1759 - Russian campaign in Silesia

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Campaigns >> 1759 - Russian campaign in Silesia

The campaign lasted from September to October 1759


Preliminary Manoeuvres

On August 30, the Russian army encamped at Lieberose while Hadik's Austrian corps reached Lamsfeld about 6 km from the Russian camp. The same day, Frederick II left his camp at Fürstenwalde.

On August 31, Frederick reached the camp of Woldau (unidentified location) on the road from Lieberose to Lübben, thus covering Lübben and Luckau and his lines of communication with Berlin, Saxony and Lusatia. He sent a party forward on Lübben and Vetschau to clear the region from Austrian light troops.

Early in September, Hadik quitted Lamsfeld and marched southwards between Peitz and Cottbus.

On September 5, Hadik reached Kahren. It was still unclear whether he was heading for Saxony or Lusatia.

While at Sagan (today Żagań), [[prince Henri was informed of the march of the Russian army towards Saxony. He decided to turn the enemy positions by a wide sweep southwards through Buntzlau (today Bolesławiec) and then westwards to Görlitz in order to reach Saxony.

When count Leopold Daun was informed of prince Henri's movements, he quitted his camp at Sorau (today Żary) on the border of Lower Silesia and marched to Spremberg to cover his conquests in Saxony.

On September 13, when count Piotr Semionovitch Saltykov heard that Daun had retired from his camp at Sorau, he threatened to retire to Crossen (Krosno Odrzańskie). The French envoy, the marquis de Montalembert, made every effort to persuade him to undertake the siege of Glogau (today Glogow) in Lower Silesia instead of the planned retreat. Agreeing to this plan, Saltykov required reinforcements from Daun.

The Russians march towards Lower Silesia

On September 15, Daun sent a detachment of 10,000 men under the command of Campitelli from Bautzen to reinforce the Russian army. Campitelli marched by Muskau (today Bad Muskau). The same day, Saltykov marched eastwards to Guben (today Gubin) on the Neisse river.

On September 16, Frederick marched southwards in the direction of Vetschau in Saxony, hoping that the Russian army was now retreating to Poland.

On September 17, Frederick reached Cottbus.

On September 18, Saltykov quitted his camp of Guben marched eastward again towards Christianstadt (today Krzystkowice). Frederick intended to advance against Daun but, when he realized that the Austro-Russian army was making for Silesia and Glogau by a wide sweep northwards, he resolved to get ahead of it.

On September 19, the army of Frederick concentrated at Forst.

On September 20, Frederick was at Schenwalde (unidentified location) from where he asked to prince Henri and Fouquet for reinforcements.

On September 21, Saltykov reached Christianstadt on the right bank of the Bober where he was joined by Campitelli while baron Ernst Gideon Loudon took position at Freystadt (today Kożuchów) to cover the Austro-Russian army. However, Saltykov found no adequate supplies there. The same day, Frederick advanced on Sagan with all his cavalry closely followed by the infantry. The entire Prussian army then encamped with its left on the Galgenberg and its right at Elkendorf (unidentified location). From this position, Frederick was able to make a junction with prince Henri and to relieve Glogau while separating Saltykov's army from Daun's.

On September 22, Saltykov marched towards Karolath (today Gmina Siedlisko) where he had given rendez-vous to his transports coming from Poland.

On September 23, Saltykov reached Freystadt while Loudon encamped at Wendisch-Borau (unidentified location) near Neustädtel. The same day, Frederick marched from Sagan to Suckau (today Żuków), protecting the pass of Neustädtel. A party of Russian hussars and cossacks was preparing to encamp near Neustädtel when they heard of the approach of the Prussians. This party quickly retreated. When Saltykov heard of the attack of prince Henri at Hoyerswerda, he decided to cross the Oder and threw a bridge at Wartenberg (unidentified location).

On September 24, part of Saltykov's army passed the Oder at Wartenberg and resumed his advance on Karolath to get his supplies. Meanwhile Loudon remained on the left bank and marched on Beuthen (Bytom Odrzański). As soon as he was informed of these manoeuvres, Frederick occupied the heights of Zobelwitz (probably Dobrzejowice), Baune (probably Bonow) and Milkau (today Miłaków) to block the road leading to Glogau by Beuthen. Both armies remained under arms for the night.

On September 25, both armies encamped nearby. Loudon asked Saltykov what he intended to do and Saltykov threatened once more to retire to Poland. Finally Montalembert, the French envoy, convinced Saltykov to stay in the area.

On September 27, Frederick received a reinforcement of 3 bns and 3 sqns from Fouquet.

On September 28, Frederick received an additional reinforcement of 6 bns from general Queiss. His army now numbered some 36,000 men.

On September 29 and 30, the entire Russian army passed to the right bank of the Oder.

On October 1, Frederick sent some troops to pursue the Russian rearguard without much results.

On October 2, Frederick marched to Glogau and sent 12 bns and most of his cavalry across the Oder. The latter corps encamped at Kleinzerbau (unidentified location). The same day, Saltykov marched to Kuttlau (today Kotla), advancing towards Glogau from the right bank of the Oder.

On October 4, Saltykov marched to Schwusen (unidentified location). Saltykov now considered attacking Breslau (today Wrocław). When Frederick realized that Saltykov now planned to remain in the region, he detached Schmettau with 7 bns and 10 sqns to Golgowitz (unidentified location) on the left bank of the Oder to cannonade the Russian camp.

On October 7, informed that the Russians intended to march on Breslau, Frederick threw a bridge on the Oder at Koben (today Chobienia). This movement brought Saltykov to halt.

On October 8 in the morning , Frederick marched to Kleingafron (unidentified location), passed the Oder and encamped at Sophienthal (unidentified location), occupying the heights of Hunern and throwing Colignon Freiinfanterie into Herrnstadt (today Wąsosz).

On October 10 at Sophienthal, Frederick fell ill of gout and could not stir from his room for three weeks.

On October 19, Saltykov sent a detachment to prepare a new camp for his plan withdrawal the following day. However, at 6:00 PM, fresh orders arrived from Saint Petersburg, instructing Saltykov to continue his enterprise against Breslau.

On October 22, Saltykov's army marched to Sandeborschke (today Czarnoborsko) in front of Herrnstadt while Loudon marched to Babiele (unidentified location). The same day, Frederick being sick, the main Prussian army marched to Kutschen-Borwitz (unidentified location) under the command of Hülsen. The Russians twice summoned Colignon at Herrnstadt but the latter refused to surrender.

On October 23, the Russian artillery bombarded Herrnstadt and completely burned it.

On October 24, Salykov retired to Tribusch (unidentified location) where he was informed that Daun intended to take his winter quarters. Very discontent with these news, Saltykov finally decided to abandon the campaign and to march to Posen (today Poznań). Meanwhile, Loudon with his Austrian corps quitted the Russian army, took a wide sweep round, by Kalish (today Kalisz), Czenstochow (today Częstochowa), Cracow (today Kraków), through the western parts of Poland and returned to Troppau (today Opava) in Bohemia, a march of more than 500 km. Upon arrival, his force, counting initially 20,000 men, was down to 10,000. Loudon then made a truce for the winter with Fouquet.

After the departure of the Russian army, Frederick detached generals Gablenz and Schmettau with 9 bns and 20 sqns to Drachenberg (unidentified location) to observe Loudon's manoeuvres. The Prussian general Meyer replaced Fouquet's troops at Hirschberg (today Jelenia Gora) and Landeshut (today Kamienna Góra) with 5 bns and 10 sqns.

On November 1, Frederick, still ill, left Sophienthal, crossed the Oder at Koben and reached Glogau. He then immediately sent the greater part of his force (19 bns and 30 sqns), under Hülsen to Saxony.

When Frederick realized that the Russians were really retreating to Poland and that Daun was attempting to withdraw to Dresden or even to Bohemia, he decided to join prince Henri in Saxony.

On November 7, leaving general Itzenplitz at the head of part of his army to observe the Russians, Frederick left for Saxony with about 20,000 men.

On November 13, Frederick made his junction with prince Henri the castle of Hirschstein, some 2 km behind Lommatzsch.


This article consists essentially of texts from the following books which are now in the public domain:

  1. Jomini, Traité des grandes opérations militaires, vol 2, 2nd ed., Paris:1811, pp. 154-160, 175-180, 194
  2. Carlyle T. History of Friedrich II of Prussia, Vol. 19
  3. Anonymous, A Complete History of the Present War, from its Commencement in 1756, to the End of the Campaign, 1760, London, 1761, pp. 459-460