1758 - Russian invasion of Brandenburg – Russians move to Eastern Pomerania
The advance of the Russian army from Poland into Brandenburg, the counter-manoeuvre of Dohna’s Army and the siege of Cüstrin are described in our article 1758 - Russian invasion of Brandenburg – Arrival of the Russians.
The arrival of Frederick in Brandenburg with a relief army, the battle of Zorndorf and the ensuing campaign until Frederick’s departure for Saxony are described in our article Frederick comes to the rescue.
Operations come to a standstill
On September 2
- Lieutenant-General von Manteuffel was detached from the army with 10 bns (Grenadier Battalion Burgsdorff, Grenadier Battalion Kleist, Grenadier Battalion Kremzow, Grenadier Battalion Nesse, Grenadier Battalion Petersdorf, Kanitz Infantry, Lehwaldt Infantry and II./Dohna Infantry) and 15 sqns (Ruesch Hussars (7 sqns) and Malachowski Hussars (8 sqns)) to follow the Russians. Manteuffel marched through Mossin (present-day Mosina) and Tornow (present-day Tarnówek) and posted his corps in the woods near Hohenwalde (present-day Wysoka).
- At the camp of Blumberg, Frederick was informed that Field Marshal Daun had invaded Saxony and was probably advancing on Dresden. He left for Saxony the same afternoon with the 15 bns (Grenadier Battalion Rathenow, Grenadier Battalion Alt-Billerbeck, VI. "Standing" Grenadier Battalion Rohr, Below Infantry, Forcade Infantry, Prinz von Preußen Infantry, Asseburg Infantry, Kalckstein Infantry, Bülow Fusiliers) and 38 sqns (Garde du Corps, Gens d'Armes, Leib-Carabiniers, Seydlitz Cuirassiers, Prinz von Preußen Cuirassiers, Markgraf Friedrich von Brandenburg Cuirassiers, Normann Dragoons, Czettritz Dragoons) that he had brought out from Silesia to confront Daun. Frederick still believed that Daun intended to march along the Elbe and enter into Mark. The rest of the Prussian Army (25 bns and 35 sqns for a total of some 17,000 men) was left at Blumberg (present-day Mościce) and placed under the command of Lieutenant-General Count zu Dohna to observe Fermor.
- FML Loudon evacuated Peitz and marched back to Hoyerswerda by Spremberg. On his way, he sent a message to Daun from Groß-Gaglow, informing him that Frederick had set off from Frankfurt/Oder to return to Saxony. Loudon then remained at Hoyerswerda until September 5, covering the march of Daun’s Army to the region north of Dresden.
On September 3
- Dohna sent Manteuffel’s troops to the road leading to Soldin (present-day Mysliborz) to harass the Russians who were trying to transfer provisions from their magazines in Soldin to their new camp near Landsberg (present-day Gorzów Wielkopolski). However, Manteuffel, constantly harassed by the Russian light cavalry, could not accomplish his mission.
- The II./Rautter Infantry escorted a Prussian convoy of provisions and forage from Stettin (present-day Szczecin) to Blumberg.
- Frei-Regiment Hordt was sent back by Frederick to join Dohna’s Army.
- Lieutenant-General Zieten’s Corps reached Lübben.
- Margrave Karl’s Army marched to Müllrose, on its way to effect a junction with Frederick’s Army near Sonnewalde.
- At Landsberg, Fermor, who had lost several generals and high ranking officers captured or wounded, was forced to reorganize his army in two divisions and an observation corps.
On September 4
- At daybreak Manteuffel was attacked by a detachment of Cossacks and hussars which were repulsed.
- Dohna detached 1 bn and 100 dragoons to Soldin to seize forage that the Russians had left there.
- Prince Franz von Braunschweig effected a junction with Zieten’s Corps at Lübben.
- Margrave Karl marched to Trebatsch with his cavalry while his infantry followed up to Beeskow.
- Fermor learned from deserters and prisoners of Frederick’s departure with a considerable corps.
On September 5
- Margrave Karl’s Army reached Lübben.
- The troops of Zieten and Prince Franz von Braunschweig advanced from Lübben to Luckau from where they would act as Frederick’s vanguard.
- Fermor detached 1,000 Cossacks and 2 hussar sqns in the direction of Frankfurt and Crossen (present-day Krosno Odrzańskie) to prepare for an eventual junction with the Austrians on the Oder, to secure the country south of the Warthe (present-day Warta) and to divert the attention of the Prussians. Furthermore, 1 horse grenadier rgt went to Zilenzig to support this light cavalry. His light cavalry detachment soon found that there were no Prussian troops in the region of Frankfurt an der Oder.
On September 6
- The most severely wounded Russian soldiers were sent off to Marienwerder (present-day Kwidzyn).
- A detachment of Russian light cavalry renewed the attack on Manteuffel's vanguard and was repulsed once more.
- Manteuffel resolved to take a new position on a height between Liebenow (present-day Lubno) and Ratzdorf (present-day Racław).
- Dohna marched to the heights between Liebenow and Stennewitz (present-day Stanowice).
- Frederick allowed a day’s rest to his small army. He received information that, by September 4, Daun still was in the vicinity of Königsbrück. He sent orders to Margrave Karl to take the direction of Elsterwerda because Daun was throwing a bridge near Meissen to attack the rear of the army of Prince Heinrich. Frederick planned to cross the Elbe at Torgau and to attack the Austrian army in the rear.
- Margrave Karl’s Army marched by Muskau towards Spremberg. Its cavalry, under the Prince von Württemberg attacked the cavalry of Lieutenant-Colonel Palasti near Spremberg, capturing 2 officers and 163 men.
On September 7
- When he learned that Daun had abandoned his plan to cross the Elbe, Frederick redirected his march towards Drobilugk (unidentified location).
- The army of Margrave Karl reached Senftenberg.
- Zieten and Prince Franz von Braunschweig marched from Luckau to Herzberg.
On September 8
- Frei-Regiment Hordt, 200 dragoons and 100 hussars arrived at Frankfurt an der Oder to defend the region.
- Frederick reached Elsterwerda in southwestern Brandenburg with his small army.
- Margrave Karl rested his army at Senftenberg.
- Fermor received information about Daun’s operations since August 26, from which he finally got an idea of the overall situation. He learned that Daun had sent FML Loudon forward when Frederick had marched to effect a junction with Dohna's Army; in the vain hope that Frederick would divide his forces thus reducing the pressure on the Russians. Daun himself with the main body of his army could not catch up with Frederick and rather advanced by Görlitz towards the Oder, hindered by the small Prussian army (27,000 men) posted between Liegnitz (present-day Legnica) and Schweidnitz (present-day Świdnica) this protecting his line of communication. Daun intended to take the direction of Saxony, reach the Elbe, effect a junction with the Reichsarmee of the Prince of Zweibrücken, and then attack the Prussian army of Prince Heinrich, trying to drive him out of Saxony and draw Frederick’s attention away from the Russians. Fermor considered that such a convoluted and indirect plan could not assist him in the near future. Nor did he expect any support from Hamilton’s Swedish Army.
- Fermor held a council of war where it was decided to remain on the defensive in the advantageous positions near Landsberg until positive news would be received of an advance of the Austrians or Swedes (at about this time, the Swedes, stationed at Strasburg and Prenzlau, seemed to be preparing to march).
The armies of Frederick, Zieten and Margrave Karl then effected a junction in Saxony.
Their next operations are described in our article 1758 - Austrian invasion of Saxony.
On September 9, Resanov reached Bütow (present-day Bytów) with his 3 rgts.
On September 10, some thousands Cossacks attacked Manteuffel's outposts and managed to penetrate up to the chain of camp guards before being stopped by Prussian hussars. The Cossacks retired around 9:00 a.m.
On September 11
- Fermor held a new council of war where the former decision to remain near Landsberg was confirmed. This would allow the Russian army to receive reinforcements, weapons, ammunition and provisions sent from the Vistula. Indeed, Resanov had already been ordered to rejoin the main army and Brigadier Numers, who now commanded in East Prussia, had been instructed to keep his force in readiness to join the main army as soon as the force (the third bns of several rgts) assembled at Riga would arrive in East Prussia. Fermor also expected new instructions sent from St. Petersburg.
- Rumyantsev's Corps made a junction with the main army at Landsberg and encamped on the left bank of the Warthe. Rumyantsev's Corps consisted of:
- Kazanskiy Cuirassiers (half the regiment)
- Kievskiy Cuirassiers (half the regiment)
- Novotroitskiy Cuirassiers (half the regiment)
- Tobolskiy Dragoons (half the regiment)
- Kargopolskiy Horse Grenadiers (half the regiment)
- Arkhangelogorodskiy Dragoons (entire regiment)
- Nizegorodskiy Dragoons (entire regiment)
- 1st Novoserbskiy Hussars or Horvat Hussars (about 1,000 men)
- 2nd Novoserbskiy Hussars (New Serbian) Hussars (1 sqn)
- Vengerskiy Hussars (about 600 men)
- With the arrival of Rumyantsev, the Russian Army now counted about 38,000 men.
- In the afternoon, Manteuffel received intelligence that a Russian corps would attack him the following day. Accordingly, at 9:00 p.m., Manteuffel retired to Blumberg where he joined Dohna's main force.
St. André, the Austrian envoy, and Prince Karl of Saxony both expected Fermor to march to Soldin as soon as his army would be reorganized and resupplied, to cut the line of communication between Dohna’s Army and Stettin. From this position, the Russian army would have the rich Pomerania behind it and would prevent the Prussians from advancing on the Vistula because their line of communication with Cüstrin (present-day Kostrzyn nad Odrą) would be dangerously exposed. Above all, Driesen (present-day Drezdenko) would have to remain strongly occupied. From Soldin, it was easy to rapidly reach Schwedt from where it was possible to collaborate with other allies. St. André and Prince Karl believed that Dohna’s Army could not be stronger than Fermor’s. Nevertheless they failed to convince Fermor to undertake such operations. Fermor considered that his army was unable to sustain a new engagement and did not wish to suffer additional losses.
On the night of September 11 to 12, hearing that Fermor intended to attack Manteuffel, Dohna marched back to his previous camp at Blumberg. Soldin was evacuated and only a few passages through the ponds and marshes between Vietz (present-day Witnica) and Kerstenbrügge (present-day Mostno) remained occupied. The Russians followed with small Cossack detachments.
On September 12
- A Russian corps advanced on Ratzdorf but returned to Landsberg when it realised that Manteuffel had already retired from this position.
- Dohna was informed that the Swedes had set off from Prenzlau on September 9 and marched to Lychen to advance on Berlin by Neu-Ruppin or Zehdenick. The threat to the capital, the residence of the royal family and the location of weapon and powder factories, put Dohna in a difficult situation. He had to decide by himself if he should march to the relief of Berlin or stay in his current positions, facing the Russians.
On September 13
- 2 bns were detached to Soldin to escort a convoy of provisions and the heavy baggage of the army arriving from Stettin to Blumberg.
- Fermor sent small detachments to reconnoitre the Prussian positions at Soldin and Schwedt.
- Resanov’s detachment set off from Bütow, marching in the direction of Driesen.
On September 14
- The Prussian convoy reached Blumberg.
- Fermor rearranged his positions around Landsberg.
On September 15
- Dohna retreated from Blumberg to Cüstrin where he passed the Oder. He then encamped near Manschnow. He had made this movement to get closer to the Swedish Army who seemed to threaten Berlin.
- During the evening, Dohna received orders from Frederick instructing him to send Plettenberg Dragoons to Berlin where they would join Wedel who was advancing against the Swedes. For his part, Dohna was instructed to observe the Russian army.
- Fermor immediately sent a detachment of Cossacks and grenadiers under Colonel Buccow to Soldin to collect forage and provisions.
On September 16
- According to orders, the Plettenberg Dragoons were detached to Berlin while Dohna occupied his former position at Blumberg, establishing outposts in the passes in the Mossin Wood and near Vietz.
- Fermor finally received at his headquarters in Landsberg the answer of the Conference of St. Pertersburg about his report on the Battle of Zorndorf. This answer contained no specific instructions and let Fermor free to act on his own.
- Fermor did not take advantage of Dohna’s departure from Blumberg despite St. André’s urging to advance to Soldin with his entire army and to occupy Schwedt. Fermor considered that the lack of forage and the decrease of provisions forbade a longer stay at Landsberg. However, a retreat to the Vistula would not be popular with the empress nor with the Austrian allies.
On September 18
- Fermor called a council of war. St. André and Prince Karl, considering that the Russian army, including the Cossacks, still counted some 51,000 men, advocated once more for an advance on Soldin and then for a march towards Stargard to occupy Eastern Pomerania, capture Colberg (present-day Kołobrzeg) and live off the land. To carry out this plan, the cavalry posted to the south of the Warthe had to be recalled and Driesen occupied by part of the Observation Corps under Major-General von Oliz to maintain a secure line of communication with Stargard.
- Dohna sent Lieutenant-General Manteuffel with 8 bns (Grenadier Battalion Kremzow, Grenadier Battalion Nesse, Grenadier Battalion Petersdorf, Kanitz Infantry, Alt-Kreytzen Fusiliers, II./Bevern Infantry), 5 dragoon sqns (Alt-Platen Dragoons) and 8 hussar sqns (Malachowski Hussars ) to reconnoitre in the direction of Soldin and dislodge Buccow's Russians from that town.
During the night of September 18 to 19, Manteuffel marched through Neudamm (present-day Dębno) to Soldin. He reconnoitred the Russian positions there and the Russian detachments retired.
On 19 September
- Fermor’s vanguard marched from Landsberg to Marwitz (present-day Marwice).
- As the Russian army was about to march for Soldin, Fermor was informed that Manteuffel was approaching the place. Fermor did not want to emerge from the forest with his army directly facing the Prussian corps in a difficult terrain, he decided to march towards Karzig (present-day Karsko) instead.
- Manteuffel abandoned his design against Soldin and marched towards Blumberg, leaving 2 bns and Malachowski Hussars at Neudamm on his way back.
On September 20
- Fermor set off from his camp at Landsberg with the Russian main army, leaving a small garrison. He marched to the village of Kartzig. The first line of the right wing consisted of 5 cuirassier rgts and 3 legions of the Observation Corps; the second of 3 horse grenadier rgts, 2 dragoon rgts and 2 legions. The first line of the left wing counted 16 infantry rgts; the second 12 infantry rgts. The hussars and Cossacks covered the rear of the camp. Artillery, grouped in 3 batteries, covered the front of the army.
- Fermor was informed that Manteuffel had already evacuated Soldin.
- Manteuffel’s detachment rejoined Dohna’s Army, leaving only the 8 sqns of Malachowski Hussars at Soldin to observe the Russians.
- Dohna could now count on only 11,000 men fit for duty, sickness having taken its toll. Russian light troops were making things difficult for Dohna who cruelly lacked cavalry. Frederick finally decided to recall the Plettenberg Dragoons from Wedel’s small army to reinforce Dohna. Nevertheless Dohna did not have enough hussars (now reduced to half strength) to send them in wide reconnaissances.
On September 21, the Russian main army marched to Dieckow (present-day Dzikowo).
On September 22
- The Russian Main Army marched to Pyritz (present-day Pyrzyce) where it encamped with its right flank extending to the road leading to Stargard. It then rested for a few days there after a difficult march under heavy rain.
- Dohna finally learned that Fermor had retired from Landsberg and was probably marching in the direction of Schwedt. Dohna immediately sent all his hussars and 1 infantry rgt to reinforce Major-General von Malachowsky in the region of Soldin. Furthermore, Grenadier Battalion Willemey and a few hussars were sent towards Schwedt. Frederick was in no position to detach additional troops to reinforce Dohna.
Freiregiment Hordt along with some cavalry set off from Frankfurt an der Oder to follow the Russian cavalry initially posted to the south of the Warthe in its retreat by Landsberg to rejoin the Russian main army.
On September 24, the Russian Major-General Dietz marched to Passkrug (unidentified location) with his brigade.
On September 25
- Major-General Palmenbach's Brigade was detached to Passkrug.
- Dietz at the head of 2 Russian infantry rgts with a few hundreds dragoons occupied Stargard, seizing lots of provisions.
- The detachment of Colonel Count von Hordt was at Hammer (present-day Karwin near Drezdenko) observing the movements of the Russians.
- Dohna was finally informed of the march of the Russian Army from Landsberg which had been successfully screened by 1,000 grenadiers and 400 Cossacks left behind at Landsberg. He was also informed that Fermor had left a strong detachment of cavalry and Cossacks in Landsberg. Dohna feared that the Russian army had made only a fake move to lure him to Landsberg while it would push between him and Cüstrin. He decided to send a stronger detachment towards Landsberg to ascertain the exact situation before committing his entire army even though Frederick had asked him to immediately occupy Landsberg and Driesen to cut the line of communication of the Russians with Posen (present-day Poznań) and to threaten their communications with the Vistula. Accordingly, Dohna detached Major-General Wobersnow at the head of 3 bns (Lehwaldt Infantry, II./Rautter Infantry), 10 sqns of Schorlemmer Dragoons and 200 hussars to cut off the Russian detachment left at Landsberg.
- At 4:00 p.m., Wobersnow’s detachment set off from Blumberg to attack Landsberg the next morning.
On September 26
- Around 2:00 a.m., Wobersnow arrived at the village of Schönefeld (unidentified location), 2 km from Landsberg. He intended to simultaneously attack the two gates on this side of the Warthe River and to send Freiregiment Hordt (which had returned after escorting Frederick up to Lubben (unidentified location)) on the other side of the Warthe. At daybreak, Wobersnow appeared in front of Landsberg. All went according to Wobersnow's plan. The Russians, seeing the two gates blocked by the Prussians, attempted to retire towards Poland. The Prussians immediately entered into Landsberg and followed up the retiring Russians. However, Hordt had not yet reached his assigned position and the Russians retired, burning the bridge over the Warthe after passing it. After the capture of Landsberg, the battalion of II./Rautter Infantry was stationed there while Hordt occupied the suburb on the other side of the Warthe.
- Around midnight, Wobersnow's Corps marched to rejoin Dohna's Army.
- On September 26, Fermor’s Army set off from Pyritz, passed the Plöne near Passkrug and encamped on the northern bank of the river between Werben (present-day Wierzbno) and Alt-Prilipp (present-day Stary Przylep). The light troops which had been sent in the direction of Schwedt came back without having spotted any Prussian detachment.
- St. André and Prince Karl had been against taking position behind the Plöne. because they thought that if Fermor had stopped in the favorable position at Pyritz, Dohna would have had to attack him or retire behind the Oder for the winter.
- Resanov’s detachment (some 3,000 men) finally reached Driesen after marching slowly for two weeks from Bütow on bad roads under heavy rain.
On September 27
- During the evening the Russian detachment who had escaped from Landsberg joined the Russian main army.
- Now that he knew more about the movements of Fermor’s Army, Dohna marched to Neudamm where he effected a junction with Wobersnow’s detachment in the afternoon.
- The Prussian vanguard under Manteuffel advanced up to Wustewitz (present-day Ostrowiec).
On September 28
- Fermor detached Major-General von Palmenbach from Alt-Prilipp with 4 infantry rgts 2nd Moskovskiy, Nizovskiy, Vyatskiy and Vyborgskiy) and 4 sqns (1 sqn of Kargopolskiy Horse Grenadiers, 1 sqn of Sankt-Peterburgskiy Horse Grenadiers and 2 hussar sqns) with 8 regimental pieces and 12 heavy pieces (including 6 captured Prussian 12-pdrs) in the direction of Colberg to undertake the siege of that fortress. Palmenbach marched by Stargard, Labes (present-day Lobez), Schivelbein (present-day Świdwin), Sellnow (present-day Zieleniewo) to Colberg.
- Dohna learned that Fermor had left Pyritz and was marching in the direction of Stargard; and that there were no more Russian troops at Schwedt. He marched with his own army to Wusterwitz.
On September 29, Dohna's Army marched to Soldin.
|Order of Battle|
|Detailed order of battle of Dohna’s Prussian Army at the end of September, 1758.|
On September 30
- Fermor’s Army marched to Stargard to cover the siege of Colberg, leaving a small infantry detachment with all the cavalry together with 2 hussar rgts and 1,000 Cossacks under Rumyantsev at Passkrug. Entrenchments were erected to defend the important passage of the Plöne.
- At Stargard, the Russian army had provisions only for a few days. Its line of communication with its main magazines at Thorn (present-day Toruń) and Posen went through Driesen and Arnswalde (present-day Choszczno). If the Prussians captured Landsberg, their cavalry could easily threaten this line of communication.
- Major-General Schorlemmer advanced to Lippehne (present-day Lipiany) with the Schorlemmer Dragoons and Frei-Regiment Hordt to put a stop to the depredations of the Cossacks.
- Dohna ordered the Frei-Regiment Hordt to join the Grenadier Battalion Willemey at Schwedt to secure his communications with Stettin and Berlin and to accelerate the establishment of a bridge.
In St. Petersburg, the empress renewed her orders to Fermor to advance as soon as he could towards the Oder. The Conference wanted Fermor to engage Dohna’s Army and then take up his winter-quarters in Eastern Pomerania, capturing Colberg if possible. The Austrians doubted of Fermor’s good-will and feared that he would soon retire behind the Vistula.
On October 2
- The Russian entrenchments defending the Plöne were particularly strong. They extended for 1,5 km between the Plöne Lake to the Madü Lake across a marshy country. The only passage was at Passkrug to the south of which ran a low and about 900 m. wide ridge, allowing in favorable weather, access to Passkrug and to the nearby mill located east of the place. The road leading from Pyritz to Stargard was built on a dam. It crossed the Plöne at Passkrug on a wooden bridge and climbed the steep northern edge of the valley, overlooking the southern foothills. The Russians had established a defensive work in front of the bridge, occupied by 400 men and 4 pieces. Two batteries (a total of 6 pieces) built on the northern bank of the Plöne raked the space in front of this work, Rumyantsev’s cavalry was posted in the neighbouring village.
- Dohna’s Army advanced from Soldin to Lippehne while its vanguard under Lieutenant-General von Manteuffel reached the vicinity of Pyritz where the Russians had left a small garrison.
On October 3
- Early in the morning, Lieutenant-General von Manteuffel reached Pyritz and tried to make himself master of the defile of Passkrug with his 6 bns (Grenadier Battalion Petersdorff, Bevern Infantry, Kanitz Infantry, III./Rautter Infantry) and 25 sqns (10 sqns of the Schorlemmer Dragoons, 8 sqns of the Malachowski Hussars , 7 sqns of the Ruesch Hussars).
- Around 6:00 a.m., Manteuffel drove back the Russian light cavalry near Pyritz, capturing 46 prisoners. However, Rumyantsev was immediately informed of his approach and took position along the north bank of the Plöne. A cannonade ensued for the next two hours without causing any serious damage.
- Around 10:00 a.m., the Prussians formed two columns and tried to advance along the road on the dam towards Passkrug and the mill east of the village. However, the lively fire of the Russians put a stop to their advance.
- Seeing that the Russians were threatening to launch a counter-attack from their bridgehead, Manteuffel brought back his troops to the heights of Gross Rischow (present-day Ryszewo). The cannonade resumed for a short time. In this action both sides did not suffer much losses.
- Rumyantsev received a reinforcement of 4,000 men from Fermor.
- The main body of Dohna’s Army reached Pyritz and encamped to the north of the town.
- After establishing a bridge of boats on the Oder, the Frei-Regiment Hordt marched back to rejoin Dohna’s Army, leaving 400 men and 2 pieces as garrison in Schwedt. The Grenadier Battalion Willemey and Lieutenant von Grabowsky’s hussar detachment rejoined the main army too.
- Dohna had informed the Duke of Bevern in Stettin of the situation and the latter sent out Lieutenant-Colonel von Schaffstedt with the 2 bns of the Garrison Regiment I von Puttkamer and 30 artillery men by Gross-Stepenitz (present-day Stepnica) and Cammin (present-day Kamień Pomorski) along the coast in the direction of Colberg. Schaffstedt had been instructed to use boats to reach Colberg if ever the land route was blocked.
- Dohna occupied Kolbatz (present-day Kołbacz) with the Frei-Regiment Hordt to secure his communications with Bevern.
Siege of Colberg
On October 3, a Russian Corps (about 15,000 men) under the command of Palmenbach laid Siege to Colberg which was defended by a small garrison of 2 Invalid bns (some 700 men) under the command of Major Heyde. Now that Russian troops were operating in Eastern Pomerania, this little fortress had suddenly acquired a great importance.
The siege lasted till November 1 when Palmenbach retired to join the main Russian army retreating towards Poland.
Russians slowly retire
From October 4, daily skirmishes took place between Fermor's troops and Prussian light troops. But no important action took place between the two armies.
On October 5
- A small Prussian detachment was surprised at Berlinchen (present-day Barlinek), the Russians capturing a cornet and 20 hussars.
- Major-General Lubomirski was detached to Passkrug with 4,000 infantry and some light troops to strengthen the defence of the pass.
On October 8
- Fermor sent Colonel Yakoblev with 2 rgts (Kievskiy Infantry and Troitskiy Infantry with their regimental pieces), 2 howitzers and 700 light cavalry, a total of about 2,700 men, to reinforce Palmenbach at Colberg.
- Part of the heavy baggage of the Russian main army was sent to Kallies (present-day Kalisz Pomorski).
On October 12, the Russians captured 6 hussars and 60 men of Frei-Infanterie von Hordt.
On October 15, 2 Russian rgts of Resanov's Corps joined Fermor while the Russians abandoned the pass of Passkrug.
Fermor’s Army was now lacking proper supply of forage and wood. The rough season started with heavy downpours, the roads were bad and convoys from the Vistula could not easily reached Fermor’s camp. Supply coming on the Warthe and Netze (present-day Noteć River) were also interrupted. Since no magazines had been established in Pomerania, the army began to suffer bitter hardship. The war council sought to remedy the situation by sending back to the Vistula the entire heavy baggage and all men and horses unfit for service. Fermor even considered that a victory over Dohna would not produce tangible results, since the area between the Oder, Schwedt and Landsberg had already been depleted of everything that it would be impossible for the Russians to remain in the region. However, Fermor considered that once the Prussians would have retreated behind the Oder for the winter, it would be possible to establish some small magazines right after the harvest, and that Colberg could finally be captured. However, the neighbourhood had no forage left, and many supplies had been destroyed by the plundering and destructive lust of the light troops.
On October 16
- Fermor held a war council which decided to retreat to Kallies (present-day Kalisz Pomorski) behind the Drage (present-day Drawa) where the generals hoped to find wood, forage and provisions while getting nearer to the Vistula.
- Narvskiy Infantry and Sibirskiy Infantry under Lieutenant-General Resanov arrived at Stargard. The Belozerskiy Infantry had been left at Driesen.
On October 17
- The main Russian army marched to Zachan (present-day Suchań). Prussian light troops attacked the Russian rearguards but were repulsed.
- A Russian fleet of 27 vessels, which had set sail from Riga, Memel and Königsberg (present-day Kaliningrad), transporting food and ammunition for the Palmenbach’s siege corps at Colberg, was surprised by a violent westerly storm between Stolpmünde (present-day Slupsk) and Rügenwaldermünde (present-day Darlowo) on the Baltic coast. Six ships were able to escape to Danzig (present-day Gdansk), eleven ships sank, and the rest were stranded and wrecked at Pillau. That was a big blow for the besieging force which was running low on ammunition.
On October 18, Fermor’s Army rested at Zachan.
On October 19, Fermor’s Army marched to Reetz (present-day Recz). Artillery was deployed in batteries and flèches to cover the camp. Fermor sent an officer to Colberg to report on the situation.
On October 20
- The officer sent to Colberg returned to Fermor reporting that the Prussian light cavalry had made it impossible for him to reach Colberg. Fermor realized that Dohna had probably reached Stargard. Accordingly, he decided to change his destination and to march towards Dramburg (present-day Drawsko Pomorskie) to get closer to the Russian corps besieging Colberg.
- Fermor wrote to Daun to inform him that the Russian army would probably take up its winter-quarters on the Warthe and the Netze so that it would be ready early the next year for a campaign.
On October 21
- Fermor’s Army marched to Springfeld (unidentified location).
On October 22
- The Fermor’s Army marched to Dramburg (present-day Drawsko Pomorskie) where he learned of the slow progress of the siege of Colberg.
- The vanguard under Manteuffel marched to Stargard.
- Dohna was informed of Frederick’s defeat at Hochkirch.
On October 23
- Dohna followed with his army to Stargard.
- Dohna sent Major-General von Kleist with 4 bns (including 2 bns of Kreytzen Fusiliers), 500 dragoons and 200 hussars against Driesen to cut the Russian line of communication by seizing this important magazines. However, Kleist had no success, finding Driesen strongly garrisoned. He also found Friedeberg (present-day Strzelce Krajenskie) well defended and could not even stop patrols of Cossacks.
- Hordt was detached with Frei-Regiment Hordt and 300 hussars to Dolitz (unidentified location) on the road that the Russian army had taken.
On October 24
- Hordt was attacked at Dolitz by 500 Cossacks which were repulsed.
- Alt-Platen Dragoons took possession of Massow.
- Dohna was informed that at least one column of Fermor’s Army had marched towards Dramburg. Dohna then decided to launch a bold raid with a detachment against Palmenbach to force him to raise the siege of Colberg. He confided this task to Major-General von Platen and Major-General von Wobersnow at the head of 5 bns (Grenadier Battalion 2/Gar.2 Nesse, Kanitz Infantry, Fürst Moritz Infantry), Alt-Platen Dragoons (5 sqns) and 400 hussars.
On October 25, Major-General von Platen assembled his detachment (5 bns, 9 sqns) in Massow for the relief raid on Colberg.
On October 26, Platen’s detachment reached Naugard (present-day Nowogard).
On October 27
- Platen’s detachment drove 300 Russian horse grenadiers out of Greifenberg (present-day Gryfice), inflicting them heavy losses. At Greifenberg, Platen was informed of the march of Russian reinforcements towards Colberg.
On October 28
- Fermor held a council of war where it was decided to take up the winter-quarters in Eastern Pomerania along the coast in the area of Colberg, Körlin (present-day Karlino), Köslin (present-day Koszalin) and Stolp (present-day Słupsk). Indeed, Fermor had recently received a letter from the Conference discussing the location where the army should take up its winter-quarters. The Conference considered that, ideally, they should be located in the vicinity of Stargard to allow combined operations with the Swedes against Stettin on the following spring. However, to winter in the region of Stargard, the Russians would first have to destroy Dohna’s Army. Along the coast, Fermor hoped that he could assemble sufficient provisions and could even make himself master of Colberg. With the capture of this fortress, he could open a new supply route for his army. Fermor also ordered to make preparation for an eventual bombardment of Danzig if the city would refuse to let the Russians in.
- Wedel, who was facing the Swedes in Western Pomerania, marched from his camp near Suckow towards Berlin by Templin and Zehdenick, as instructed by Frederick.
On October 29
- Fermor finally decided (too late) to send an important corps (5 infantry rgts, 3 field pieces and some 500 hussars and Cossacks) under Major-General Mordvinov to reinforce Palmenbach at Colberg.
- When the news of the raising of the siege of Colberg reached Fermor’s headquarters, a new war council was held where the generals revisited they decision to winter on the coast of Eastern Pomerania and decided to march to Neustettin (present-day Szczecinek) with the main army to effect a junction with Palmenbach’s Corps. If the Prussians would try to follow them, the Russians would engage them; but if the Prussians remained in Colberg, the main army would retire to the Netze (present-day Noteć) and resupply itself in the magazines there, and then, according to the orders of the Conference, would advance again into Eastern Pomerania. However, no general present at the council seriously considered that the Conference would stick to its initial decision asking for a new advance. Its was too late in the season and the generals hoped that Fermor’s report would finally convince the Conference to support a retreat behind the Vistula for the winter-quarters.
- The representatives of the allies at the Russian headquarters vigorously opposed the decision of the war council, reminding Fermor that Daun had repeatedly urged him to take advantage of the situation, to cross the Oder and to effect a junction with the Austrians in order to establish their winter-quarters together in Silesia, on the Oder and in Lower-Lusatia up to Brandenburg and perhaps even to occupy part of Saxony. They explicitly pointed out to Fermor that if there was no active joint operation in this autumn, the Prussians would have the opportunity to recover and to strengthen their forces. Thus everything would have to done over again during the next campaign.
- Platen’s infantry, marching by Gützlaffshagen (present-day Gocławice), reached the defile of Neubrück (unidentified location) while Platen himself at the head of his cavalry advanced farther to the Heights of Drenow (present-day Drzonowo, 3 km north of Neubrück) where his men skirmished for three hours with Cossacks. From Drenow, Platen could hear the sound of the guns at Colberg, which was only 11 km distant. Platen could also observe in the distance a camp on the western bank of the Persante. However, he was unable to determine the precise disposition and strength of this camp. He thus refrained from further action and retired with his detachment to Treptow (present-day Trzebiatów), waiting to see if his demonstration had been convincing.
- Dohna received orders from Frederick instructing him to detach Lieutenant-General von Manteuffel with 8 bns (Grenadier Battalion Kremzow, Grenadier Battalion 2/Gar.2 Nesse, Kanitz Infantry, Lehwaldt Infantry, Fürst Moritz Infantry), the Alt-Platen Dragoons (5 sqns) and the Ruesch Hussars (7 sqns) towards Stettin against the Swedes.
On the night of October 29 to 30, Palmenbach assembled the siege corps in a camp near Stöckow (present-day Stojkowo). He intended to march from this camp towards Köslin where he hoped to effect a junction with the main army and then march back to Colberg. Palmenbach learned from them that the Prussian relief force had not resumed its advance towards Colberg and that the garrison was busy destroying the siege works. Now Palmenbach wanted to make up for his hasty withdrawal.
On October 30
- Colonel Irrman of the Russian engineers reconnoitred the neighbourhood of Labes.
- Major-General Mordvinov reached Schivelbein with his force.
- Kleist’s detachment returned to Dohna’s camp after its unsuccessful attempts against Driesen and Landsberg.
- Platen remained behind the Rega. He let half of his detachment in Treptow and marched to Greifenberg with the rest. In the evening, an inhabitant of Colberg arrived at Greifenberg. He informed Platen of the raising of the siege but the latter would not believe him because Heyde had not yet sent the news to Platen. At about that time, Platen received new orders from Dohna instructing him, if possible, to reinforce the garrison of the fortress with a battalion and two 12-pdrs, but otherwise to expose his troops to no danger and to retire, if necessary, to Stettin.
On October 31
- Fermor ordered Mordvinov to return to the army with his corps.
- In the morning, Palmenbach received orders from Fermor to rejoin at Neustettin the main army which was retiring towards Tempelburg (present-day Czaplinek).
- Dohna’s Army set off from Stargard and marched towards Stettin, harassed by Palmenbach’s Cossacks and Mordvinov’ cavalry.
- Platen sent strong patrols towards Colberg from his positions at Greifenberg and Treptow. Meanwhile, Platen received Dohna’s orders to follow his own army which was marching towards Brandenburg. However, Platen still had to send 1 bn to reinforce the garrison of Colberg. This last order proved to be impossible to execute with Mordvinov’s detachment posted at Schivelbein.
By the end of October, the Conference in St. Petersburg had finally recognized that the Russian army had to retire behind the Vistula for its winter-quarters.
On the night of October 31 to November 1, Palmenbach retired from the vicinity of Colberg.
On November 1
- Fermor sent off the prisoners.
- Palmenbach’s Corps reached the vicinity of Köslin.
- Platen’s detachment marched towards Stettin.
On November 2
- Platen’s detachment reached Stettin. Platen was then informed that the Russians had finally raised the siege of Colberg.
On November 3
- Fermor marched to Tempelburg with his army.
- A courier arrived in the Russian camp from St. Petersburg with new orders from the Conference, instructing Fermor to retire behind the Vistula to take up his winter-quarters.
- Dohna’s Army advanced from Stettin towards Berlin, while the Swedes were still at Prenzlau.
On November 5 in Western Pomerania, Manteuffel’s detachment marched from Stettin by Penkun towards Greiffenberg (present-day Angermünde).
On November 8
- Palmenbach’s Corps effected a junction with the main Russian army at Tempelburg after marching from Köslin by Bublitz (present-day Bobolice) and Bärwalde (present-day Barwice). Soon, Mordvinov’s detachment also rejoin the army.
- The Russian main army undertook the retreat to its winter-quarters behind the Vistula. It marched in three columns by Nakel (present-day Nakło nad Notecią), Crone an der Brahe (present-day Koronowo) and Tuchel (present-day Tuchola) towards Thorn, Kulm (present-day Chełmno) and Marienwerder. Fermor personally commanded the first column which reached Hochstadt (unidentified location).
On November 9, Fermor's column marched to Crone an der Brahe.
On November 10, Fermor's column marched to Schneidemühl (unidentified location not to be confounded with Pila).
|Order of Battle|
|Detailed order of battle of the Russian Army in its winter-quarters in November 1758.|
On November 13, the Russian army divided up into small detachments, each marching to its assigned winter-quarters.
On November 20
- Fermor was finally informed of the departure of Dohna’s Army from Stargard and of its march by Stettin to Brandenburg.
- The first Russian troops began to cross the Vistula.
On November 21, as ordered by Frederick, Dohna detached the Frei-Regiment Hordt and the Malachowski Hussars from his camp at Eilenburg to protect Eastern Pomerania and the Neumark against the incursions of Russian light troops.
On November 22, the Russian garrison of Driesen (3,000 men under General Oliz) evacuated the fortress, after razing the defensive works. It then retired to Poland.
By the end of November, the whole Russian army had taken up its quarters on the eastern bank of the Vistula in the area of Dirschau (present-day Tczew), Elbing (present-day Elbląg), Schlodien (present-day Gładysze), Liebstadt (present-day Miłakowo), Strasburg (present-day Brodnica), Thorn, Kulm and Marienwerder and in the area of Heiligenbeil (present-day Mamonowo), Königsberg, Fischhausen (present-day Primorsk), Labiau (present-day Polessk), Wehlau (present-day Snamensk), Tapiau (present-day Gwardeisk) and Kanditten (present-day Kandyty). The headquarters were established at Marienwerder. The regular cavalry was stationed in three large groups behind the Russian positions. Half of the Cossacks wintered further east between Johannisburg (present-day Pisz) and Oletzko (present-day Olecko). A number of “third battalions” (depot battalions), recently arrived from Courland, were posted in Memel, Tilsit (present-day Sowetsk) and Gumbinnen (present-day Gussew). Some 2,500 Cossacks belonging to Krasnotchokov’s Brigade, under the command of Quartermaster-General von Stoffeln, were charged to secure the positions of the army. They were deployed on the western bank of the Vistula between Oliva (present-day Oliwa), Preussisch Stargard (present-day Starogard Gdański), Neuenburg (present-day Nowe), Schwetz (present-day Świecie), Fordon and Hohensalza (present-day Inowroclaw). These Cossacks were supported by 2 infantry brigades stationed at Dirschau and Mewe (present-day Gniew). Each division of the army was instructed to send scouts to Eastern Pomerania and to the region of Posen to detect any advance of the Prussians in these quarters.
At the beginning of December,the Frei-Regiment Hordt and the Malachowski Hussars reached Stargard. Their reconnaissances confirmed that the Russians had completely evacuated Eastern Pomerania. The country was so devastated that even such a small force had difficulty to find proper provisions.
By mid-December, all Russian troops had reached their winter-quarters.
In January 1759, Major-General von Platen returned to Eastern Pomerania with the Alt-Platen Dragoons. He then took command in this region.
This article is mostly made of abridged and adapted excerpts from the following books which are now in the public domain:
- Grosser Generalstab Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung II: Die Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen, Part 3 Der siebenjährige Krieg 1756-1763
- Vol. 7 Olmütz und Crefeld, Berlin, 1909, p. 199
- Vol. 8 Zorndorf und Hochkirch, Berlin, 1910, pp. 31-54, 64-104, 157, 161-183, 195-240, 254, 256-258
- Tielke, J. G.: An Account of some of the most Remarkable Events of the War between the Prussians, Austrians and Russians from 1756 to 1763, Vol. 2, Walter, London, 1788, pp. 87-260
- Jomini, Henri: Traité des grandes opérations militaires, 2ème édition, 2ème partie, Magimel, Paris: 1811, pp. 140-167, 232, 252-253, 262-264
- Carlyle, T.: History of Friedrich II of Prussia, vol. 18
- Anonymous: A Complete History of the Present War, from its Commencement in 1756, to the End of the Campaign, 1760, London, 1761, pp. 317-318
Duffy, Christopher: various articles on the Russian army, Seven Years War Association Journal Vol. X No. 2