1758 - Prussian invasion of Moravia – Siege till the Combat of Domstadl

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Campaigns >> 1758 - Prussian invasion of Moravia >> 1758 - Prussian invasion of Moravia – Siege till the Combat of Domstadl

The campaign lasted from March to July 1758

Introduction

Austrian and Prussian preparations, the initial Prussian operations in Silesia and the recapture of Schweidnitz (present-day Świdnica), the entry of the Prussian Army into Moravia and the preparations for the formal siege of Olmütz (present-day Olomouc) are described in our article 1758 - Prussian invasion of Moravia – Preparations and Arrival.

Map

Map of Moravia (in 1801)
Source: Wikipedia

Description

Siege of Olmütz

The Prussian camp formed a large arc out of cannon range at about 7.5 km from the walls of Olmütz (present-day Olomouc) on the right bank of the March River (present-day Morava River). On such a wide front, Prussian infantry units had to be spread thin and individual squadrons had to be used to fill the gaps between these units. Both wings were anchored to the March River: the right wing with the village of Nimlau (present-day Nemilany) to its rear and Neustift (present-day Nové Sady) to its front; the left wing with Krönau (present-day Křelov) to its rear and Hreptschein (present-day Řepčín) to its front. The village of Nerentein (maybe Neředín) occupied the centre of these positions. The VI./Garrison Regiment VI Lattorff and 2 mineur coys were posted at the headquarters established in Schnobolin (present-day Slavonin). The artillery park had been formed near Schnobolin. A big artillery detachment and part of the wagons had been posted in Krönau. The bakery of Frederick's Corps was at Drzowitz (present-day Držovice) along with 250 provision wagons; while the bakery of Moritz's Corps was at Littau (present-day Litovel) along with 450 provision wagons. Frederick's military hospital was established at Horka (present-day Horka nad Moravou); Moritz's at Littau. The entire camp was protected by circumvallation and contravallation works; while Krönau and Horka were further protected by entrenchments. Only the bridge of Chomottau (present-day Chomoutov) now gave access to the left bank of the March River from the Prussian camp, the bridge of Nimlau having been destroyed. This remaining bridge was protected by an entrenchment to the south of Neustift. Thus, the Prussian blockade was quite complete on the right bank of the March River but very incomplete on the left bank were only a small detachment under Major-General Karl Friedrich von Meier was posted.

N.B.: from this point the actions involving the Austrian garrison of Olmütz and Keith's Siege Corps are described in a separate article: siege of Olmütz while actions involving Prussian covering forces and Austrian relief corps continue to be described in the current article.

On May 21

  • Prussians
    • Frederick's bakery, located at Drzowitz, depended upon a steady supply of flour from Littau. The proximity of Loudon's Corps encouraged desertions and made Prussian reconnaissance almost impossible. For these reasons, Frederick resolved to attack Loudon, who was too far away from the main Austrian army to receive efficient support, and to drive him away from his present positions.
  • Austrians
    • From his positions near Konitz (present-day Konice), Loudon could easily threaten Moritz's Corps posted at Littau by a rapid advance through Namiest (present-day Náměšť na Hané) and the Laschkau (present-day Laškov) Woods.

In the night of May 21 to 22, Frederick marched in 3 columns out of his camp at Prossnitz (present-day Prostějov). The first column (1 bn, 500 dragoons and 500 hussars) under the Prince of Württemberg took position near Plumenau (present-day Plumlov) to screen the Marquis de Ville's positions. The second column (1 bn and 500 dragoons) under Zieten march against Loudon's right flank by Kosteletz (present-day Kostelec na Hané/CZ), Starzechowitz (present-day Stařechovice), Czech (present-day Čechy pod Kosířem) and Przemislowitz (present-day Přemyslovice). Finally, the third column (4 bns) under Major-generals Geist and Puttkamer marched from Czech along the Lachkau Woods directly on Namiest to attract Loudon's attention and give the opportunity to the second column to outflank his positions and cut his line of retreat towards Konitz. Furthermore, Prince Moritz received orders to send Prince Karl von Bevern (3 bns, 50 hussars) against Loudon's left flank at Willimau (Vilémov u Litovle) and Namiest and to turn this flank. However, Loudon was soon informed by his outposts of the advance of Bevern from Littau and of Frederick's 3 columns. Loudon and his troops knew perfectly the footpaths leading through this mountainous and densely wooded area and, suffering only insignificant losses, they managed to retire in the hills behind Konitz. The Prussians unsuccessfully tried to pursue them and finally returned to their camps, harassed by Loudon at the head of 2 hussar rgts while a grenadier bn belonging to Loudon's force intercepted a Prussian detachment and took some prisoners. In this action, the Austrians lost 3 officers and 30 Grenzer light troops while the Prussians lost 4 officers and 48 men taken prisoners.

On May 23

  • Austrians
    • Daun resolved to move closer to Olmütz. However, having much respect for Frederick's military genius, he did not dare to risk everything in an open battle. Furthermore, Daun knew that Olmütz was well supplied and well defended; and that his light troops could seriously hinder all foraging and requisitioning by the Prussian Army. For these reasons, Daun decided to establish himself in a strong camp near Gewitsch (present-day Jevíčko still 48 km to west of Olmütz). During his first day of march, he went from Leuthomischl (present-day Litomyšl) to Zwittau (present-day Svitavy).
    • After transferring 4 infantry rgts and 2 cavalry rgts to the main army, FZM Count Harsch marched to Mährisch-Trübau (present-day Moravská Třebová) with the rest of his corps.

On May 24

  • Prussians
    • The Prussians were on constant alert and combat readiness and were soon exhausted. Furthermore, they had to depend entirely on their magazines, being cut from the surrounding country. Meier's Corps, one of the smallest of the Prussian army, had a particularly difficult mission to fulfill: the blockade of Olmütz on the left bank of the March River, and the support of the units defending the bridges.
  • Austrians
    • Daun marched from Zwittau to Gewitsch where he assembled 35 bns and 80 sqns. Daun was still hanging by the mountains and his magazines. The right wing of this new camp was anchored on the town of Gewitsch and the left wing extended up to Kornitz (present-day Chornice). The heights between Jarmeritz (present-day Jaroměřice u Jevíčka) and Biskupitz (present-day Biskupice) were occupied by the Grenadier Corps and the Carabinier Corps. The Reserve Corps formed the right flank between Oppatowitz (present-day Velké Opatovice) and Gewitsch. A small stream with marshy banks covered the front of Daun's positions and a few ponds protected his left flank. Overall, he was at the head of 80,000 men.
    • The vanguard of the main army, under the Prince von Löwenstein, was posted at Konitz to support Loudon.
    • De Ville advanced from Brünn (present-day Brno) to Wischau (present-day Vyškov) and posted General Emmerich Esterházy at Ptin (present-day Ptení) with a detachment of light troops to protect his line of communication with the main army.
    • FZM Harsch had also left Nikel (present-day Mikuleč) and established his corps (12 bns, 12 grenadier coys, 2 carabinier coys and 8 sqns) in a camp on the Heights of Allerheiligen (present-day Vyšehorky) near Müglitz (present-day Mohelnice) where he replaced Jahnus who advanced to Loschitz (present-day Loštice) with his light troops. Jahnus' manoeuvre forced Prince Moritz to retire his outposts at Rzimnitz (present-day Řimice) and Neuschloss (present-day Nové Zámky) and to move them closer to his camp at Assmeritz (present-day Nasobůrky).
    • Finally, Lanjus, covered by Harsch, maintained his positions at Karlsberg (present-day Karlovec, Bruntál) between Friedland (present-day Břidličná) and Lobnig (present-day Lobník), threatening the communications between Troppau (present-day Opava) and Giebau (present-day Jívová) and the area to the rear and flank of the positions by the Prussian Corps of Margrave Karl and Meier. Thus the Prussian covering corps were surrounded by a cloud of light troops, making it difficult to assume mutual support.

Daun then lay in impregnable positions at Gewitsch, some 25 km from Frederick's position. He pushed out Loudon and the light cavalry on the Troppau Road. Persisting rumors that the main Austrian army was on the march towards Konitz induced Frederick to reinforce his positions in these quarters.

Northern Moravia, the theater of Klein Krieg warfare
Source: Rudolf von Hödl, Geschichte des K. und K. Infanterieregiments Nr. 29
Courtesy: Harald Skala

In the night of May 24 to 25, Lanjus received intelligence that a Prussian convoy of 1,000 wagons was returning from Sternberg (present-day Moravský Šternberk) to Silesia, escorted by Duke Lubomirsky with 2 bns, 2 guns, 60 dragoons and a few hussars. Lanjus immediately marched with his detachment to Heidenpiltsch (present-day Bílčice), arriving there just when the convoy marched through the village. Lanjus' grenadiers attacked the grenadiers of the escort sabre in hand. He captured 314 empty wagons, giving some of them to local farmers. Lanjus then retired to Römerstadt (present-day Rýmařov).

On May 25

  • Prussians
    • The Prussians received flour from Neustadt (present-day Prudnik) in Silesia.
    • To stop Loudon's depredations and to cover the line of communication with Prince Moritz at Assmeritz, Frederick detached Major-General von Wedel to the hills near Hrad (probably Skalky), between Namiest and Laschkau, in front of Luderschow (present-day Ludéřov) and Kiniczek (present-day Kníničky). Wedel had with him:
    • Frederick also ordered Fouqué to occupy Klein-Latein (unidentified location) with 5 sqns of Möhring Hussars. To be ready for a battle, Frederick also recalled all the cavalry and 2 bns of the Siege Corps.

On May 26, Grenadier Battalion 15/18 Kleist returned to Troppau.

At the end of May, the Austrian armies in Bohemia and Moravia (including Serbelloni’s Corps but excluding de Ville’s Corps) had a book strength of 73,343 foot.

On June 1

  • Prussians
    • Freibataillon le Noble and Freibataillon Salenmon were sent towards Hof (present-day Dvorce) to cover a large convoy of provisions and ammunition with 3,000 recruits and convalescent, and Freibataillon Rapin coming from Neisse under the command of Major-General von Puttkamer and marching by Bautsch (present-day Budišov nad Budišovkou) and Domstadtl (present-day Domašov nad Bystřicí).

On June 2, Frederick moved his headquarters to Klein-Latein.

On June 3, Lanjus decided to storm Sternberg. However, the town was surrounded by a high wall and a surprise attack was not possible. Therefore, Lanjus retired towards Janowitz (present-day Janovice, Rýmařov).

On June 5

  • Prussians
    • A large Prussian convoy left Troppau, marching towards Olmütz.
  • Austrians
    • Lanjus’ Corps arrived at Janowitz.

On June 6

  • Prussians
    • The convoy halted at Bautsch for the night, intending to march by Domstadtl the next day.
    • Colonel Le Noble with 2 bns, 12 hussars and 4 guns was advancing from the opposite direction from Sternberg to Hof to join the convoy and its escort.
  • Austrians
    • Lanjus was informed by a spy that a convoy had left Troppau the previous day. He immediately sent his grenadiers and his Grenzer light troops to Bärn (present-day Moravský Beroun) where they took position on a hill during the evening. Lanjus finally decided to first attack Le Noble's detachment and then to turn his attention to the convoy.

On June 7

  • Engagement
    • In the morning, Lanjus's detachment ( (500 Grenzer light troops and 120 hussars) was hidden in the forest near Lodenitz (present-day Horní Loděnice). At 4:30 p.m., Le Noble's detachment reached Lodenitz. Lanjus led the vanguard but the Prussians detected the ambush.
    • Loudon attacked the Möhring Hussars at Atem (unidentified location). The latter lost 24 men and part of their baggage.

On June 8

  • Engagement
    • Lanjus launched his attack against the superior Le Noble’s detachment near Siebenhöfen (present-day Sedm Dvorů) without the advantage of a surprise. Nevertheless, his grenadiers led by the Chevalier Caldwell attacked the Prussian guns, capturing three of them. The Prussians then broke and fled, pursued by Lanjus through Taubenberg (unidentified location), Siebenhöfen (present-day Sedm Dvorců) up to Neudörfel (present-day Nová Víska) where Le Noble effected a junction with the convoy and its escort (1 bn and several sqns). Lanjus retreated and returned to Janowitz. In this action, Lanjus captured 3 guns, 8 wagons, 4 officers and 366 men. Furthermore, 155 Prussians deserted and took service in the Austrian army. Colonel Le Noble was wounded. For his part Lanjus lost 17 men killed and 13 wounded.
  • Prussians

On June 10

  • Prussians
  • Austrians
    • When Daun heard of the arrival of the provision convoy, he was much displeased by Harsch's failure to intercept it. He immediately transferred the responsibility to watch convoys arriving from Silesia from Harsch to Loudon.

On June 11

  • Austrians
    • Marschall wrote to Daun to request additional artillery. The cavalry of Meier’s Corps could not prevent the exchange of messages between Daun and Marschall.

Daun’s main army was still in its camp at Gewitsch and Frederick’s main body near Schmirsitz. The latter thought that the Austrians would eventually advance by Konitz and Namiest but was confident that he could redeploy his army facing westwards within four hours. In such an eventuality, Prince Moritz, commanding in Littau, would recall Margrave Karl’s Corps from Mährisch-Neustadt and form the second line of Frederick army.

On June 12, Loudon attacked the Zieten Hussars while they were foraging.

FM Daun decided to attack Meier’s cavalry encamped near Bistrowan (present-day Bystrovany) (8 sqns of Bayreuth Dragoons, 2 sqns of Seydlitz Hussars) and Holitz (2 sqns of Bayreuth Dragoons). Meier also had Freibataillon Rapin, Grenadier Battalion 24/34 Naumeister and the Feldjäger zu Fuß posted near Chomotau.

On June 13, Daun ordered de Ville to send [[Saint-Ignon, Jean-Baptiste Comte de |Major-General Saint-Ignon]] with part of his troops from Wischau by Kremsier (present-day Kroměříž) to Prerau (present-day Přerov) to attack Meier's positions. Saint-Ignon’s Corps consisted of:

On June 15

  • Austrians
    • Daun recalled Harsch, then posted at Müglitz, and instructed him to make a junction with the main army.
    • Saint-Ignon's Corps took position at Prerau, intending to attack the Prussian positions defended by Meier around Groß Wisternitz (present-day Velká Bystřice) and Holitz.
    • Jahnus’ Corps evacuated the camp of Loschitz.

In the night of June 15 to 16, Daun sent Lieutenant-Colonel Jakob Robert Count Nugent-Westmeath of Sincère Infantry to get more information on the situation at Olmütz.

On June 16

  • Austrians
    • Daun set off from his camp of Gewitsch in the greatest silence and marched in 5 columns to Protiwanow (present-day Protivanov).
    • Harsch marched from Müglitz towards Konitz, his movements being rapidly spotted by outposts of Prince Moritz (posted at Assmeritz) and Margrave Karl (posted at Mährisch Neustadt).
    • Saint-Ignon received the order to attack Meier while part of the Austrian garrison of Olmütz would launch a diversionary attack.
  • Prussians
    • Frederick was immediately informed of the departure of the main Austrian army from Gewitsch. However, this army was so perfectly screened by light troops that he could not determine its destination.

Engagement at Groß Wisternitz

In the night of June 16 to 17, Meier's troops remained under arms. Meier also recalled Grenadier Battalion 33/42 Nimschöfsky from Drosdein to occupy Groß Wisternitz. The same night the corps of Prince Moritz and Margrave Karl remained under arms in case Harsch would attack them.

On June 17 at 4:30 a.m., seeing no enemy and receiving no message from his patrol, Meier assumed that Keith's warning was unfounded. Accordingly, he kept only a small patrol in front of his positions and sent Grenadier Battalion 33/42 Nimschöfsky back to Drosdein. His cavalry unsaddled and went foraging. These dispositions had barely been taken when Colonel Count Stainville at the head of Löwenstein Dragoons, Dessewffy Hussars and Graf Rudnicki Uhlanen suddenly appeared in front of Groß Wisternitz and launched an attack. He drove back the outposts and a large part of the surprised Prussian dragoons and hussars fought dismounted. Stainville rapidly seized the camp of the Bayreuth Dragoons, killing, wounding or taking prisoners a large number of dragoons and forcing the rest to precipitously retire towards Drosdein. The Austrians set the Prussian camp of Groß Wisternitz afire. By chance the 2 squadrons of Seydlitz Hussars had not yet unsaddled and were able to retire without losing a single man, even managing to take a few prisoners. Meanwhile, the Grenadier Battalion 33/42 Nimschöfsky had reassembled and hurriedly marched from Drosdein to the support of the Prussian cavalry. With the help of a few artillery pieces, they stopped the advance of the Austrian cavalry and drove it back beyond the camp of Groß Wisternitz up to Groß Teinitz (present-day Velký Týnec).

At the same time, Saint-Ignon personally led the Württemberg Dragoons and Prinz Karl Chevauxlegers and attacked Holitz, only defended by 250 men of Freibataillon von Rapin and 2 squadrons of Bayreuth Dragoons. However, the Prussians managed to retire towards the March River by the dams and the Austrians could only capture 1 officer and 30 men left behind to defend the cemetery.

During this time, Meier had received orders from Keith to retire to Holitz. Grenadier Battalion 33/42 Nimschöfsky formed a square with its baggage in the middle and retired towards Holitz in good order without losing a single man even though it was attacked by Saint-Ignon's Cavalry as well as by some cavalry units sent from Olmütz.

Meier, preceded by the rest of the Bayreuth Dragoons and pursued by the Austrian cavalry was forced to pass the dams near Holitz at the gallop. The Bayreuth Dragoons fell into disarray and suffered important losses. The entire regiment was in danger of being captured when Freibataillon Rapin took position behind the dams and opened fire on the pursuing Austrian Cavalry, driving it back and allowing the dragoons to reach Holitz.

At the first alarm, Keith had sent 2 bns (1 bn of Pannewitz Infantry, 1 bn of Markgraf von Brandenburg Fusiliers) and the 5 sqns of the Herzog von Württemberg Dragoons across the March River to support Meier's Corps. However, these reinforcements arrived too late to prevent Meier's retreat. Nevertheless, upon their arrival, Saint-Ignon retired to Prerau. In this successful surprise attack, Saint-Ignon had lost only 3 officers and 80 men while, on the Prussian side, the Bayreuth Dragoons alone had lost 10 officers and 458 men (59 killed, 112 wounded and 287 taken prisoners), their silver kettle-drums and their baggage and Freibataillon Rapin had lost 3 officers and 15 men. General von Meier was wounded during the engagement. Frederick decided to reinforce his troops on the eastern bank of the March.

Margrave Karl had also sent 2 grenadier bns (Unruh and Manteuffel) and 3 sqns of Seydlitz Hussars from Mährisch-Neustadt to Boniowitz (present-day Bohuňovice) to support Meier at Prerau but these reinforcements arrived too late to take part in the engagement.

The Austrian relief army moves closer to Olmütz

Order of Battle
The website Gallica of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France gives access to a plan of the camp of the Austrian army near Eiwanowitz in der Hanna

The same day (June 17)

  • Austrians
    • FZM Marschall sent an alarming report to Daun, mentioning that many of the other works facing the Prussian approaches were partly in ruins.
    • To cover the march of the main army, General Loudon took position in the neighbourhood of Neuschloss; G.d.C. Buccow at Konitz and General Emmerich Esterházy at Ptin.
    • Daun marched from Protiwanow to Eiwanowitz in der Hanna (present-day Ivanovice na Hané) where he made a junction with the Corps of the Marquis de Ville. Daun established a new camp in this very advantageous position with his right wing resting on the village of Eiwanowitz in der Hanna and covered by a marshy stream, and his left wing anchored on the village of Prödlitz (present-day Brodek u Prostějova). The latter village as well as all villages in front of Daun's positions were occupied by infantry detachments. Daun established his headquarters at Eiwanowitz. The Saxon Lieutenant-General von Zeschwitz at the head of 2 Saxon Chevauxlegers regiments, the converged carabiniers and the Karlstädter Grenz-Hussars was posted at Kojetein (present-day Kojetin).
    • Most of de Ville’s Corps advanced from Wischau to cover the left flank of Daun’s camp. Meanwhile, another part of de Ville’s Corps covered Daun’s right flank. This latter detachment consisted of 3 cavalry rgts (Prinz Karl Chevauxlegers, Prinz Albrecht Chevauxlegers and the Saxon Karabiniergarde) at Morzitz (unidentified location), 2 hussar rgts (Károly Hussars, Karlstädter Grenz-Hussars) at Kruschka (unidentified location) and Kojetein and 1 uhlan pulk near Niemtschitz (present-day Němčice) all under FML von Zeschwitz.
    • To conceal the departure of the main army from Gewitsch, General Buccow remained at Konitz with 12,000 men. His force consisted of the corps of Loudon and Jahnus to which had been added several regiments of the main army. His force included Jung-Wolfenbüttel Infantry, Bayreuth Infantry, Kolowrat Infantry, Starhemberg Infantry, Königsegg Infantry, Alt-Wolfenbüttel Infantry, Zweibrücken-Birkenfeld Dragoons, Kolowrat-Krakowski Dragoons, Buccow Cuirassiers, Morocz Hussars, Paul Anton Esterházy Hussars, Nádasdy Hussars and Kaiser Hussars.
    • There were also large Austrian camps at Ptin where Major-General Emmerich Esterházy commanded; and at Willimau (Vilémov u Litovle) and Luka (unidentified location) under Major-General Jahnus; and near Aussee (present-day Úsov) under Colonel von Zobel.
  • Prussians
    • Daun's movements had been so well screened by his light troops that Frederick learned of them only once the Austrian main army had established itself at Eiwanowitz in der Hanna. When Frederick was informed that Margrave Karl had not been attacked, that the Austrian main army was now at Eiwanowitz in der Hanna and that Meier had been attacked, he instructed Margrave Karl to take a new position on the left bank of the March River and to cut communications between Olmütz and Prerau. **Margrave Karl (6 bns, 3 sqns) evacuated Mährisch-Neustadt and immediately marched to Boniowitz.
    • Prince Moritz sent a detachment (Grenadier Battalion 35/36 Schenckendorff and Möhring Hussars) under Major-General von Saldern to reconnoitre the Austrian camp at Müglitz.

On June 18

|GFWM von Bülow]] at the head of 1,366 men, along with Major von Stockhausen of the Ingenieur Corps and 2 officers, 2 corporals and 20 gunners of the artillery.

On June 19, Austrian troops advanced from Aussee and occupied Mährisch-Neustadt and established communication with the detachment of Colonel Lanjus.

On June 20

  • Prussians
    • Frederick reconnoitred Daun's camp.
  • Austrians
    • Bülow's reinforcement set off from Prerau, proceeding very cautiously and making a wide detour to avoid detection by the Prussian posts at Bistrowan and Groß Wisternitz and to reach Olmütz from the north-east.

On the night of June 20 to 21

Frederick’s Army was now deployed with its right wing anchored on the woods and its left on the valley of the March.

One Last Supply Convoy

On June 21

  • Prussians
    • Zieten marched to Gross Wisternitz with 3 grenadier bns (Rath, Schenckendorff, Carlowitz), 10 sqns (Baron von Kyau Cuirassiers and Schmettau Cuirassiers) and 900 hussars (300 men each from Zieten Hussars, Werner Hussars and Puttkamer Hussars).
    • Major-General von Wedel was posted in the Height of Hrad between Namiest and Laschkau to prevent Loudon's Corps to attack the Siege Corps.
    • The field-treasury, the field-commissariat and supply services were located at Krönau and the bakery at Horka.
    • A large Prussian supply convoy left Cosel (present-day Kozle) and Neisse (present-day Nysa) under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel von Mosel. It was escorted by 8 bns, and 3,000 recruits and convalescent organised into 4 bns and 1,200 cavalrymen. The convoy consisted of some 4,000 wagons (mostly four-horse, including 43 wagons loaded with money; 940 with ammunition; and1,842 with flour). The ammunition in particular were absolutely necessary for the continuation of the siege. More precisely, the escort of this convoy consisted of:
  • Austrians
    • At 4:00 p.m., GFWM Saint-Ignon made a feint against Retzow's position to divert his attention thus allowing Bülow's reinforcement to march unnoticed towards Olmütz. The latter set off at 10:00 p.m. and marched by Aujest (present-day Dolní Újezd), Haslicht (present-day Varhošt), Habicht (present-day Jestřabi), Hombok (present-day Hlubočky) and Weska (present-day Véska).
    • Colonel Lanjus occupied Sternberg.

On June 22

  • Prussians
  • Austrians
    • At 5:00 a.m., Saint-Ignon's Corps appeared on the Heights of Groß Teinitz.
    • At daybreak, Bülow reached Olmütz.
    • In the evening, the detachment of Colonel von Zobel appeared in front of Littau.
    • General von Buccow, who was posted at Konitz, received a message from a spy at Weidenau (present-day Vidnava), informing him that a large Prussian convoy of ammunition would soon march from Neisse towards Troppau (present-day Opava). Buccow proposed to Daun to intercept this convoy with part of his corps and Lanjus’ detachment.
    • Daun willingly accepted Buccow’s proposal, answering that Buccow should undertake this endeavour with most of his corps, or that he should send Loudon with a small corps. Furthermore, Daun planned to send a corps from Prerau to support this attack.

On June 23

  • Prussians
    • Early in the morning, General von Kreytzen rushed from Kleinsenitz to the relief of Littau with 2 bns (Grenadier Battalion 19/25 Heyden, VI. "Standing" Grenadier Battalion (Rohr)) and 400 men of the Möhring Hussars.
    • The combined detachments of Retzow and Zieten took position on the heights facing Prerau. The Austrian positions located beyond this place were very strong and the village of Prerau itself was occupied by a few hundreds men of the Karlstädter-Lykaner Grenzer who also covered the marshy banks of the Beczwa and several ponds. Zieten’s attempt was unsuccessful.
    • After Zobel’s retreat, Kreytzen marched back to Kleinsenitz.
  • Austrians
    • In fact, Saint-Ignon had left only a small detachment of Karlstädter-Lykaner Grenzer in Prerau to lure the Prussians out of their own positions. Saint-Ignon had sent his baggage to Chropin (present-day Chropyně) and retired to heights near Bichnow (maybe Beniow, present-day Beňow) with his main corps, leaving an additional detachment of Karlstädter-Lykaner Grenzer in the Castle of Tobitschau (present-day Tovačov).
    • A detachment from Jahnus' Corps under Colonel von Zobel (2 bn s of Alt-Wolfenbüttel Infantry and 1 bn of Bayreuth Infantry) marched through the meadows of the March River to attack the post of Littau. Meanwhile, Lanjus should advance by Mährisch Neustadt on Littau with Caldwell's grenadiers and his Grenzer light troops. Zobel's summon to surrender the post was rejected and, Major-General von Kreytzen's detachment approaching the post, the Austrians retired.
    • As soon as Kreytzen’s detachment left, Jahnus encircled Littau with 1 bn of Alt-Wolfenbüttel Infantry, 1 bn of Bayreuth Infantry, 4 grenadier coy, some 1,350 Grenzer light troops, a few sqns, two 12-pdr guns and two howitzers. He was accompanied by Lanjus’ detachment (1,100 men).

On June 24, Zieten retired from the area of Prerau and distributed his corps in several smaller detachments on the left bank of the March:

Order of Battle
Detailed order of battle of the Prussian Convoy at Troppau on June 25, 1758

On June 25, Colonel Lanjus vainly tried to seize the Prussian outpost of Sternberg defended by two battalions of Freikorps.

Till June 25, Colonel von Queiss successfully defended Littau.

On the night of June 25 to 26

On June 26

  • Prussians
    • The important convoy of supply destined to the Prussian besiegers set off as planned from Troppau under the command of Colonel von der Mosel. A convoy from Troppau to Olmütz usually took about six days. The convoy extended on 32 km. The escort went in three brigades: vanguard, middle, rear-guard, with sparse pickets intervening. The roads were utterly bad.
    • In the afternoon, Mosel’s vanguard reached Bautsch. There, Mosel establish contact with Zieten’s Corps and informed him that he expected that the head of his convoy would reach Giebau the next day. However, reports informed Mosel that Austrian troops were advancing from Sternberg and Prerau. Accordingly, he decided to assemble all incoming wagons in a Wagenburg near Bautsch to better defend them.
    • By the end of the day, two thirds of the wagons of the Prussian convoy had reached Bautsch while the rest had been delayed on the muddy road.
  • Austrians
    • Buccow was ready to follow with the main body of his corps when he received new instructions from Daun, ordering him to let Loudon advance on the Prussian convoy and to occupy the heights near Plumenau with the rest of his corps.
    • A small force was left at Konitz under the command of Jahnus.
    • Loudon was informed that Colonel Lanjus’ detachment (240 grenadiers, 600 fusiliers, 200 hussars), which will soon join him from Reigersdorf (present-day Rejchartice), was placed under his command.
    • A skirmish took place with Werner Hussars (probably 7 sqns) near Prossnitz.
    • Daun reconnoitred the Prussian camp at Schmirsitz. He then sent his pontoon trains to Kremsier, ready to be used to cross the March.

On June 27

  • Austrians
    • Daun marched out of his camp on the Heights of Prödlitz in 8 columns as if he intended to offer battle to Frederick. Then, Daun established a new camp with his right wing at Klenowitz (present-day Klenovice na Hané) and his left wing and headquarters at Dobromielitz (present-day Dobromilice), in an attempt to convince Frederick that he would attack the Prussian left flank.
    • G.d.C. von Buccow's Corps (a few thousands light troops) advanced to Ptin against the Prussian right flank.
    • Early in the morning, Loudon reached Sternberg where he was informed that the convoy had now reached Bautsch and that Frederick had sent reinforcements from his camp.
    • An Austrian corps of 4,000 men (Haller Infantry (2 bns), 6 grenadier coys, 1,000 Grenzer light troops, Prinz Karl Chevauxlegers, 200 men of Löwenstein Dragoons, 200 men of Württemberg Dragoons, 4 horse grenadier coys, Dessewffy Hussars, 100 uhlans) assembled at Prerau under the command of Major-General Siskovics and then marched towards Liebau (present-day Lubawka) to assist Loudon.
    • In the afternoon, Loudon marched towards Domstadtl. However, he did not manage to effect a junction with the corps sent from Prerau.
  • Prussians
    • Keith stroke his tents and had his force in readiness to fend off any attack by Buccow.
    • Frederick’s army remained in its positions, only reinforcing its left wing. If ever Daun engaged combat, Frederick was ready to counter-attack in “oblique order” with a strong artillery support. Keith had detached 7 bns, 5 sqns and six 12-pdr guns from his Siege Corps under Retzow to reinforce Frederick’s Army.
    • Frederick gave orders to Zieten to march to the support of the incoming convoy. Zieten immediately sent forward a detachment (Grenadier Battalion 35/36 Schenckendorff, 200 men from Bayreuth Dragoons and 300 men from Werner Hussars) under Colonel von Werner to Giebau to effect a junction with Mosel’s convoy. Werner reached Giebau in the evening. Zieten prepared to follow him the next day.
    • Mosel made the day a rest-day to permit laggards to catch up with the main body of his convoy. About two-thirds of them managed to join the convoy again.

At midnight in the night of June 27 to 28, Loudon was informed that Mosel’s convoy would set off from Bautsch around 2:00 a.m. Leaving a rearguard of 300 horse at Domstadtl, Loudon immediately marched.

The Engagement of Unter-Güntersdorf

On Wednesday June 28 in the morning, Zieten's Corps (3 bns, 10 sqns, 900 hussars) lifted its camp between Boberitz (unidentified location) and Holitz, sent its baggage across the March River towards the Prussian headquarters at Schnobolin and marched towards the Sauberg to support the convoy expected from Troppau.

However, Daun had already given orders to Loudon (10,000 men: Starhemberg Infantry (1 bn), Kolowrat Infantry (2 bns), Alt-Wolfenbüttel Infantry (1 bn), Slavonisch-Gradiskaner Grenzer (600 men), Zweibrücken-Birkenfeld Dragoons and Nádasdy Hussars) to intercept this convoy.

Loudon had made a long deep bend far to westward and hillward from all the Prussian posted corps, advancing by Müglitz and Hof, to make a junction with Lanjus' Corps and to await the Prussian convoy.

At daybreak, Loudon reached Güntersdorf (present-day Huntířov u Dvoravé) and deployed his troops to intercept the Prussian convoy. Loudon conducted a reconnaissance towards Domstadtl and found the head of Mosel’s convoy. The battalions of the escorts marched by platoons besides the wagons.

Meanwhile, at 1:30 a.m., all wagons assembled at Bautsch had set out. Mosel received instructions to make a junction with Zieten's Corps at Domstadtl.

Early the same day, Werner was informed that his patrols had been unable to join Mosel’s convoy at Bautsch because the Austrians had concentrated at Domstadtl. The convoy had allegedly been redirected towards Altliebe (present-day Stará Libavá). At these news, Zieten quickly marched to Giebau with the rest of his corps (Grenadier Battalion Rath, Grenadier Battalion Carlowitz, Baron von Kyau Cuirassiers, Schmettau Cuirassiers, 300 men of Zieten Hussars and 300 men of Puttkamer Hussars).

Loudon’s cavalry had formed to the south of the road; and his Grenzer light troops along with some infantry had hidden in the bushes bordering the road.

As the Prussian vanguard came out of the village of Unter-Güntersdorf, it came under the fire of the Austrian artillery which had taken position in three groups to the north of the road. Meanwhile, the first wagons had penetrated into the defile leading to this village. The leading Prussian battalion (I./Jung-Kreytzen) deployed close to the village exit but was soon forced to retire to a height to the south of the road by the Austrian artillery. It was joined by Grenadier Battalion Alt-Billerbeck. Together, they resisted to Loudon’s first attack conducted by his Grenzer light troops. However, left unsupported, they headed eastwards when the enemy turned their flanks. They finally received support from II./Jung-Kreytzen when it arrived.

The Austrians slowly followed the retiring Prussians bns and entered into Güntersdorf where they plundered the wagons loaded with money which formed the head of the convoy.

Loudon deployed his main body to the north of Unter-Güntersdorf and posted the troops of Colonel Lanjus on his left wing. The Austrian had established a battery which enfiladed the right flank held by Grenadier Battalion Alt-Billerbeck.

The threatened Prussian right flank was covered by the battalion of recruits and convalescent of Prinz Ferdinand von Preußen.

At this moment, Lieutenant-Colonel Mosel decided to launch a counter-attack and hurried to his right flank where he assembled the recruits of Prinz Ferdinand Regiment, Jung-Kreytzen Infantry, Grenadier Battalion Alt-Billerbeck and II./Garrison Regiment Mützschefahl. He deployed these units only two ranks deep to extend their frontage and then advanced against Loudon’s left wing. Grenadier Battalion Alt-Billerbeck dashed up into the woody heights and difficult grounds to storm Loudon's guns. The Grenzer light troops of Colonel Lanjus could not withstand Mosel’s attack and were driven out of their positions at the point of the bayonet. The Prussians thus made themselves master of a height and immediately planted their battalion guns at its summit. Meanwhile, Jung-Kreytzen and Prinz Ferdinand regiments did as well.

Loudon vainly tried to recapture this position, launching five successive attacks with his infantry. He was then informed that other Prussian troops were on the march from Domstadtl and ordered his force to withdraw to Bärn. Nevertheless, Loudon had taken 120 prisoners, 2,000 oxen and a few wagons loaded with gold and silver. Loudon would probably have struggled farther, but he knew that there would be a better chance again not many km ahead. London had studied this convoy and knew of Zieten coming from Olmütz and of Siskovics coming to him.

For an hour, Mosel followed the retiring Austrians at the head of Jung-Kreytzen Infantry and the courageous recruit bn, capturing several prisoners and three cannon. The Prussian cavalry arrived too late to launch a charge.

Loudon’s attack had been driven back but his presence at Bärn still represented a serious threat to the convoy.

In this action, which had lasted five hours, the Prussians had lost 7 officers and 418 men; the Austrians, 2 officers and 49 men killed, 107 men wounded and 399 men missing of taken prisoners.

During the combat, the Prussian convoy had become very disordered; many peasants driving the wagons had taken flight at the first musketry fire or turned back towards Troppau. Mosel reorganised his convoy but jumbled on all day and got to his appointed quarters: the village of Neudörfel, where he formed a “Wagenburg” for the night. He then sent Adjutant Beville to bring the news of the skirmish to Frederick. At this location, Mosel also made his junction with Werner's detachment.

By then, Siskovics had passed the March River with another Austrian Corps and had been reinforced with Saint-Ignon's Corps.

At 4:00 p.m., Zieten’s Corps, which had effected a junction with Werner’s detachment, finally reached the battlefield. Zieten immediately assumed overall command of the Prussian forces and interrupted the march of the convoy to reorder it. His patrols went up to Troppau to retrieve wagons which had returned there.

In the evening, Siskovics’ Corps encamped in the forest between Oehlstadtl (present-day Olejovice) and Liebau. Where Siskovics was informed of Loudon’s failure at Güntersdorf and of his retreat to Bärn. Siskovics immediately established communication with and asked him to renew his attack in a combined action. Loudon promised him his unconditional support.

In the evening, the Prussian convoy resumed its advance north-eastwards from Altliebe.

In the night of June 28 to 29, hearing of the successful outcome of the engagement at Unter-Güntersdorf, Frederick sent Grenadier Battalion Manteuffel and Grenadier Battalion Unruh, formerly posted at Bistrowan, to reinforce Zieten’s Corps.

On Thursday morning June 29, half the wagons had not yet reached Neudörfel. Zieten had given orders to take a day of rest at Altliebe to wait for these lagging wagons. In the evening, Colonel von Werner occupied Domstadtl with his cavalry.

This additional delay allowed Loudon and Siskovics to prepare a new attack. Loudon would rush towards Domstadtl to block the way to the convoy before it could enter less difficult terrain closer to Retzow's Corps; while Siskovics would take position in the woods near Seibersdorf (present-day Bělá) to attack the rear of the convoy. Loudon asked Buccow for reinforcements, ammunition and provisions. Determined to stop the Prussian convoy, Siskovics sent Colonel von Neuendorf with 1 hussar rgt and 400 dragoons to reconnoitre the Prussian convoy. The latter reported that the columns were still on the march. Siskovics immediately advanced to Seibersdorf. It turned out, however, that the head of the convoy was still near Altliebe. Accordingly, Siskovics remained in the neighbourhood of Seibersdorf during the night.

Around midnight, Grenadier Battalion Carlowitz joined Werner’s force at Domstadtl.

On the same day (June 29), Daun reconnoitred the neighbourhood of Dub (present-day Dub nad Moravou) and Tobitschau and around 9:00 a.m. appeared near Prossnitz as if he intended to attack in this area. Even though he had already came to the conclusion that Frederick’s camp was unassailable. Meanwhile, Buccow made demonstrations against Zieten Hussars, occupying Kosteletz. Frederick, at the head of VI./Garrison Regiment Lattorf, which was guarding his headquarters at Schmirsitz, reinforced with battalions recalled from the left wing, advanced to observe Daun. Werner Hussars, supported by Jung-Platen Dragoons and Czettritz Dragoons, attacked the advancing Austrians and captured 60 prisoners. Daun then retired precipitously to his camp.

Still the same day (June 29), Frederick was informed that a strong Austrian Corps had taken position near Tobitschau. He immediately sent Lieutenant-General von Seydlitz with a few hundreds dragoons and hussars to reconnoitre the area. In the evening, Beville arrived at Frederick's headquarters with the news that the escort of the convoy arriving from Silesia had successfully repulsed Loudon's attack at Unter-Güntersdorf, halfway between Bautsch and Domstadtl, and that this escort was now trying to make a junction with Zieten's Corps. These good news caused much joy in the Prussian camp. However, during this very time, Loudon was taking position to stop the convoy, being reinforced by Colonel Lanjus' (500 foot and 120 hussars) and Major Amelunken's (300 Grenzers) detachments.

The Combat of Domstadtl

On June 30

After the disaster of Domstadtl, Frederick had no choice but to raise the siege of Olmütz and to withdraw.

At the end of June, the Austrian armies in Bohemia and Moravia counted

  • 56,266 foot
  • 20,680 cuirassiers and dragoons (at full strength, these units should have counted 29,008 men)
  • 4,878 hussars (at full strength, these units should have counted 10,109 men)

During the night of June 30 to July 1, Daun left his camp at Dobromielitz in 3 columns, crossed the March River and, behind a screen of Grenzer light troops, marched rapidly towards Groß Teinitz, only 3 km from Olmütz.

Continuation

The last phase of the campaign is described in the following article:

References

This article is mostly made of abridged and adapted excerpts from the following books which are now in the public domain:

  1. St.; E. v.: Zum Säcular-GedÇachtniss von 1758 – Der Felzug in Mähren oder die Belagerung und der Entsatz von Olmütz, Frankfurt am Main: Sauerländer's Verlag, 1858, pp. 8-180
  • Grosser Generalstab Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung II: Die Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen, Part 3 Der siebenjährige Krieg 1756-1763, Vol. 7 Olmütz und Crefeld, Berlin, 1909, pp. 77-105, Anhang 6
  1. Jomini, Henri, Traité des grandes opérations militaires, 2ème édition, 2ème partie, Magimel, Paris: 1811, pp. 6-7, 66-135
  2. Carlyle T., History of Friedrich II of Prussia vol. 18
  3. Anonymous, A Complete History of the Present War, from its Commencement in 1756, to the End of the Campaign, 1760, London, 1761, pp. 260-265
  4. Archenholz, J. W., The History of the Seven Years War in Germany, translated by F. A. Catty, Francfort, 1843, pp. 148, 156, 171
  • Vanicek, Fr.: Specialgeschichte der Militärgrenze aus Originalquellen und Quellenwerken geschöpft, Vol. II, Vienna: Kaiserlich-Königlichen Hof- und Staatsdruckerei, 1875, pp. 436-444
  1. Hödl, Rudolf v.: Geschichte des K. und K. Infanterieregiments Nr. 29, Temesvár 1906, pp. 111-116
  2. Gorani, Joseph: Mémoires, Paris: Gallimard, 1944, pp. 82-101