Difference between revisions of "1757 - Prussian invasion of Bohemia"

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The campaign lasted from April to June 1757
The campaign lasted from April to June 1757
==Description of Events==
===Preparations for the campaign===
This article rapidly becoming quite large has been split into four distinct articles:
During the Winter of 1756-57, the movement and preparations of the army of [[Frederick II]] led the Austrians to believe that the Prussians wanted to stand on the defensive. This belief was reinforced by the fact that Frederick had to send Marshal Lehwaldt with a large detachment to East Prussia and the Baltic region to guard against a potential [[1757 - Russian campaign in East Prussia|Russian invasion]]. After assembling the West-Prussian militias and merging them with his regulars, Lehwaldt had some 30,000 men for the task. Frederick also formed 7 battalions of light troops to make for his deficiency in this arm and increased his army by 40,000 men. Thus, at the opening of the campaign of 1757, the Prussian Army counted 147,600 men in 132 battalions and 213 squadrons.
The Austrians were making serious preparation to invade [[Saxony]] while their grenzers and some advanced brigades harassed Prussian camps in Lusatia. [[Maria Theresa]] raised 2 new hussar regiments and 1 new infantry regiment. The Elector of Mainz and the Bishop of Würzburg contributed 2 infantry regiments; and Saxony, 3 regiments of chevau-légers who had been stationed in Poland during the invasion of Saxony. These new units joined the [[Austrian Army]] wintering in Bohemia and now placed under the command of [[Lorraine, Prince Charles Alexander of|Prince Charles de Lorraine]]. Finally, reinforcements started their march from Hungary, Italy and Flanders towards Bohemia. The great army was assembling at Prague while [[Browne, Baron Maximilian|Field-marshal Browne]] was securing posts and gathering magazines in the ''Erzgebirge'' (Ore Mountains) to support the advance of this army into Saxony. The larger Austrian magazines were at Jungbunzlau (present-day Mladá Boleslav) and Budin (present-day Budyně nad Ohří) and some smaller magazines had also been assembled at Toplitz (present-day Teplice), Chommottau (present-day Chomoutov), Welwarn (present-day Velvary), Aussig (present-day Ústí nad Labem) and Reichenberg (present-day Liberec).
#[[1757 - Prussian invasion of Bohemia – Preparations|Context and preparations]] (January 1 to April 17, 1757) describing the general context of the campaign, winter operations and the preparations of Austria and Prussia for the incoming conflict
#[[1757 - Prussian invasion of Bohemia – Invasion|Prussian invasion of Bohemia till the Battle of Prague]] (April 17 to May 6, 1757) describing the advance of the Prussian columns into Bohemia and their manoeuvres around Prague
In the area of Reichenberg, [[Lacy, Count Franz Moritz|GFWM Lacy]] had daily skirmishes with Prussian troops.
#[[1757 - Prussian invasion of Bohemia Siege and Relief|Siege of Prague till the Battle of Kolin]] (May 7 to June 18, 1757) describing the siege of Prague, the Austrian relief attempt and the Battle of Kolin
#[[1757 - Prussian invasion of Bohemia – Retreat|Retreat]] (June 19 to June 29, 1757) describing the retreat of the Prussian armies
On January 1, Lacy detached six combined coys of [[Karlstädter-Szluiner Grenzer]] and [[Karlstädter-Lykaner Grenzer]] under the command of Colonel Kleefeld seconded by Lieutenant-colonel Herberstein and [[Loudon, Baron Ernst Gideon|Lieutenant-colonel Loudon]] along with 200 Karlstädter Grenz-Hussars under Colonel Count Mitrovsky and Lieutenant-colonel Knezevic to attack a Prussian outpost in Ortric, defended by 400 men. In the ensueing combat, Major Blumenthal, commanding the Prussian detachment was killed, and most of his detachment wounded or taken prisoners.
Frederick, tired of the ceaseless skirmishes, which usually turned to the disadvantage of his light troops, ordered to avoid such useless engagement.
On February 7, Prince Charles de Lorraine arrived in Vienna to assume command of the Austrian Main Army.
In the night of February 19 to 20, General Fürst Löwenstein gave orders to 1,200 foot (mostly [[Karlstädter-Szluiner Grenzer]] and [[Karlstädter-Lykaner Grenzer]]) and 2,300 horse (mostly Hungarian hussars and Grenz-hussars) to attack Prussian positions on the left bank of the Neisse (present-day Noteć River). Colonel Vela, Colonel Kleefeld and Lieutenant-colonel Loudon led part of these troops. Their main attack was directed against the town of Hirschfelde, occupied by 800 Prussians; while smaller detachments attacked Herbsdorf (''unidentified location''), Zittau and Ostriz. Loudon crossed the frozen Neisse River at the head of the grenadier company of the [[Karlstädter-Lykaner Grenzer]], 400 commandeered men from various regiments and 200 [[Splényi Hussars]]. He then stormed a redoubt defended by 2 guns and 70 men and entered into the town of Hirschfelde. Meanwhile, Colonel Fürst Liechstenstein, supported by 300 men of the [[Karlstädter-Szluiner Grenzer]] led by Kleefeld, engaged the Prussian regular infantry covering the bridge in front of Hirschfelde. Incomprehensibly, the Austrian troops conducting this frontal attack withdrew, forcing Loudon to abandon the town as well. In this engagement, the Prussians lost 1 major, 1 lieutenant and 80 men killed; 1 major, 5 officers and more than 100 men taken prisoners; and 3 officers and 40 men wounded. For their part, the Austrians lost 26 men killed, including a captain; and 60 men wounded, including a major.
In the night of March 9 to 10, the Duke of Bevern (14,000 men and 24 guns) made a demonstration against Austrian positions at Friedland (present-day Frýdlant v Čechách), Grottau (present-day Hrádek nad Nisou) and Krumbach (''unidentified location''). The [[Karlstädter-Lykaner Grenzer]] and [[Karlstädter-Szluiner Grenzer]] retired on their supporting troops. FML Macquire and GFWM Lacy assembled their troops at Gabel (present-day Jablonne v Podještědi) and Reichenberg. Bevern destroyed the small magazine in Friedland and raised contributions during a few days before retiring. The Grenzer troops then re-occupied their posts.
By then, the Austrian had some 118,000 men in Bohemia organised in 4 distinct corps.
*Serbelloni's Corps (approx. 30,000 men) which included among others:
**[[Slavonisch-Brooder Grenzer]] (1 bn of approx. 900 men)
**[[Slavonisch-Gradiskaner Grenzer]] (1 bn of approx. 900 men)
**[[Warasdiner-Creutzer Grenzer]] (1 bn of approx. 900 men)
**[[Slavonisch-Peterwardeiner Grenzer]] (1 bn of approx. 900 men) ''on their march to join''
**Grenz-Hussars (15 ½ sqns totalling 1,300 men)
***Slavonier Grenz-Hussars
***Warasdiner Grenz-Hussars
Furthermore, [[Nádasdy auf Fogaras, Franz Leopold von|GdC Nádasdy]] was at the head of 15,000 men in Moravia.
On March 24, Frederick left Dresden where he had spent the winter and moved to the Pirna Country. He established his headquarters at Lockwitz. For a month he prepared his army for the next campaign. In fact, he planned to invade Bohemia with four columns converging from the north-east, north-west, south-east and south-west.
During this campaign, Frederick used three line of operations:
#from Dresden his main magazine to Prague through Budin and Welwarn
#from Zittau in Lusatia to Prague through Gubel (''unidentified location''), Jungbunzlau and Altbunzlau (also known as Brandeis, present-day Brandýs nad Labem-Stará Boleslav)
#from Schweidnitz (present-day Swidnica) and Glatz (present-day Kłodzko) in Silesia through Landeshut (present-day Kamienna Góra), Königshoff (''unidentified location''), Gitschin (present-day Jičín), Bunzlau (''unidentified location'') and Altbunzlau
===Prussian Advance towards Prague===
In April, Austrian detachments began to appear on the frontiers of Saxony to observe the movements of the Prussian Army.
About that time, Frederick ordered [[Anhalt-Dessau, Moritz, prince von|Prince Moritz of Dessau]] (20,000 men) to leave Chemnitz, in Saxony, and to march westward feigning an attack on Eger (present-day Cheb) where the Duke d'Ahremberg, Browne's subordinate, was stationed with 20,000 men. D'Ahremberg remained in his positions but sent light troops to harass the Prussian detachment.
On April 15, outposts manned by Banalisten Grenzers detected Prince Moritz's Corps advancing on Eger.
On Monday April 18, [[Schwerin, Kurt Christoph, count von|Field-marshal Schwerin]], after gathering his troops from Glatz and the northerly country at Landeshut, came out of Silesia with a force of 44,000 men (32,000 foot and 12,000 horse). It was the first Prussian column to advance.
On Wednesday April 20, the three other Prussian columns began their march towards Prague:
#Frederick II left Lockwitz, followed the Pascopol through Pirna, Karbitz and Aussig, and crossed the ''Erzgebirge''
#Prince Moritz of Dessau left the region of Eger and converged with Frederick's column
#Brunswick-Bevern left the area of Zittau in Lusatia with 13,000 men (8,000 foot and 5,000 horse), entered Bohemia at Gränstein (''unidentified location'') and took the route of Reichenberg. Hussars from Bevern's vanguard defeated a small Austrian force commanded by the Prince Liechstenstein which was posted in front of Kohlig (''unidentified location'').
The same day (April 20), Schwerin reached Konigshoff on the Elbe. During his advance, a detachment of Winterfeldt's Corps bumped into 200 men of the [[Slavonisch-Gradiskaner Grenzer]] posted in an advantageous location near Gülden-Else (''unidentified location''). The Grenzers, even though they were facing a vastly superior force, held their ground for several hours before retiring from their position, losing 4 officers and 31 men in the engagement.
This unexpected offensive totally surprised the Austrians. Field-marshal Browne and General Königsegg ceased gathering magazines in the Lusatia and ''Erzgebirge'' regions and retired on Prague. Serbelloni abandoned his positions on the left bank of the Elbe and retired towards Königgratz (present-day Hradec Králové). Serbelloni sent General Gemmingen to occupy Neustadt (present-day Nové Město nad Metují) and Nachod with 3,700 Grenzers ([[Slavonisch-Brooder Grenzer]], [[Slavonisch-Gradiskaner Grenzer]] and [[Warasdiner-Creutzer Grenzer]]) and 400 Grenz-Hussars. [[Daun, Count Leopold|Daun]] was in Vienna when he heard of the invasion. He was sent north with reinforcements consisting of 20 infantry regiments, 8 dragoon regiments and artillery. Upon arrival, he was supposed to take command of the Austrian army in Bohemia.
At daybreak on April 21, Bevern marched in two columns by Haberdorf (present-day Ovesná) towards the Austrian Corps (26,000 men) under the command of Count Königsegg who had managed to concentrate 16,000 men near Reichenberg. The [[1757-04-21 - Combat of Reichenberg|Combat of Reichenberg]] ensued. Königsegg was defeated and retreated to Liebenau (present-day Hodkovice nad Mohelkou), 32 km farther south. He then paused for a few hours in the difficult grounds near Liebenau.
On April 22, Frederick sent General Zastrow to drive Draskovic's Corps ([[Banal-Grenzinfanterieregiment nr. 1]], [[Karlstädter-Oguliner Grenzer]], [[Warasdiner-Sankt Georger Grenzer]], [[Karlstädter-Ottochaner Grenzer]] and some line infantry) out of Aussig, an operation where [[Frei-Infanterie von Mayr]] distinguished itself during the recapture of the Castle of Tetschen (present-day Děčín). The same day, Königsegg concentrated his entire corps at Liebenau. Meanwhile, Bevern marched to Zaskal (''unidentified location'') in front of Liebenau and encamped there. His two wings were anchored on woods occupied by units of Karlstädter Grenzers. In the afternoon, Bevern tried to dislodge the Austrians from their positions.
By April 23, the mission entrusted to Zastrow was fulfilled.
On April 23, the columns of Frederick II and Prince Moritz made their junction at Linay (''unidentified location''). Their combined force amounted to 60,000 men (45,000 foot and 15,000 horse). Meanwhile, Bevern was preparing to launch another attack on Königsegg's positions. The latter, informed that Schwerin's column was coming up from Silesia in the northeast, threatening his flank and rear, abandoned his positions at 9:00 p.m. and retired on Jungbunzlau.
On April 24, the reinforced column of Frederick continued his advance, passing near Lobositz (present-day Lovosice). The same day, Bevern's column was at Turnau (present-day Turnov) on the Iser where it made its junction with Schwerin's column, who had reached Gitschin, despite Königsegg's vain attempts to prevent this junction. The same day,  Königsegg took position at Altbunzlau and broke the bridges across the Elbe, leaving his Karlstädter Grenzers and his hussars on the right bank of the river. He also covered the magazine at Nimburg (present-day Nymburk) and tried to re-establish communications with Serbelloni who, despite being continuously reinforced, was still lying idle at Königgrätz.
The combined columns of Bevern and Schwerin captured Jungbunzlau magazine intact despite Königsegg's defence. Königsegg finally had to retreat on Prague and the Ziscaberg where the other Austrian generals had gathered their forces. Meanwhile, Bevern crossed the Elbe at Melnick (present-day Melnik).
On April 25, Frederick's column reached Trebnitz (''unidentified location'') where it rested for one day, during the march grenzers killed General Zastrow. Colonel Mayr was detached with 1,500 men to pick up one or two Bohemian magazines and then to make incursions into the [[Holy Roman Empire|Reich]].
On April 27, Frederick's column crossed the Eger (present-day Ohře River). Immediately, Browne detached 20,000 men under Duke d'Aremberg to observe Frederick's movements. By a skilful manoeuvre, Frederick's column tried to cut off d'Ahremberg from his bridges at Koschlitz (''unidentified location'') and Budin, but the latter managed to escape. Frederick then advanced very rapidly on Prague.
On April 28, Serbelloni was so preoccupied by his won security that he sent Major-general Gemmingen to Königinhof (present-day Dvůr Králové nad Labem) at the head of the [[Slavonisch-Brooder Grenzer]], [[Slavonisch-Gradiskaner Grenzer]], [[Warasdiner-Creutzer Grenzer]] and some hussars. Similarly, he sent Major-general Count Esterházy with [[Slavonisch-Peterwardeiner Grenzer]] (2,000 men) and 200 hussars to Smirschitz (present-day Smiřice). All communication with  Königsegg's forces was now impossible.
Such was the speed of the advancing Prussian columns that considerable portions of the supplies, gathered in the Austrian magazines fell into their hands. These provisions were so important that they amounted to three months of supplies for the entire Prussian Army.
On April 30, Prince Charles arrived to replace. As planned, Browne as commander-in-chief.
On May 1, Frederick passed the Moldau (present-day Vltava River). The same day, Schwerin passed the Iser and encamped at Sliwno (''unidentified location''). Still the same day, Browne, d'Ahremberg, and Prince Charles had hastily filed through Prague, leaving a fit garrison (including 3,787 grenzers: 2 bns and 1 grenadier coy of [[Karlstädter-Oguliner Grenzer]], 2 bns of [[Karlstädter-Ottochaner Grenzer]], 2 bns and 2 grenadier coys of [[Banal-Grenzinfanterieregiment nr. 1]]. Their camp was spread out over km on the Ziscaberg Heights on the eastern side of the city.
On Monday May 2, Frederick's column had reached the Weissenberg in the vicinity of Prague. Frederick's headquarters were in Weleslawin (present-day Veleslavín) a small hamlet to north of Prague. His right extended behind the convent of Margareth (''unidentified location'') and his left to the Moldau near Podhaba (''unidentified location''). The same day, Schwerin remained at Sliwno but sent General Wartenberg to reconnoitre the Austrian positions. Still the same day, [[Frei-Infanterie de Angelelli]] arrived in Pirna to escort a convoy leaving for Prague.
===Battle of Prague===
Prince Charles was now commander in chief of the Austrian Army (about 76,000 men), assisted by Browne. Prince Charles intended to remain entrenched on the Ziscaberg and to hold Prague. He was not considering any action before the arrival of Königsegg from Jungbunzlau.
The Weissenberg was on the western side of Prague while the Hradschin lied on the slope or shoulder of the Weissenberg, a good way from the top. The Hradschin had a web of streets rushing down from it till they reached the bridge over the Moldau. From the bridge, the streets became level and spread out to right, left and eastward across the river up to the Ziscaberg. The distance from Ziscaberg top to Weissenberg top was about 8 km, from the Hradschin to the foot of Ziscaberg (north-west to south-east) it was about 4 km. Prague stood nestled in the lap of mountains and was not in itself a strong place in war. However, the country round it with the Moldau ploughing its passage through the heights was difficult to manoeuvre in. Moldau Valley came straight from the south, crosses Prague and made a big loop of horse-shoe shape. It then proceeded straight northward towards the Elbe. It was narrow everywhere, especially fairly north of Prague.
Frederick's first problem was to make his junction with the combined columns of Bevern and Schwerin. This junction could not take place south of Ziscaberg with Austrians positioned on the high grounds.
On Tuesday May 3, Frederick reconnoitred the area. Most of Schwerin's forces still remained in his camp of Sliwno, awaiting further developments. However, Schwerin occupied Altbunzlau and [[Winterfeldt, Hans Karl von|Winterfeldt]] was posted at Bischitz (present-day Byšice). The [[35/36 Schenckendorff Grenadiers|Grenadier battalion 35/36 Schenckendorff]], quitted Aussig to join [[Keith, James Francis Edward|Keith]]'s corps, leaving the [[Wylich Fusiliers]] (Saxon regiment incorporated into Prussian service in 1756) to guard the place as well as Tetschen. The same day, Königsegg's last units joined the Austrian Main Army. Nevertheless, Prince Charles continued to act defensively.
On Wednesday May 4, Frederick, leaving Keith on the Weissenberg with 30,000 men to watch Prague, moved northward along the western heights of the Lower Moldau, seeking a place to cross the Moldau. Regiments [[Prinz Ferdinand Infantry|Prinz Ferdinand von Preußen]] and [[Zastrow Infantry|Zastrow]] joined Keith. Meanwhile, the [[41/44 Gemmingen Grenadiers|III. "Standing" Grenadier Battalion (Gemmingen)]] had left Keith's corps to protect the field bakery at Welwarn. It later accompanied the King's Corps to the right bank of the Moldau. Supplies came by boat on the Elbe up to Leitmeritz (present-day Litoměřice) which was garrisoned by the [[Prinz Friedrich Wilhelm von Preußen Fusiliers]] (another Saxon regiment incorporated into Prussian service in 1756). From Leitmeritz, supplies were transported by wagon. Meanwhile, Schwerin crossed the Elbe at Altbunzlau and Winterfeldt encamped at Mischitz (''unidentified location'').
On May 5, Frederick found a crossing place over the Moldau at Seltz (''unidentified location''). He ordered to build a pontoon bridge there. The combined columns of Bevern and Schwerin were now waiting for the signal signifying that Frederick was actually crossing to their side of Lower Moldau. Frederick's bridge was speedily built, his batteries planted and the signal (three cannon-shots) made to Schwerin. Around 4:00 p.m., Frederick's troops (20 bns, 38 sqns) streamed speedily across the Moldau quite unopposed. Before the passage was complete, [[Seydlitz Hussars]] sent by Schwerin appeared on the outskirts. Frederick staid on the eastern hilltops that night, establishing his headquarters in the hamlet of Czimitz (''unidentified location'').
On Friday May 6, Schwerin was on the march shortly after midnight. He advanced over the heights of Chaber and made his junction with Frederick as planned around 6:00 near the village of Prossik (''unidentified location''). The Austrians did not try to impede the junction of the two Prussian forces. A long and heavily contested struggle ensued, the [[1757-05-06 - Battle of Prague|Battle of Prague]], that the Prussians finally won. However, the Austrian Army, 50,337 men strong (including 5,792 grenzers), took refuge in the City. Meanwhile, Daun had reached Sazka, only 4 hours march from Prague, with the reinforcements (about 30,000 men).
The very same day (May 6) at 4:00 a.m., General Beck reached Mochov with his body of light troops. There, he received intelligence that a single Prussian battalion (Manstein Fusiliers?) with 2 guns was occupying the town of Altbunzlau. He immediately decided to attack this town and to destroy its bridge. At 5:00 a.m., Beck appeared in front of Altbunzlau and unsuccessfully summoned the garrison to surrender. He then launch the [[Slavonisch-Brooder Grenzer|I./Slavonisch-Brooder Grenzer]] led by Colonel Brodanovic against the right gate and the [[Warasdiner-Creutzer Grenzer|II./Warasdiner-Creutzer Grenzer]] led by Lieutenant-colonel Baron Riese along one battalion of the [[Karlstädter-Szluiner Grenzer]] led by Major Passée against the left gate. During this time, Lieutenant-colonel Mathesen with the [[Slavonisch-Brooder Grenzer|II./Slavonisch-Brooder Grenzer]] and Lieutenant-colonel Miljevic with the [[Slavonisch-Gradiskaner Grenzer|I./Slavonisch-Gradiskaner Grenzer]] made themselves master of the town and destroyed the bridge over the Elbe. The Prussian Lieutenant-colonel Mardefeld was taken prisoners with 14 officers and 640 men. Beck also captured 2 guns, 3 ammunition wagon and 5 colours. He also freed 3 officers and 100 troopers who had been taken prisoners by Schwerin a few days earlier when he had crossed the Elbe. In this action, Beck lost 20 men killed and 20 wounded. In the evening, he returned to Mochov.
From May 7, Daun was gradually joined by the wrecks of the Austrian right wing (about 13,000 men) which had fled in the direction of Sazawa (present-day Sázava) after the Battle of Prague. However, from these remnants of the right wing, only the hussars of Hadik, one battalion of Colonel Kleefeld's [[Karlstädter-Szluiner Grenzer]], two dragoon regiments and one battalion of regular foot were still fit for duty.
By May 8, Daun was at the head of 36,000 men. Till then, Maria Theresa had shown too much patience in front of Serbelloni's procrastinations. She sent orders to Daun to assemble Serbelloni's Corps and to incorporate it into his own army.
On May 9, Frederick detached [[Zieten, Hans Joachim von|Lieutenant-general Zieten]] with 43 sqns to observe Daun's positions.
On May 10, Daun retired towards Kolin, leaving Beck at Sazka with the grenzers. GdC Bretlach led Daun's vanguard while Hadik covered his march.
On May 17, Bevern, with 20,000 men, was detached to look after Daun which he found still in retreat. The same day, Field-marshal Daun fell back from Kolin to Czaslau (present-day Čáslav). Bevern then covered the siege of Prague.
On May 19, two additional hussar regiments and 1,000 men of the [[Banal-Grenzinfanterieregiment nr. 2]] joined Daun. By then, he had incorporated most of Serbelloni's Corps, leaving only detachment (2,000 men of the [[Slavonisch-Peterwardeiner Grenzer]] and 100 Slavonier Grenz-Hussars) under FML Haller in the area of Glatz and Trautenau. His army then counted some 53,000 men.
===Mayr's incursion into the Reich===
Shortly after the Battle of Prague, Colonel Mayr's detachment which had been sent into the Reich reached Franconia. Mayr attacked the Bishopric of Bamberg where he raised contributions. He then overran Upper Palatinate and threatened Nuremberg which declared neutral. When he finally retired to Bohemia, Mayr cut his way through a body of Würzburg and Bamberg troops.
===Siege of Prague===
A few days after the battle, Frederick was confident that Bohemia would furnish him with troops and money. The Austrians were dispersed and Frederick considered to send part of his troops against the French and to pursue the Austrians with the rest of his army. However, Prague was not yet captured and was garrisoned with a large Austrian Army. Prague was not a strong City. Earlier in the century it had been taken twice rather easily.  But, with such a garrison (50,000 men) and considerable magazines, it represented a tough task.
Frederick posted his army in two camps: Ziscaberg and Weissenberg linked by bridges. Keith and he violently battered the city, aiming chiefly at the magazines which were not all bomb-proof. The [[1757 - Siege of Prague|Siege of Prague]] lasted six weeks.
Week after week, the city had held out and there seemed to be no hope of surrender, except by hunger or by burning the magazines with red-hot ball. The Prussians, more than once, had nearly got into the place by surprise but never truly succeeded.
At a certain point, Austrians offered to surrender Prague on condition of "free withdrawal" but Frederick rejected this offer, proposing instead that the Austrian troops in Prague should engage not to serve against him for six years. This latter Prussian offer was also declined.
===Austrian Relief Force===
As mentioned before, when Daun heard of the results of the Battle of Prague, he gradually draw back to Czaslau where he manoeuvred defensively, hanging upon Kuttenberg (present-day Kutná Hora), Kolin and especially upon his magazine of Suchdol.
Daun continued recruiting, rallying the remains of the right wing defeated at Prague (some 16,000 men) and getting 7,000 men from Nádasdy's Corps posted in Moravia and additional units from Vienna (3 bns previously garrisoning the city). He finally built a force of some 60,000 men (including a division of grenzers amounting to 2,600 men), a force nearly thrice superior to Bevern who was watching him.
In the night of May 28 to 29, part of Nádasdy's light troops (200 hussars, 120 Banalisten), led by Lieutenant-colonel Naunendorf, attacked the [[Wartenberg Hussars]] posted on Bevern's right flank, killing or wounding 90 of them; and capturing 1 lieutenant, 16 troopers and 90 horses.
Daun received order from Vienna to rescue Prague. He then advanced visibly towards Prague forcing Bevern to fall back in front of him.
On Sunday June 12, Daun, who had advanced from Goltsch Jenikau (present-day Golčův Jeníkov) to Janowitz (present-day Slavkov), despatched several officers to Prince Charles at Prague. They were supposed to advise him that Daun would be in the neighbourhood of Prague on June 20 and to invite Prince Charles to sally out and help from rearward. However, not a single officer could get into the city. Meanwhile, Nádasdy was at Czaslau with the Austrian cavalry to watch the movements of the Prussian Army. Nádasdy's Corps included 5,800 grenzers:
*in Erdrödy's Brigade:
**Karlstädter Grenz-Hussars (2 sqns totalling 150 men)
*in Beck's Brigade:
**[[Warasdiner-Creutzer Grenzer]] (1 bn and 1 grenadier coy for a total of 700 men)
**[[Slavonisch-Gradiskaner Grenzer]] (2 bns and 1 grenadier coy for a total of 1,290 men)
**[[Banal-Grenzinfanterieregiment nr. 2]] (2 bns totalling about 930 men)
**[[Karlstädter-Szluiner Grenzer]] (2 bns and 1 grenadier coy for a total of 1,320 men)
**[[Slavonisch-Brooder Grenzer]] (2 bns and 1 grenadier coy for a total of 1,160 men)
*in Szechényi's Brigade
**[[Banalisten Grenz-Hussars]] (3 sqns totalling 190 men)
**[[Warasdiner Grenz-Hussars]] (1 sqn totalling 60 men)
On Monday June 13, hearing of Daun's advance, King Frederick set forth in all speed with 12,000 men to reinforce Bevern. He left a small force of 10,000 men for siege and 4,000 more that were supposed to follow two days later under Prince Moritz. Frederick joined Bevern that same night at Kaurzim (present-day Kouřim), 56 km off and, unknown to him, only 5 km from Daun's quarters that same night.
===Battle of Kolin===
On Tuesday June 14, Frederick decided to wait for the 4,000 men of Prince Moritz and for bread which was baking at Nimburg, across the Elbe, 32 km away. He also tried to reconnoitre Daun's position, a difficult task since it was screened by Grenzers light troops. Daun, with his usual skill for camps and positions, had deployed his army in a difficult country: a little river with its boggy pools in front and an intricate broken country of knolls and swamps behind and around. A ridge called Kamhayek Berg formed a long backbone to the locality, its west end straight behind Daun's centre. Frederick's position was from north to south, its right at Malhotitz (present-day Malotice), and its left wing at Kauerzim ( present-day Kouřim).
On Wednesday June 15 and on Thursday June 16, Frederick kept the same positions a little closer to his ovens than the day before. Daun was yet parallel to him with his centre behind Swoyschitz (present-day Svojsice), a village at the foot of Kamhayek Berg.
On Friday June 17, the Prussian bread-wagons and Prince Moritz's 4,000 men (6 bns and 10 sqns) came in. In the afternoon, Frederick resolved to move to the heights of Suchdol. However, this movement proved impossible because, earlier the same day, Daun had decided to move to a stronger position which lay across the planned line of march of the Prussian Army. Frederick sent a detachment under Colonel Warnery to reconnoitre Daun's new position. However, Warnery reported back only a few hours before the battle. Meanwhile, with his planned line of march blocked, Frederick was obliged to change his plan. He moved his army northwards, the infantry of his left wing deployed behind Planian (present-day Plaňany), a little town on the highway (''Kaiser-Strasse'') from Prague to Vienna, while his right wing extended up to Kauerzim.
At sunset, fearing that the new position of the Prussians could allow them to turn his right flank, Daun hustled his right wing back out and wheeled his whole right wing and centre ninety degrees round, so as to reach out towards Kolin, and lie on the north slope of the Kamhayek Berg. He also placed his left wing ''en potence'' round the western end of Kamhayek, its southern extremity at Swoyschitz, its northern at Hradenin (''unidentified location''). Daun's right wing was now far east at Krzeczhorz (present-day Krechor), well beyond Chotzemitz (present-day Chocenice), whereabouts his centre and most of his horse now came to stand. Nádasdy's Corps was indeed moved from the left wing towards the rear and took post upon the heights to the right of Krzeczhorz. This corps arrived there at daybreak.
On Saturday June 18, the Prussians advanced against the Austrian position, tried to manoeuvre parallel to their main battle line and then to attack their right flank around Krzeczhorz. The [[1757-06-18 - Battle of Kolin|Battle of Kolin]] was heavily contested but two tactical mistakes made by the Prussians gave enough time to the Austrians for a strong counter-attack around Krzeczhorz which won the day for Daun.
===Prussian Retreat to Leitmeritz===
On Sunday June 19 at 2:00 a.m., Major Grant arrived at Prague and went to [[Ferdinand of Brunswick|Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick]], interim commander on the Ziskaberg, with order to raise siege. Before daybreak, the Prussians had evacuated the right bank of the Moldau. On both hills, the guns were removed (across the Moldau for those on the Ziskaberg), batteries destroyed, siege-gear neatly gathered up, to go in wagons to Leitmeritz, then by boat to Dresden. Grenzers immediately occupied the Ziskaberg. All this was already done when Frederick arrived in the evening.
On Monday June 20, before sunrise, the siege was raised. At 3:00 a.m., Frederick marched eastward from the Ziskaberg to Altbunzlau, his army disposed in three columns with drums beating and colours flying. [[Friedrich Heinrich Ludwig|Prince Henri]] perfectly covered the retreat with the rearguard. Meanwhile, Prince Charles had also sent from Prague Colonel Inkey de Pallin at the head of 300 hussars and 300 Grenzers against Keith's Corps. The latter's rearguard under Schmettau was attacked by these Austrian light troops. In this action Schmettau lost some 400 men, 1 artillery piece and 2 ammunition carts.  However, Keith continued his march north-westwards to Budin. At 3:00 p.m., Prince Charles of Lorraine sent out from Prague 2,880 grenzers and 27,000 regulars under FZM Kheul to dislodge Keith from the left bank of the Moldau. Lieutenant-Colonel Karl Baron von Amadei asked FML Maquire for the privilege to lead the attack. The Austrians poured out of the Karl Gate. Amadei then sent Captain Riß with some troops through a little valley in the flank of the Prussians, he himself launched an attack on the Prussian redoubts and entrenchments under heavy artillery fire, getting over wolf pits and chevaux-de-frise. The Prussians resisted stubbornly but the Austrian fusiliers stormed the parapet and the Prussians were forced to abandon their positions which were soon occupied by Austrian grenadiers and grenzers. However, the Prussians had rallied  at the Castle of Stern where they held their ground. With the arrival of the Duke of Arenberg with additional Austrian troops, the Prussians gave way again and retreated to Ressin (present-day Řež). At 4:00 p.m., Marshal Keith, who had initially remained in his camp on the Weissenberg, set off with all the baggages and artilleries. Initially his two wings were separated but they made a junction at Rep (''unidentified location''). Then the entire Corps marched to Schlan (present-day Slaný), closely followed by Colonels G. Loudon andInkey de Pallin at the ehad of hussars, a few grenadier companies and Grenzers. During all these manoeuvres, Daun was still standing among the heights and swamps of Planian and did not try to hinder the retreat of the Prussian army.
On Tuesday June 21, Frederick marched to Alt-Lissa (present-day Lysá nad Labem) to shorten the distance between his force and the beaten Kolin army under Moritz and Bevern which was coming up that way. He intended to take post there and to do his best in those parts, with Zittau magazines and Lusatia to his rear. That night, Frederick's headquarters were in Lissa or neighbourhood. The headquarters remained at this location until Friday June 24. He then moved towards Nimburg.
On Thursday June 22, orders were given for seven regiments of horse to reinforce Keith. There was no sign of pursuit anywhere. Keith marched northward from Budin to Leitmeritz (??? on the 22nd or later ???) which was the assigned rendezvous with the king.
On June 23, Prince Charles moved from Prague to Altbunzlau to prepare his junction with Daun.
On Friday June 24, Prince Moritz with the Kolin army arrived from Nimburg area and made his junction with Frederick at Lissa. After dinner, leaving Prince Moritz in command at Lissa, Frederick set off with Prince Henri with 14 battalions and 7 cuirassier regiments towards Leitmeritz to make his junction with Keith. That night, Frederick formed his camp upon the heights of Dirnowa (''unidentified location'').
On Saturday June 25, Frederick marched to Melnik. Meanwhile, Keith had sent 7 battalions to clear the Pascopol highway from Austrian light troops to avoid another raid similar to the one on Welmina the previous day.
On Sunday June 26, Frederick marched from Melnik to Gastorf (present-day Hoštka). The same day, Daun and Prince Charles effected their junction at Kolodeg (present-day Koloděje) some 6 km to the east of Prague.
On Sunday June 27, Frederick, at the head of 14 bns and 7 cuirassier rgts, finally reached Leitmeritz. He lodged in the Cathedral Close, in sight of Keith, who was on the opposite side of Elbe. The town had a bridge over the Elbe. The same day, Moritz left Lissa and marched northward to Lustmitz (present-day Lustenice).
On Tuesday June 28, Frederick made his junction with Keith. The bridge was rightly secured with party of dragoons and foot left on the right bank to occupy a height which covered Leitmeritz. However, [[Loudon, Baron Ernst Gideon|Colonel Loudon]] with his Grenzer light troops occupied the Pascopol, ready to harass Frederick's army during its retreat. Therefore, 3 more battalions were sent to reinforce the 7 battalions already detached by Keith on June 25 for this purpose. On the same day, Moritz continued his retreat, marching from Lustmitz to Jungbunzlau across the Iser and up to Tscheditz (''unidentified location'').
By Wednesday June 29, the Pascopol was cleared from Austrian light troops. The retreat from Prague to Leitmetitz had been a perfectly executed delicate set of operations, thanks to Frederick rapidity and also to Daun cautiousness.
This closed the Prussian campaign in Bohemia. Frederick was now on the defensive waiting to see where the brunt of the Austrian assault would bear: Saxony or Silesia. Finally, the Austrians opted for the [[1757 - Austrian invasion of Silesia|invasion of Silesia]].
On July 3, a new engagement took place near Welmina (present-day Velemín) between a Grenzer detachment ([[Karlstädter-Lykaner Grenzer]], [[Karlstädter-Ottochaner Grenzer]], [[Karlstädter-Oguliner Grenzer]] and [[Banal-Grenzinfanterieregiment nr. 2]]) and Keith's detachment sent to clear the Pascopol.
This article incorporates texts from the following books which are now in the public domain:
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. 205-216
*Anonymous: ''A Complete History of the Present War, from its Commencement in 1756, to the End of the Campaign, 1760'', London, 1761, pp. 205-216
*Archenholz, J. W., ''The History of the Seven Years War in Germany'', translated by F. A. Catty, Francfort, 1843, pp. 32-64, 88-89
*Archenholz, J. W.: ''The History of the Seven Years War in Germany'', translated by F. A. Catty, Francfort, 1843, pp. 32-64, 88-89
*Carlyle T., History of Friedrich II of Prussia vol. 18
*Carlyle T.: ''History of Friedrich II of Prussia'', vol. 18
*Tempelhoff, Fr., ''History of the Seven Years' War'' Vol. I pp. 18-120, as translated by Colin Lindsay, Cadell, London, 1793
*Grosser Generalstab Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung II: ''Die Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen'', Part 3 ''Der siebenjährige Krieg 1756-1763''
**Vol. 1 ''Pirna und Lobositz'', Berlin, 1901, p. 127
**Vol. 2 ''Prag'', Berlin, 1901, pp. 4-120, App. 3
*Tempelhoff, Fr.: ''History of the Seven Years' War'' Vol. I pp. 18-120, 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. 409-426
*Vanicek, Fr.: ''Specialgeschichte der Militärgrenze aus Originalquellen und Quellenwerken geschöpft'', Vol. II, Vienna: Kaiserlich-Königlichen Hof- und Staatsdruckerei, 1875, pp. 409-426
'''Other sources''':
'''Other sources''':
Grosser Generalstab Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung II, ''Die Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen'', Part 3 ''Der siebenjährige Krieg 1756-1763'', Vol. 1 ''Pirna und Lobositz'', Berlin, 1901, p. 127
Pajol, Charles P. V.: ''Les Guerres sous Louis XV'', vol. IV, Paris, 1891, pp. 40-42
Großer Generalstab, ''Die Kriege Friedrichs des Großen. Dritter Teil: Der Siebenjährige Krieg 1756–1763'', Vol. 2, Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung II, Berlin, 1903
Pajol, Charles P. V., ''Les Guerres sous Louis XV'', vol. IV, Paris, 1891, pp. 40-42
Skala, Harald: ''Rückzug des preussischen Heeres nach der Schlacht bei Kolin 1757, der Fall von Gabel und Zittau''
Skala, Harald: ''Rückzug des preussischen Heeres nach der Schlacht bei Kolin 1757, der Fall von Gabel und Zittau''
Skala, Harald, [http://www.kuk-wehrmacht.de/ Österreichische Militärgeschichte]
Skala, Harald: [http://www.kuk-wehrmacht.de/ Österreichische Militärgeschichte]
Yahoo LaceWars Group message No. 24665

Latest revision as of 11:28, 9 January 2016

Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Campaigns >> 1757 - Prussian invasion of Bohemia

The campaign lasted from April to June 1757

Description of Events

This article rapidly becoming quite large has been split into four distinct articles:

  1. Context and preparations (January 1 to April 17, 1757) describing the general context of the campaign, winter operations and the preparations of Austria and Prussia for the incoming conflict
  2. Prussian invasion of Bohemia till the Battle of Prague (April 17 to May 6, 1757) describing the advance of the Prussian columns into Bohemia and their manoeuvres around Prague
  3. Siege of Prague till the Battle of Kolin (May 7 to June 18, 1757) describing the siege of Prague, the Austrian relief attempt and the Battle of Kolin
  4. Retreat (June 19 to June 29, 1757) describing the retreat of the Prussian armies


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. 205-216
  • Archenholz, J. W.: The History of the Seven Years War in Germany, translated by F. A. Catty, Francfort, 1843, pp. 32-64, 88-89
  • Carlyle T.: History of Friedrich II of Prussia, vol. 18
  • Grosser Generalstab Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung II: Die Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen, Part 3 Der siebenjährige Krieg 1756-1763
    • Vol. 1 Pirna und Lobositz, Berlin, 1901, p. 127
    • Vol. 2 Prag, Berlin, 1901, pp. 4-120, App. 3
  • Tempelhoff, Fr.: History of the Seven Years' War Vol. I pp. 18-120, 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. 409-426

Other sources:

Pajol, Charles P. V.: Les Guerres sous Louis XV, vol. IV, Paris, 1891, pp. 40-42

Skala, Harald: Rückzug des preussischen Heeres nach der Schlacht bei Kolin 1757, der Fall von Gabel und Zittau

Skala, Harald: Österreichische Militärgeschichte