration of his corps at Reichenberg but could field some 16,000 men. Bevern for his part had to send a strong detachment against Maquire, retaining only 15 battalions and 20 squadrons with him. Bevern approached Reichenberg in the evening of April 20 and found his way barred and had to take camp with the Neisse in front of him.
 
==Map==
 
==Map==
[[File:Battle of Reichenberg.jpg|center|thumb|400px|Map of the battle of Reichenberg on April 21 1757.<br/>&nbsp;<br/>Source: ''Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen'', volume III by the German ''Grosser Generalstab'']]
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[[File:Battle of Reichenberg.jpg|center|thumb|400px|Map of the Battle of Reichenberg on April 21 1757.<br>&nbsp;<br>Source: ''Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen'', volume III by the German ''Grosser Generalstab'']]
  
The Austrians were deployed along a ridgeline dropping away to the Neisse Valley. They had reinforced their positions with 3 batteries of artillery and redoubts. The redoubts were further covered by abatis, palisades and wolf-pits. The woods were dense to the exception of the "Franzensthaler Grund" which can be considered as light wood. The stream along the "Partzdorffer Grund" had marshy banks.
+
The town of Reichenberg lay on the right bank of the Neisse. The foothills of the Isergebirge (present-day Jizera Mountains) almost reach the river while, on the left bank, the wooded slopes of the Jeschkengebirge are not more than 3 km from the river. Thus to the west of Reichenberg, the valley widens around a meander of the Neisse and is criss-crossed by several streams flowing into the river. The villages of Berzdorf (present-day Ostašov, part of Liberec), Franzensdorf (present-day Františkov, part of Liberec), Johannesthal (present-day Janův Důl) and Eichicht (present-day Doubí, part of Liberec) are scattered on the left bank of the river in this part of the valley.  These villages were close enough to each other to completely cover the approaches of Reichenberg from this side of the river. It was also difficult to use the heights on the right bank to fire on positions on the opposite bank. Only the heights immediately to the north and north-west of Reichenberg in the direction of Friedland (present-day Frýdlant) offered good positions to fire on the Austrian positions. However, [[Lacy, Count Franz Moritz|Major-General Lacy]] had built strong entrenchments on these heights during the previous winter when he had also surrounded the unwalled city with a palisade.
 +
 
 +
The Austrians were deployed along a ridgeline dropping away to the Neisse Valley. On the left bank, entrenchments defended the area between the Berzdorfer Stream and Franzensdorfer Stream. There was still a space of some 1,000 m. without entrenchment between the Austrian left wing and the outskirts of the forest but it was under the flanking fire of two redoubts. In fact these positions had been reinforced with 3 batteries of artillery and redoubts. The redoubts were further covered by abatis, palisades and wolf-pits. The woods were dense to the exception of the "Franzensthaler Grund" which can be considered as light wood. The stream along the "Berzdorfer Grund" had marshy banks.
 
==Description of Events==
 
==Description of Events==
 
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''Anecdote contributed by Harald Skala''
 
''Anecdote contributed by Harald Skala''
 
|}
 
|}
On April 21, Bevern passed the Neisse at break of day. During the passage of the river, he reconnoitred the Austrian positions. Meanwhile, [[Lacy, Count Franz Moritz|Lacy]], another Königsegg's subordinate, came from the left with Königsegg, intending to offer battle. Bevern soon realized that some Austrian infantry was most probably hidden in the woods at the foot of the mountain of Jesken and that he was about to be attacked on his left. Accordingly, Bevern ordered the [[G-NG/G-III/G-IV Kahlden Grenadiers|I. "Standing" Grenadier Battalion (Kahlden)]] and [[8/46 Alt-Billerbeck Grenadiers|Grenadier Battalion 8/46 Alt-Billerbeck]] to attack the Austrian behind their abatis. He also ordered [[Prinz von Preußen Infantry]] to stand in support of this assault. The Prussian grenadiers advanced with such intrepidity that the Austrians, after a general discharge, drew back behind their second line of abatis.  
+
On April 21, Bevern passed the Neisse at break of day. During the passage of the river, he reconnoitred the Austrian positions, obtaining sufficient information to be convinced that a large Austrian force was entrenched nearby. He immediately instructed Lieutenant-Colonel Warnery to protect the baggage at Kratzau (present-day Chrastava) with [[Münchow Fusiliers|I./Münchow Fusiliers]], 5 sqns of [[Puttkamer Hussars]], 150 dragoons and the commandeered foot in case that the Austrian force posted at Gabel would march against them.  
  
With the assault on the Austrian abatis well under way, Bevern ordered 15 dragoon squadrons to attack the Austrian cavalry, which they completely routed. During the ensuing pursuit, the Prussian dragoons exposed their right flank to the fire of the Austrian infantry which had retired behind the second abatis. The Prussian dragoons suffered considerable loss and were thrown into disorder. The Austrian cavalry took advantage of this to set itself in order and to attack the Prussian cavalry, throwing it back.
+
Even though the rear of his army was threatened by Maquire's Corps, Bevern resolved to advance against Reichenberg. However, he left 2 other bns to guard the baggage ([[12/39 Waldau Grenadiers|Grenadier Battalion Waldau]] and [[Münchow Fusiliers|II./Münchow Fusiliers]] while [[Jung Braunschweig Fusiliers]] was still further away escorting the provision wagons.
  
The Prussian hussars, concealed in a hollow up to this moment, suddenly came upon the Austrian flank. This allowed the Prussian dragoons to rally and to attack the Austrian cavalry once more, putting it totally to flight. The Austrian commander, seeing his cavalry beaten, feared that the victorious Prussian cavalry might charge his left or rear while the Prussian infantry would attack him frontally. Therefore, after a fight of 5 hours, he decided to abandon his entrenchments. His troops retired quite disorderly to the exception of Lacy's Corps who had not been engaged.  
+
Bevern formed his army in order of battle between Berzdorf and the Neisse. Meanwhile, Lacy, another Königsegg's subordinate, came from the left with Königsegg, intending to offer battle. Bevern soon realized that some Austrian infantry was most probably hidden in the woods at the foot of the mountain of Jeschken and that he was about to be attacked on his left. He instructed the battalions of his right wing to expel the Grenzer light troops from the woods on their right flank.
  
The Austrians left 25 officers and 849 privates killed or wounded on the field (FML August Count Porporati, Colonel Otto Ferdinand von Hohenfeld, Colonel Karl von Sinewald of [[Pálffy Cuirassiers]] were killed in action), about 500 prisoners and one or two guns. The Prussians lost 30 officers and 625 privates killed or wounded.
+
The marshy banks of the Berzdorfer Stream put a halt to Bevern's advance and he had to throw two bridges across this stream to allow his troops to resume their advance.
 +
 
 +
[[Prinz Heinrich von Preußen Fusiliers]], which had been brought forward from the second line, took position on both sides of each bridge with six 12-pdr guns.
 +
 
 +
At 7:00 a.m., the two wings of Bevern's army began to cross the bridges over the Berzdorfer Stream under the protection of [[Prinz Heinrich von Preußen Fusiliers]]. They immediately reformed lines on the other side of the stream and Prinz Heinrich von Preußen Fusiliers rejoined the second line. They then resume their advance under the cover of pieces of heavy and regimental artillery posted on the right bank of the Neisse.
 +
 
 +
The fire of the Prussian artillery forced the Austrian cavalry, which was initially deployed near Berzdorf, to take refuge behind the Austrian infantry of the left flank, posted in the woods.
 +
 
 +
Bevern then gave orders to [[G-NG/G-III/G-IV Kahlden Grenadiers|Grenadier Battalion Kahlden]] and [[9/10 Möllendorff Grenadiers|Grenadier Battalion Möllendorf]] to drive back the Austrians occupying the advanced abatis in the woods. He also ordered [[Prinz von Preußen Infantry]] to stand in support of this assault. These battalions resolutely attacked these abatis at the point of the bayonet without firing a shot. The Austrians, after a general discharge, drew back behind their second line of abatis.
 +
 
 +
With the assault on the Austrian abatis well under way, Bevern ordered his 15 dragoon squadrons to attack the Austrian cavalry. Major-General von Normann advanced through the space between the two attacking grenadier battalions with the 15 dragoon squadrons and charged the Austrian cavalry. On the first clash, [[Liechtenstein Dragoons]], deployed in the first line of the Austrian cavalry, were thrown back on their second line, disordering it. The Prussian dragoons then pursued the routing Austrian cavalry.
 +
 
 +
During the ensuing pursuit, [[Normann Dragoons]], who were deployed on the right wing, came under fire of the Hungarian [[Haller Infantry]] occupying the southernmost barricade. Normann Dragoons suffered considerable loss and were thrown into disorder.
 +
 
 +
At the about the same time, the Austrian cavalry rallied, made front and engaged the pursuing Prussian dragoons which were driven back.
 +
 
 +
The 5 sqns of [[Puttkamer Hussars]], concealed in a hollow up to this moment, suddenly came upon the Austrian flank saving the situation for the Prussians and allowing the Prussian dragoons to rally and to attack the Austrian cavalry once more, putting it totally to flight. [[Herzog von Württemberg Dragoons]] pursued the Austrians up to Franzensdorf.
 +
 
 +
Meanwhile, Bevern had moved [[Prinz Heinrich von Preußen Fusiliers|II./Prinz Heinrich von Preußen Fusiliers]] from the second line to the right wing of the first line and had advanced with his infantry against the entrenchments of the left bank. During this advance, his left wing suffered some losses from the Austrian artillery posted on the heights of the right bank while his centre and his right wing were protected by the terrain.
 +
 
 +
When the defenders of the entrenchments saw the Prussians appearing close to their positions and realized that their left flank was exposed because of the retreat of their cavalry, they abandoned their positions and retreated southwards without waiting for the coming attack.
 +
 
 +
Once beyond Franzensdorf, the Austrian infantry tried to make a stand. However, Königsegg realised that any further advance of the Prussians on the left bank could seriously endanger his main force posted on the right bank. He decided to break combat and to evacuate Reichenberg.
 +
 
 +
Bevern brought back his cavalry in second line, sending [[Prinz Heinrich von Preußen Fusiliers|I./Prinz Heinrich von Preußen Fusiliers]] to join the first line. He then sent his infantry forward, out of the conquered entrenchments, against the retreating Austrian foot. Bevern also detached [[G-NG/G-III/G-IV Kahlden Grenadiers|Grenadier Battalion Kahlden]], [[9/10 Möllendorff Grenadiers|Grenadier Battalion Möllendorf]], [[Quadt Infantry|I./Kleist Infantry]] and [[Prinz Heinrich von Preußen Fusiliers|II./Prinz Heinrich von Preußen Fusiliers]] against the southernmost barricade to prevent [[Haller Infantry]] from attacking his right wing in flank.
 +
 
 +
Königsegg assembled his troops retreating on both banks of the Neisse behind the Dörfelbach and then retired southwards in good order by Langenbruck (present-day Dlouhý Most) to Liebenau under the protection of his rearguard confided to Lacy.
 +
 
 +
By 11:00 a.m., the battle was finished. Bevern advanced up to a Heinersdorf (present-day Pilínkov) Eichicht line before encamping for the night. Furthermore, 2 bns and 5 sqns of [[Puttkamer Hussars]] secured his right flank in the woods, 2 bns secured his left flank on the right bank of the Neisse and [[Prinz Heinrich von Preußen Fusiliers|I./Prinz Heinrich von Preußen Fusiliers]] occupied Reichenberg.
 +
==Outcome==
 +
Bevern could now resume his advance for the planned junction with [[Schwerin, Kurt Christoph, count von|Schwerin]]'s Army of Silesia.
 +
 
 +
In this battle, the Austrians lost 2 officers and 85 men dead, 21 officers and 290 wounded, 2 officers and 474 men taken prisoners or missing for a total of 25 officers and 849 men. Furthermore, FML Count Porporati, Colonel Otto Ferdinand Count von Hohenfeld and Colonel Karl von Sinewald of [[Pálffy Cuirassiers]] had been killed in action.
 +
 
 +
The Prussians lost 5 officers and 188 men dead, 25 officers and 437 men wounded for a total of 30 officers and 625 men. Furthermore, Major-General Normann and Colonel von Lettow of [[Erbprinz von Hessen-Darmstadt Infantry]] were wounded.
 +
 
 +
The Prussians captured 1 dragoon standard, 2 standards and 3 ammunition wagons.
  
 
==Order of Battle==
 
==Order of Battle==
 
===Austrian Order of Battle===
 
===Austrian Order of Battle===
Commander-in-chief: Christian Moritz Count Königsegg und Rothenfels
+
Commander-in-chief: [[Königsegg-Rothenfels, Christian Moritz Count|FZM Christian Moritz Count Königsegg und Rothenfels]]
  
Total force: 16,700 men (13,200 foot and 3,500 horse (?)) with 26 field guns.
+
Summary: 14 bns (including 2 bns on their way from Gabel under Major-General Count Würben), 15 grenadier coys, 22 sqns, 2 Carabinier coys and 26 field pieces.  For a total of 13,200 foot and 3,500 horse.
  
'''Vanguard'''
+
'''Vanguard''' at the outskirts of the woods to the East of Reichenberg (altogether the 7 under strength sqns were formed in 3 sqns totalling only 300 men)
*[[Karlstädter-Szluiner Grenzer]] (1 bn)
+
*[[Splényi Hussars]] (2 sqn)  
*Converged grenadiers (2 coys)
+
*[[Karlstädter_Grenz-Hussars|Karlstädter Grenz-Hussars]] (1 sqn)  
*[[Splényi Hussars]] (5 sqns)  
+
*[[Karlstädter_Grenz-Hussars|Karlstädter Grenz-Hussars]] (2 sqns: altogether the 7 under strength sqns totalled 300 men)
+
*Converged Carabiniers (2 coys)
+
  
 
'''Main Corps'''  
 
'''Main Corps'''  
  
Right wing under [[Lacy, Count Franz Moritz|Major-General von Lacy]]
+
Right wing under [[Lacy, Count Franz Moritz|Major-General von Lacy]]  
+
*on the left bank of the Neisse in the entrenchments in front of Reichenberg
(west of the Neisse in the entrenchments in front of Reichenberg)
+
**[[Starhemberg Infantry|Starhemberg]] (1 bn)
*[[Sprecher Infantry|Sprecher]] (1 bn)
+
**[[Sprecher Infantry|Sprecher]] (1 bn)
*[[Starhemberg Infantry|Starhemberg]] (1 bn)
+
*behind the entrenchments between Rosenthal and Franzesdorf on the right bank of the Neisse
 +
**[[Gyulay Infantry|Gyulay]] (1 bn)
 +
**[[Warasdiner-Creutzer Grenzer]] (1 bn)
 +
**[[Forgách Infantry|Forgách]] (1 bn)
 +
**[[Sincère Infantry|Sincère]] (2 bns)
 +
**[[Mercy-Argenteau Infantry|Mercy-Argenteau]] (1 bn)
 +
**[[Deutsche Feldartillerie|Artillery]] (18 pieces in 2 batteries)
  
(behind the entrenchements between Rosenthal and Franzesdorf)
+
Left wing under [[Königsegg-Rothenfels, Christian Moritz Count|Count von Königsegg]] on the left bank of the Neisse
*[[Gyulay Infantry|Gyulay]] (2 bns (the graphical OOB in St.Paul gives 1 bn))
+
*Infantry (in entrenchments)
*[[Forgách Infantry|Forgách]] (1 bn)
+
**Converged grenadiers (2 coys)
*[[Mercy-Argenteau Infantry|Mercy-Argenteau]] (1 bn (the graphical OOB in St.Paul gives 2 bns))
+
**[[Mercy-Argenteau Infantry|Mercy-Argenteau]] (1 bn)
*[[Sincère Infantry|Sincère]] (1 bn)
+
**[[Karlstädter-Szluiner Grenzer]] (1 grenadier coy)
*[[Wallis Infantry|Wallis]] (maybe Kheul) (1 bn)
+
**Converged grenadiers (8 coys)
*Converged grenadiers (2 coys)
+
**[[Deutsche Feldartillerie|Artillery]] (8 pieces in 1 battery)
*[[Deutsche Feldartillerie|Artillery]] (2 batteries)
+
*Cavalry under Lieutenant-General Count Porporati deployed in two lines to the left of the entrenchments on the left bank
 +
**[[Liechtenstein Dragoons]] (6 sqns)
 +
**[[Pálffy Cuirassiers]] (6 sqns)
 +
**[[Benedikt Daun Cuirassiers|Löwenstein Cuirassiers]] (3 sqns)
 +
**[[Zweibrücken-Birkenfeld_Dragoons|Porporati Dragoons]] (2 sqns)
 +
**[[Batthyányi_Dragoons]] (2 sqns)
 +
**Converged Carabiniers (2 coys)
  
Centre under Count von Königsegg
+
Extreme left, occupying an isolated barricade in the woods
*Converged grenadiers (11 coys)
+
*[[Karlstädter-Szluiner Grenzer]] (1 bn)
*[[Kheul Infantry|Kheul]] (maybe [[Wallis Infantry|Wallis]])(1 bn)
+
*[[Sincère Infantry|Sincère]] (2 grenadier coys)
**[[Deutsche Feldartillerie|Artillery]] (1 battery)
+
*[[Haller Infantry]] (2 bns) occupying another barricade just behind the previous one
 +
 
 +
Major-General Count Würben's Brigade arriving from Gabel (2 bns making themselves ready in a clearing while the others were still on the march)
 +
*[[Kheul Infantry|Kheul]] (1 bn)
 +
*[[Leopold Pálffy Infantry|Leopold Pálffy]] (1 bn)
  
Left Wing
+
Another 10 bns and 14 grenadier coys were posted at Gabel under [[Maquire, Count Johann Sigismund|FML Maquire]] to defend the Passes of Lusatia.
*Cavalry under Lieutenant-General Count Porporati
+
**[[Liechtenstein Dragoons]] (7 sqns)
+
**''Commandierte'' Cavalry (Volunteers) (500 men)
+
**Unknow Dragoons (2 sqns) (maybe [[Zweibrücken-Birkenfeld_Dragoons|Porporati Dragoons]] (?))
+
**[[Batthyányi_Dragoons|Batthyányi Dragoons]] (4 sqns)
+
**[[Pálffy Cuirassiers]] (7 sqns)
+
*Infantry under Major-General  von Würben
+
**[[Sincère Infantry|Sincère]] (1 bn)
+
**[[Baden-Durlach Infantry|Baden-Durlach]] (2 bns)
+
**[[Pallavicini Infantry|Pallavicini]] (2 bns)
+
  
 
===Prussian Order of Battle===
 
===Prussian Order of Battle===
 
Commander-in-chief: [[Braunschweig-Bevern, August Wilhelm, Duke of|Duke of Brunswick-Bevern]]
 
Commander-in-chief: [[Braunschweig-Bevern, August Wilhelm, Duke of|Duke of Brunswick-Bevern]]
  
Total force: 14,500 men (11,500 foot and 3,000 horse) and 12 field guns
+
Total force (excluding detachments): 14,500 men (11,450 foot in 15 bns and 3,100 horse in 20 sqns and 12 heavy field pieces
  
 
'''Vanguard'''
 
'''Vanguard'''
Line 87: Line 128:
 
|- valign="top"
 
|- valign="top"
 
| colspan="2" align="center"|Infantry under Lieutenant-General von Lestwitz
 
| colspan="2" align="center"|Infantry under Lieutenant-General von Lestwitz
|- valign="top"
+
|- valign="center"
 
|''from right to left''
 
|''from right to left''
*[[8/46 Alt-Billerbeck Grenadiers|Grenadier battalion Alt-Billerbeck]] (1 bn)
+
*[[8/46 Alt-Billerbeck Grenadiers|Grenadier Battalion Alt-Billerbeck]] (1 bn)
 
*[[Erbprinz von Hessen-Darmstadt Infantry|Erbprinz von Hessen-Darmstadt]] (2 bns)
 
*[[Erbprinz von Hessen-Darmstadt Infantry|Erbprinz von Hessen-Darmstadt]] (2 bns)
 
*[[Amstell Infantry|Amstell]] (2 bns)
 
*[[Amstell Infantry|Amstell]] (2 bns)
Line 95: Line 136:
 
*[[Forcade Infantry|Forcade de Biaix]] (2 bns)
 
*[[Forcade Infantry|Forcade de Biaix]] (2 bns)
 
*[[Prinz von Preußen Infantry|Prinz von Preussen]] (2 bns)
 
*[[Prinz von Preußen Infantry|Prinz von Preussen]] (2 bns)
*[[9/10 Möllendorff Grenadiers|Grenadier battalion Möllendorf]] (1 bn)
+
*[[9/10 Möllendorff Grenadiers|Grenadier Battalion Möllendorf]] (1 bn)
*[[G-NG/G-III/G-IV Kahlden Grenadiers|I. "Standing" Grenadier Battalion (Kahlden)]] (1 bn)
+
*[[G-NG/G-III/G-IV Kahlden Grenadiers|Grenadier Battalion Kahlden]] (1 bn)
 
||
 
||
 
*[[Prinz Heinrich von Preußen Fusiliers]] (2 bns)
 
*[[Prinz Heinrich von Preußen Fusiliers]] (2 bns)
Line 112: Line 153:
 
*[[Prussian Field Artillery Regiment|Artillery]] (1 battery of 12 x 12-pdrs)
 
*[[Prussian Field Artillery Regiment|Artillery]] (1 battery of 12 x 12-pdrs)
  
'''Detachment made before the battle (no participation to the battle)'''
+
'''Detachment made before the battle (no participation in the battle)'''
 
*[[Puttkamer Hussars]] (5 sqns)
 
*[[Puttkamer Hussars]] (5 sqns)
 
*[[Münchow Fusiliers]] (2 bns)
 
*[[Münchow Fusiliers]] (2 bns)
*[[Braunschweig-Bevern Infantry|Braunschweig-Bevern]] ''Jung-Braunschweig'' (2 bns)
+
*[[Jung Braunschweig Fusiliers]] (2 bns)
*[[12/39 Waldau Grenadiers|Grenadier battalion Waldau]] (1 bn)
+
*[[12/39 Waldau Grenadiers|Grenadier Battalion Waldau]] (1 bn)
  
 
==References==
 
==References==
Archenholz, J. W., ''The History of the Seven Years War in Germany'', translated by F. A. Catty, Francfort, 1843, pp. 46-47
+
Archenholz, J. W.: ''The History of the Seven Years War in Germany'', translated by F. A. Catty, Francfort, 1843, pp. 46-47
  
Carlyle T., ''History of Friedrich II of Prussia'' vol. 18  
+
Carlyle, T.: ''History of Friedrich II of Prussia'' vol. 18  
  
Großer Generalstab, ''Die Kriege Friedrichs des Großen. Dritter Teil: Der Siebenjährige Krieg 1756–1763'', Vol. 2, Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung II, Berlin, 1903
+
''Friedrichs II. Einbruch in Böhmen 1757 und das Treffen von Reichenberg'', Organ der militärwissenschaftlichen Vereine, 1891
 +
 
 +
Grosser Generalstab Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung II: ''Die Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen'', Part 3 ''Der siebenjährige Krieg 1756-1763'', Vol. 2 ''Prag'', Berlin, 1901, pp. 74-81
  
 
Geschichte des Siebenjahrigen Krieges in einer Reihe von Vorlesungen, bearbeitet von den Offizieren des großen Generalstabs. ''Erster Teil: Die Feldzuge von 1756 und 1757''.  Berlin 1824.
 
Geschichte des Siebenjahrigen Krieges in einer Reihe von Vorlesungen, bearbeitet von den Offizieren des großen Generalstabs. ''Erster Teil: Die Feldzuge von 1756 und 1757''.  Berlin 1824.
  
Rogge, Christian, ''Ordre de Bataille zum Treffen bey Reichenberg - den 21ten April 1757 (V&B~Scenario)''
+
Rogge, Christian: ''Ordre de Bataille zum Treffen bey Reichenberg - den 21ten April 1757 (V&B~Scenario)''
  
Tempelhoff, Fr., ''History of the Seven Years' War'' Vol. I Section 4, as translated by Colin Lindsay, Cadell, London, 1793
+
Tempelhoff, Fr.: ''History of the Seven Years' War'' Vol. I Section 4, as translated by Colin Lindsay, Cadell, London, 1793
  
Thürheim, Andreas; ''Die Reiter-Regiment der k. k. österreichischen Armee'', vol. 1 - Die Cürassiere und Dragoner, F.B. Geitler, Wien: 1862, p. 240
+
Thürheim, Andreas: ''Die Reiter-Regiment der k. k. österreichischen Armee'', vol. 1 - Die Cürassiere und Dragoner, F.B. Geitler, Wien: 1862, p. 240
  
''1757, Reichenbeg and Malleschitz. The Journal of HORACE ST.PAUL from 10th April to 6th May''. Translated and Edited with additional material by Neil Cogswell. Graelene Books, 1997.
+
''1757, Reichenbeg and Malleschitz. The Journal of Horace St. Paul from 10th April to 6th May''. Translated and Edited with additional material by Neil Cogswell. Graelene Books, 1997
  
 
Vanicek, Fr.: ''Specialgeschichte der Militärgrenze aus Originalquellen und Quellenwerken geschöpft'', Vol. II, Vienna: Kaiserlich-Königlichen Hof- und Staatsdruckerei, 1875, pp. 412-413
 
Vanicek, Fr.: ''Specialgeschichte der Militärgrenze aus Originalquellen und Quellenwerken geschöpft'', Vol. II, Vienna: Kaiserlich-Königlichen Hof- und Staatsdruckerei, 1875, pp. 412-413
  
[http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/LaceWars/ Yahoo Lace Wars Group] Message No. 23468
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'''Acknowledgments'''
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 +
Diego Lena for the revised Austrian OoB
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 +
Harald Skala for the identification of several locations
  
 
[[Category:Battle]]
 
[[Category:Battle]]

Latest revision as of 04:19, 18 August 2019

Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Battles >> 1757-04-21 - Combat of Reichenberg

Prussian Victory

Prelude to the Battle

In the Spring of 1757, during the general advance of the Prussian columns on Prague, FZM Königsegg attempted to defeat Bevern's column at it crossed the Neisse (present-day Lužická Nisa River). On Wednesday April 20, Königsegg chose an excellent position at or round Reichenberg (present-day Liberec), one march from Zittau and one from Liebenau (present-day Hodkovice nad Mohelkou). Reichenberg was nestled among hills in the Neisse Valley and offered fine capabilities. There was especially an excellent hollow on the left or western bank of Neisse River, across from Reichenberg. This hollow was backed by woody hills, with brooks and woods all around. Königsegg posted his army in this hollow, planting batteries and falling abatis.

Bevern's column came upon Königsegg who was manoeuvring ahead in superior force (26,000 men). Königsegg had with him Maquire who came from the right to cut off a large Prussian convoy on its way to join Bevern at Zittau. Königsegg had not completed concentration of his corps at Reichenberg but could field some 16,000 men. Bevern for his part had to send a strong detachment against Maquire, retaining only 15 battalions and 20 squadrons with him. Bevern approached Reichenberg in the evening of April 20 and found his way barred and had to take camp with the Neisse in front of him.

Map

Map of the Battle of Reichenberg on April 21 1757.
 
Source: Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen, volume III by the German Grosser Generalstab

The town of Reichenberg lay on the right bank of the Neisse. The foothills of the Isergebirge (present-day Jizera Mountains) almost reach the river while, on the left bank, the wooded slopes of the Jeschkengebirge are not more than 3 km from the river. Thus to the west of Reichenberg, the valley widens around a meander of the Neisse and is criss-crossed by several streams flowing into the river. The villages of Berzdorf (present-day Ostašov, part of Liberec), Franzensdorf (present-day Františkov, part of Liberec), Johannesthal (present-day Janův Důl) and Eichicht (present-day Doubí, part of Liberec) are scattered on the left bank of the river in this part of the valley. These villages were close enough to each other to completely cover the approaches of Reichenberg from this side of the river. It was also difficult to use the heights on the right bank to fire on positions on the opposite bank. Only the heights immediately to the north and north-west of Reichenberg in the direction of Friedland (present-day Frýdlant) offered good positions to fire on the Austrian positions. However, Major-General Lacy had built strong entrenchments on these heights during the previous winter when he had also surrounded the unwalled city with a palisade.

The Austrians were deployed along a ridgeline dropping away to the Neisse Valley. On the left bank, entrenchments defended the area between the Berzdorfer Stream and Franzensdorfer Stream. There was still a space of some 1,000 m. without entrenchment between the Austrian left wing and the outskirts of the forest but it was under the flanking fire of two redoubts. In fact these positions had been reinforced with 3 batteries of artillery and redoubts. The redoubts were further covered by abatis, palisades and wolf-pits. The woods were dense to the exception of the "Franzensthaler Grund" which can be considered as light wood. The stream along the "Berzdorfer Grund" had marshy banks.

Description of Events

Did you know that...
In 2012, during the reconstruction of Neruda Place (Nerudovo náměstí) in Liberec, graves of some 900 Prussian and Austrian soldiers have been found. These soldiers died (maybe of typhoid fever) after the combat of 1757 in a hospital near Reichenberg. The City of Liberec plans to erect a memorial for these soldiers on Neruda Place.

Anecdote contributed by Harald Skala

On April 21, Bevern passed the Neisse at break of day. During the passage of the river, he reconnoitred the Austrian positions, obtaining sufficient information to be convinced that a large Austrian force was entrenched nearby. He immediately instructed Lieutenant-Colonel Warnery to protect the baggage at Kratzau (present-day Chrastava) with I./Münchow Fusiliers, 5 sqns of Puttkamer Hussars, 150 dragoons and the commandeered foot in case that the Austrian force posted at Gabel would march against them.

Even though the rear of his army was threatened by Maquire's Corps, Bevern resolved to advance against Reichenberg. However, he left 2 other bns to guard the baggage (Grenadier Battalion Waldau and II./Münchow Fusiliers while Jung Braunschweig Fusiliers was still further away escorting the provision wagons.

Bevern formed his army in order of battle between Berzdorf and the Neisse. Meanwhile, Lacy, another Königsegg's subordinate, came from the left with Königsegg, intending to offer battle. Bevern soon realized that some Austrian infantry was most probably hidden in the woods at the foot of the mountain of Jeschken and that he was about to be attacked on his left. He instructed the battalions of his right wing to expel the Grenzer light troops from the woods on their right flank.

The marshy banks of the Berzdorfer Stream put a halt to Bevern's advance and he had to throw two bridges across this stream to allow his troops to resume their advance.

Prinz Heinrich von Preußen Fusiliers, which had been brought forward from the second line, took position on both sides of each bridge with six 12-pdr guns.

At 7:00 a.m., the two wings of Bevern's army began to cross the bridges over the Berzdorfer Stream under the protection of Prinz Heinrich von Preußen Fusiliers. They immediately reformed lines on the other side of the stream and Prinz Heinrich von Preußen Fusiliers rejoined the second line. They then resume their advance under the cover of pieces of heavy and regimental artillery posted on the right bank of the Neisse.

The fire of the Prussian artillery forced the Austrian cavalry, which was initially deployed near Berzdorf, to take refuge behind the Austrian infantry of the left flank, posted in the woods.

Bevern then gave orders to Grenadier Battalion Kahlden and Grenadier Battalion Möllendorf to drive back the Austrians occupying the advanced abatis in the woods. He also ordered Prinz von Preußen Infantry to stand in support of this assault. These battalions resolutely attacked these abatis at the point of the bayonet without firing a shot. The Austrians, after a general discharge, drew back behind their second line of abatis.

With the assault on the Austrian abatis well under way, Bevern ordered his 15 dragoon squadrons to attack the Austrian cavalry. Major-General von Normann advanced through the space between the two attacking grenadier battalions with the 15 dragoon squadrons and charged the Austrian cavalry. On the first clash, Liechtenstein Dragoons, deployed in the first line of the Austrian cavalry, were thrown back on their second line, disordering it. The Prussian dragoons then pursued the routing Austrian cavalry.

During the ensuing pursuit, Normann Dragoons, who were deployed on the right wing, came under fire of the Hungarian Haller Infantry occupying the southernmost barricade. Normann Dragoons suffered considerable loss and were thrown into disorder.

At the about the same time, the Austrian cavalry rallied, made front and engaged the pursuing Prussian dragoons which were driven back.

The 5 sqns of Puttkamer Hussars, concealed in a hollow up to this moment, suddenly came upon the Austrian flank saving the situation for the Prussians and allowing the Prussian dragoons to rally and to attack the Austrian cavalry once more, putting it totally to flight. Herzog von Württemberg Dragoons pursued the Austrians up to Franzensdorf.

Meanwhile, Bevern had moved II./Prinz Heinrich von Preußen Fusiliers from the second line to the right wing of the first line and had advanced with his infantry against the entrenchments of the left bank. During this advance, his left wing suffered some losses from the Austrian artillery posted on the heights of the right bank while his centre and his right wing were protected by the terrain.

When the defenders of the entrenchments saw the Prussians appearing close to their positions and realized that their left flank was exposed because of the retreat of their cavalry, they abandoned their positions and retreated southwards without waiting for the coming attack.

Once beyond Franzensdorf, the Austrian infantry tried to make a stand. However, Königsegg realised that any further advance of the Prussians on the left bank could seriously endanger his main force posted on the right bank. He decided to break combat and to evacuate Reichenberg.

Bevern brought back his cavalry in second line, sending I./Prinz Heinrich von Preußen Fusiliers to join the first line. He then sent his infantry forward, out of the conquered entrenchments, against the retreating Austrian foot. Bevern also detached Grenadier Battalion Kahlden, Grenadier Battalion Möllendorf, I./Kleist Infantry and II./Prinz Heinrich von Preußen Fusiliers against the southernmost barricade to prevent Haller Infantry from attacking his right wing in flank.

Königsegg assembled his troops retreating on both banks of the Neisse behind the Dörfelbach and then retired southwards in good order by Langenbruck (present-day Dlouhý Most) to Liebenau under the protection of his rearguard confided to Lacy.

By 11:00 a.m., the battle was finished. Bevern advanced up to a Heinersdorf (present-day Pilínkov) Eichicht line before encamping for the night. Furthermore, 2 bns and 5 sqns of Puttkamer Hussars secured his right flank in the woods, 2 bns secured his left flank on the right bank of the Neisse and I./Prinz Heinrich von Preußen Fusiliers occupied Reichenberg.

Outcome

Bevern could now resume his advance for the planned junction with Schwerin's Army of Silesia.

In this battle, the Austrians lost 2 officers and 85 men dead, 21 officers and 290 wounded, 2 officers and 474 men taken prisoners or missing for a total of 25 officers and 849 men. Furthermore, FML Count Porporati, Colonel Otto Ferdinand Count von Hohenfeld and Colonel Karl von Sinewald of Pálffy Cuirassiers had been killed in action.

The Prussians lost 5 officers and 188 men dead, 25 officers and 437 men wounded for a total of 30 officers and 625 men. Furthermore, Major-General Normann and Colonel von Lettow of Erbprinz von Hessen-Darmstadt Infantry were wounded.

The Prussians captured 1 dragoon standard, 2 standards and 3 ammunition wagons.

Order of Battle

Austrian Order of Battle

Commander-in-chief: FZM Christian Moritz Count Königsegg und Rothenfels

Summary: 14 bns (including 2 bns on their way from Gabel under Major-General Count Würben), 15 grenadier coys, 22 sqns, 2 Carabinier coys and 26 field pieces. For a total of 13,200 foot and 3,500 horse.

Vanguard at the outskirts of the woods to the East of Reichenberg (altogether the 7 under strength sqns were formed in 3 sqns totalling only 300 men)

Main Corps

Right wing under Major-General von Lacy

Left wing under Count von Königsegg on the left bank of the Neisse

Extreme left, occupying an isolated barricade in the woods

Major-General Count Würben's Brigade arriving from Gabel (2 bns making themselves ready in a clearing while the others were still on the march)

Another 10 bns and 14 grenadier coys were posted at Gabel under FML Maquire to defend the Passes of Lusatia.

Prussian Order of Battle

Commander-in-chief: Duke of Brunswick-Bevern

Total force (excluding detachments): 14,500 men (11,450 foot in 15 bns and 3,100 horse in 20 sqns and 12 heavy field pieces

Vanguard

First Line Second Line
Infantry under Lieutenant-General von Lestwitz
from right to left
Cavalry under Major-General Eugen von Württemberg
 

Artillery

Detachment made before the battle (no participation in the battle)

References

Archenholz, J. W.: The History of the Seven Years War in Germany, translated by F. A. Catty, Francfort, 1843, pp. 46-47

Carlyle, T.: History of Friedrich II of Prussia vol. 18

Friedrichs II. Einbruch in Böhmen 1757 und das Treffen von Reichenberg, Organ der militärwissenschaftlichen Vereine, 1891

Grosser Generalstab Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung II: Die Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen, Part 3 Der siebenjährige Krieg 1756-1763, Vol. 2 Prag, Berlin, 1901, pp. 74-81

Geschichte des Siebenjahrigen Krieges in einer Reihe von Vorlesungen, bearbeitet von den Offizieren des großen Generalstabs. Erster Teil: Die Feldzuge von 1756 und 1757. Berlin 1824.

Rogge, Christian: Ordre de Bataille zum Treffen bey Reichenberg - den 21ten April 1757 (V&B~Scenario)

Tempelhoff, Fr.: History of the Seven Years' War Vol. I Section 4, as translated by Colin Lindsay, Cadell, London, 1793

Thürheim, Andreas: Die Reiter-Regiment der k. k. österreichischen Armee, vol. 1 - Die Cürassiere und Dragoner, F.B. Geitler, Wien: 1862, p. 240

1757, Reichenbeg and Malleschitz. The Journal of Horace St. Paul from 10th April to 6th May. Translated and Edited with additional material by Neil Cogswell. Graelene Books, 1997

Vanicek, Fr.: Specialgeschichte der Militärgrenze aus Originalquellen und Quellenwerken geschöpft, Vol. II, Vienna: Kaiserlich-Königlichen Hof- und Staatsdruckerei, 1875, pp. 412-413

Acknowledgments

Diego Lena for the revised Austrian OoB

Harald Skala for the identification of several locations