1757 - Austrian invasion of Silesia – The Prussians try to hold Northern Bohemia
The campaign lasted from June to December 1757
After his defeat in the Battle of Kolin, Frederick II of Prussia had to give up on the invasion of Bohemia, to lift the Siege of Prague and to gradually retire into Northern Bohemia where he planned to "eat the country" before retiring to Lusatia or Silesia until mid or end of August.
After Daun's victory at Kolin on June 18, Daun and Prince Charles did not make their junction at Sworez (present-day Skvorec/CZ) near Prague until Sunday June 26. Furthermore, they made no attempt against the retreating Prussian armies, except to send Loudon with 4 grenadier coys, 2,000 Grenzer light troops (Karlstädter-Ottochaner, Karlstädter-Oguliner and Banal-Grenzinfanterieregiment nr. 2) and 600 men of Hadik Hussars on the Paskopol Highway (present-day Paškopole, a pass between the hills of Milešovka and Kletečná).
On June ??, Loudon's Corps attacked a Prussian detachment of 2,000 men near Schischitz (present-day Žiželice/CZ). This detachment was trying to effect a junction with Keith at Welwarn (present-day Velvary/CZ). Loudon took 15 officers and 246 troopers as prisoner of war. Several Prussians were also killed and wounded.
On June 24
On June 27, Loudon's Corps attacked a Prussian convoy of 100 wagons escorted by 200 recruits between Lobositz (present-day Lovosice/CZ) and Wellemin (present-day Velemín/CZ). The wagons of the convoy were quickly formed in a wagenburg. One of these wagons transported General Manstein who had been wounded at Kolin. Manstein bravely defended himself, refusing to surrender, and was killed during the fight. The rest of the defenders finally surrendered as prisoners of war (Colonel Kleist and the Marquise de Varenne, along with 8 other officers and 146 privates). Loudon also captured all their equipages including the military chest of Keith's Army.
On June 28
- Prince Moritz reached Jung-Bunzlau (present-day Mladá Boleslav/CZ), some 50 km north of Alt-Lissa, at the confluence of the Iser and Elbe rivers. He asked Frederick if he should retreat to Zittau in Southern Saxony because of the numerous Austrian light troops harassing his camp. However, Frederick preferred to "eat the country" first and to lie outside of Silesia and Lusatia, as well as of Saxony. Upon receipt of this request, Frederick immediately recalled Moritz and appointed the Prince of Prussia to go and take command.
- Grenzer light troops started to harass Moritz's positions.
- Loudon went to Kostambloth (present-day Kostomlaty pod Milešovkou/CZ) and then towards the hills forming the border with Lusatia. He deployed his corps near Kulm (present-day Chlumec u Chabařovic/CZ).
On June 29
- A Prussian bread convoy of 44 wagons escorted by 200 men under Major von Pomiana from Knobloch Infantry was attacked on its way from Leitmeriz (present-day Litomerice/CZ) to the Paskopol. In the action, the Prussians lost 1 man killed, 9 wounded and 2 wagons.
- Daun's Army marched to a camp between Mochow (present-day Mochov/CZ) and Wostrow (maybe Ostrov/CZ). Headquarters were established at Czelakowitz (present-day Čelákovice/CZ). General of Cavalry Franz Count Nádasdy led the vanguard, which was preceded by Loudon's small corps. This vanguard reached Benatek (present-day Benátky nad Jizerou/CZ). Four bridges were thrown over the Elbe.
- General von Beck with 3,000 Grenzer light troops marched towards Jung-Bunzlau.
|Order of Battle|
|Order of battle of the Austrian Army in Bohemia on June 30|
On June 30
- All sick and wounded who were still with Moritz's Army were sent towards Görlitz by Hirschberg (present-day Doksy/CZ), Böhmisch-Leipa (present-day Ceska Lipa/CZ), Georgenthal (present-day Jiřetín pod Jedlovou/CZ) and Löbau; escorted by 5 bns (Grenadier Battalion Plötz, Grenadier Battalion Möllendorff, Kurssell Fusiliers, II./Kalckreuth Fusiliers) and 5 sqns (I./Werner Hussars) under Major-General Rebentisch. Once the convoy arrived at Görlitz, leaving Grenadier Battalion Plötz and 50 hussars to guard the place, Rebentisch's detachment went to Zittau.
- Frederick sent Grenadier Battalion Kleist and 50 hussars to Wellemin to secure communications between Leitmeritz (present-day Litoměřice/CZ) and the Paskopol Highway.
- The two Prussian armies could make their junction in three or even in two marches.
- The main Austrian army (77 bns, 165 sqns with 140 artillery pieces, for a total of 57,392 foot and 15,525 horse) effected a junction at Czelakowitz. The right was at Mochow and the left on the high road from Brandeis (present-day Brandýs nad Labem/CZ). Headquarters remained at Czelakowitz. There were now five bridges over the Elbe: 2 at Littal (present-day Litol/CZ) and 3 at Tauschim (probably Lázně Toušeň/CZ).
- Nádasdy pushed forward Beck's Corps (3,000 Grenzer light troops) up to Korka (unidentified location).
- G.d.C. Bretlach rejoined the army with 42 sqns who had been previously sent to Moravia to recover.
At the end of June, Loudon attacked a Prussian detachment near Welwarn, took 160 as prisoner of war and captured one bridge-train.
On July 1
- At 4:00 a.m., the army of Prince Charles and Daun marched in four columns from Czelakowitz and crossed the Elbe upon five bridges at Czelakowitz (present-day Celakovice/CZ) southeast of Alt-Bunzlau (also known as Brandeis, present-day Brandýs nad Labem-Stará Boleslav/CZ) with an army of some 70,000 men. The Austrian army then encamped at Alt-Lissa, facing northwest.
- Nádasdy passed the Iser at Alt-Benatek and took position at Stranow (present-day Zámek Stránov/CZ). He was now within an hour's march of the camp of the Prince of Prussia at Jung-Bunzlau.
- Loudon wrote to Prince Charles from Mileschau (present day Milešov) informing him that he intended to surprise Aussig (present-day Ústí´nad Labem/CZ) but had been betrayed by a farmer. He then returned to the hills and sent a detachment to Tetschen (present-day Děčín/CZ) that captured 15 transport ships and killed part of their escort. Loudon received intelligence, that 5 Prussian grenadier bns were encamped on the Paskopol and 1 other bn with 100 hussars and 3 guns at Wellemin.
To Frederick's surprise, the Austrians had finally chosen to move upon the Prince of Prussia.
|There were now two Prussian armies in Bohemia separated by the Elbe and by a hilly and forested country. Frederick's Army (45 bns, 86 sqns for a total of 34,000 men including 11,000 horse) stood on the left bank of the Elbe; on the right bank was the army of the Prince of Prussia (48 bns, 75 sqns for a total of 33,800 men including 7,800 horse).
The army of the Prince of Prussia, encamped on the right bank of the Elbe, was now in a delicate position. Supplies in the magazine of Jung-Bunzlau were almost exhausted and the prince was still without news from Lieutenant-General von Brandes who was supposed to arrive from Zittau with new supplies. During this time, his army had to be supplied from Leitmeritz. However, its lines of communications with Frederick's Army as well as with Zittau where both seriously threatened by Austrian light troops who not only intercepted his messengers (Prussian hussars had to be paid a bonus and to disguise themselves with Austrian uniforms to successfully carry messages between the two Prussian armies) but began to harass his flanks in a country perfectly suited to their type of warfare.
On July 2
- Winterfeldt at the head of 4 grenadier bns and 700 hussars set off from the camp of the Prince of Prussia at Jung-Bunzlau and reconnoitred in the direction of Neuschloß (present-day Nové Hrady/CZ) near Böhmisch-Leipa. He met only small detachments of Austrian light troops and spent the night at Zolldorf (unidentified location).
- Lieutenant-General von Brandes finally reached Zittau but Prince Moritz forbade him to continue his march, fearing that he would be intercepted by Austrian light troops before reaching the army of the Prince of Prussia. Brandes sent the recruits destined to Meyerinck Infantry and Goltz Infantry along with the detachment of Seydlitz Hussars by Dresden to join Frederick's Army.
- To add to Frederick's sorrow, the news of his mother's death reached him. Queen Sophie Dorothée had died at Berlin on June 28, in her 71st year.
- Some 600 hussars and 1 bn of Carl Lothringen Infantry arriving from Hungary, reached the camp of the Austrian main army.
- Nádasdy soon left his light troops vanguard give chase to the retreating Prussians and concentrated his attention on the movements of Frederick's Corps. This vanguard, under the command of Colonel Loudon, consisted of 4 grenadier coys, 2,000 Grenzer light troops (Karlstädter-Lykaner Grenzer, Karlstädter-Ottochaner Grenzer, Karlstädter-Oguliner Grenzer and Banal-Grenzinfanterieregiment nr. 2) and 600 men of Nádasdy Hussars.
Meanwhile, Frederick remained four weeks at Leitmeritz with his army parted this way, waiting to find out which theatre of operation would first require his intervention.
Prince of Prussia retreats in front of superior forces
On July 3
- Informed that part of the Austrian army was advancing on his positions, the Prince of Prussia and his generals, considering that they could not hold the position of Jung-Bunzlau, set off from their camp with their army. Lieutenant-General Count Schmettau, with 4 bns and 5 sqns, escorted the heavy artillery and baggage to Hirschberg. The army followed in two columns, covered by a rearguard of 4 grenadier bns, Freibataillon le Noble, the Feldjäger zu Fuß and 15 sqns under Zieten. After an arduous march, it finally reached Hirschberg late in the evening.
- Winterfeldt effected a junction with the army of the Prince of Prussia at Hirschberg.
- Several grenadier bns (Kahlden, Wangenheim, Waldow and Nimschöfsky) were so depleted that they had to be combined in a temporary battalion under H. von Carlowitz from Grenadier Battalion Kahlden.
|Order of Battle|
|Order of march of the army of the Prince of Prussia in Bohemia on July 3|
- The Right Wing of the Reserve Corps, under G.d.I. Count Anton von Colloredo, set off from Alt-Lissa and marched to Alt-Benatek.
- The timely destruction of the bridge on the Iser prevented Morocz's Corps from crossing to the right bank to harass the retiring army of the Prince of Prussia.
- Nádasdy's Corps, already posted on the right bank, closely followed the army of the Prince of Prussia.
- In the afternoon, Loudon with 1,000 Grenzer light troops (Karlstädter-Lykaner Grenzer, Karlstädter-Ottochaner Grenzer, Karlstädter-Oguliner Grenzer and Banal-Grenzinfanterieregiment nr. 2) attacked Grenadier Battalion Kleist between Lobositz and Wellemin. This grenadier bn had been sent by Keith to clear the Paskopol. Loudon took position at Lobositz to prevent an intervention of the Prussians encamped at Leitmeritz. Some 300 men of Banal-Grenzinfanterieregiment nr. 2 under Lieutenant-Colonel Gerlichich took position to the north of Wellemin to stop any reinforcements coming from the Paskopol.
- Grenadier Battalion Kleist, attacked on three sides, formed a square on a small knoll. It soon exhausted its ammunition and the Grenzer light troops managed to penetrate one side of the square. They were driven back at the point of the bayonet but quickly came back with a gun. Meanwhile, Major von Seel with 100 men from Zieten Hussars was arriving from the Paskopol and 200 men from Meinicke Dragoons from the camp of Leitmeritz. Loudon's light troops retired into the woods. In this action, Grenadier Battalion Kleist lost 2 officers and 19 men killed, and 5 officers and 186 men wounded. In the evening, II./Alt-Braunschweig Infantry reinforced Wellemin, Loudon lost 1 captain and 10 men killed, and 4 officers and 66 men wounded.
On July 4
- The army of the Prince of Prussia marched in two columns around the Herrnser pond (present-day Lake Mácha) and encamped to the north of it with its right wing anchored on the road leading to Böhmisch-Leipa. Grenadier Battalion Gemmingen occupied Neuschloß. In the evening the Prince of Prussia received a message from Lieutenant-General von Brandes informing him that he had reached Zittau but had been forbidden to proceed further. The Prince of Prussia ordered him to advance to bring him some supplies.
- Major-General Rebentisch with II./Kalckreuth Fusiliers and I./Werner Hussars was charged to escort Brandes' convoy from Zittau. Grenadier Battalion Plötz was left in Görlitz and Kurssell Fusiliers in Zittau.
- Meinicke Dragoons were transferred from Leitmeritz to Wellemin.
- At 4:00 a.m., the main Austrian army set off from Neu-Lissa in six columns, passed the Iser at Neu-Benatek and encamped on both banks of the Iser, thus threatening communications of the army of the Prince of Prussia with Zittau. The right of the camp extended to a stream near Struka (unidentified location) and the left was anchored on a wood near the Iser behind the town of Alt-Benatek.
- The Reserve encamped between Sedletz (present-day Sedlec/CZ) and Benatek.
- Colloredo with part of the Reserve acting as avantgarde marched to Jung-Bunzlau
- Prince Charles sent a reinforcement of 5 bns, 10 grenadier coys and 14 sqns (1 cuirassier rgt and 1 dragoon rgt) of the Reserve to Nádasdy.
- Prince Charles also sent 200 men of Hadik Hussars to reinforce Loudon.
- Loudon occupied the region between Graupen (present-day Krupka) and Zinnwald (present-day Cínovec) and sent 150 Grenzer light troops and 20 hussars to Tetschen and Herengretschen (present day Hřensko).
- At 10:00 p.m., Nádasdy's Corps, now consisting of 4 hussar rgts, 4 Grenzer bns, 5 German bns, 10 grenadier coys and 14 German sqns (including the 3 Saxon Chevauxlegers rgts), marched to Mscheno (present-day Mšeno).
On July 5
- Grenadier Battalion Alt-Billerbeck was sent towards Gabel (present-day Jablonné v Podještědí/CZ) to secure this important position until Brandes' arrival.
- Another supply convoy destined to the army of the Prince of Prussia set off from Leitmeritz.
- A bakery was established at Böhmisch-Leipa and Brandes Fusiliers and II./Werner Hussars were sent there to guard the bakery.
- The main Austrian army marched upstream along the Iser in 8 columns and encamped between Kosmanos (present-day Kosmonosy/CZ) and Lhota.
- Colloredo's avant-garde passed the Iser at Jung-Bunzlau and took position opposite Kosmanos to cover the headquarters.
Frederick considered that the new position of the army of the Prince of Prussia at Hirschberg now allowed the two Prussian armies to easily support each other. He also advised the prince that a retreat towards Silesia was no longer possible and that Lusatia remained the only possible direction. He thought that both Prussian armies could live off the land in Bohemia until mid-August. Finally, he suggested that they select an appropriate position at Gabel, Grottau (present-day Hrádek nad Nisou/CZ) or Reichenberg (present-day Liberec/CZ) to cover Lusatia, as it could not be covered from Zittau.
On July 6
- At Winterfeldt's suggestion, the Prince of Prussia decided to retreat to Böhmisch-Leipa from where communication with Frederick's Army was still possible although more difficult. This new position also covered Lusatia. The same day, the sick and the bread wagons, escorted by Grenadier Battalion Kahlenberg and Grenadier Battalion Lubath, were sent to Böhmisch-Leipa. The Prince of Prussia also sent two reconnaissance parties towards Niemes (present-day Mimoň/CZ) and Gabel. In the evening, Lieutenant-Colonel von Warnery reported that Nádasdy had probably marched towards Gabel or Reichenberg.
- Grenadier Battalion Alt-Billerbeck and II./Werner Hussars reached Gabel where they found no enemy.
- The main Austrian army rested at Kosmanos.
- At 4 p.m., Count Nikolaus Esterházy set off from Kosmanos with 6 infantry rgts (d'Arberg, Alt-Colloredo (Anton), Mainz, Wied, Sachsen-Gotha and grenadiers), 1,000 picked horse and a pontoon-train and marched to Münchengrätz (present-day Mnichovo Hradište/CZ). This vanguard threw four bridges across the Iser and passed the river.
- Nádasdy's Corps reached Zebus (present-day Chcebuz/CZ) closer to Frederick's camp at Leitmeritz to prevent a sudden advance across the Elbe.
On July 7
- Early in the day, Winterfeldt with 4 bns (Grenadier Battalion Unruh, Grenadier Battalion Ostenreich, 1 bn of Schultze Infantry and 1 bn of Kreytzen Fusiliers) and 10 sqns (5 sqns of Herzog von Württemberg Dragoons, 5 sqns of Puttkamer Hussars) marched to Böhmisch-Leipa to effect a junction with Brandes' convoy. There, Winterfeldt's detachment was joined by Grenadier Battalion Lubath, already posted at Böhmisch-Leipa. However, it turned out that the situation was less threatening than it first appeared. Winterfeldt halted for the night in Zwickau (present-day Cvikov/CZ).
- The army of the Prince of Prussia marched in three columns to a new camp to the north of Böhmisch-Leipa behind the Polzen River, with its right at Nieder-Liebich (present-day Dolní Libchava/CZ) which was occupied by Freibataillon le Noble, and its left at Pießnig (present-day Písečná/CZ). Grenadier Battalion Gemmingen and the Feldjäger zu Fuß occupied Böhmisch-Leipa. Wartenberg Hussars and Puttkamer Hussars screened the positions to the south of the Polzen. The position was not more than 50 km northeastward from the king's and was about the same distance southwestward from Zittau where the magazines were. From Zittau as far as the little town of Gabel (present-day Jablonné v Podještědí/CZ), halfway to Böhmisch Leipa, there was a broad highway: the Great Kaiser-Strasse. However, from Gabel to Böhmisch Leipa there were only country roads. The prince had secured the small towns, especially Gabel, on these country roads with proper garrison parties. The pressure of the Austrian army on the prince's position steadily increased.
- The head of the convoy of Lieutenant-General von Brandes finally reached Gabel. However, the Austrians had already reached the region so the convoy could not advance further than Georgenthal without a stronger escort.
- Grenadier Battalion Finck of Frederick's Army occupied the Castle of Lobositz and Trnowan (present-day Trnovany/CZ). The growing number of Austrian light troops roaming on the right bank of the Elbe convinced Frederick to send Itzenplitz Infantry, Kannacher Infantry and Grenadier Battalion Jung Billerbeck with twelve 12-pdr guns to reinforce these positions. Finally Prince Heinrich was posted on the right bank of the Elbe to the east of Leitmeritz at the head of 9 bns and 15 sqns.
Morocz at Weisswasser (present-day Bělá pod Bezdězem/CZ) and Hühnerwasser (present-day Kuřívody/Ralsko) had been covering the advance of the main army, while Nádasdy marched from Mscheno to the Elbe by Zebus. Nádasdy had also detached FML Count Hadik from Mscheno with 2,500 Grenzer light troops and 1,500 hussars by Dauba (present-day Dubá) towards Böhmisch-Leipa.
On July 8
- The Prince of Prussia was still ignorant whether Daun's and Prince Charles' armies had finally effected a junction. Reports about the march of an Austrian corps towards Silesia were still vague (Major-General von Kreytzen had reported a force of some 3,000 men in the region of Landeshut). The Prince of Prussia took the occasion to ask Frederick whether he should cover Silesia or maintain his army in Bohemia and cover Zittau. He feared sending his army train along the narrow mountain roads leading to Lusatia. However, Frederick did not think that the Prince of Prussia was in a difficult situation. He even advised him to advance again to Neuschloß, hoping to remain in Bohemia for another seven weeks.
- His presence at Zwickau now irrelevant, Winterfeldt returned by Reichstadt (present-day Zákupy/CZ) to his camp at Böhmisch-Leipa, leaving Grenadier Battalion Lubath and Grenadier Battalion Ostenreich at Reichstadt to secure communications with Gabel which was defended by II./Werner Hussars and Grenadier Battalion Alt-Billerbeck.
- Informed of the presence of a strong Austrian force at Wegstädtl (present-day Štětí) near Zebus, Prince Heinrich sent Grenadier Battalion Jung Billerbeck and 300 men from Szekely Hussars to Zahorzan (present-day Zahořany, Křešice).
- The main Austrian army passed the Iser at Podol (present-day Podoli), Laukow (present-day Loukov), Hubal (present-day Hubálov) and Mohelnitz (present-day Mohelnice nad Jizerou/CZ) near Münchengrätz and advanced in four columns along the right bank to Swijan (present-day Svijany).
- Prince Charles ordered Morocz to march to Niemes by Hühnerwasser to attack the lines of communication of the Prussians with Zittau while Hadik was instructed to advance at Neuschloß.
- Nádasdy was now at Hirschberg.
|Situation in Silesia|
|When Nádasdy had set off from Moravia at the beginning of May during the Prussian invasion of Bohemia, he had left Colonel Simbschen with Simbschen Infantry and the two Saxon Uhlan rgts (Graf Renard Uhlanen and Graf Rudnicki Uhlanen) to guard the frontier of Upper-Silesia. With his small detachment Simbschen had launched raids and foraged in Prussian territory, seizing a military chest destined to Prussian troops and hindering recruitment.
Major-General von Kreytzen commanded the Prussian fortresses in Silesia. He could count on only 150 hussars to secure the border. He transferred 2 bns of Garnison-Regiment Mützschefahl from Landeshut (present-day Kamenia Gora/PL) to Schweidnitz (present-day Świdnica/PL). In mid-June, after the Battle of Kolin, the Austrians detached Colonel von Jahnus towards Liebau (present-day Lubawka/PL) in Silesia at the head of 2,500 light troops. On his way, he met no resistance.
On July 9
- Grenadier Battalion Möllendorff arrived from Zittau to reinforce the garrison of Gabel.
- In the evening, the Brandes' convoy (15 wagons transporting money and 550 transporting flour) along with 2,322 Silesian recruits, II./Kalckreuth Fusiliers and I./Werner Hussars arrived at the camp of the Prince of Prussia. With this amount of flour the army had provisions for four weeks. With recruits, the Kreytzen Fusiliers were re-established at 2 bns. The rest of the flour, 66 ammunition-wagons and the baggage of the Silesian recruits had been left behind at Zittau.
- Austrian light troops were deployed in a cordon from Melnik (present-day Mělník) to Auscha (present-day Úštěk):
- Baboczay's detachment (3,000 hussars and Grenzer light troops) was at Neuschloß;
- Morocz's Corps was at Niemes;
- Nádasdy's Corps (approx. 11,000 men) was at Wegstädtl.
- The main Austrian army rested at Swijan.
- Austrian light troops were deployed in a cordon from Melnik (present-day Mělník) to Auscha (present-day Úštěk):
On July 10
- Frederick sent a reinforcement of 4 bns (Asseburg Infantry and Forcade Infantry) and 10 sqns (Leibregiment zu Pferde, Katte Dragoons) to Prince Heinrich to extend his front further to the left. Heinrich was now at the head of 13 bns and 25 sqns.
- I./Prinz Friedrich Fusiliers were replaced by I./Goltz Infantry at Leitmeritz and rejoined the army at its camp.
- The Prussian garrison of Gabel began to strengthen the place, surrounding it with wolf-pits, fortifying the monastery and the church, and covering the gates with palisades.
- The main Austrian army rested one more day at Swijan.
- Most of Nádasdy's Corps remained at Wegstädtl but detachments were sent as far as Auscha.
- A corps under Colonel Baron Jahnus, which had been detached towards Silesia a few days earlier, occupied the town of Landeshut which had been abandoned the same day by a small Prussian corps under Kreytzen, who had been charged with the protection of the nearby mountain passes that gave access to the vital Fortress of Schweidnitz. Jahnus used Landeshut as a base to send parties towards Waldenburg (present-day Wałbrzych/PL) and Hirschberg (present-day Jelenia Gora/PL, not to be confused with Hirschberg in Bohemia) and to harass the garrison of Schweidnitz.
- Encountering no opposition, these parties became bolder and advanced up to Freiburg (present-day Swiebodzice/PL), Volkenhain (unidentified location) and Striegau (present-day Strzegom/PL). Jahnus issued a decree proclaiming that the inhabitants of Silesia no longer had to comply with the orders of the Prussian authorities or supply recruits for the Prussian Army.
- Loudon sent a detachment of Nádasdy Hussars under Captain Grafenstein against Tetschen. This detachment surprised four vessels loaded with provisions, escorted by 50 men, and sank them, killing or capturing the escort (some sources give 15 vessels, but this seems a little exaggerated).
On July 11
- The Prince of Prussia asked for precise orders from Frederick to know if he should advance to Neuschloß or retire to Gabel.
- Using the now empty wagons of Brandes' convoy, the Prince of Prussia sent his sick and wounded to Zittau, escorted by Grenadier Battalion Kremzow and II./Markgraf Heinrich Fusiliers. Both battalions then remained in Zittau.
- At 5:00 a.m., the main Austrian army retraced its steps to Münchengrätz. Roads were so bad that some regiments did not reach the camp before 2:00 a.m. Prince Charles and Daun were informed that the Prussian supply convoy led by Brandes had reached Böhmisch-Leipa and that Morocz had been unable to intercept it because of Prussian troops posted at Reichstadt.
On July 12
- Frederick was informed that Morocz's Corps (approx. 5,500 men) was posted at Niemes.
- Austrian hussars launched raids on Kratzau (present-day Chrastava) and on the line of communication between Gabel and Zittau.
- Nádasdy was at Wegstädtl.
- Hadik was at Neuchloß
- Kheul had been sent towards Silesia with 15,000 men.
In the night of July 12 to 13, Frederick sent orders to the Prince of Prussia to send a detachment to reinforce the defence of Tetschen.
On July 13
- At noon, the Prince of Prussia detached Winterfeldt at the head of 7 bns (Grenadier Battalion Burgsdorff, Grenadier Battalion Unruh, Lestwitz Infantry, 1 bn of Schultze Infantry, 1 bn Wied Fusiliers and 1 bn Manteuffel Infantry) and 20 sqns (Stechow Dragoons, Herzog von Württemberg Dragoons, 5 sqns Wartenberg Hussars and 5 sqns Puttkamer Hussars) towards Tetschen. However, the roads in the Polzen Valley were impracticable for artillery and Winterfeldt had to march by Böhmisch-Kamnitz (present-day Česká Kamenice/CZ). At 10:00 p.m., Winterfeldt finally reached Wolfersdorf (present-day Volfartice/CZ). Many wagons and carriages had been broken during the march on the rocky paths of the mountains bordering the Elbe.
- The main Austrian army marched in six columns encamped between Wolshen (present-day Olšina, near Mnichovo Hradiště) and Hühnerwasser and sent a vanguard (12 grenadier coys, 1,500 picked foot, 500 horse and 28 cannon) under Maquire by Wartenberg (present-day Stráž pod Ralskem/CZ) in the direction of Gabel. Arenberg followed with the right wing of the Reserve Corps and advanced to Schwabitz (present-day Svébořice, Ralsko) to cover Maquire.
- Prince Charles and Daun personally reconnoitred the surroundings of Niemes. After this reconnaissance they held a council of war at Hühnerwasser to discuss the new orders just received from the empress, instructing them to invade Lusatia as soon as possible.
- Loudon's light troops retired from Tetschen.
- Nádasdy's Corps advanced to Gastorf and encamped between this village and Zahorzan. It established contact at Zahorzan with part of Frederick's troops posted on the right bank of the Elbe. Its light troops then started to harass the Prussian camp. From Zahorzan, Nádasdy detached Major-General Count Pálffy with 600 Grenzer light troops and 200 hussars who moved around the Prussian camp at Triebsch (present-day Třebušín) and harassed transport vessels on the Elbe in the region of Aussig and Tetschen. Thanks to these swarms of light troops, the Austrian High Command had found out about the retreat of the Prince of Prussia to Böhmisch-Leipa.
- In the evening, Count von Wied was detached with several grenadier coys, 4 bns and several heavy guns to reinforce Beck's and Morocz's Corps and to blockade the Castle of Reichstadt.
In the night of July 13 to 14
- The Prince of Prussia sent Captain von Gersdorff with 100 hussars from Böhmisch-Leipa to reconnoitre the surroundings of Niemes. He brought back prisoners who said that the main Austrian army was expected shortly, that Beck would advance on Reichstadt and that Maquire would advance from Wartenberg.
- FML Count Wied marched with the left wing of the Reserve Corps by Niemes to Voitsdorf (present-day Bohatice) to cover Morocz's and Beck's corps who were close to Böhmisch-Leipa.
On Thursday July 14
- At daybreak, Major-General von Puttkamer left the camp of the Prince of Prussia at Böhmisch-Leipa with empty wagons, escorted by I./Kalckreuth Fusiliers, II./Alt-Württemberg Fusiliers and 50 hussars, to bring back from Zittau a provision of flour for ten days. The convoy had not yet reached Reichstadt when it began to be harassed by cavalry and hussars belonging to Beck's Corps. Strong Grenzer parties also advanced from Götzdorf (unidentified location) on Reichstadt and Dobern (present-day Dobranov) as the convoy approached.
- Puttkamer formed a Wagenburg with his convoy while the escort advanced against the Grenzer light troops. Soon Major von Lubath at the head of 200 grenadiers and 2 guns came out of Reichstadt to support Puttkamer who, by a lively artillery fire managed to keep the Grenzer light troops away from his wagons. Meanwhile, Grenadier Battalion Lubath and Grenadier Battalion Ostenreich repulsed an assault on the Castle of Reichstadt. In this affair, the Prussians lost 26 men and 6 horses.
- Beck's Corps took refuge on the height of Voitsdorf already occupied by part of the Austrian Reserve Corps. Hearing the firefight from Böhmisch-Leipa, the Prince of Prussia had immediately sent reinforcements towards Reichstadt. They consisted of 3 bns (Grenadier Battalion Carlowitz, 1 bn of Münchow Fusiliers and 1 bn of Hülsen Infantry) and 5 sqns (Normann Dragoons) under Lieutenant-General von Lestwitz. However, Puttkamer had resumed his march and Lestwitz followed him up to Brims (present-day Brniště) before returning to Böhmisch-Leipa.
- At Gabel, a little walled town surrounded by heights, Major von Belling, expecting an attack, had sent out 5 sqns of Werner Hussars under Major von Owstien, hoping that they could reach Böhmisch-Leipa by secondary roads. Belling kept only one sqn with him at Gabel along with Grenadier Battalion Alt-Billerbeck and Grenadier Battalion Möllendorff who together barely formed a single bn. Gabel could be reached only from north and south and was well defended against a sudden attack.
- Around noon, Maquire appeared on the heights to the north and east of Gabel and planted his artillery. At 1:00 p.m., Puttkamer, arriving from Brims, bumped into Maquire's troops. Puttkamer's guns immediately opened against them but they were no match for the Austrian artillery established on the surrounding heights. Puttkamer soon realized that he could not save his convoy and decided to abandon the wagons and to seek refuge in Gabel with the escort. He then assumed command, replacing Belling. He decided to resist, hoping that a relief force would be sent from Böhmisch-Leipa as soon as Major von Owstien would have informed the Prince of Prussia of the situation. Even before Puttkamer's arrival, Belling had already rejected Maquire's summons to surrender the town. As soon as Puttkamer's troops were inside, the Prussians manned the walls and gates. An Austrian battery established southeast of Gabel started to bombard the place while another fired on the southern gate and a few cannons opened on the northern gate. At dusk, Maquire launched an unsuccessful assault where he lost 200 men.
- Winterfeldt's advance became more and more difficult until he reached Gersdorf (present-day Kerhartice) where he decided to turn back. His detachment took some rest at Wolfersdorf before marching towards the camp of the Prince of Prussia at Böhmisch-Leipa where it arrived late in the evening.
- The main Austrian army marched in four columns to Niemes where it encamped to the east of the town in four lines during the evening.
- A couple of advanced parties under Beck and Maquire hovered on the Prince of Prussia's flank in the direction of Zittau, while Nádasdy was pushing on to rear.
- After the combat of Reichstadt, Beck's Corps took refuge on the height of Voitsdorf already occupied by part of the Austrian Reserve Corps.
- In the evening, Maquire was reinforced by Arenberg, who brought with him 12 additional heavy guns.
The other phases of the campaign are described in the following articles:
- The Prussians retreat to Lusatia (July 15 to August 24, 1757) describing the retreat of Prince Wilhelm's Army to Lusatia, the capture of Gabel by the Austrians, Frederick's retreat to Lusatia, the Battle of Landeshut in Silesia and Frederick's attempt to induce the Austrians to offer battle in Lusatia.
- The Austrians invade Silesia (August 25 to November 23, 1757) describing Frederick's departure for Saxony and Bevern's gradual retreat in Silesia, including the Combat of Moys, the capture of the Fortress of Schweidnitz by the Austrians and the Battle of Breslau.
- The return of the King (November 24 to December 31, 1757) describing Frederick's precipitous return to Silesia, the Battle of Leuthen, the recapture of Breslau by the Prussians and the retreat of the Austrians to Bohemia.
This article incorporates texts from the following books, which are now in the public domain:
- Anonymous: A Complete History of the Present War, from its Commencement in 1756, to the End of the Campaign, 1760, London, 1761, pp. 223-226, 236-240
- Archenholz, J. W.: The History of the Seven Years War in Germany, translated by F. A. Catty, Francfort, 1843, pp. 70-71
- Carlyle, T.: History of Friedrich II of Prussia vol. 18
- Donnersmarck, Victor Amadaeus Henckel von: Militaerischer Nachlass, Karl Zabeler, 1858
- Gorani, Joseph: Mémoires, Paris: Gallimard, 1944, pp. 64-82
- Relation de la bataille de Leuthen, Vienna, January 1758, pp. 472-477
- Relation de la bataille de Lissa, Berlin, January 1758, pp. 477-483
- Grosser Generalstab Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung II: Die Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen, Part 3 Der siebenjährige Krieg 1756-1763
- Vol. 3 Kolin, Berlin, 1901, pp. 115-196, Anhang 30, 38, 39 43
- Vol. 4 Groß-Jägersdorf und Breslau, Berlin, 1902, pp. 117-216
- Kyaw, Rudolf v.: Chronik des adeligen und freiherrlichen Geschlechtes von Kyaw, Leipzig, 1870 pp. 385-399
- Tempelhoff, Fr., History of the Seven Years' War Vol. I pp. 121-147 & 176-188 & 190-, as translated by Colin Lindsay, Cadell, London, 1793
- Vanicek, Fr.: Specialgeschichte der Militärgrenze aus Originalquellen und Quellenwerken geschöpft, Vol. II, Vienna: Kaiserlich-Königlichen Hof- und Staatsdruckerei, 1875, pp. 427-433
Cogswell, Neil, Journal of Horace St. Paul 1757: The Advance to Nismes, Seven Years War Association Journal Vol. XI No. 3 and Vol. XII No. 2
Fuller J. F. C., The Decisive Battles of the Western World, Granada Publishing Ltd, 1970, pp. 571-576
Salisch, M. von: Treue Deserteure – Das kursächsische Militär und der Siebenjährige Krieg, Munich, 2009
Schuster, O. and F. Francke: Geschichte der Sächsischen Armee, 2. part, Leipzig 1885
Skala, Harald: Rückzug des preussischen Heeres nach der Schlacht bei Kolin 1757, der Fall von Gabel und Zittau
Harald Skala for information on the Saxon cavalry during this period