1760 - French campaign in West Germany – End of the campaign

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Campaigns >> 1760 - French campaign in western Germany >> End of the campaign

The campaign lasted from May to December 1760. This article describes the fifth and last phase of the campaign from October 23 to December 31, 1760.

Introduction

The general situation at the beginning of the year, the last operations before taking winter-quarters and the sporadic operations while in winter-quarters are described in our article 1760 - French campaign in western Germany – Winter operations (January 1 to April 28, 1760).

The French manoeuvres to make a junction of their two armies and the Combat of Corbach are described in our article 1760 - French campaign in western Germany – Campaign till the combat of Korbach (April 29 to July 10, 1760).

The French offensive in Hesse and the Battle of Warburg are described in our article 1760 - French campaign in western Germany – French offensive in Hesse (July 11 to September 21, 1760).

The Allied attempt against Wesel, the French manoeuvres to relieve the fortress, the Battle of Clostercamp and the Allied retreat are described in our article 1760 - French campaign in western Germany – Allied offensive on the Lower Rhine (September 22 to October 22, 1760) .

Ferdinand on the defensive

Castries then advanced to Drevenack, thereby forcing the Hereditary Prince of Brunswick to remain in Westphalia for the protection of Lippstadt and Münster, though the Hereditary Prince nonetheless made shift to detach a portion of his force to the assistance of Ferdinand of Brunswick. Both parties then observed each other for a month before taking their winter-quarters. Meanwhile, Ferdinand was still encamped at Warburg and Wangenheim at Uslar. The Duc de Broglie suspected that the Allies planned to launch an attack against the French forces encamped in the region of Kassel or to attack Prince Xavier's corps in Hanover.

On October 23, the Hereditary Prince still had his headquarters at Brünen, observing the movement of Castries' Corps.

By October 24, Broglie was still at Kassel.

On October 25, Ferdinand reinforced General Wangenheim at Uslar. The same day, informed of the arrival of reinforcements at Wangenheim's camp, Broglie sent 12 bns, 6 sqns and 12 pieces to reinforce Prince Xavier's Corps.

On October 26, the Hereditary Prince quitted his camp at Brünen and marched to Schermbeck. Castries' Corps (67 bns, 42 sqns) was deployed as follows:

  • 4 bns at or near Perrich
  • 4 bns at or near Borth
  • 4 bns at Rheinberg and Orsoy
  • 4 bns at or near Büderich
  • Cambefort at Wesel
  • 8 sqns at or near Kapellen
  • 8 sqns at or near Homberg
  • 6 sqns at or near Neukirchen
  • M. de Chabo's Corps
    • 3 bns and artillery at Xanten
    • 4 bns at or near Zullingen (unidentified location)
    • 4 sqns at or near Kleve scouting the Lower Rhine on the left bank of the Ruhr
    • Chasseurs de Fischer covering the Duchy of Berg between the Ruhr and Lippe
  • 7 bns garrisoning Düsseldorf
  • 6 bns garrisoning Cologne
  • 1 bn garrisoning Andernach, the Gendarmerie (8 sqns) leaving for Thionville on November 1
  • 8 bns garrisoning Liège on the Meuse under MM. Andlau and de Maupéou
  • 4 bns garrisoning Roermond
  • 1 bn garrisoning Aachen
  • 1 bn garrisoning Geldern
  • 4 sqns at Saint-Cornelis (unidentified location) and Münster

On October 27, Prince Xavier's Corps decamped from Dieterode followed by its cavalry which had been billeted in Göttingen. That town was garrisoned by 4,700 grenadiers of the French reserve. The same day, the Hereditary Prince marched from Schermbeck to Kleinreken.

On October 28, M. de Boisclaireau's detachment engaged an Allied detachment at Schermbeck but was finally repulsed.

On October 30, the troops of the Hereditary Prince took cantonment around Kleinreken while another Allied corps was left between Dorsten and Lembeck covered by Scheiter's troops at Schermbeck, Lünen, Olfen and Haltern. The same day, Broglie ordered Castries to launch a diversionary attack on Unna.

On October 31, M. de Castries sent off 8 bns to Hesse to join Broglie's Main Army.

In November at Gera, a company of Saxon soldiers refused to leave Saxony to serve with the French armies.

On November 1, the Gendarmerie marched from Andernach to return to France. The same day, Broglie asked to Castries to move as soon as possible out of Wesel, to encamp in front of this place and, if the Allied retired, to march to Dülmen or Dortmund. Castries was to act as if he intended to lay siege to Münster.

On November 2 near Göttingen, de Stainville threw a bridge on the Leine at Heiligenstadt (today Heilbad Heiligenstadt).

On November 4, the Hereditary Prince retired on Dülmen, leaving a corps at Dorsten under the command of Breitenbach. The same day, de Stainville operated in the Duchy of Berg.

On November 7, Castries sent out 15 bns from Wesel. They took position in front of the fortress while M. de Chabo occupied Drevenack with 4 bns, dragoons, Cambefort light troops and some artillery, advancing detachments up to Schermbeck.

On November 8, Broglie wrote to the court from Kassel to inform the king that he was fortifying Göttingen which was necessary to allow the French Army to winter in Hesse.

On November 9, the Allies fired a feu de joie to celebrate the Prussian victory at Torgau (Nov. 3). After this victory and the reoccupation of Saxony by Prussian forces, the entire strategic situation of the French Army changed. Its right flank in Hesse was now exposed to combined operations of the Allied and Prussian armies.

On November 10, Castries marched on Drevenack and Schermbeck. He established his headquarters at Pliesterberg (unidentified location) while M. de Chabo took position in front of the army with the avant-garde. M. de Thianges was left at Kleve with 1 militia bn and 1 dragoon rgt. The same day, some French regiments started to leave Kassel for Giessen and Frankfurt.

On November 11, Broglie instructed Castries to threaten Hamm. The same day in the area of Göttingen, Luckner's Allied corps decamped from Moringen and, passing by Northeim, marched to Gieboldehausen

On November 12, Luckner attacked a detachment of Royal-Nassau Hussards under the command of M. de Schwartz who, being outnumbered, retired on a detachment of Orléans Dragons led by M. de Pons. The two French detachments were then able to retire on Stainville's Corps at Duderstadt without being pursued.

On November 13, one of Cambefort's post was surprised. The same day, an Allied corps of 18,000 men left Paderborn towards Höxter by Driburg (today Bad Driburg), encamping at Uslar.

On November 14, the Allied Army was ordered to go into mourning for the death of King George II. The same day, Broglie was informed by his spies of the advance of an Allied corps on Beverungen and Höxter.

Allied attempt against Göttingen

Before taking his winter-quarters, Ferdinand resolved to make a last attempt against Göttingen, the only place in the Electorate of Hanover still occupied by French forces.

On November 15, Ferdinand set out from his headquarters at Desburg (maybe Diesberg) for Uslar. The same day, Broglie sent M. de Rougé with 3 bns of grenadiers and chasseurs and 12 pieces to Hedemünden on the Werra to reinforce his right wing. Broglie also instructed M. de Saint-Pern, who was cantoned on the left bank of the Werra, to dispatch 30 coys of Grenadiers de France and Grenadiers Royaux and 1,200 foot to M. de Rougé.

On November 16, Ferdinand personally arrived at the camp of Uslar. In addition, 2 Hanoverian bns and 2 Brunswicker bns with 12 guns joined Ferdinand at Uslar. These troops were replaced at the main camp by 3 Hanoverian and Hessian rgts returning from the Lower Rhine.

On November 17, leaving Lieutenant-General de Vaux to command the garrison of Göttingen (3,800 foot consisting mainly of Volontaires de Flandre and Volontaires du Hainaut; 750 horse including 180 men of Bercheny Hussards), Prince Xavier's Corps began to retire towards its winter-quarters, encamping at Herberhausen.

On November 19, Prince Xavier's right reserve passed the Werra at Allendorf. The same day, M. de Stainville retired from Eschwege to Eisenach with 4 Saxon bns, 1 dragoon brigade and the Volontaires de Schomberg to cover the establishment of the Saxon Contingent on the Upper Werra.

On November 20 in the morning, 1 Hanoverian infantry rgt, 2 troops of the 15th Eliot's Light Horse and 1 hussar rgt passed the Diemel.

On November 21, Ferdinand main force passed the Weser and encamped at Uslar.

On November 23, despite the heavy rain falling since several days, Ferdinand advanced from Uslar to Hardegsen with a body of troops, sending some detachments towards Kassel and Münden. General Luckner was posted at Duderstadt, cutting possible supply from Thuringia for the French Army. Göttingen was now isolated. The same day, the French infantry of the main army took its cantons near Kassel and the cavalry on the Lahn, the Main and in Wetterau. One hussar rgt cantoned at Siegen.

On November 24, the Allies were on the move everywhere along the Diemel and the Werra, a detachment taking position in the woods behind Ehrsten. The same day, Viomesnil attacked this detachment between Meimbressen and Westuffeln, capturing some prisoners. Meanwhile M. de Montfort surprised an Allied post of 200 men.

By November 25, the Hereditary was still encamped at Kleinreken and M. de Castries at Drevenack, 10 km from Wesel.

On November 26, Ferdinand moved forward to Esebeck, establishing his headquarters at Harste. Meanwhile, Count Kielmansegg pushed forward to Sieboldshausen with 7,000 men. The French Reserve under Prince Xavier retired from Begerode (unidentified location) to Witzenhausen in front of the advancing Allied troops, leaving a large garrison in Göttingen under the command of M. de Vaux.

On November 28, Luckner attacked the Castle of Arnstein defended by M. de Verteuil but was forced to abandon the enterprise. The same day, Castries evacuated Drevenack, passed the Rhine and took cantonments with his right at Rheinberg and his left at Xanten while Chasseurs de Fischer and Chasseurs de Cambefort took position on the right bank in front of Wesel. Castries then returned to France.

By November 29, the Allied Main Army under Ferdinand was still encamped at Esebeck and had taken possession of Bovenden, Simmershausen and Dransfeld. A small Prussian detachment (1,500 men) detached from Magdeburg had made a junction with Kielmansegg and completed the blockade of Göttingen. Luckner retired towards Friedland. A skirmish took place at Hedemünden on the Werra between Major-General Breitenbach's detachment (Hanoverian Gardes (2 bns), Brunswicker Leib-Regiment with some cavalry and artillery) and the French garrison under Monfort who was forced to abandon the place and to take refuge in the woods of Münden. Part of the garrison entrenched itself in a redoubt along the river while the other part passed it by boats. The French then resisted all attempts to dislodge them from their entrenchments. The Allied finally retired into the town before retreating during the night. In this action, the Allies lost about 150 men, including 5 officers killed and 6 wounded.

On November 30, the Hereditary Prince decamped from Dorsten and established his troops in East Frisia and in the region of Münster.

Frederick II of Prussia had also detached a larger corps of 8,000 men (infantry, cavalry and hussars) under Saldern, Aschersleben and Linden to march through Thuringia towards Göttingen.

On December 5, M. de Muy arrived at Düsseldorf to replace Castries as commander of the Reserve of the Lower Rhine during winter.

On December 8, the Allied Army blockading Göttingen started to retire towards Einbeck and Moringen.

On December 11, due to bad weather, deteriorating roads and lack of provisions, Ferdinand abandoned his project against Göttingen

On December 13, Ferdinand lifted the siege of Göttingen and sent his troops into winter-quarters.

On December 14, Luckner passed the Leine and advanced against Heiligenstadt (today Heilbad Heiligenstadt). Prince Xavier at the head of the Saxon Contingent retired from Treffurt to Eisenach while M. de Stainville took position at Gotha.

Ferdinand established his headquarters at Uslar, quartering his army in Einbeck and Uslar. The British Guards were at Paderborn while the Marquis of Granby had his headquarters at Corvey near Höxter. Most of the Corps of the Hereditary Prince went into winter-quarters in the Bishopric of Münster while the rest joined the Allied Main Army.

Voices from the Past
On December 26, 1760, a Villager is shot by French soldiers at Rüddingshausen

The French also went into winter-quarters. Broglie established his headquarters at Kassel and his army was distributed along the Upper Rhine. Meanwhile, Castries' Corps was distributed along the Lower Rhine from Kleve to Cologne.

The 8,000 Prussians, on the march to make a junction with the Allied Army, stopped at Erfurt where they took their winter-quarters.

On December 22, Broglie advanced directly against Luckner's Corps who retired.

On December 23, a detachment of 10,000 French led by the Comte de Broglie attacked Luckner (about 3,500 men) at Heiligenstadt. Luckner retired to an eminence on the road to Witzenhausen, repulsed the French, then retreated to Scharfenstein, loosing only 1 officer and 34 militia taken prisoners. The French losses were above 300 men.

On December 24, the French having evacuated Heiligenstadt, Luckner retook possession of the town.

Order of Battle
Detailed of the French winter-quarters at the end of December 1760.

At the end of the campaign of 1760, the Allies were leaving the French in possession of Hesse, of the Principality of Göttingen and of the defiles of Münden, which gave them free ingress into Hanover and Brunswick. Broglie deployed his right by the Werra, leaving Göttingen in front of this wing; he also placed cordons of troops along the Werra, the Fulda, the Eder, the Schwalm, the Ohm, the Lahn and the Dill. He also deployed the first line of his left wing from Siegen to Siegburg, 26 km from Cologne to link it with the Reserve of the Lower Rhine. Part of Broglie's light troops were sent towards the sources of the Sieg, the Lahn and the Eder, occupying the border of the Duchy of Westphalia and of the County of Waldeck. Broglie's quarters were distributed in the Counties of Hachenburg and Neuwied and on the Lower Lahn. The rest of his forces were quartered between the Lahn, the Rhine and the Main. The castles of Ziegenhain, Marburg and Dillenburg were in the centre and on the left of his first line while Kassel and Hesse formed the advanced point of his right wing.

References

This series of articles is a compilation of texts from the following books which are now in the public domain:

  • Anonymous: A Complete History of the Present War, from its Commencement in 1756, to the End of the Campaign, 1760, London, 1761, pp. 521-528, 531-534
  • Fortescue, J. W.: A History of the British Army, Vol. II, MacMillan, London, 1899, pp. 501-519
  • Hotham (probably): The operations of the Allied Amy under the command of his Serene Highness Prince Ferdinand Duke of Brunswic and Luneberg beginning in the year 1757 and ending in the year 1762, London: T. Jefferies, 1764, pp. 137-184
  • Jomini, Baron de: Traité des grandes opérations militaires, Vol. 3, 2nd ed., Magimel, Paris, 1811, pp. 221-240
  • Pajol, Charles P. V., Les Guerres sous Louis XV, vol. V, Paris, 1891, pp. 2-114
  • Schuster, O. and F. Francke: Geschichte der Sächsischen Armee, 2. part, Leipzig 1885

Other sources

Salisch, M. von: Treue Deserteure – Das kursächsische Militär und der Siebenjährige Krieg, Munich, 2009