1762-08-02 – Combat of Teplitz
Prelude to the Battle
At the end of July 1762, Seydlitz resolved to advance from his camp at Zwickau in Saxony towards Bohemia with a force of 2 battalions and more than 18 squadrons. On his way, he was joined by a force (4 battalions 18 squadrons and some light troops) under the command of Kleist.
On August 1, Kanitz arrived at Sebastiansberg (present-day Hora Svatého Šebestiána) while Seydlitz reached Komotau (present-day Chomutov). Torrock retired, constantly keeping contact with the advancing Prussian forces. The same day, Kleist's detachment made a junction with Seydlitz at Johnsdorf (probably present-day Janov). The united Prussian corps then advanced up to Dux (present-day Duchcov). The jägers along with Kleist Green Croats took positions in the abbey of Ossegg (present-day Osek) while Kanitz reached Brüx (present-day Most). Seydlitz and Kleist reconnoitred the positions of the Austrian force of Löwenstein. During a skirmish, the Prussians captures 164 Austrians and 4 officers. Kleist and Seydlitz could come to an agreement on the general plan of attack. Seydlitz had the last word.
The battlefield presented various types of terrain. The neighbourhood of Teplitz consisted mainly of lowland. A range of hills extended to the south with the largest one, the Walchodeberg, located near the village of Kradrop. Some other lower hills were locate in the vicinity of Strebnina and Straka. There were also two ponds near the village of Hundorf, the largest one to the south near the town of Dux and the second between Hundorf and Janegg. A long hill extended to the north of Teplitz while several ponds between Janegg and Klein-Ujezd made the approach quite difficult.
The Austrian corps of Löwenstein was deployed in strong positions near the village of Hundorf. Its front was covered by ponds and marshes. Löwenstein extended his right wing up to Klein-Ujezd to prevent Seydlitz from cutting his line of communication with Serbelloni. The Austrian left wing was deployed between Hundorf and Galgenbusch near Strebnina. Furthermore, small detachments of cavalry and infantry had taken position at Wschechlaw. Baggage had been sent to Aussig. However, the Wacholderberg near the village of Kradrop was not occupied by any Austrian unit and Seydlitz decided to attack this position on August 2 in the morning.
Description of Events
On August 1 at 10:00 PM, the Prussians regroup for the assault. Their main column marched to Neuhof and Preschen with Bellings Hussars (5 sqns) forming the vanguard followed by the infantry and with the rest of the cavalry as rearguard. Kleist Croats and Jägers along with a detachment of hussars were sent to Ossegg in front of the Austrian right wing formed by Carl Lothringen Infantry and Batthyányi Dragoons. General Kanitz, with 3 bns and 5 sqns, marched by Liptitz in direction of the Austrian centre.
During the night of August 1 to 2, prince Löwenstein sent a courier to general Macquire, asking him for reinforcements. Macquire sent him 3 bns.
On August 2 at sunrise, Bellings hussars (5 sqns) made themselves master of the Wachloderberg and Kleist detachment (about 2,000 men and officers) marched in two line to the assault:
- first line
- second line
The rest of the Prussian cavalry advanced to Zwettnitz to attack the rear of the Austrian positions.
At 4:00 AM, the Prussians launched their assault. Count Pallavicini soon detected their advance and immediately marched forward to meet them with Nikolaus Esterházy and Pallavicini infantry regiments. Behind marched infantry regiments Giulay and O’Kelly. The right and left flanks of the Austrian infantry were secured by Benedikt Daun Cuirassiers and converged Carabiniers. This heavy cavalry charged Bellings Hussars on the Wacholderberg and drove them away, allowing Nikolaus Esterházy and Pallavicini infantry to take position on the Wacholderberg.
Kleist brigade arrived too late to prevent the occupation of the Wacholderberg by the Austrians. They engaged the Austrian infantry in close combat but the latter soon took advantage. The first Prussian line was broken and forced to retire. Pallavicini's troops pursued them but were stopped by the Prussian second line. Meanwhile, Grenadier Battalion 38/43 Heilsberg and Röbel Infantry managed to turn the flank of Pallavicini's brigade and to march on the Wacholderberg.
Suddenly, Giulay and O’Kelly infantry rgts appeared. They outnumbered the advancing Prussians more than 2 men to 1. They finally pushed back Kleist second line. Pallavicinis was in no position to launch a counter-attack and Grenadier Battalion 38/43 Heilsberg and Röbel Infantry retreated in good order to Kradrop, covered by the fire of the Prussian artillery planted on a hill south-west of Kradrop.
Musket fire lasted till 7:00 AM. Seydlitz realized that he could not continue his attack,. Indeed, Löwenstein had now had enough time to prepare for the defence of the Wacholderberg. Furthermore, Prussian amunition were running out, an ammunition wagon had been destroyed by an Austrian shot. This made a terrifying impression upon Seydlitz' troops.
Meanwhile, on the other flank, light troops of Kleist Freikorps had attacked the Austrians near Settenz. Difficult terrain and insufficient troops did not allow to exploit the initial success of Kleist Croats and jägers.
About 8:00 AM, the combat was over.
During the afternoon, the Prussians retired to Oberleutensdorf where they remained August 3. Prussian dragoons covered this position, standing between Obersleutmansdorf and Ossegg.
During this combat, the Prussians lost 14 officers, 558 men and 2 guns. Grenadier Battalion 38/43 Heilsberg alone lost about 150 men. Furthermore, major von Kalckstein commanding Grenadier Battalion 13/26 Kalckstein was killed in action.
The Austrians lost 650 men and 17 officers.
Order of Battle
Austrian Order of Battle
Commander-in-chief: brigadier Löwenstein
Summary: about 5,700 foot and 3,100 horse
- infantry (10 bns)
- cavalry (36 sqns)
Prussian Order of Battle
Commander-in-chief: lieutenant-general Seydlitz
Summary: aout 3,700 foot and 4,100 horse
- major-general Kleist
- Grenadier Battalion 13/26 Kalckstein (1 bn)
- Grenadier Battalion G-I/G-II Lossow (1 bn) after 1760, this converged regiment included the grenadiers of the Garnison Regiment No. XI instead of those of No. II as was the case before
- Grenadier Battalion 2/G-XI Natalis (1 bn) after 1760, this converged regiment included the grenadiers of the Garnison Regiment No. II instead of those of No. XI as was the case before
- Röbel(1 bn) a Saxon regiment in the Prussian service reduced to battalion strength
- Grenadier Battalion 38/43 Heilsberg (1 bn)
- Jung Stutterheim (200 volunteers) under Steding
- Belling Hussars (5 sqns)
- light troops (???)
- lieutenant-general Kanitz
- cavalry (???) probably under Meyer
Geschichte des siebenjährigen Krieges in einer Reihe von Vorlesungen, Prussia Armee Grosser generalstab, vol. 6, part one
Gieraths G., Die Kampfhandlungen der Brandenburgische-preussischen Armee, Berlin 1964
Jany K., Geschichte der Königlisch Preussischen Armee bis zum Jahre 1807, vol. 2, Berlin 1929
Kessel E., Das Ende des Siebenjährigen Krieges 1760-1763, Hrgb. von T. Linder, vol. 2, Padeborn – München – Wien – Zürich 2007
Tempelhoff G. F., Geschichte des siebenjahrige Krieges in Deutschland, vol. 6
Tomasz Karpiński from Gniezno/Poznań for the initial version of this article